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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Party people: don't do it!

There’s a long and rather tedious history of political parties using pop tunes that get them into trouble with their creators.

Why oh why do they do it? Not why do they use music without apparently checking first, but … more importantly, why Primal Scream’s dire Rocks? Or why The Cure’s yucky Lovecats?

A failure of taste? Of imagination? Probably both. Using Bobby and the boys’ Rolling Stones number for Theresa May’s walk-off tune is not just bizarre (drugs, prostitution, er, freak shows … “Strip joints full of hunchbacks”) but musically witless. What was the point of this tune in the first place? Ersatz Stones for a mid-90s indie crowd. A blowsy howler of a song. In a moment of madness I actually bought a copy of the Give Out But Don’t Give Up CD. One of my least-inspired musical acquisitions.

Meanwhile, Lovecats. What can you say? The blockheaded “humour” of the Conservatives using a cat tune after the “catflap” row yesterday is one thing. But this one?  Bloody hell. Robert Smith at his most indigestibly saccharine, an over-insistent double bass and an irritating plinky-plonky piano. Supposedly a fun pop tune for the Goth kids, it was for me the moment when The Cure drifted off toward less interesting waters and never came back. I found The Head On The Door album pleasant but not exactly essential listening. After that … there was no after that really. 

So, OK, I’m not exactly thinking the Tories could have used The Cure’s Cold or Primal Scream’s Kill All Hippies, but … er, well they probably could have done actually. It would at least have shown a little imagination.

But in the end why bother anyway? Who are the politicos trying to fool? Throwing out a bit of mid-80s pop or mid-90s retread-rock doesn’t make them look au courant, or even knowingly retro. They’re not down with the kids (young ones or middle-aged ones) and I suspect they’re “connecting” with virtually no-one. To me it all looks and sounds tired. Slightly desperate. Stick to Elgar or The Beatles I say.

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