Mistress Of Puppets (DIY Slogan Tee)

Every now and then I get it into my head that I am capable of doing crafts. While I do possess some of the qualities of a skilled artisan, such as attention to detail and a certain obsessive nature, I inconveniently lack the “art” aspect of the word. But because Pinterest and the various lifestyle blogs I read make it seem as if I, too, can construct my own chic fashion or home accessories from nothing more than sequins, Mod Podge and an upcycled flour sack, I occasionally indulge this delusion a little further than my level of craft artistry can really justify. (This also happens with food, which is why I rarely photograph our delectably-plated repasts of ragout a la leftovers avec priced-to-clear boeuf et fridge-withered cilantro, and when I do attempt to, it …doesn’t end well.)

But I had some time on my hands a while back and freezer paper stencil tees (there are plenty of tutorials online so I won’t do a step-by-step one – here’s a simple guide for anyone else who wants to give it a try) didn’t look like they could be too hard, so I decided it was about time to try dancing with delusion again. I had a plain black Uniqlo tee, white fabric paint, a craft knife, a Daiso cutting mat, a rather underused iron, and some spongy things I bought from Art Friend, so clearly I had everything it took to construct haute couture.

A little background on the slogan, for those rarely about to rock:

After my friend Matt introduced me to the joys of doing this song in karaoke, it’s become one of the staples of my karaoke repertoire. But since people always seem to find it hard to believe that a female might attempt Metallica at karaoke, I thought it would increase my metal cred to make my status clear on a T-shirt. You know, like those fat ugly guys you see wearing “Sex Instructor: First Lesson Free” T-shirts.

Freezer paper stencil

Read on to see if the finished result is more FAIL or FYEAH!

Gyrating For Jesus: A Pow-Ka-Leow Guide To Sun Ho’s Greatest “Hits”

It’s easy to jump to conclusions about the guilt of the City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders, but I’m not going to do that here. Instead, I’ve decided to engage in the admittedly snarkastic exercise of listening to every English release by Sun Ho which I could find on Youtube, to see if the quality, content and success of her music could ever have justified the expenditure of S$23 million, authorized or not.

(For those unfamiliar with the backstory, City Harvest is a hugely rich megachurch in Singapore, founded by pastor Kong Hee and his wife Sun Ho (once described as a “music pastor”). Several of its leaders, including Kong Hee, have just been charged with committing criminal breaches of trust and falsifying accounts regarding the use of church funds. In particular, S$23 million worth of church funds was purportedly misused to fund the “Crossover Project”, an initiative started by Kong Hee and Sun Ho to use Sun’s secular music to reach out to non-Christians. Sun has been trying to launch a US-based secular music career since 2003.)

#1 Dance Hits Which You’d Never Remember Dancing To

Given that you can usually find almost anything ever committed to recordable media on Youtube on the basis that someone somewhere somehow thought it was significant enough to upload and share with the world, I was surprised to discover no trace there whatsoever of Sun’s debut American single, “Where Did Love Go”. For a song produced by David Foster which reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play “Breakout” Chart in 2003, its “breakout” impact appears to have been short-lived. Sun’s management should address this problem by making it available on Youtube ASAP – it could, after all, rake in a few hundred accidental views from non-Christian lazy typists who were looking for the Supremes’ classic.

After this disappointing start, I was relieved to find some clues as to what Sun’s other “#1 dance hits” may have sounded like: one remix of “One With You”, two of “Without Love”, one use of “Gone” as backing track to an optimistically-titled montage of “international star Sun Ho” at US Fashion Week 2006, and three – wow, three! – remixes of Ends of the Earth.

There is little to be said about any of these songs. The tunes are forgettable, Sun’s vocals insipid, none of the songs have any discernable lyrical connections with Christian beliefs or morality beyond pedestrian references to love, and whether you like them or not will largely depend on your tastes in dance music and the abilities of the producer/remixer. One also wonders why anyone would see generic Eurodance as a good way of spreading the gospel in the US music industry in the first place. Perhaps the Crossover Project thought this is what gay clubbers like listening to.

Sadly, we’ve already reached the high point of Sun’s US chart success. But let us not waste any more time here. The low points yet to come are far more entertaining.

In God We Thrust: “China Wine” (2007)


“China Wine” was released in 2007, the same year that the misuse of funds allegedly began. I couldn’t possibly guess at how people with actual Caribbean music credibility like Wyclef Jean, Tony Matterhorn and Elephant Man were recruited to collaborate on the song, or why a famous MV director like Wayne Isham would have any interest in doing the video. I guess they must all have been big fans of Sun’s Eurodance work.

(It’s easier to appreciate the WTFness of this song if you’re already familiar with certain dancehall music references, so let me quickly explain that “wine” in the dancehall context doesn’t refer to the Blood of Christ but to gyration of the hips, and that the “dutty wine” is a well-known dance move where you whip your hair around while gyrating your hips.)

“In China,” Sun claims, “we luv da dutty wine so much dat we mix it with de China wine”. So basically, the song is about cross-cultural hip-gyrating. I’m not seeing a clear Christian connection there, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out if I think hard enough – oh hey, maybe this is how Jesus partied it up at the wedding in Cana! CANA WINE! CANA WINE!

dancing Jesus gif

Elsewhere in the song, Sun exhorts girls to “sing from the hoo-has”, Tony Matterhorn namedrops fashion designer Ed Hardy (Sun’s company is the exclusive distributor of Ed Hardy clothing in Singapore), and Elephant Man suggests that Sun’s gyratory skills (“so she do it fast, now she do it slow”) can make something dead grow. He is probably not referring to the Resurrection.

Out of the clusterfuck of nonsequiturs that make up this song, the biggest one may be why the hell a Singaporean is calling herself “Geisha” to sing a song about how much “we” in “China” love to dutty wine. Perhaps Sun hit her head after being slain in the Spirit one day and it affected her geographical knowledge.

They Call It Murrrrdaaaa[1. Apologies to Damian Marley and Ini Kamoze for associating them with this bilge.]: “Mr Bill” (2009)


It is baffling to think that anyone looking back at “China Wine” two years later could have regarded reggae as an ideal musical direction for Sun to continue in, but maybe Wyclef’s weed[2. c.f. Tony Matterhorn’s “China Wine” verse where he asks Wyclef to “passa blem”.] was just that good. “Mr Bill” is certainly more mellow than “China Wine” – except, of course, for some minor lyrical hostility involving Sun’s decidedly unmellow impulses to murder her cheating man.

Still rather confused about exactly where she is from in Asia, Sun aka “Geisha” begins the video by berating her man in Mandarin for lying to her. At times during the song, her attempts to deliver her lines with a ragga-tinged lilt are so inept that she might as well be speaking in tongues. And the less said about her dancing the better, except for letting you know that in or around the same time that this song came out, she was training with superfamous choreographer Marty Kudelka in her lavish Hollywood Hills home. Let’s add “groove” to the list of things that S$23 million still can’t buy, although it’s nice to know that Sun enjoyed 29,000 square feet (at US$20,000/month) worth of space to practice her flailing in. 

Fakey Gaga: “Fancy Free” (2009)


Following the disappointing failure of “China Wine” and “Mr Bill” to get the world pelvic thrusting for Christ, Project Crossover must have come up with a new strategy for “Fancy Free” to make its mark in a 2009 pop music landscape dominated by Lady Gaga. But simply writing a knockoff Gaga song is for poor schmucks who don’t have S$23 million to spend. If you’re funded by Project Crossover, on the other hand, you can also get what looks like a pretty expensive video directed by a hot shot MV director who’s already done Gaga videos, and employ Gaga’s then-choreographer Laurieann Gibson, just to leave nothing to chance.

Pity about the inconvenient fact that Sun ain’t Gaga. After several years of trying to make it in the American music industry, there’s still nothing that distinguishes “Fancy Free” from a Paris Hilton vanity project, except that the Hiltons never promised their hotel guests that no Hilton revenues were used to fund Paris’s singing career.[3. ”In 2003, an individual alleged in the media that the charity was funding Sun Ho’s music career. However, this individual eventually issued a public apology and retracted his allegations. Facing media scrutiny, City Harvest issued press statements, as well as representations to its church members, that they had not funded Sun Ho’s career.” – Asiaone]

And if you were hoping that Christian messages in Sun’s music might finally have emerged by now, with “fancy free” possibly referring to some sort of detachment from material goods, you obviously need to bone up on your core megachurch doctrines. Sun wakes up “feeling like a millionaire”! Which is pretty easy if you’re either waking up in a LA mansion or a S$9.3m Sentosa Cove penthouse!

Cringeworthy hubris reaches its peak when Sun trills “Feels just like I’m on a shooting star / Made my wish to be a superstar”. It’s like saying you wish you could buy a Birkin when you can already afford to buy 2,300 of them, if you could only find a shop that respected you enough to sell them to you. Also, it appears that even long-ridiculed boy band tropes like rhyming “fire” with “desire” are too sophisticated for a song which rhymes “star” with……”star”.

A Conclusion And Some Parting Insults

Pages more could be written to deconstruct the multiple levels of epic fail in Sun Ho’s US music career, but there’s only so much torture I can take and I’m pretty much already at the point of uttering “Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani?” So I will leave you with two last atrocities, and thank God for small mercies that they are only available in short preview clips. (Things seem to have gone suddenly quiet on the Sun music front just before the initial complaints against CHC surfaced in 2010.)

First up, “Hollaback Girl” oh sorry I meantCause A Ruckus” is Sun’s clubbing manifesto. Clad in shades and her “tight wifebeater”, she urges you to “leave your do’s and don’ts at home”. I was under the impression that the 10 Commandments are applicable everywhere, but what do I know, I’m not a pastor’s wife. Sun later contradicts herself with a command to “Do what I do,” which is rather alarming when followed by the tally of “one Tom, two Tom, three Tom, now four”. Which is a worse sin, fornication or bad pronunciation? But don’t worry, Sun, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, unless your US$100,000 media team[4. “In or around April 2009, a plan was conceptualised by Tan Ye Peng, Chew Eng Han, Serina Wee Gek Yin and Tan Shao Yuen Sharon to transfer monies amounting to $600,000 donated by Wahju Hanafi to the Charity’s Building Fund via a “refund” of Building Fund donations into the MPA to meet some funding needs of the Project, which included US$100,000 (S$128,000) to finance a media team from Singapore to publicise and write about Sun Ho’s music career in the United States.” – Asiaone.] uploads your gluttony to Youtube.

Like I said at the start of this post, I am not in a position to judge whether the channelling of S$23 million from CHC funds in support of Sun’s US music career was properly or improperly done. However, after suffering through what that S$23 million might have paid for, I’m inclined to state that even if every single CHC member wrote in their own blood that their tithes should be spent on Sun’s US music career, the question remains how anyone keeping track of this musical turd parade could possibly believe it to be pursuing or achieving the goals of Project Crossover. I have no answer for this question, but perhaps Sun does. Enjoy the last clip.

If you are interested in this issue, you may want to read my follow-up post: Kong Hee Kong Si Mi??! Towkay Jesus and the Calvin Klein Crucifixion.

Getting Mashed In The Neutral Bling Hotel

I usually don’t bother with mashup albums unless I’m especially fond of and familiar with the base material, but for anyone else who has every note of Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea album indelibly etched in their mind AND a reasonable knowledge of popular hip-hop, Psycosis’s In My G4 Over Da Sea is well worth a listen.

The album doesn’t always succeed at finding the right balance between fairly maximalist hip-hop originals and the NMH sound (there is, for example, just too much going on in the opening mashup between “Ante Up” and “King Of Carrot Flowers pt 1”) but “King Of Jesus Walks, Pts 2 and 3” and “Look At The Two-Headed Boy” are much better blends.

When working with less complex hip-hop originals, the mashups work pretty well. I actually prefer “Communist Mic” over Nas’s original version of “One Mic” and was pleased to find that it was still possible to dougie (slowly) to “Oh Dougie”.

Das Ignorant

That embarrassing moment when, while reading an article on Indian oligarchs, you congratulate yourself on knowing who Mukesh Ambani is, feeling gratified that you have not fallen as far out of touch with current affairs since your debating days as you sometimes fear – and then you realize it’s because you heard his name in a Das Racist song.

Losing My Edge

At my weekly West Coast Swing social dance, a song came on that I didn’t know. It had a minimalistic Neptunes-esque beat with one of those high reverby synth sounds that has been hot for quite a while now (like in Beez In The Trap and Look At Me Now), and started with a rapped verse that reminded me instantly of Wait (The Whisper Song).

So I walked over to the person who had compiled the playlist and asked, “Hey, what’s this? It’s pretty good!”

Justin Bieber.”


Party In The NWA

We usually listen to pop radio while cooking dinner, because cheese makes everything taste better. *rimshot* The following conversation ensued tonight when Party In The USA started playing:

Me: I still love that Jessie J wrote this. Except I don’t think it makes sense that Miley Cyrus is singing this instead of her. 

Alec: Well, for Miley it’s about moving to LA from Nashville.

Me: I know, but still.

(We continue chopping vegetables as the song plays.)

Me: And see, this part about the Jay-Z song doesn’t fit with coming to LA. Jay-Z is East Coast!

Alec: It’s possible you’re overthinking this.

(Just so you don’t leave thinking that was two minutes of your life you’ll never get back, I highly recommend the Saffron Pasta Salad and Curried Red Lentil Soup with Dried Cherries and Cilantro we made while engaging in this and other similarly profound conversation.) 

Schizophrenia Is Taking Me Home

In typical music snob fashion, I disdain SPIN’s views on music unless they affirm my own. And in naming my two favourite members of my favourite band (i.e. Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo from Sonic Youth) as joint number 1s of their “100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time” list, together with my favourite Sonic Youth album (which is not actually Daydream Nation) as the high water mark of their guitar work, and my favourite song on that album as their “Most Heroic Moment”…well, let’s just say the last time someone’s views coincided so much with my own, we were exchanging vows on our wedding day. (This is not to say that Alec’s views generally coincide with mine, because that would suggest he is more obsessed with Simon Cowell than is healthy. But I’d say we were pretty much in agreement on stuff like vows and shit on our wedding day.)

If you will bear with my fanwank a little longer, this is a nice opportunity to meander into a little story about seeing Thurston Moore (i.e. one half of the Greatest Guitarists Of All Time winners) live in London last year. I previously described the wonderful luck that allowed me to attend that gig at all. As always seems to happen to me in London, this was not the last serendipitous musical moment I was to enjoy there, and the extent to which this was all Sonic Youth related is kinda ridiculous.

Earlier in my trip I’d been to the fantastic Gerhard Richter exhibition at the Tate Modern. The only reason an art doofus like me even knew who Gerhard Richter was, of course, was that Sonic Youth had used one of his Candle paintings for the cover of Daydream Nation, and I’ve basically been longing for a print of that painting ever since the age of 14. So I went to the exhibition, loved it, and bought the print.


So far, so freakin’ awesome. There was just one problem. Given that I was frequently changing accommodation to crash on different friends’ couches, a 100 cm by 100 cm poster stored in a large protective tube was rather unwieldy to schlep around London with the rest of my luggage. While standing in crowded trains with this monstrous protuberance wedged between my legs to save space I couldn’t help but feel like some train perv with a massive boner, and after various instances of dropping or nearly dropping it while digging out Oyster card and suchlike, I did begin to question the wisdom of going through all this just for the sake of a poster of a giant fucking candle.

So how did I resolve this problem? The same way I resolve most of my problems in London: I imposed on Russ. Which is how, just after dropping the huge poster off at his workplace (for him to hold on to until I was leaving London), I was wandering around Shoreditch with no particular agenda other than to indulge in one of my I-love-East-London reveries, and suddenly this materialized in my rose-tinted, Lomofied, heavily vignetted sights.

ATP Pop-Up Shop

(ATP, for anyone who isn’t a music nerd, is a music festival I love, firstly because its lineups are far more interesting to me than those for more famous festivals like Glasto or Coachella, and secondly because attending it doesn’t require you to sleep in a tent. Sonic Youth are pretty regular features at ATP festivals, as are many other favourite artists of mine. So basically a shop like this, to me, is like Famous Amos to the Cookie Monster.)

I must have looked like the dramatic lemur upon spotting the sign, and then the OMG cat while exploring the shop. While I was very restrained in my shopping – lugging around a poster of a giant fucking candle can have this effect – I also noticed a poster on the wall advertising the Thurston Moore gig I would be attending on 2 December. And because I am a huge sap, I really really wanted that gig poster as a souvenir of both the first instance of serendipity I linked to earlier, and this second instance of just chancing upon my dream music nerd shop in the course of an errand involving a Sonic Youth poster. (Still with me? When the going gets tough, just imagine how much more stupefyingly boring this would be if I were telling it to you face-to-face!)

Gig posters like that are usually for advertising purposes and not for sale, so I shyly asked, feeling really awkward about the weirdness of my request, whether it might be at all possible for me to buy a copy of the poster. Most commendably, instead of calling psychiatric social services to come pick up this stammering, bug-eyed Stan, the kind shop attendant shrugged her shoulders, smiled, and said, “Just take it off the wall, you can have it.”

Cue embarrassing gushing in the vein of “OMG, you don’t know what this means to me and you just totally made my day!”, me lovingly removing the poster from the wall, rolling it up and holding it with more care than I held my degree scroll, and then me bouncing happily down Rivington Street while calling Russ on the phone and explaining that, um, I needed to meet him again to pass him another burden poster.

The story ends, predictably yet happily, with me seeing Thurston at the Union Chapel. The gig was everything I had hoped it would be.

Thurston Moore (Union Chapel, 2 Dec 2011)

Months later, the story I’ve dragged you through here remains one of the most treasured memories of my 1.5 month holiday. I don’t know if my convoluted tale strikes a chord with anyone other than me, and the poster I snagged from the ATP Pop-Up Shop isn’t really much to look at. But as an instant, soul-elevating reminder of a moment when multiple things that take up a fair bit of my heartspace (Sonic Youth, ATP, London and the awesome things that happen to me there) magically converged to make me the happiest or at least most mawkishly sentimental girl in East London, nothing holds a giant fucking candle to it.

Thurston Moore - gig flyer

Margrave Of The Marshes (John Peel’s Autobiography)

If you haven’t already heard, parts of John Peel’s record collection will soon become a virtual museum of sorts from now till the end of October 2012. John kept his collection meticulously catalogued and filed with cards he hand-typed on his old Olivetti typewriter, and each week for 26 weeks, users will get access to whatever music was on the first 100 filecards of a given letter of the alphabet, with 1 album highlighted for special attention. (Unfortunately, since access is through Spotify those of us in Singapore can’t actually be part of the fun.)

Alexis Petridis got a first peek into the collection, and wrote a charming article for The Guardian about what awaits us:

In one instance, the sheer obscurity of the music seems to have overwhelmed even Peel. There is a card that features no track listing at all, merely the dark summary “16 songs in Hungarian”.

In light of this, now seems a good time to share some favourite excerpts (I haven’t done that for so long!) from John’s autobiography Margrave Of The Marshes, which was half-written during his lifetime and finished posthumously by his wife Sheila. Funnily enough, I actually prefer the writing in Sheila’s half – the half written by John suggests he never met a comma he didn’t like. Nonetheless, the book is a wonderful read not just for music geeks but anyone who ever enjoyed John’s inimitable personality and radio presence – in my household, for example, Alec (who never listened to The John Peel Show but loved Home Truths) and I (who never listened to Home Truths but loved The John Peel Show) enjoyed it equally. 

The book opens with a quote from John, writing in Disc and Music Echo, 1969:

It is obvious that disc-jockeys, as a class, are essentially parasitic. We are, with lamentably few exceptions, neither creative nor productive. We have, however, manipulated the creations of others (records) to provide ourselves with reputations as arbiters of public taste. There is no more reason (nor no less) why I should be writing this column than you – however I am in this unmerited position and you’re not. I believe very much in radio as a medium of tragically unrealised possibilities and also in the music I play. Therefore accepting the falseness of my own precarious position I will do what I can, wherever I can, to publicise these good things I hear around me. These musicians have made you aware of, and appreciative of, their music – not J. Peel.

Read on for more excerpts from Margrave of the Marshes

2011 Music: Song List

In keeping with my tradition of only managing to say anything about a year’s worth of music once the year in question is already over, here are my songs of note from 2011. As usual, a song doesn’t have to have been released as a single in order to get into this list, and I only feature a song in this list if it isn’t already from one of my favourite albums of the year.

In last year’s list I included some honourable mentions, which were songs that stood out to me but didn’t quite merit being described as my “best of” the year for various reasons. I like the idea so will continue it this year, with:

  • Look At Me Now (Chris Brown feat. Busta Rhymes and Lil’ Wayne): A lot of this song is a frustrating waste of a great beat, but Busta’s verse (starting 1.30) is one of those glorious virtuoso performances which you enjoy first for itself and then for the entertainment value of the million Youtube cover attempts it launched, such as Mac Lethal’s Cook With Me Now "pancakes” version.

  • I Will (Danny Brown): I don’t want to spoil it. Just listen to it. But not out loud unless you are in a rather permissive environment.

  • Edge Of Glory (Lady Gaga): There’s no way of explaining how I ended up following Lady Gaga’s career because I’m madly in love with her gay backup dancer without coming off as insane, is there? Perhaps in some other post. For present purposes, just believe me when I say I’m totally emotionally invested in the career of Mark Kanemura, former So You Think You Can Dance contestant, current Lady Gaga principal dancer, FOREVAH HOTTIE. He’s gone from “normal” backup dancer to someone Gaga obviously favours, and when she premiered the single on the American Idol finale featuring him prominently as the only dancer to appear and dance with her my heart nearly BURST WITH JOY, although I will admit that his lack of clothing might also have contributed to that feeling of imminent pulmonary failure. Every subsequent live performance of the song has also featured him dirty dancing with Gaga in various states of undress, which is why I have 19 Edge Of Glory performance videos saved on my hard drive. The earlier link is to the American Idol performance for sentimentality’s sake (skip to 2:40 to see Mark), but to get a better idea of why I am insane I recommend you watch this lovely compilation instead.

And now the songs proper:

  • Do It Like A Dude (Jessie J): If you commanded me to dissolve and reconstruct myself as a pop star, and gave me the requisite magical powers with which to do so, this would be my debut single and video. (I know the song is borderline 2010/2011 but I only heard it in 2011 and love it too much not to feature it here somewhere.)


  • Try To Sleep (Low): The album this came from felt like a retread of the most accessible bits of Low’s past work, which I found disappointing after the curveball of righteous electronic anger that was Drums And Guns (my favourite Low album, which would also have been featured here as my favourite album of 2007 if I’d ever got round to writing that list). But at least when a band like Low decides to do "accessible", they sometimes end up giving you the prettiest little bit of twinkly harmonized accessibility you could ever imagine.

  • The Other Shoe (Fucked Up): You don’t really expect an established hardcore punk band to decide all of a sudden to feature pretty girly harmonies in their songs, or for a song with chief lyrical takeaway of "DYING ON THE INSIDE! DYING ON THE INSIDE!" to be so damn catchy, but Fucked Up is kinda special that way. (The album this is from is hands-down the best guitar album of the year but it’s so intense that I can’t actually handle listening to it all in one go, so it won’t feature on my album list.)

  • Lose Yourself (Astro): Far and away the best contestant from the inaugural season of X-Factor USA, 15 year old rapper Astro first caught my attention with his ballsy audition but truly gained my admiration once the live rounds started by using each song he was supposed to "cover" as little more than a sonic template upon which to perform his own rap verses – essentially writing his own new material each week. America likes its reality show hamsters meek, humble and preferably with a sob story, so I suppose this swaggerific performance (my favourite of the whole season) explains why he didn’t make it as far as he deserved in the competition.

  • Love Out Of Lust (Lykke Li): I agonized over whether to feature this or the near-perfect Ronettes revivalism of Sadness Is A Blessing, but in the end my choice was emotional – Russ introduced Love Out Of Lust to me on our roadtrip through New England, I loved it immediately, and I love the memory of listening to it in the rental car, our little space of moody poignant beauty racing forward on a vast sunny American highway.

  • No Church In The Wild (Kanye West & Jay-Z): In the same strange way that last year’s Kanye album went from underwhelming me to blindsiding me as my favourite album of the year, I found this unremarkable until I suddenly found its propulsive beat and enigmatic lyrics utterly compelling. The production is reminiscent of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, especially in the use of the vocal samples, which is to say it is distinctive and unexpected in a way no one else is doing quite as well as Kanye.

  • A Thousand Years (Christina Perri): Yes, I seriously like this. No, I’m not into Twilight. What can I say, I enjoy West Coast Swinging to this song and find its lyrics rather romantic. I suppose I am a bit of a sap for this idea of love that makes the passage of time feel like an afterthought – I did start welling up on the bus the first time I heard Magnetic Fields’ It’s Only Time, which had a somewhat similar idea.

  • Skyscraper (Demi Lovato): Yes, I seriously like this. No, I haven’t lost my edge. Yes, I’ve totally lost my edge. Let’s move on.

  • Snowflake (Kate Bush): Kate took over a decade’s break from music to raise her son Bertie, and he duets with her here at age 13. It was worth the wait. Bertie’s lines are those of the titular snowflake falling from the sky, his unbroken voice taking on the high, pure notes we might have expected to hear issuing from his mother years ago. Meanwhile, Kate whispers and wheedles from the waiting earth: "The world is so loud / Keep falling / I’ll find you". Perhaps this sounds twee. It is not. It is bloody beautiful, and like nothing you would ever hear from anyone that wasn’t Kate Bush.

  • Marka (Dub Phizix and Skeptical feat. Strategy): This song is what you would get if you analyzed my brain and wrote an instruction manual for how to press every single one of my dance music buttons. Also, I rarely bother watching music videos but with this one I’m transfixed every time.