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No More Love To Hate

June 2, 2011

How long has it been since I truly detested a pop record?

Not since JEEP – the meat and potatoes offering from Stereophonics back in ’01 – can i recall an album i knew well enough to really hate.

And let’s face it, it’s important to have a little bit of hate in all our lives, right? A little bit of light and shade, some rough with the smooth, Bunnymen and Echobelly. I know well that many a music fan delights in getting together with friends and recounting those pitfall purchases, which although not good, are still important autobiographical totems of our musical education. Thinking back ten years, it was often the bad stuff that made the good stuff sound even better. High Fidelity and the culture it captured so perfectly owes perhaps more to the listing of ills than it ever did to the savoring of great moments in pop.

I still have similar conversations about film, mainly due to the cinema luring me in with more tosh from the likes of the Pirates franchise (oh, but i so thought it would be good this time!) and books I’ll endure until the final page. But my skip-button consumption of music has changed so much that i cannot recall the last time I experienced the oddly paradoxical joy of holding an album i’d bought in my hands and thinking “Jeez, this really is utter shite, in’t it.”

Ten years ago, I’d have read a review in the NME and resolved to part with my hard eanred £13.99 with the informed promise that what i was buying may well be “The best debut of all time.” Sadly, Highly Evolved by the Vines was a long way short of such praise, and so it would come to be that my shelf space became littered with records that blotted my otherwise faultless pop copy-book.

Every now and again, i dig out the really crap ones. Ah, Terris’s Learning To Let Go, anyone? But none of these seem to be from the last 5 years. So not to mislead, I still buy CDs. But these days i buy them once i know they’re good. Spotify, Myspace, pre-release streaming – all weapons against my delightful misjudgment.

There’s no room for the crap in the modern world. So then, you might think music is getting better perhaps? No. There is still a lot of crap out there – if anything, there’s too much, more than ever before. We just never take the time to linger on this wealth of crap.Our behaviours don’t allow it.

Now and again a turd on the marble staircase of your musical life journey can be as evocative as the best thing you ever heard. So here’s to the worst album i ever bought. And I shed a tear that I’ve not bought one since.

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