Scott, To Be Certain


Monday, January 15, 2007

Since She's Been Gone

It's sometimes easy to overlook the fact that Kelly Clarkson was once just some chick who liked nothing better than to slip her arms into a pair of pants.

Two hit albums and nine hit singles later, Kelly now sits proudly atop the pop food chain.

So comprehensive has her conquest been that in addition to being the collective Idol franchise's finest discovery, she also happens to be the owner of this decade's most imitated musical blueprint.

Now it's important, of course, to acknowledge that while Kelly is herself responsible for a number of impressive songwriting efforts on her last Cadbury-sponsored album, "Since U Been Gone" is not one of them. The kudos for its genius go instead to Max Martin, the Swedish wunderkind who, among a myriad of other things masterminded the lead singles off Britney's ludicrous first two albums...

...and in doing so, it's safe to say, single-handedly brought the ellipsis back.

What about the fucking forward slash

Well, quite. Why not both?

In any event, we must now turn from Justin to Kelly, this post's raison d'être.

Indeed, the time has come to cast a critical eye over recent pop music's most egregious coattail riding. That is to say, the Top 5 most flagrant rip-offs owing their entire existence and successes to the exquisite pop-rock stylings of "Since U Been Gone".

You know the format: sparse single guitar chord, quickly followed by a sparse drum beat, leading into a slowly building vocal lament that explodes at the first verse into a screamfest involving some type of affirmation, through to a middle 8 with lots of cymbals and even more self-affirming screams, before resolving into a soft, sparse conclusion.

It seems simple but this blueprint was not perfected until Kelly took the reins. Now everyone's doing it.

5. Kate DeAraugo, "Faded"

This song features at the bottom of the list by virtue of its quality - perhaps the best Kelly Clarkson song not sung or written by Kelly Clarkson, and indisputably the best song never recorded by the Veronicas. That this song features in the S2BC Top 20 Songs of 2006 is a testament to the blueprint's quality. That it is by a fellow Idol winner also fond of the odd hotdog or five on the beach is pure coincidence.

4. Paris Hilton, "Nothing In This World"

This was a decent stab, with quite a good video and some "da da, da da d'da das" for good measure, which was at least inventive. Although rumoured to be about what remains for Paris to vaginally insert, the song is apparently instead a reference to what the record-buying public were prepared to spend on her album. Oops.

3. Guy Sebastian, "Elevator Love"

Despite owning a discography that boasts "Out With My Baby", the truly excellent lead single off his sophomore album, Guy recently saw fit to ditch the R&B in favour of American pop-rock, right down to the yankified title of this blatant musical pilfering. That the video implies some type of liaison with Jennifer Hawkins is enough to bring up dinner.

2. Pink, "Who Knew"

If someone said three years from now Pink would be long gone, I'd wager that Australian wool growers were responsible. Suffice it to say that Pink's take on Since U Been Gone, also written by Max Martin, is so embarrassingly chord-for-chord in its mirrored structure that it even ends on the same wistful repetition of the song's title.

1. Stephanie McIntosh, "Mistake"

Steph is at least to be applauded for the refreshing post-modern irony of this atrocious song's titular self-reference. The blueprint for how to fail in an attempt to follow a blueprint, the song's video even borrows the "oh look I was forlorn and alone a moment ago and now suddenly I'm the main singer in this underground establishment" of Kelly's video. And she needs a vocoder to remain in tune. Woeful - abort career NOW.

And there you have it. As if to take a forward slash on all of her pretenders, Kelly dished out another classic pop-rock gem this year (the little heard "Go", used in a Ford advert in the US). And it wasn't even a single! (More on that in S2BC's Top 20 Songs of 2006.)

Hurry back please.

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  • At 11:59 AM, January 16, 2007, Blogger Woodsman said…

    im all for the verb to "vaginate", so i particularly love this post. Hurry on now with ur top 20 songs, i need to ups my ipod's coolsy levels.

  • At 2:20 PM, January 17, 2007, Blogger Scott said…

    The list is on its way - I may have to release it "in instalments".

    "To vaginate" is indeed a great verb. In French that would be vaginer. In Spanish: vaginarse (I imagine).

    " Je me la suis vaginée." When in Paris, I suppose.

  • At 2:22 PM, January 17, 2007, Blogger Scott said…

    I actually just realised what a wonderful sequence of letters occurs in the spelling of "vaginarse".


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