Matty healy

The death of the pop star

The definition of ‘pop star’ in the Collins English Dictionary is unambiguous: ‘A famous singer or musician who performs pop music.’ Well, that seems fairly self-explanatory, doesn’t it? It also seems way wide of the mark, because being a pop star (or a rock star, its longer-haired cousin) encompasses a great deal more than being famous for singing pop songs. As Nik Cohn wrote, describing the first flush of idols of the rock’n’roll age, they were ‘maniacs, wild men with pianos and guitars who would have been laughing stocks in any earlier generation… They were energetic, basic, outrageous. They were huge personalities and they used music like a battering ram.’

What a genuine delight to be among people: Gorillaz, at the O2, reviewed

The new music economy relies on cross-promotion and artists reaching out to different scenes. And the rise of streaming means everyone can hop between audiences with ease, hence those singles apparently by one person but with a cricket team’s worth of other names credited. As the Beach Boys once sang, ‘you need a mess of help to stand alone’. Alongside the featured artist sausage factory there are musical patrons. Take Damon Albarn, who has spent much of the past 20 years elevating the work of other artists, using the strength of his own name — made, of course, as the frontman of Blur — to promote music that might otherwise

Skates on the edge of parody: The 1975’s Notes on a Conditional Form reviewed

Grade: B+ Just what you wanted. An opening track that matches banal piano noodling to an address by Greta Thunberg. Followed by a hugely unconvincing stab at tuneless industrial metal on a song called ‘People’, in which the aforementioned — me and you, not them, of course — are cautioned to ‘WAKE UP!!’ Leafy Wilmslow’s middle-class skag-head prophet, Matty Healy, is back, then, with a series of injunctions for us all, spread over interminable length and always skating on the very edge of parody. The 1975 are probably Britain’s biggest ‘rock’ band — those quote marks are needed — and this vast slab of pretentious, gullible, vacuous commendations to us