Popular: The UK's #1 Hits Reviewed
February 10, 2010 2:10 PM   Subscribe

Popular: Every UK #1 single since 1952, reviewed in chronological order by Tom Ewing. He's up to 1987.
posted by staggernation (20 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Ah crap. I'm going to want to read the whole damn thing in chronological order, and I'm not even done getting through filthy light thief's drum n' bass post.
posted by the bricabrac man at 2:44 PM on February 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

This is pretty great.
posted by empath at 3:16 PM on February 10, 2010

I'm really enjoying these reviews. Thanks!
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 3:24 PM on February 10, 2010

This is massively entertaining, but I don't think the guy can bring himself to praise a Police song without taking a jab at Sting.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 3:31 PM on February 10, 2010

The guy doing this is a Metafilter user; he raised his hand in this thread six years ago when his project was just starting. Congrats Freakytrigger, you outlasted your Yank counterpart (who bowed out with "Rock Around The Clock" in 1955, archive here).
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 3:36 PM on February 10, 2010

I came across this a couple of years ago when he was up to about – I think – 1966, and it's great. Always meant to check back, but for some reason didn't. Anyway, it's really perceptive, sharp and entertaining criticism, which is the best kind, and it really comes through that he genuinely loves pop music, and isn't afraid to dig into it.
posted by Len at 3:39 PM on February 10, 2010

Oh, and someone should give him a book deal for this. Because for all the blog-to-book deals that have happened over the past few years, I can't recall any being as apt, and as well-written, as this.
posted by Len at 3:45 PM on February 10, 2010

In a show of solidarity I'm going to buy all of these songs off iTunes at one year's worth per week.

Except for the songs by The Beatles and the ones I already have obviously.
posted by Talez at 3:56 PM on February 10, 2010

That's great. Really interesting to chart my progression in listening to popular music.
posted by wilful at 4:33 PM on February 10, 2010

It's funny to look at this from an American perspective, especially in the 70s and 80s.

It's like:
Heard that.
Who the hell is that?
Bought that.
posted by madajb at 4:52 PM on February 10, 2010

Now I remember why I stopped listening to the radio about '81.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:00 PM on February 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is really good, and the level of erudition in the comments is...intimidating.
posted by Sparx at 5:06 PM on February 10, 2010

I love this kind of stuff. Any excuse to talk about music is a good one in my book. Like most of my favorite critical endeavors, it's often more fun reading the reviews I disagree with than the ones I agree with. I commend him for sticking with it.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:06 PM on February 10, 2010

Didn't expect to enjoy this link, but I checked it out, and am hooked! Thanks for posting...
posted by newfers at 8:02 PM on February 10, 2010

That reminds me, the UK can go suck a donkey for making American Pie #2 and I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing #1 in January 1972.
posted by Talez at 8:13 PM on February 10, 2010

Soooooo, he gave John Lennon's "Imagine" a 2/10? I was starting to think this guy was brilliant! Still love reading his reviews, even though he's dead wrong about Lennon.
posted by newfers at 8:15 PM on February 10, 2010

This is great! Bookmarked. : )
posted by SisterHavana at 9:46 PM on February 10, 2010

Username taken from a Win album? This is promising.
posted by Lazlo at 11:00 PM on February 10, 2010

Tom is my favourite music writer of the '00s (and now the '10s, I guess), and Popular has been my main hangout as a commenter for the past year (after a few years as reader), once he reached my own "year of pop" of 1983. It really is one of the landmarks of the web. If you can relate to the UK viewpoint - and some years that will be harder or easier, depending where you're from and how much your charts had in common - you'll find it utterly addictive.

Newfers, even if you might think he's dead wrong about "Imagine", he's rated plenty of Beatles tracks highly and written some brilliant things about them; he wrote the first half of those Beatles remaster reviews for Pitchfork last year. He also writes now for the Guardian.
posted by rory at 3:48 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is missing a "magnificent obsessions" tag. I really appreciate a serious run at a giant project that is sustained only by one's own since of completeness and inertia by the end*.

*Like the time in high school when I catalogued all of my ABBA songs by which albums I had them on, and in which languages. It's amazing I ever got a date.
posted by norm at 11:59 AM on February 11, 2010

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