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Music

Pop songs played on chainsaws

I’ve written a lot about my love of pop music, but I don’t think I’ve included a particular favourite: pop music played on chainsaws. What I mean by that is strong melodic pop music played in a very aggressive way, usually through ridiculously distorted amplifiers by young men and women full of substances they’ll regret taking in later life.

Imagine. It’s the mid-eighties, you’re a teenager and like all teenagers you’re full of unfocused rage and confusion. For all its pop joys, Frankie by Sister Sledge really isn’t going to articulate that.

And then a friend plays you this.

What a glorious, frightening, exhilarating noise. Three decades on and it still gives my goosebumps goosebumps.

It’s the Byrds song reimagined by psychopaths, and it’s one of my very favourite records of all time. Guitarist Bob Mould is one of my favourite musicians, and in my latest band I’m ripping him off quite shamelessly.

If you’re interested in Hüsker Dü, I really recommend the excellent podcast Do You Remember: it’s a fascinating broadcast from a very different world, a world without the internet and social media and where music was still fiercely tribal.