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STEVE APPLETON: EMBLEMATICALLY, TRANSCENDENTALLY SHIT?

steve-appleton1Last week I wrote about acoustic/funk/pop/light-hearted drum n’ base/yeah? wunderkind Steve Appleton, and noted the very real possibility that – if his debut single (released May 3rd) is a hit – the 19-year-old will become the most colossal knobjockey to crash the charts, if not since records began, then at least since Vanilla Ice in 1990.

Here my friend Mark offers this exclusive analysis of the Trilby-wearing troubadour, whom he denounces as “emblematically and transcendentally shit”.

Pretty much all nineteen year old guys are idiots. Pop singers are likewise universally dreadful. And pop songs — especially ones recorded with the intention of “soundtracking” a summer — are, without exception, awful. So on the face of it there isn’t anything especially remarkable about Steve Appleton, the 19-year-old pop singer behind ‘Dirty Funk’. And yet he is remarkable in almost every respect. Remarkable, that is, not in the sense of being any good (he’s not), but for the specific ways in which he’s bad, and in which those ways seem to encapsulate something larger and more profound. He is, in this respect, emblematically and transcendentally shit.

I’ll try and explain why later, but first I’m afraid I have to ask you to sit through the video for ‘Dirty Funk’; to watch it perhaps more carefully than it was ever intended to be watched. I think you’ll find it a bracing experience.

Thanks for that. I owe you one. Now obviously it’s not the worst music video ever made. It’s professionally produced and competently edited, with some pretty people in it. But it’s also, by some distance, the most dickish. In Plato’s Theory of Forms, earthly things are mere approximations or impressions of the eternal, ideal forms of those things which exist in heaven. So everything on earth — every dog, every stone, every shoe — is an imitation of an absolute and original form of dog, stone or shoe.

The same is true of abstract concepts like beauty, truth, love, and so forth. What I think Steve Appleton’s ‘Dirty Funk’ represents is the Platonic form of dickishness. I think it’s dickishness in a form more pure, more powerfully absolute, than mortals were ever intended to experience. If Chesney Hawkes was the dick-shaped shadow on the wall of the Platonic cave, Steve Appleton is that dick itself: a dick not meant for human eyes.

Where to begin with this thing? The title, which makes bold claims of dirtiness and funkiness on behalf of a song that is conspicuously lacking in either quality? The words, with their almost poignantly futile exhortation to ‘Listen up’, their arrogantly candid assertions that the ‘DJ is spinning it’ and that the ‘whole club is digging it’? (What DJ? What club? What ‘it’?) The stridently unfunky music, the best that can be said of which is that it is — thank Christ — nowise catchy?

No, I think the only place to begin here is with the video itself, a kind of Aladdin’s cave of dickish treasures, with each frame piling new riches onto the stockpiles of twattitude.

There’s Appleton himself — the Euan Blair of dance-pop — with his architectonically tousled hair, the upperclass mockney glottal stops of his diction, his Etonion-Gangsta hand gestures between guitar flourishes. Then there’s the ridiculously overdetermined “coolness” of the whole scenario. Breakdancing? Check! Porkpie hats worn raffishly aslant? Why, of course! Dial-a-hipster keyboardist with giant twatfro and outsized (and indoor) sunglasses? By all means! Narrative conceit whereby conspicuously unattractive fat bloke pulls plug on Appleton’s performance, thus inadvertently creating opportunity for everyone to reconvene round at someone’s (possibly Appleton’s own) loft-style, pinball-equipped gaff, so that the rite of dirty funk might continue to be observed? You bet your ass!

What I particularly take issue with, though, is the “rapping” in the middle, where we are asked to believe that Appleton deals with an irate boyfriend in the following manner:

He came over, like, ‘Bruv, that’s my girlfriend’,
I was like, ‘Alright, Mister, pipe down, pipe down,
There’s no need to go and have a fight now,
Well, maybe later, ‘cos right now,
It’s the dirty funk, it’s up and away,
And we turn up the drums and have a little rave [and so on …]

There are a couple of very obvious problems with this. I’m pretty sure that if Steve Appleton were chatting up your girlfriend or mine, and if he were to respond to our objections to this by, first calling us ‘Mister’, and then telling us to ‘pipe down’, we would probably feel compelled to pipe up a little further still – perhaps even to the point of having a little rave all over his smug fucking face.

More troubling still, if you actually listen to the words — really listen to them — what he’s telling us is not just that he says these things to the irate boyfriend, but that, if we are to take him at his word, then proceeds to serenade the irate boyfriend with the very song he had hitherto been singing for us. Listen carefully. The ‘pipe down’ command proceeds seamlessly into the chorus’s exhortations to ‘turn up the drums’ and so on. This is extraordinary stuff. The possibility of the song going on ad infinitum now raises its head, like one of those eternally self-repeating children’s songs (‘This is the song that never ends, it just goes on and on my friends …’ — that sort of idea).

What we are faced with here is no less than an infinite regress of dickishness, an eternal continuum of dirty funk. This is no small threat. Indeed the prospect is frightening enough to make me stop writing this immediately, and resolve never to listen to or speak about Steve Appleton or dirty funk ever again.

April 20th, 2009.

43 Responses to “STEVE APPLETON: EMBLEMATICALLY, TRANSCENDENTALLY SHIT?”

  1. Adrian Says:

    *slowly standing as I begin to applaud*

    Bravo, sir. Bravo.

  2. El Kid Says:

    Excellent dude, well put

  3. Matt Says:

    Is anyone else imagining Steve Appleton finding this online and tears rolling downn his cheeks as his adolescent innocence and exuberance is forever crushed? oR is it just me?

  4. Eoin Says:

    @ Matt – that would be ideal, yeah

  5. Mark Says:

    Yeah, well, I’d be a hypocrite if said the weeping image didn’t have a certain appeal. Still, I’m well aware that he probably wouldn’t have time to get through the first paragraph for all the young German girls lining up to lick his hair. (He’s very ‘big’ in Germany apparently, and his hair is seemingly a large part of his appeal, which you’ll see if you read the Youtube comments after the video – which you definitely shouldn’t.)

  6. Darragh Says:

    There’s a point right near the end when, had cocked smugly to onside, he seemingly takes a photo of me the viewer. The frustration! How come he can take a photo of me and I can’t retaliate by rearranging his face or at least his hair?

    Really funny deconstruction of a truly chilling video.

  7. Darragh Says:

    that should read ‘head cocked to one side’ of course.

  8. Colin Says:

    “The funk don’t stop.. it just moves away”

    It’s probably also working on getting a cease and desist order, with a 100 yard restraining order, to avoid any further connection to Steve “British Twat of the Year 2009″ Appleton.

  9. Eoin Says:

    My only gripe is that a used condom isn’t shown in the wastepaper basket at the end. How else are we supposed to know for definite that he got laid? Much too understated, I think.

  10. Jenny Says:

    Behind the scenes video captures him in much more favourable light… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IJ3bdpWiMI

  11. THIS IS FUNNY | Tripping Along The Ledge Says:

    [...] more on Steve Appleton here. April 15th, [...]

  12. Matt Says:

    More favourable light? you’re joking right?

  13. martin Says:

    The boys doth protest too much. Touch of the green eyed monster!!

  14. Pam Says:

    Wow, you really have too much time on your hands if you’re over analysing the video and lyrics of a new pop act like this. Will you do McFly next, or Girls Aloud? You really are rivaling Eminem in the “pick on the easiest targets you can think of” category. If you deconstructed perhaps a more serious muso with this level of aplomb and arrogance I could understand, but this guy looks like he’s simply leading the life you lot could only dream of – and fair play to the teenager, have some fun mate!

  15. tracy Says:

    This guy doesn’t have a clue.Steve rocks!!!

  16. SCHOOL’S OUT | Tripping Along The Ledge Says:

    [...] Times magazine tomorrow. 3. The backlash against the Steve Appleton backlash is underway here and here. 4. And finally, I just got served with a summons to appear in court on June 5th. Something to do [...]

  17. Erin Says:

    I admit, Dirty Funk isn’t a great song lyrically, but I think it has a good rhythm to it, and is well produced, I believe he wrote it himself, which is rather good for a 19 year old!

    Also, I think his other stuff is better, he has a amazing voice, and extremely talented on the piano, and the guitar. Inner City Lover is quite good.

    Oh, and he’s hot.

  18. THIS IS FUNNY | Tripping Along The Ledge Says:

    [...] more on Steve Appleton here. May 14th, [...]

  19. Michele Says:

    hahahahahahaha! Funny thing is, I actually know this guy and he is a dick!

  20. Kristie Says:

    Ha. Funny thing is ..I know him and I have NEVER seen so much talent. He can sit at the piano and play for hours with no music; his music is amazing! You only all wish you could play as well as him. He is a great-spirited, helpful, funny young guy and I don’t know why people pick on him.
    You must be jealous….

  21. Eoin Says:

    Ah come on Kristie, can you really watch this and tell me he’s not a bit of a tosser?

    http://www.eoinbutler.com/home/this-is-funny-7/

  22. JennJennn Says:

    luv this song too bbiiiittttttsssss !!

    ♥ x x x x ‘JennJennn’ x x x x ♥

  23. mayjay444 Says:

    this is mah friends cousin he rox u muppet!

  24. ROCKING ALL OVER THE STAIRWELL: APPLETON DOES L.A. | Tripping Along The Ledge Says:

    [...] Meanwhile, those posts I wrote about him four months ago have continued to notch up an insanely prolific 30-40 hits per day (with comments) here and here… [...]

  25. Cath Says:

    Basically your picking on a guy that has more musical tallent then many of the people in the charts now e.g girls aloud?
    So to you he might seem “dickish” or what other insult you threw at him, but i personally think that he he should earn alot more credit than what they do, because he simply, has more tallent than them. Not all songs have to be lyrical masterpieces i’d ask you to find me more than 1 in the top ten right this minute and as for it being repetative is that not how most pop hits become hits?. Go see him live and then come back to me and say he is not musically tallented. He’s a young bloke who is obviously in a postion where he can get alot of the things he wants, but it would be very difficult for you to find another young musician that would not use this to their advantage. People do not become muscians for others to judge their personality, surley that should not matter unless you are planning on befriending them? We don’t have many good young singer’songwriters in the uk as it is, so to put what down on their personality wich dosn’t have any significance at all to there music just seems unfair.

  26. Stan Says:

    I was listening to Spotify and heard this annoying posh kid with a really smug sounding voice advertising his new album. After the 3rd advertisment of this completely annoying twerp I had to google ‘fuck off steve appleton’ to see if anyone else had thought the same as me.Nothing from that, so I googled ‘steve appleton shit’ and I found this and laughed cos it’s true. What a complete dick.

  27. Nenagh Says:

    You all acually physically Suck Cock, if you think this guy is Shit. Hes amazing, Really talented, got a brill voice and He is georgus. If you think he sucks then you should go and find a GOOD taste in music because Steve appleton is One of the best musicans i have heard in a long time (With exception of jack Johnson + Jason mraz) and should be appreciated for his hard work and dedication!!!

    xx

  28. Maria Says:

    oh my actual god,are you retarded or something? how can you think this guy is shit
    rightt
    hesss the hottest thing ever,his music is amazing,i mean are you like an old man or something? think about the younger generation babe! this is legend music.legend legend legend,its new,and mint,and like you really neeed to type “steve appleton” in to youtube or something,i mean seriously,maybe hes a bit cocky,but his music is LEDGE! you need to wake up and taste the fresh music,you old man/woman, im guessing your a guy and jsut pretty jelous of his looks though ;)
    all my love,
    your number one hated fan
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  29. Maria Says:

    + i think your a hobbit

  30. Leah + Boten Says:

    have you noticed how all the people saying all this absolute shit are men
    they are probably old stinky ugly men who are just jealous of the totoal babe who is steve appleton!!
    you said all 19 year olds are shits, would you like to say that to my face?!
    steve appleton is not only fucking HOT he is also an amazing singer and very musical.
    i dont know who this maria girl is, but i think we’d get on,, she ihas the right idea and is obviously a bit of a ledge herselffff.
    this person really needs to get a job or summit cos you blates have too much time on your hands, maybe you are old and grumpy, maybe you were bullied at school i dont know but man you need to get over it!!!
    ps i also think your a hobbit and probably a smelly one too
    love you loadsss babeeeee
    but i love steve more ;) xxxxxxxx

  31. annabell Says:

    I saw him at Margate with PCD, N-Dubz and JLS honestly i thought he was soo much better than JLS. I mean if they want to show of their chest, take the whole damn shirt not that puffy thing they do. I think Steve has loads of talent.

  32. Conal Says:

    annabell the “top 10 reasons the wire sucks cock” post could do with your input.

  33. Eoin Says:

    Strictly speaking Conal, The Wire sucks balls. Mark sucks cock. Physically.

  34. maria Says:

    who is this boten? im sure ive head of her
    o yes she is the emporer of sweeden how could i forget!
    and yehhh if you thinkkss hesss shit you msutt eihter be like a lesbien or some other sort of retard!

  35. Simon Says:

    I find this a pretty crap report on a very talented young man. with words like dickishness i just hope that i dont come accross your work again. Rock on steve appleton….this guy doesnt know a thing. for a tip listen to london, tokyo, paris…pure class jazz. his album is the most all rounded authentic music ive heard in a while.
    peace out x

  36. hass Says:

    steve appleton is a great singer/song writer and musician and all u dicks who are just fuckin jealous of him go write a article on how much of a tosspot u are instead of picking on someone else. Btw whoever wrote this is a real dick and should take his talented english writing skills and use it somewhere where people care prick! hass

  37. CLICKING ALONG THE LEDGE | Tripping Along The Ledge Says:

    [...] #2 Steve Appleton: Emblematically, Transcendently Shit? (April 20th) Does it stick in my craw that the second most clicked story on EoinButler.com this year was written by someone other than Eoin Butler? Yeah a little bit. But not as much as it sticks in the craw of fans of Steve Appleton that my friend Mark thinks their hero is emblematically and transcendently shit. And they’re still leaving comments about it too. It’s over fools. [...]

  38. katie Says:

    i think steve is amazing and yhu really need to get a life. yhu have over analyzed this as someone else has said and also got it wrong, and steve wouldnt really care if yhu have said this he wouldnt cry because he has a life unlike yhu and he is defo not cocky :/ steve rules x

  39. Dirty Funk? It went that way, mate… | Tripping Along The Ledge Says:

    [...] damning excoriations of his music, the first written by myself, the second, and more hilarious, by my friend Mark, can’t have helped either. (To this day, people leave comments accusing Mark and myself of [...]

  40. MARIA Says:

    hes fit your gay.

  41. Eoin Says:

    He’s shit. You’re thick.

  42. MARIA Says:

    bitchplease I go to private school

  43. linying Says:

    You are such a bitch. Why not start on McFly next? Tell them ‘bubblewraping your heart’ is technically impossible and then proceed to diss their songwriting skills, because i doubt you can even match up to them, let alone do better than them. This isn’t bloody Civics and Moral Education, it’s called music for a reason. Thus, I stress, as the purely Singaporean individual i am, you are a bitch.

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