HIDDEN tracks

Music was Pete Paphides' first love. And at this rate, it will be his last.


Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool
Ultimately, it’s a young person’s game, being in a band

Ultimately, it’s a young person’s game, being in a band. That’s not to say it can’t work outside of youth, but if we want to identify the perfect preconditions for forming a band, we have to zone in on the period between…


Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

It might seem strange to suggest that we should feel sorry for Arctic Monkeys”

Given that there probably isn’t a guitar-wielding teenager who wouldn’t swap with them right now, it might seem strange to suggest that we should feel sorry for Arctic Monkeys. Nonetheless, how would you feel if you had…


Daniel Knox: Daniel Knox

The lead in the art-house movie of his own life.”

There are few things more exciting than a shopping centre on the day it opens. It will never get any better than the day of the big reveal, when everything looks exactly as it did on the architect’s table and, in the melee…


Morrissey: Vauxhall And I

A man zealously set on dismantling his own myth.”

You only need to hear The Smiths’ very first single Hand In Glove to remember that Morrissey is at his best when the odds are stacked against him. Remember, also, how improbable it seemed when the one ex-Smith who couldn’t…


R.E.M: Fables of the Reconstruction
The imperishable genius of Fables Of The Reconstruction

We were incapable of meaning anything, we were too busy trying to survive.”

Writing in the liner notes of 2010’s expanded, appended reissue of REM’s third album, Peter Buck alludes to “a certain misapprehension” that has built up around the record. “For some reason,” he ponders, “people have the…


Atoms For Peace: Amok

A unique instrument for which Flying Lotus, Autechre and Four Tet would surely pawn all their hardware.”

Lots of records are tainted by compromise, but very few have that term attached to them by the people who worked on them. However, in a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine, longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich…


Christina Aguilera: Bionic

She’s clearly not talking about Kelloggs Rice Krispies Squares.”

The transition from teen stardom to something less ephemeral isn’t easy at the best of times. For Mickey Mouse Club alumnus Christina Aguilera, it’s a transition that has inevitably involved the jettisoning of clothes for…


Jedward: Planet Jedward

An album that dances (with defiant ineptitude) in the face of critical appraisal.”

When asked what he does for a living, Simon Cowell says his job is to “guess what’s going to be popular.” In fact, the strange genius of the X-Factor format is that guessing nothing to do with it. By voting, the public tell…



It rose up and dispersed like a vapor that enveloped the world outside: the Chrysler factory in the rain; the sulphur light of the subways beneath the Bull Ring.”

Growing up in Birmingham at the age of ten, I knew what reggae was. Reggae was the music I heard booming out of upstairs windows on when my dad drove through Balsall Heath. Reggae was the sound of the occasional chart hit…


Shakin’ Stevens: The Epic Masters

His determination to create a version of 1959 that had him in it was the more pressing objective.”

“Very popular with under-12s and over-35s,” read the slightly sniffy entry for Shakin’ Stevens in the 1985 Smash Hits sticker book. Nestled between the stickers for Billy Idol and Galaxy singer Phil Fearon, the space set…


Pacific Ocean Blue + Bambu: Caribou Sessions

These are songs you could live your life to, were it not for the fact that its creator expired doing just that.”

The new Brian? In some ways, it was an inevitable development. Four years ago, when Brian Wilson finally finished work on the daddy of all lost masterpieces, Smile, it was only natural that the world would need to anoint…


Guns N’Roses: Chinese Democracy

In its way, it’s remarkable, like Marillion’s Kayleigh reimagined by a hysterical Andrew Lloyd-Webber.”

However tenuous Axl Rose’s grip on reality, even he must have realised that March 27th 2008, represented a milestone of sorts. Fourteen years after a long-dissolved line up of Guns N’Roses began work on a new album, Dr…


Butcher Boy: React Or Die

A thrill beyond speed or volume.”

I first heard Butcher Boy’s second album on my wife’s birthday when – at her request, I took the car to a garden centre in Enfield and filled it up with a shopping list of plants that she had requested. I grabbed a handful…


Radiohead: In Rainbows

Radiohead have somehow beaten down a path between the expectations of their fans and the abyss of absolute freedom.”

In September 2007, Radiohead announced that, within 48 hours, In Rainbows would be delivered to the inboxes of fans who could pay whatever they deemed an appropriate amount. There would be no promos serviced out to journ…


Britney Spears: Blackout

While the person slowly disintegrates, the singer carries on singing.”

Soon after Radiohead released In Rainbows (see post below), my editor was keen to ensure once again that The Times would be first off the blocks with a review of a prominent new album. The means of In Rainbows’ release had…