Pop lists and polls seem very much ten a penny in the post-High Fidelity music press. Their frequency is understandable. Like the best pop, they're fun and provocative (and so this book is). And in the absence of more imaginative editorial, lists are a safe sell (and so this book is).
But as you flick through the glossy opening pages, and throughout, with their beautifully reproduced images of treasured singles from the past twenty-five years or so, it's clear this is something special.
Mullholland succeeds because he recognises his subject for what it is, writing with a personal passion, perfectly capturing why cheap music is potent, and why, if it is potent enough, it isn't cheap after all.
The implicit attempt in many lists to objectify, analyse, relativise and proselytise is refreshingly absent. Sure, Mullholland doesn't ignore the context, and this is important (singles are listed chronologically, with each year introduced with a neat reminder of events past), but "This Is Uncool" is at it's best when closer to biography than history. The beginning of his story behind the inclusion of Public Enemy's "Rebel Without A Pause" is illustrative: "Brixton High Road was clammy and chaotic as I walked up to the traffic lights..."
His honesty then, (especially in the carefully considered introduction, "where was my version of the story?"), is perhaps the core of what makes this such a delight.
At the end of the day, it doesn't matter whether you really agree with the selections - a love of punk, post-punk and indie rock predominates, but Mullholland is equally enlightened enough to give rap, disco and Whigfield their due.
Rather, at the end of the day, it just matters whether you are inspired or not to rediscover the darker recesses of your own music collection, to remember and relive the magic you may not have thought was necessarily always there, but almost certainly is.
This book inspires. This Is Cool.