Earworms of the Week
"Celebrity Skin" - Hole
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" - Nirvana
As I drove to work this morning, I had one of those serendipitous iPod moments when I was shuffled from Hole to Nirvana in beautiful moment. "Celebrity Skin" is an awesome way to kickstart a Friday morning for starters, but the 1-2 punch is probably unbeatable. As time goes by, I actually think I prefer the Hole record... it's unstoppable (and crucially it's a lot less over-exposed). As I always say at this point, whatever else you might think about her, this song is proof positive that Courtney Love does have talent. Even if, as everyone seems to think, Cobain wrote it, it's still an astonishing performance.
[as Cody Bones points out to me, nobody - apart from me - thinks that Cobain wrote this as he'd been dead for 5 years. It's Billy Corgan who might have had a hand in it. Good call Cody. I'm an idiot. Great song though, eh? And yes, it is only a short step from sleeping with Billy Corgan to sleeping with Steve Coogan.....]
"Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da" - The Beatles
Something of a low-level earworm for me all the time, this one. I don't even particularly like it. I much prefer their more sophisticated stuff, man...
"Wake up Boo!" - Boo Radleys
Is there a better track one side one than this? In a way, this song reminds me of Outkast's "Hey Ya": they're both incredibly upbeat sounding, but if you listen to the lyrics, there's a whole lot of sadder stuff going on beneath all that cheery sounding stuff. Still a fantastic record, mind you, whatever all that stuff about the death of summer is really about.
"Queen Bitch" - David Bowie
I had "Hunky Dory" out the other day, and although there are a few painfully pretentious asides to microphone, basically it's a damn good album (of course) and stands up there amongst Bowie's very best. It's certainly much more immediate than his Berlin stuff, anyway. I nearly listed "The Bewlay Brothers" here, as it reminds me of a compilation tape my friend John made for me and posted to my hall of residence when I was a student. If memory serves me correctly, the same tape also included "Desolation Row" by Bob Dylan, so he was clearly going through a classic songwriter's classic albums phase, but I was all the better for it. Anyway, this song also features on the soundtrack to "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou", and it's a bit of fluff, I suppose (bipperty-bopperty hat?), but I like it.
"Lil' Devil" - The Cult
My first gig ever, of course, was by the Cult, around about 1988 when they were touring "Sonic Temple". Apparently they're touring again (well, I say "they", but we're presumably talking about Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy here, plus A.N.Other bassist and drummer.) I might go and see them actually. I had their greatest hits album out the other day, and although they're clearly ridiculous and spend a lot of time singing the most crassly cliched faux-native American spiritual guff about shagging spirit witch women, they do sound pretty good. This song, from the album "Electric", is where it all began for me, with the guitar riff followed by Astbury's "Yay-ah!". Duffy, of course, grew up in Manchester and was the guitarist in the first band that enticed a certain Stephen Patrick Morrissey out of his bedroom.
"Ten Below" - James
I don't know, they disappear for years and years and years, return a couple of years ago to release a really good album with their classic lineup, disappear again... and then I come back from the Southern Hemisphere and they've released two mini-albums, "The Morning After" and "The Night Before" (do you see what they did there?). They're both excellent. Good band, James. This song seems to be about the experience of being at boarding school:
"Calling from the payphone
Trying not to cry
Feel I am dying
Telling you I'm fine
You tell me it's the making of me
Well that's a fucking lie."
Yup. Rings a few bells, this one.
"He Doesn't Know Why" - Fleet Foxes
I've no idea where the Fleet Foxes can go to follow up their first album. More of the same? Can they evolve their sound without losing what has made them so special? I hope they can, but even if they don't, then I don't think they can ever ruin the memory of how perfect their debut is. Several years down the line and it still sounds great.... timeless because it already sounds centuries old?
"Black and White Town" - Doves
Good band, Doves, but I never seem to listen to them enough. I haven't even got around to buying "Kingdom of Rust" yet, in spite of the fact that I like everything I have heard from the album and very much enjoyed them performing live. Perhaps that's the story of their career, right there. Not surprisingly, when I dug out "Some Cities" this week, I enjoyed it very much and wondered why I don't listen to it more.
"Metal on Metal" - Anvil
If you haven't seen the documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil then you must. It tells the story of a moderately successful metal band from the early 80s, influential and much-respected by their more famous peers, but who never took the next step that contemporaries like Metallica did. What makes them remarkable is that they never gave up, and the documentary catches up with them, in their 50s, holding down day-jobs and still trying to make it. It's sad and inspiring and uplifting all at the same time. They're the underdogs who don't know when they're beaten and will keep on chasing the dream that seems to have permanently eluded them. They also have amplifiers that actually go up to 11. They're one louder, you see..... This is their most famous song, and it still sounds pretty good, if you ask me.
"In the Garage" - Weezer
There's a facebook group, apparently, trying to raise $10m to get Weezer to stop. They are fans, apparently, but they are of the belief that the band have been ruining their own legacy since the release of "Pinkerton", their second album. That is a career highpoint, to be honest, but that's a little drastic. The band's view on this, is that if they ever do raise the $10m, then they'll definitely consider it. As they've currently raised $250, this seems like a long shot. I love this record, it's a salute to the geek and I love it. 12-sided die, X-Men namechecks and Kiss posters.... I love it.
Have a good weekend, y'all. I've definitely cursed myself by being so smug about my sense of perspective at work, by the way. Tough day today.