Earworms of the Week
R.E.M. – “Pop Song 89”
They were a great band, weren’t they? I’m not sure who you’d call the biggest band in the world now – One Direction, perhaps? – but it wasn’t so long ago that it was R.E.M. and we were all the better for it. Mind you, I say it wasn’t that long ago, but it was the mid-1990s, wasn’t it? So nearly 20 years ago. Ouch. Anyway. I saw a video on Facebook the other day of “Losing My Religion” digitally transposed from a minor key to a major key. It sounds different. So what does that tell us? You might as well have swapped the mandolin for a xylophone. It was written in a minor key… it’s hardly a surprise that it sounds better when played in one, is it? Anyway. Vintage R.E.M. What’s not to like about having a song like this stuck in your head?
Superman fanfare – John Williams
I watched the trailer to the new Superman film last week and it looks really good. It’s funny really, as I’ve never really been much of a fan of the character. He works well enough in the “Dark Knight Returns” when he plays a government stooge, but apart from that, he’s too powerful to be interesting. He’s a Jesus character, isn’t he? As a result, unimaginative plots tend to have the same rhythm involving Kryptonite and then a triumph against the odds. The new film obviously skirts the problem of his invulnerability by bringing back General Zod, so it could be good. We’ll see. I’ve been let down before. Oh, and there are some good Superman comics if you know where to look ("Kingdom Come", for example). The music is classic though, innit? I couldn’t help but notice that the snippets of music in the trailer for the new film contains bits that sound distinctly like this classic fanfare. Well, I suppose you can’t blame them for that. It’s a shortcut so deeply embedded in our collective subconscious that it provokes a swell of emotion just hearing it. Iron Man 3 first, but I’ll be in the queue to watch this one too.
Gene – “Sleep Well Tonight”
Given that "Line Up" by Elastica very nearly made this list and that Echobelly feature below, this must have been a very mid-90s kind of week for my internal jukebox. I love Gene and have done right from the initial release of their first album back in the day. Much underrated and often much sneered at. By idiots, clearly.
Billy Bragg – “Between the Wars”
Sweet moderation, the heart of this nation. Wise words then and even wiser words now. Most amazingly incongruous appearance on Top of the Pops too, right smack bang in the middle of the Margaret Thatcher era. Yes, Steve Wright, this "really is an evocative song". Thanks for that insight.
Echobelly – “King of the Kerb”
I hadn't heard this song in years when I suddenly heard it playing on the radio the other day. Echobelly were one of those bands - and there seemed to be loads of them around during Britpop - who had a really high profile but were never really all that good. They were alright, and this is actually still a pretty decent sounding record. But, I dunno. They're missing something, I think. Apparently they're touring again. Really? Did they actually ever formally break up? Did anyone care? Hmm. Well, I'm not sure I can name more than one other song by this lot, but I do know this one and it still sounds pretty good today, and there are a whole lot of bands around today who will never even achieve as much as that. I will not, however, be rushing out to buy a ticket to see them live.
White Denim – “Let’s Talk About It”
One of my friends thinks that White Denim are the best band EVER. Well, I'm not sure about that, but this is a pretty damn fine record. And they're a pretty damn fine live band too. PROG. YES!
Elbow – “Puncture Repair”
Because there's one of my friends that this song will always remind me of, and I listened to this during the week and thought about her.
Flight of the Conchords – “Sugalumps”
A colleague of mine has just discovered Flight of the Conchords and he's been working his way methodically through both series... he loves the music, but he's been really trying to only discover the songs as he watches the episodes, much to the amusement / frustration of those of us around him who have seen them all. "Have you got to the Keitha episode yet?" etc. Still, he did manage to plant this one in my head, and today I've had the lyric "I was running in the area and she'd lost a terrier" rolling around my head. Still, I think they're amazing, so it's all good.
Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers – “Get Lucky”
Unmistakably Daft Punk and certainly brilliant. Nile Rodgers makes it look in the video like he has the best job in the world, and he probably has. Having seen Pharrell Williams live at Glastonbury, when he seemed to think that the whole crowd was there to watch him and seemed a bit put out when he was unceremoniously cut off, I rather suspect that he thinks that Daft Punk are lucky to be working with HIM..... but it's a brilliant record nonetheless. I listened to the Tron soundtrack the band did the other day too, and that sounds pretty damn good too. Different, but excellent. How many French bands are there who have the world hanging on their every note? Not many.
James – “Ring the Bells”
Yes. Just yes. Amazing band.
That's your lot. Have a good weekend, y'all. Get lucky.