Earworms of the Week
“Joy” – Tracey Thorn
We’re only just into December, but I like seasonal music and some of it is just starting to voluntarily appear on my playlists. I tend to stay away from the Slades and Wizzards (not that there’s much wrong with them apart from over-exposure). Instead, I like to try and find stuff that’s a little bit further off the beaten track. I think this song (from “Tinsel & Lights” from a couple of years ago) is my absolute favourite: Thorn’s voice is naturally a little downbeat, but this is a lovely song that really captures what makes a Christmas special in a way that doesn’t involve talking about Santa or presents or any of the normal clichés. This one makes me blub. Just a tiny amount.
“We Are Young” – Fun (featuring Janelle Monae)
Best performed by a family of Austrians of our acquaintance, but this lot do a reasonable job too.
“Bullet in the Head” – Rage Against the Machine
Still a punch in the guts and a thrilling call to action even after all these years. It was released in 1991! Also, whilst we're here, here's the uncensored clip of RATM on Radio 5 Live playing "Killing in the Name" as part of the campaign to make them the best Xmas number one record ever in 2009. They made a swear on live radio! Even though they said they wouldn't do that bit!
Uh! Come on!
“Climbing to the Moon” – Eels
Beautiful, delicate and heartbreaking. Yet another example of how unhappiness seems to create the best music. As a sidenote, this is also the only suggestion I have ever got included into a “Readers Recommend” playlist in the Guardian. The playlist in question was songs that make you cry. It’s a pretty terrible column, incidentally, and I don’t really bother any more: it’s too full of people shouting their own (often painfully obvious) suggestions without bothering to read anyone else’s suggestions. It’s also full of regulars with their own separate blog and a language all of their own. Yes, that is as tedious as it sounds. Last time I looked, the reader who wrote up the week’s playlist wrote the column from the perspective of their pet dog. Yes. Honestly. Anyway. This is a heartbreaking song from an album full of heartbreaking songs. Mark “E” Everett doesn’t seem to have led a very happy life, but he has certainly produced some remarkable music.
“Running the World” - Jarvis
Still true, I’m afraid. Did you see that Iain Duncan-Smith has recategorised Parkinsons and Multiple Sclerosis as curable conditions? Either he has some new information on these previously incurable illnesses, or he’s found a way to try and remove disability benefit from a few thousand people who really need it. He’s a Conservative politician…. Which one do you think it is?
Smash the system.
“Back in Black” AC/DC
“Jailbreak” – Thin Lizzy
Sometimes, you really just need a big, dumb rock song. I only really need the first fifteen seconds of “Back in Black” to be happy, and “Jailbreak” even sounded great when rendered on a bontempi organ in the pub quiz last night. They’re not clever by any stretch of the imagination, but they are ace. AC/DC for Glastonbury please.
“Dancing on the Ceiling” - Lionel Richie
“Three Times a Lady” - The Commodores
Guess who’s the first act to be confirmed as playing Glastonbury in 2015? Yup…. Lionel. If he’s not the perfect Sunday afternoon act on the Pyramid, then I don’t know who is. Ah. Perfect.
“L.A. Woman” – The Doors
Some songs are just perfect for driving, aren’t they? There’s just something about the propulsive rhythm of this song that makes me think of driving down a sunny boulevard in Los Angeles. I never have, as it happens… and actually this popped into my head when I was cycling home from work the other day in the freezing cold, dark night, which wasn’t really the same thing at all. Still, I made do, and for about five minutes, I was Jim Morrison…. If Jim Morrison was taller, thinner, on a bike and wearing enough fluorescent clothing to light a small house. Oh, and still alive.
“Two Devils” / “Do the Right Thing” – Dog is Dead
They’re definitely a better live band than they are on record, but they are still pretty good on record too and their first album gets better with every play. If they manage to catch some of the lightning from their live show in a bottle and distil it onto their forthcoming second album, then just maybe we might have another band from Nottingham finding some proper success. Finger’s crossed for them.
“Hand in Glove” – The Smiths
Hard to believe that this was their debut single and that a band as good as The Smiths just seemed to appear before the world fully formed. I’ve been listening to “Hatful of Hollow” this week and it’s a magnificent record; not an album proper but definitely my favourite collection of their songs. I love the urgency and rough-edges of the session recordings of some of their most famous songs, and I love the way that Morrissey yelps. As a band, they played a pivotal part in the development of my music taste, and they’ll always hold a special place in my record collection…. No matter how much of an idiot Morrissey seems hell-bent on proving that he is.
Right. So a day earlier than usual, but that’s the way of my week. Have a good weekend, y’all. I’m going to a wine-tasting and then doing a load of running.
Same-same but different, right?