Friday 23 June 2006

glaciers melting in the dead of night...

Earworms of the Week

Just a reminder: the only qualifying rule for this list is that it must be a tune that has lodged itself in my head at some point in the last 7 days. Could be a song I heard on the radio; could be the theme tune to an advert; could be something the guy next to me at work was humming; could be a song that just popped in there apparently of its own accord. I'm not claiming to have invented the concept, but it's certainly a feature of my life. Sometimes it's a blessing, sometimes a curse...

...and this week, I shall mostly be avoiding listing the tracks on my Shuffleathon CD....

10. "The Bends" - Radiohead

One of the tracks I had to prune from my shuffleathon track listing, and damn...that was a difficult decision. I bought this album on a whim in Coventry on its day of release and I've not looked back since. This has always been one of my favourite tracks on the album. I love the cow bells at the beginning, just before the guitars kick in

9. "Smile" - Lily Allen

Cover star of the Observer Music Monthly the other week and featured on that new Channel 4 music programme last week. It's a lovely, breezy summer-y track. Another example of how down with the kidz I really am.

8. "Don Quixote" - Nik Kershaw

Nik Kershaw was one of my first musical loves. I once wrote to Jimmy Saville asking if he could fix it for my friend Will and I to meet up with our be-mulleted hero. No reply, sadly. My cassette copy of this album had a sticker of a frog playing a guitar on the front. I put it there, but I have absolutely no idea why.

7. "Don't Panic" - Coldplay

Coldplay have come a long way since, but I love how understated this song is.

6. "She Moves In Her Own Way" - Kooks

Rubbish hair. Bad hats. Great song.

5. "Bang Bang You're Dead" - Dirty Pretty Things

This has really grown on me. I thought it was alright when I first heard it (and certainly better than anything Pete Doherty has managed to come up with)... but it's stayed sat in my head, and finally makes an earworm list weeks and weeks after it was first released. I think they're backing the Red Hot Chili Peppers when I go to see them next weekend.

4. "Yes" - Manic Street Preachers

As readers of The Art of Noise will know, this song will forever remind me of Venice. I'm not sure that's what its author had in mind, but that's just the way it's going to be.

3. "New England" - Billy Bragg / Jamie T

Brilliantly covered by Jamie T when I saw him on Wednesday this week, although pretty much that just made me think about what a fantastic song this is full-stop.

"I saw two shooting stars last night,
I wished on them, but they were only satellites.
It's wrong to wish on space hardware
I wish...I wish...I wish you care-air-aired"

Billy Bragg is a genius. If they weren't having a fallow year, it would have been the Glastonbury festival this weekend. Billy Bragg plays in the Leftfield tent every year that the festival is on... the last time I saw him, he took to the stage with a completely blank set list and took requests.


2. "Pop Goes The Weasel" - Anthony Newley

Yes. This is more or less what you think it is: the former Mr Joan Collins singing a children's nursery rhyme. I was introduced to this record by the same guy who introduced me to Scott Walker and Johnny Cash. He was a mature student on the same course as me at university (well... he was 25, but he seemed old to me). I had a show on the University Radio station, and Mark often used to tag along with a few of his records. I would play something by a band like Manic Street Preachers, and Mark would deride them as "Welsh heavy metal" and make me play "The Seventh Seal" by Scott Walker next. Actually, thinking back, I probably owe him an enormous debt of gratitude. It has to be said that this isn't the best record he ever introduced me to.... but it's quirky and it reminds me of him.

1. "Supermassive Black Hole" - Muse

I *quite* like Muse, but I generally find it a bit of a struggle to get through a whole album. I thought they were fantastic at Glastonbury in 2004, but do tend to find that their whole bombastic operatic rock thing gets a bit too much to take after a while. When I first heard this record, I thought it was alright, but didn't really pay it all that much attention... then, after a couple of weeks, it somehow crept under my skin: I turn the radio up when it comes on, I was delighted when I caught them on Top of the Pops and when I saw them on Jonathan Ross.

It's a great record. It's short and sharp, and it is absolutely made by the quiet little backing vocals the bassist does whilst Matt Bellamy's falsetto is busy warbling at the front of the mix during the chorus....


If you're in on the shuffleathon, then I'll email you the name and address of the person who will be the lucky recipient of your CD tomorrow. I'll keep the list of who is getting who under my hat for now... it should be a lovely surprise for you all.

If you haven't done your CD yet.... what are you waiting for?

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