I've decided that I'm simply not putting enough effort or imagination into getting guest editors on board to share their earworms with us each week. That simply won't do - I think it's a great feature and I reckon that, with a bit of effort on my part, it could be even better. I don't know about you, but I really enjoy that little weekly peek into someone else's head....
With that in mind, I'm going to start throwing the rulebook away.... starting today. This week's Guest Editor is a regular visitor around these parts and an occasional commentator. He also has the great distinction of having been the man to introduce me to Dunkertons Organic Cider. Hmmm. Worthy of a guest slot here just for that, in my books. He doesn't actually have his own blog, but I've decided that this isn't all that important; I'm as interested in what's been buzzing around his head this week as I am in anybody else's.
Without further ado then, it is my great pleasure to present for your earworming pleasure....
Earworms of the Week - Guest Editor #49 - The Eye in the Sky
I’m not a geek. I happen to work in IT and have had the pleasure of knowing ST for a number of years now, but I am not a geek. I’m sure I’ll do a real job when I grow up. In my spare time I try not to go near computers that are computers, but am happy to use them when they masquerade as useful objects – such as my digital camera. I prefer to try and emulate an old fashioned, steam powered rope and string human being. I do not therefore have a blog. I am very gratified to have been asked by ST to provide a sample of the earworms that flit across my brain in the course of a week because I’m sure it breaks some of the byelaws of his site. This sample is of course both representative and atypical of my listening habits. My vinyl and CD collection is vast, varied and occasionally disgusting. From the sublime Hildegard of Bingen (although obviously recorded later) through Nicholas Ludford, Vivaldi, Holst, Dinah Shore, the Shadows, Beatles, king crimson, the Pink Floyd, the Who, Yes, Mike Oldfield, Sally Oldfield, Kraftwerk, Brain Eno, Sisters of Mercy, Girlschool, Motorhead, and Athamay all the way through to Goldfrapp.
13. King Crimson – Fracture from “Starless and Bible Black”.
Ok, not only is this a live recording, but it’s a very stretching piece of guitar playing by one of the worlds premier guitarists, and is played against what was quite arguably the most unforgiving rhythm section of all time. Imagine trying to juggle your mothers prized antique china tea service during the attack at Paschendale without breaking anything. It’s like that. It’s that difficult. Well, the guitarist wins. Oh the excitement. The thrill of it.
12. Goldfrapp. “Strict Machine”.
I came across Goldfrapp rather belatedly, which is my own fault because I don’t listen to modern youth radio. I’m very pleased that Goldfrapp filtered through though because I really think this retro disco glam chic is done very well indeed. Marc Bolan would groove to Goldfrapp, whereas I suspect the Scissor Sisters would cause him to head to the bar. Goldfrapp are so cool that this CD has black writing on a black CD.
10. Mike Oldfield “Incantations”.
This album is forgotten by all but the Oldfield faithful. It is a double album of dense evocative trance like playing with some classic poetry thrown in - take a bow Messers Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Ben Johnson. Some blistering guitar and mind boggling bass, recorded in superb stereo. Mike recorded this around the time he under went a course of exegesis training. This is some weird shit, but afterwards Mike was a transformed man. With an internal fire raging he knocked his demo’s into a monstrous double album filled with energy and symmetry. I have been in love with this album since it’s release in ’78, but unfortunately the harsh wind of punk was blowing in the UK and this album was lost in the dim. This is one of the few things I have against punk, which in my opinion, was a “Good Thing”.
9. Uriah Heap – “July Morning”.
Uriah Heap were a keyboard led, British Heavy rock band, popular in Europe. July Morning from the album "look at yourself" was a favorite of my french exchange partners older sister - Beatrice Fanari. She was beautiful and 18. Brought the album directly on my return to England and every so often when the blue melancholies descend with the frosts, this re-enlivens me with warm spring thoughts and the memory of deep brown eyes.
8. Emiliana Torrini – “Today has been OK” from “Fisherman's Woman”.
Bjork - never heard of her. Emiliana Torrini has a wonderful icelandic voice and this song with its acoustic minimalism is another frosty melancholic delight. I'm sure ST recalls her work on Gollums song from the Two Towers. (Oh and any ideas of a Hobbit film without Peter Jackson at the helm is definitely a crackpot idea. Surely some sort of pre=production publicity stunt ???) This is taken from her latest album Fisherman's Woman which has a subdued tone, which is mostly acoustic guitar with minimal synthesizer. Critics have speculated that the departure from electronics is an attempt to distance herself from the Björk comparisons, but Torrini claims that it was the result of losing her boyfriend to a hit-and-run.
7. Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb.
The original version from the Wall is fine, but the live version - a genetically augmented version by James Guthrie - from “Is There Anybody Out There” is rather louder and therefore a tad better. I'm spending many happy evenings when the wife is out caring for the masses, playing my bass along with this excellent track. (I’m playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order.)
6 . Evanescence - Lithium.
Off the latest album, this is a new band for me and I really like this track. In my head this has the spectre of Stevie Nicks having undergone a Dr Who style regeneration.
5. Sally Oldfield – “The sun in my eyes” from the album “Easy”.
I haven’t listened to this album ‘Easy’ for a long while. On Tuesday I went for an aromatherapy massage to unwind a lot of the stress in my neck and back. I haven’t been sleeping well for the last three weeks, and have been worrying about death and career and jobs and loneliness and took along this album. I wanted some warm sunny laid back music, and I simply love Sally’s voice. Well bugger me – the CD player blew up. Had to listen to it as an earworm.
4. Kate Bush – A sky of honey. The second disc off Aerial, Kate’s critically and popularly acclaimed double album.
This is simply fabulous. Well recorded, intriguing, deep, varied and yet sublimely cohesive. It has an emotional impact that can only be measured on the Richter scale. There are various passages – they aren’t really tracks – that standout but you really need the whole thing to make it work, in the same way that the Mona Lisa is displayed complete not just the nose. As the independent wrote “The second disc takes us through a relaxing day's stroll in the sunshine, from the sequenced birdsong of the "Prelude", through a pavement artist's attempt to "find the song of the oil and the brush" through serendipity and skill ("That bit there, it was an accident/ But he's so pleased/ It's the best mistake he could make/ And it's my favourite piece"), through the gentle flamenco chamber-jazz "Sunset" and the Laura Veirs-style epiphanic night-time swim in "Nocturn", to her dawn duet with the waking birds that concludes the album with mesmeric waves of synthesiser perked up by brisk banjo runs. … It's a marvellous, complex work which restores Kate Bush to the artistic stature she last possessed around the time of Hounds of Love.” And it’s really good.
3. Marti Webb – “take that look off your face”.
Gosh this is an odd one. Or even an old one. Lets forget that it was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber – no please. And sorry mein host, I hope this doesn’t bring down the tone of you excellent must-read blog. Let us consider the much maligned lyricist, in this case Don Black. Don Black writes killer lyrics. Don wrote “Diamonds are forever”. Nuff said.
I have to confess I hate musicals. Hate them. They are so damn theatrical! But just occasionally – the odd song survives the dramatic pummelling of some grease painted drama school refugee and fuses with a voice talent to make a song that can make the hairs rise on the neck of a steel girder in a building across the road from the theatre. Marti Webb has one of those voices and this is one of those songs.
I was on the way home from the pub though.
2. Rocky Horror Show – Science Fiction/Double feature.
Did I mention I hate musicals. Well this is a film – so there! The thing about this track – as opposed to some of the kick ass tunes from the film – is that it is wonderfully understated. With some wonderful “oooo – oooo – oooooo” backing vocals evoking the 50’s. I think it’s the bass part the causes this to pop to the forefront of the ear in my case, which is unfair because my favourite track’s are the magnificent “Rose Tint my world”, “toucha-toucha-touch me”, “Sweet Transvestite” or even (and I bet you’ll be humming this today …) the “Timewarp”.
1. The Who – The Overture from Tommy.
This is a quick taster of the album, blasting through all the different themes and motifs at a canter. Some tasty drums from the Moon-meister, and the usual full on Townshend/Entwistle/Moon pandemonium.
Nice one. You can't argue with a bit of Andrew Lloyd Webber now and again, eh?
Next week: RussL
Forthcoming Attractions: Lizzy, Ben, Sarah
All volunteers and nominations gratefully received for future slots.
It's also nearly time for Earworms of the Year 2006 . As soon as I get my act together, I am going to throw open the ballots to receive your votes for the 5 songs that have been lodged in your head the most over the course of the last 12 months.....
I'll put something up on Sunday to try to jog your memories of what the year has held musically.
So you'd best put your thinking caps on Pop-Pickers (R.I.P. Fluff. Right? Not'arf)
[Previous Guest Editors: Flash, The Urban Fox, Lord Bargain, Retro-Boy, Statue John, Ben, OLS, Ka, Jenni, Aravis, Yoko, Bee, Charlie, Tom, Di, Spin, The Ultimate Olympian, Damo, Mike, RedOne, The NumNum, Leah, Le Moine Perdu, clm, Michael, Hyde, Adem, Alecya, bytheseashore, adamant, Earworms of the Year 2005, Delrico Bandito, Graham, Lithaborn, Phil, Mark II, Stef, Kaptain Kobold, bedshaped, I have ordinary addictions, TheCatGirlSpeaks, Lord B rides again, Tina, Charlie II, Cody Bones, Poll Star, Jenni II, Martin, Del II]