Friday 4 May 2007

like a tiger defying the laws of gravity...

Sorry about this, but you've got me this week....

Earworms of the Week

> "Eye of the Tiger" - Survivor

I love the Rocky films and I have been trawling my way through the "Ultimate Edition" box set over the last few weeks. I think it's fair to say that each of the films follows more or less the same pattern, but I never fail to be stirred when the training montage starts and the Rocky Fanfare blasts out of the speakers as our hero runs up the steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Cinematic gold. This is the other tune that is indelibly associated with these films... that thumping intro instantly and effortlessly conjuring up images of a boxer throwing ridiculous haymakers with no thought given to defence -- very much the Rocky way. The song actually only turns up in Rocky III when Rocky's erstwhile arch enemy, Apollo Creed, becomes his trainer to help him learn a new strategy to take on the uncompromising Clubber Lang..... The eye of the tiger is apparently the look you have to give to an opponent to show that you mean business. Or somesuch. It must work though: Rocky won by a knockout in the 2nd and didn't even need ridiculous facial prosthetics as Clubber hardly touched him.

I pity the fool, etc.

This song was nominated for an Oscar and won a Grammy, but how much of it do you actually know beyond the first 20 seconds? (not that any of the rest of it is much cop, mind you....)

> "Welcome to the Jungle" - Guns N' Roses

Another song with a killer intro. Axl Rose may have taken this band into the realms of comedy (even if Buckethead has now left the band), but "Appetite for Destruction" remains one of the greatest rock albums ever recorded. We argued about this band on the Art of Noise the other week, actually, with several people suggesting that the band were a joke and that they only ever did a couple of good songs. Cobblers. Doesn't the start of this song just send shivers down your spine? It's good enough hearing it on record, but live it's just out of this world.

As a call to arms and as a statement of intent, this song is hard to beat.

> "Grace Kelly" - Mika

I was utterly determined to hate Mika purely on the basis that his album cover seemed to have been designed purely to irritate me.... it just screams at me that I will despise every note of every song.....

But then I heard this and I had no chance. It's irresistible. I sing along even though I have no idea what the words are. I'm still not buying the album though. Sarah played it to me as she drove me home after a gig, and I was heartily sick of it by about track 5. Still, track one is great.

And lest we forget, wasn't Grace Kelly gorgeous?

> "Too Orangey for Crows" - Kia Ora advert

...only for me and my dog.

Racist? Possibly. Most enduring advert ever made? Certainly.

> "Nobody Move, Nobody Gets Hurt" - We Are Scientists

Another decent track 1. This is the opening salvo (as a music journalist would certainly describe it) from "Of Love and Squalor". I initially bought the album blind, but as soon as I heard this song, I knew that I was onto a winner. In my experience, you simply can't knock a song that contains a few "whoah oh oh oh ohs" and "yeahs".

Nice and spiky. Just the way I like.

"My body is your body
I won't tell anybody
If you wanna use my body
Go for it


> "Once And Never Again" - The Long Blondes

I think this popped up on my iPod when I was out running. That Kate Jackson has certainly got a very arresting voice... even listening through headphones whilst jogging alongside the river Trent, I could imagine her wearing a beret as she recorded this.

Hell, I imagine she wears a beret most of the time, to be honest. I expect she sleeps in a beret.

Why not? She wears them well.

It's a great single, even if she does sound a bit like she's doing a Jimmy Savile impression at one point....

> "Say Something" - James

Tim Booth has rejoined James and everything is right with the world. They are an awkward band at the best of times and they are sometimes maddeningly inconsistent though... at their best though, they are capable of reaching heights touched by few other bands. This is not one of their very best songs, but for some reason I absolutely love it, and as soon as Mark mentioned that he had been to see them, this is the song that drifted into my head.

> "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" - Dusty Springfield

My favourite ever female vocalist singing a Bacharach classic. Beautiful. This one came to mind in my defence of "Easy Listening" over at the Art of Noise. Who could listen to this and then say that this genre should be condemned?

> "Books from Boxes" - Maximo Park

I love, love, love the new Maximo Park album and I have been listening to it all week. "Our Velocity" is the most obvious of the songs on the album, but this little cracker has been really growing on me. It's not quite as pedal to the metal as some of their stuff and is a bit more reflective, but it's all the better for it.

> "Don't Stop Me Now" - Queen

Given that this song is an attempt to describe the joys of a cocaine high, I was somewhat amused to hear it being used as the theme music on a ra-ra video that my company circulated this week. I'm sure that's not quite the message they were looking to get across with their inspirational images of people putting product out on the shelves and grinning inanely at customers. Still, I imagine it would help alleviate the tedium of the long working day.

Absurdly catchy.

And that's your lot. It's a long weekend here, so I intend to start making the most of it right now. Rocky V anyone?

Just me? Suit yourselves.

Next time: Aravis
Coming soon: The Ultimate Olympian

Oh yes, and Simon's Earworms are now available for download.


  1. (on Guns 'N Roses)

    Was a great band, yes. And despite the gimmick, buckethead would have been a good replacement for Slash. He's really a good guitarist.

    GnR though... there is a place for an argument against them since they seemed to do a few too many covers.

  2. Rocky V? hmm. Rock Balboa is great.

  3. Um...I've never seen a single Rocky movie.

  4. Im completely with you on Mika. I love Grace Kelly, but am determined not to buy the album, both because I know I will hate the rest of it, and because I am determined to maintain an illusion that I am cool.

    And I've never seen a Rocky movie either.

  5. Cannot stand that particular Mika single, but the new one "Love Today" is sheer genius.

    Ah... Dusty Springfield. I love Dusty.

  6. oh girls - whilst I can entertain an argument that says that Rockys II-VI are shit, you must at least give the first film a chance. It won the Oscar for best picture in 1977 and it's actually half-decent. Stallone wrote it based upon his own struggles as an actor, but realised that a film about actors had limited appeal and landed upon a hard-up, down on his luck boxer. It's a good film, and Rocky Balboa is one of the great cinema characters... and I think "Rocky Balboa" rounds off the cycle nicely by taking us full circle to a film that very much feels like the first one.

    They are easy films to laugh at in many ways, but don't let the hubris of some of the sequels (and the cold war schtick in IV is especially dated) put you off these films.

    and please also tell me that you have watched the original star wars trilogy?


  7. I can happily report that I have seen the original trilogy. I rented them in high school, because I figured I ought to see them.

  8. ....and now I feel really old that I saw them all in the cinema (albeit I was too young to remember the first one. I remember queuing for the second one in the rain outside the electra cinema in newport pagnell, and I remember waiting impatiently for the release of the third one)


  9. Er, no. And can I also come out and declare that the only James Bond film I've ever seen is Octopussy? My dad took me to see it when we were on holiday that year (I must have been about nine) and I slept through the whole thing. The same night, my mum took my brother to see ET (which dad and I had seen already) and he - being about four - cried right through it and had to be carried out and all the way back to the hotel on foot. Not a great success of an evening!

  10. having had a day in which I have earwormed "If You Leave Me Now" by Chicago, "These Sounds..." by the Bucketheads and "The King of Rock and Roll" by Prefab Sprout, it's probably no surprise that my James earworm has shifted from the one in this list...

    it's now one or all of "Crash", "Just Like Fred Astaire" or "I Know What I'm Here For".

    Yeah, I have been listening to "Millionaires".

    Damn fine band.


  11. On the contrary....'Say Soemthing' is definitely, one of their better songs. by far.(Along with Seven, Born of Frustration). And it definitely has the distinct advantadge of not being 'Come Home' or 'Sit Down', both of which are overplayed albatrosses around the bands neck; the 'Size of a Cow' which I could gladly do without ever hearing again.