Thursday 6 December 2007

they say that music soothes the savage beast...

>>>>> ST's ALPHABETICON - the singles <<<<<

Previously in the Alphabeticon: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M

We've reached the halfway point, and Lisa has inspired me to do something a bit different this week...

I haven't bought a CD single in years, and certainly not since I started using iTunes a few years back. Back in the day, I used to buy singles for all sorts of reasons: because I couldn't wait for the album, because I loved the b-sides, because I loved the song but would never buy the album, because it had sunk into my head and wouldn't let go.... all sorts of reasons. Oh, and as some of the songs on the list below prove, some I simply have no explanation for at all.

I'm not sure this is a definitive list, but it'll do.

Here we go.

> Bryan Adams – (Everything I Do) I Do It For You

What a start. It is here simply because I made the mistake of saying - in public - after this had been number one for about 10 weeks, that I would buy it only when it wasn't at the top of the charts any more. Little did I know how hard it would be to find two months later after it had been deleted. Why did I bother? I don't know really. I think because it was hard to find. I actually don't mind this record. I don't seek it out or anything, but it never really upset me or anything.

> Alien Ant Farm – Smooth Criminal

I really like this re-working. It's a song that works quite well when rocked up, and I was hardly likely to buy the album.

> All Saints – Black Coffee

Never that big a fan of the band (particularly not once they had done that godawful version of "Under the Bridge"), but I adore this single. This is proper pop music. Brilliant.

> Michael Andrews featuring Gary Jules – Mad World

What a great Christmas number one this was - sad, downbeat and melancholy. All records should sound like this at this time of the year. You know - to make the parties go with a swing.

> Ash – Girl From Mars
> Ash – A Life Less Ordinary
> Ash – Kung Fu
> Ash - Angel Interceptor

Good singles band. I actually had some of these before the album "1977" came out, I think. "A Life Less Ordinary" is my favourite Ash song - it's loose and a bit sloppy, but the chorus is a killer.

> The Auteurs – Lenny Valentino

I think this was the first thing I saw by the Auteurs after I had fallen in love with their first album. It was their new single, and it clearly hadn't been selling as I picked it up for the bargain price of £2.99 or something ridiculous like that. It was cheap at the time. I remember some singles going for £4.99. Madness.

> The Beatles – Free As A Bird

Haunting, but essentially rubbish and a total waste of time. How could I not pop to the shops to buy a new single by the Beatles though? It is a bit like Lennon phoned this one in from beyond the grave though. Spooky.

> Beautiful South – Perfect 10

This belongs to C, actually. Good song, mind.

> Lou Bega – Mambo No.5

Because it was an earworm and because I quite liked it. I believe I owned this *before* Channel 4 used it as the theme music for their cricket coverage, incidentally.

> Bloodhound Gang – The Bad Touch

Stupid and dumb, but another earworm by a band whose album I wouldn't touch with a bargepole. I think I made a resolution at some point or other that if I liked a song, I should just buy the single and be done with it. Since the advent of iTunes and the like, that has become a lot cheaper and a lot easier.

> Blur – Music Is My Radar
> Blur - Tender

I own quite a lot of Blur stuff, but "Music is My Radar" was single only and I still don't own the album with "Tender" on it. Good band though. I bet I could pick up that album now for less than I paid for the single. Damon Albarn, eh? Prat turned genius.

> David Bowie – Hello Spaceboy

It's not exactly "Starman", but Neil Tennant makes this quite interesting. Not that I've listened to it in years, to be honest. This was part of the Thin White Duke's short-lived jungle phase, I think. Not quite up there with his "Berlin" period, to be honest...

> The Cardigans – Carnival
> The Cardigans – My Favourite Game

I don't own any Cardigans albums, but I love both of these songs. "My Favourite Game" in particular is a brilliant single - it's not dated at all, and she's got such a great voice.

> Catatonia – Mulder & Scully

Cerys has the best welsh accent on record, I reckon. Sexy sounding. Good song too. Marc Bannerman though? For real?

> Eric Clapton – Bad Love
> Eric Clapton – Tears In Heaven

I went through a Clapton phase when I was about 14. I even saw him performing at the Albert Hall, and I think it's safe to say that I've never seen quite so many sweaters at a gig before. Hmm.

> Edwyn Collins – A Girl Like You

It was annoyingly ubiquitous at the time, but it remains a fantastic record.

> Cornershop – Brimful of Asha

Not sure why I have this really, as I don't much like the original version of the song and I'm bored of the Norman Cook remix. Ho hum.

> The Cranberries – Linger

This song reminds me so much of being in my student house in Leamington in about 1994. It's a beautiful song, and at the time I first heard it, it was totally untainted by the memory of "Zombie". Ethereal. That's what it is. Ethereal.

> Crazy Town - Butterfly

What can I say? It's the Red Hot Chili Pepper sample that planted this song in my head, not the puerile lyrics.

> Sheryl Crowe – Hard to Make a Stand

Another one of C's, I think. I do like Sheryl Crowe though. Handsome woman too.

> Dandy Warhols – Bohemian Like You

Overused in adverts and the like, but a good song nonetheless. As a band though, they just look wrong to me.

> The Darkness – Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)

For a comedy band, and for a record with comedy bells and a comedy title, this is a surprisingly melancholy record. There's some introspection to be found even in this most unlikely of places.

> David Devant & His Spirit Wife – This Is For Real

I think I was given this in the Warwick Student Union. I don't know what it sounds like.

> Divine Comedy – Everybody Knows (Except You)

I don't remember buying this. I do own some Divine Comedy albums, but I'm not sure that this counts amongst his finest work.

> Eagle Eye Cherry – Save Tonight

C bought this, but it's a bit of a guilty pleasure for me too.

> Electric Six – Danger! High Voltage

Oh come on! It's a brilliant record. "Gay Bar" is nearly as good, but by then I had the album... of which I listen to approximately two tracks. Ah well.

> The Electric Soft Parade – Silent to the Dark II

I used to play this all the time on University Radio Warwick... but then again, I also introduced "Dead Skin Mask" by Slayer by saying "Here's a song for all you lovers out there", so what would I know?

> Elvis vs JXL – A Little Less Conversation


> Faith No More – I’m Easy

I like Faith No More, and this was a great moment of a great gig they played at the NEC when I was a student. It's such a good song.... and for a metal band, this is quite a straight cover.

> The Fall – The Chisellers

Um. They're hardly a singles band, are they? I own two things by the Fall: this single and "Middle Class Revolt". Not really the classics of their oeuvre.

> Hurricane #1 – Step Into My World
> Hurricane #1 – Only The Strongest Will Survive

One of this lot is now in Oasis, isn't he? I thought these were both great songs, but I don't think anyone else in the world agreed. Except - weirdly - the bloke who chose the music to advertise The Sun newspaper.

> Natalie Imbruglia - Torn

It's a classic, but no one liked her when she was at school apparently. She was funny looking.

> Inspiral Carpets – I Want You (featuring Mark E. Smith)

I love, love, love this song. The Inspirals are great fun at the best of times, but Smith makes this.

> Jamiroquai – Deeper Underground

Just to be clear, this is NOTHING to do with me.

> Matthew Jay – Become Yourself

This is the guy who died, I think. I was given this single after I saw him supporting someone or other at Rock City. It might be really good. I wouldn't know.

> Andreas Johnson - Glorious

Now this is a tune. I know nothing about the guy, or if he did anything else, but this song is ace. It soars.

> Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – I Love Rock & Roll

A gift. But what a gift!

> Billy Joel – River of Dreams

Seriously, I like this record.

> Tom Jones (featuring Tori Amos) – I Wanna Get Back With You

Jesus. I don't know what this sounds like. I hope someone gave it to me and I didn't hand any money over for this.... but knowing me, I may have bought this. Oops.

> Keane – Somewhere Only We Know

At around about the time I bought this, everyone thought Keane were brilliant. A lot of them have changed their minds, but this is still an awesome song.

> Kylie – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head

An almost perfect single?

> Lemonheads – Mrs Robinson

Good cover of a brilliant song.

> Lush - Ladykillers

I adore this song. I have no idea where I first heard it, but I love it. Many years later, I picked up a Lush compliation. Hmm. Still, this is a wonderful record.

> Madonna - Erotica

A gift from an old housemate of mine at University who maintained -- as long ago as 1992, and when everyone else thought she was finished -- that Madonna was a cultural icon. I think it's fair to say that he's been proved right, although it must have felt a long way away when he stood in that queue full of dirty old men to buy "Sex".

> Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
> Manic Street Preachers – She Is Suffering
> Manic Street Preachers – Theme from M*A*S*H
> Manic Street Preachers – A Design For Life
> Manic Street Preachers – The Masses Against the Classes

Great band. Not reknowned for their singles, but they've had some really big hits in their time, including a number one. Still going strong too. Their version of the theme from M*A*S*H is aces, and of course now seems deeply ironic.

> Marion - Sleep

This is the only thing by Marion that I own... but I think this is the best single that I have. Bar none.

> Ricky Martin – Livin’ La Vida Loca

Earworm! Earworm! Earworm!

Reiki Martin is here?

> McAlmont & Butler - Yes

Pop perfection.

> The Mike Flowers Pops – Wonderwall


> Morrissey – The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get
> Morrissey – Now My Heart Is Full
> Morrissey – Boxers
> Morrissey - Sunny
> Morrissey & Siouxsie - Interlude

Only the first listed here was a purchase when I couldn't wait for the album, the rest were either a gift ("Now My Heart is Full", with "Moonriver" as a b-side) or are single only. "Interlude" is a beautiful song. Really gorgeous, and one of the best things he's done.

> New Order – True Faith’94

I don't remember buying or listening to this one. Hmm.

> Nickelback – How You Remind Me


> Oasis – D’You Know What I Mean?
> Oasis – Wonderwall
> Oasis – Don’t Look Back In Anger
> Oasis – Whatever
> Oasis – Some Might Say

Oasis might be creatively washed up now, but back in the day, their singles were absolutely chock full of classics and well worth buying. They should have saved some of these up and made a few better albums.

> Ocean Colour Scene – The Riverboat Song

Rubbish, of course, but what a memorable riff.

> Outkast – Hey Ya!

Another perfect single. How many people who bought this then bought the album and wondered what the hell they had done.....?

> Pearl Jam - Merkinball

This must belong to C. I don't even know what this sounds like.

> Pet Shop Boys – I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind of Thing

Another one dating back to my second year at University.... my housemate Roger was a big fan, as I recall, and some of that must have rubbed off. Good song. Silly hats on the cover too - always a bonus.

> Primal Scream – Rocks
> Primal Scream – Kowalski

"Rocks" was a gift, and I hate it, but "Kowalski" is a totally different kettle of fish and is brilliant. They played "Rocks" twice when I saw them play at the Reading Festival.... always the sign of creative bankruptcy is you ask me.... and yes, I'm looking at you too, U2.

> Propellerheads / David Arnold – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Over 9 minutes long and it never drags once.

> Pulp – Sorted for Es & Whizz
> Pulp – The Sisters EP

But no "Common People" for some reason.

> REM – The Great Beyond

Superb song, and until they stuck it on a greatest hits, this was only available on single. No brainer, as far as I was concerned.

> The Rembrandts – I’ll Be There For You

Oh go on, you used to like this too.

> Rialto - Untouchable

I had to really hunt for this.. for years... and eventually found it when I worked in HMV. It was 99p too. Result!

> The Seahorses – Love Me and Leave Me

Interesting band and not actually all that bad - certainly better than some of the shite Ian Brown has peddled onto an unsuspecting world. I think this was a gift, but it's a decent song nonetheless. Wasn't the video set in space or something?

> Shaggy – It Wasn’t Me

I think I gave this to C. Shaggy's a legend.

> Space – Female of the Species
> Space with Cerys of Catatonia – The Ballad of Tom Jones

Interesting band Space. Successful, I suppose, but always slightly awkward and their records always tell the strangest tales. I used to play "Female of the Species" on University Radio as a double-header with "Deadlier than the Male" by the Walker Brothers (do you see what I did there), and "Tom Jones" is also major earworm territory.

Bruce Springsteen – Streets of Philadelphia

It's partly context sensitive (the film made me cry), but I find this song very moving.

St Etienne – I Was Born on Christmas Day

I seem to own a lot of Xmas records. Might come in handy for the Xmas compilation on planning on making in the next week or so. If I can work out how best to do it, I'll be sure to put it online... watch this space, I guess.

Suede – We Are the Pigs

Not their finest song, I agree, but it was the single that preceded "Dog Man Star", an album I was very much looking forward to, so I took the plunge.

> U2 – Sweetest Thing

Another of C's, I think. A pleasant enough song, but not one to cross the road for.

> Various Artists – Perfect Day

This is C's. I'm a Lou Reed fan.

> The Wannadies – You And Me Song

Good song. Terrible earworm.

> Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag

Ah come on, he's singing about Iron Maiden! If this had been about my life as a teenager, I may well have wanted to go to the gig, but I very much doubt the girl would have asked me if I wanted to go. Pah!

> The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony

I subsequently bought the album, but this is one of those songs that I thought was so good that I just had to own it.

> Neil Young - Philadelphia

Even more moving than the Springsteen one. It's the way that Young sounds so vulnerable and his voice quavers as he sings. Beautiful.


So. There you go. Now you know. A great format, I think you'll agree. Who could possibly believe that a 79p download can be better than a £4.99 single with 2 tracks on it? Eh?

First song I downloaded: "Vertigo" by U2
Last song I downloaded: "Tick Tick Boom" by the Hives.

On to "N" next week..... I bet you can't wait.


Shuffleathon 2007 Update

How are we doing Kids? Anyone sitting on a review? Get posting!

1. Tinayes
2. Sarahyes

3. Cody Bones
4. Mark
5. Michaelyes
6. Hen
7. Cat
8. bedshaped
9. Pynchonyes
10. J
11. The Great Grape Ape
12. Ian
13. Martin

14. Monogodo
15. Threelightyes
16. Paul
17. Charlieyes
18. LB
19. Katyola
20. Lisa
21. Graham

22. Del
23. Spins

24. Ben
25. Dragon
26. Adem
27. Mike
28. JoeInVegas
29. Wombat

30. Max Bob
31. Stevious
32. Asta
33. Alan
34. Russ L
35. E.

36. Mike T-D
37. JamieS

38. Briskate
38. Me

From a concept stolen from the lovely YokoSpungeon....

I'm away tonight and at the Kings of Leon tomorrow night, so there might be no earworms. Back soon though...


  1. Mixed bag as would be anyone’s. I think ‘Everyone thought Keane were brilliant’ is frankly offensive.

    Interestingly the only piece of pure unadulterated evil here is Jamiroquai, which you disown. So some kudos for you.

    And yeah, I did buy the Outkast album. Dire.

    I hear KOL are quite good live.

  2. I think you'll find someone bought you "Someone Only We Know" for your birthday...

    And, oddly, I put Rialto's "Untouchable" on my iPod yesterday. Hmm.

  3. Dog Man Star is a very under-rated album.