Earworms of the Week.
They're inevitably a bit Glastonbury orientated this week, but there's not really a whole lot that I can do about that, eh?
> "99 Problems" - Jay-Z (it starts at about 2m 53s on the clip, but it's his cover of 'Wonderwall' first, so...)
I'm not a hip-hop fan, in the main, and I won't be rushing out to buy any of his stuff in the immediate future...but his set at Glastonbury was absolutely outstanding. I went along out of curiosity and within about ten seconds the whole crowd was putty in his hands. You don't sell 50m albums by mistake, and in that 90 minute set on the Pyramid stage last week, Jay-Z's talent was there for all to see. A triumph. He tried to do that arms-crossed, smug rapper thing a couple of times, but he somewhat undermined by the fact that he couldn't wipe the gleeful smile off his face. Why not? I don't know what he'd been told, but he must have been a little unsure of what to expect and he suddenly found himself looking out onto 100,000 cheering people. A triumph. I don't much care for the casual use of words like "bitch" and "ho", but this record, performed straight after his hilariously pointed massacre of "Wonderwall" and featuring a well-chosen sample from AC/DCs "Back in Black", was brilliant. I was very, very impressed.
> "This Ole House" - Shakin' Stevens
When Shaky announced that he was going to play a song from his new album, the disappointed and slightly anxious exhalation in the crowd was actually audible. We don't want to see Shakin' Stevens performing new songs. No matter what he might think, he's not really a current or relavant artist......he's the bloke off of the 80s who did "This Ole House" and "Green Door". His cover of Pink's "Trouble" was one thing, but new material? You're having a laugh. Still, it was a real treat to stand in the crowd at 10:50 on Saturday morning and admire the Shaky flags, t-shirts and placards, and to marvel at the idiots who'd brought a green door into the festival (he didn't even play it... for shame!). He might be a bit of a prat, but hearing him play this and through some ludicrously inappropriate shapes for a man of his advancing age was still a real treat though. Pillock.
> "I Like You so Much Better When You're Naked" - Ida Maria
For some reason, Ida Maria was listed in the unofficial schedule for the festival that I printed off the internet before leaving for the festival, but wasn't listed in any of the official programmes. I was all set to head off down to the John Peel to watch Royworld with LB when I saw that she was, in fact, performing on the Other Stage. So I stayed, and she was great. She's crackers in a very scandinavian way (she's Norwegian), but she's also quite an intense performer, and wears a top hat with aplomb. She ended up writhing around on the stage at the end of "Oh My God", but it's this song that got the crowd singing along. Very, very catchy.
> "Distant Sun" - Crowded House
In their slot on a very sunny Saturday afternoon, Neil Finn gave an absolute object lesson in how to play a festival: they played all the hits, he had a set-long running joke about the taciturn security people at the front (calling them out by their numbers) and he got the crowd to perform a mexican wave for him from back to front. Superb. I could have picked almost any of their songs, to be honest, but this is the one that always sticks because of the lyrics:
"I don't pretend to know what you want
But I offer love."
It always strikes me as a beautiful sentiment.
> "That's Not My Name" - The Ting-Tings
The Ting-Tings caused me a whole heap of bother as I tried to escape from the John Peel tent after the Young Knives and the absolutely ginormous crowd wanting to see the Ting-Tings was trying to get in. I can't say that I'm a massive fan, but this particular playground chant is absolutely unavoidable. Mary-Jo Lisa!
> "Boy From School" - Hot Chip
I've been slowly coming around to the idea of Hot Chip for about a year now. "Over and Over" was irresistible, of course, but since they put out their last album, they've slowly been seeping under my skin and I was thinking about getting the albums. I hadn't intended to watch them on the Other Stage, but I ended up sticking around after Elbow, and before I knew where I was, the Redbridge Brass Band were on playing a medley of Hot Chip's hits and I was dancing in a field. Brilliant band. This song isn't exactly their most danceable, but predictably it's the general air of melancholy that has sunk in and stayed with me. They're geeks too, so...
> "The Bucket" - Kings of Leon
How many bands big enough to headline the Pyramid stage have their band name written out on the bass drum with masking tape? Well KoL do, and I love them for it. There are no frills or pretensions about this band, they just play good, old fashioned rock and roll. Jay-Z got a lot of the headlines, but there was also quite a lot of criticism about the decision to give this lot a headline slot as well. It beats me why anyone would worry about that: the KoL are three albums in, and they have been getting better and better with each release. Sure, Caleb isn't much of a talker, but frankly you can't make out a word he says at the best of times, so.... Their music is the important thing, and this lot are a proper rock band. The intro to this song was reason enough for me and Statue John to break out the bourbon and to have a little boogie. I'm not really sure what the song's about and I can't really make out any of the words (or make much sense of the ones that I can), but they'll do me.
> "Viva La Vida" - Coldplay
I don't really need to go about Coldplay again, but I really think that this song is up there with the best they have done. It somehow manages to be an upbeat song about a king losing everything, and I love it. Good lyrics too, for once:
"It was a wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in
Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People couldn't believe what I'd become
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh, who would ever want to be king?"
Coldplay get a lot of grief for not being an inventive band, but I actually think that although this song is recognisably them, it's quite a step on. Maybe it's the hand of Eno, or maybe it's the sign of a band determined to grow.
> St. Swithin's Day - Billy Bragg
Legend has it that if it rains on 15th July - St. Swithin's Day - then it will rain for the next 40 days and 40 nights. Well, that's as may be, but this is one of Billy Bragg's best and most personal songs of love and love lost. He may not have played "The Saturday Boy" at Glastonbury, but he did play this and all is well.
> "The Trooper" - Iron Maiden
Ah, Maiden. Again, I could have picked almost anything. Apparently on this tour they're playing a selection of hits taken from "Iron Maiden" through to "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" and I, for one, could not be happier about it. That's golden era maiden as far as I'm concerned and this gig at Twickenham tomorrow is going to be brilliant. This song usually sees Bruce Dickinson dressing up in Crimea-era British Army red and it's a full-on gallop of a tune. The best metal band in the world ever. Accept no substitutes.
> "All You Really Have to Do" / "Let's Talk About It" - White Denim
The played the Park stage on Sunday afternoon, but I elected to go to watch Tony Benn speaking in the Leftfield instead. Apparently I missed the best drummer at the festival and a back to basics drummer. It was hard to be too disappointed when Tony Benn was as inspirational as always, but I did make a mental note to look up when they next toured. As luck would have it, they're playing the Bodega Social in Nottingham on Monday night, and not only were tickets still available, but Mike will be doing a review for the local rag and offered me his plus one. Brilliant! I've downloaded the album now and been listening to it all day.... pretty good, but I suspect they're one of those bands who really come to life live. I hope so, anyway, especially as the Social is a tiny little venue and it could be very, very loud indeed. Turns out I knew the singles too.
My poor ears.
Have a good weekend y'all.
Technology at a glacial pace Part 2
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