Earworms of the Week
> "Living Well is the Best Revenge" - R.E.M.
I've not really listened to the last R.E.M. album anywhere near as much as I should have. Not because they are a band with such a good track record, at least back in the day, but because it sounds like a real return to form. "Supernatural Superserious" features a proper old school guitar riff on it, of all things. They're a good band, but most importantly of all, they remain an interesting band.
> "Prince Of Parties" - Flight of the Conchords
Yes, yes. I realise that not everyone is as hooked on the Conchords as I am. But what am I supposed to do? They're funny, and their songs are properly good. I can't help what floats into my head, can I? And let's not forget that the whole point of this list is not to showcase the stuff that I particularly like or I would like people to think that I like... it's to try and capture that everychanging tracklisting on my internal jukebox. And, as it happens, Flight of the Conchords are much played in there at the moment. This isn't one of their most obvious songs, perhaps, but it's one 60s pastiche that has very much stuck. Pretty party clothes crocheted of snow? Why not?
> "Meltdown" - Ash
For all their pop sensibilities, Ash were always at heart a bunch of metalheads. On this track, and on this album as a whole, those sensibilities are a little closer to the surface than usual. "Orpheus" is probably the song that people remember. For all the rock bluster and flying V guitars though, Tim Wheeler can't quite hide his way with a tune. Good band.
> "Back in Black" - AC/DC
The best opening 30 seconds of any song ever?
> "Spiralling" - Keane
The new song, and available to download off their website, until Monday, anyway. It's like Keane, only it's perhaps a bit more 80s than you might have expected. LB is probably in heaven, but I'm a little bit unconvinced, to be honest. The last We Are Scientists album had a few songs a bit like this, and if I'm being brutally honest, I think they carried it off a bit better and without sounding quite so much like pastiche. Having said that though, it's been growing on me with every play, and I refuse to do them down for the simple reason that at least they are trying: I heard some awful, lazy europop shite on the radio the other day, just before they played this, and it made me realise that at least Keane are trying to do something interesting and aren't content with standing still or just churning out the old crap that they know will sell. I take my hat off to them for that.
> "Too Drunk To Fuck" - Nouvelle Vague
It does make me think of the incomparable original, to be honest, but this is the version that was on my mind, so it's the version that makes the list. They're not quite a comedy band, but they walk that line.... although it did make superb background music at the party the other day. With their set list of classic new-wave songs though, it's kind of hard to go wrong.
> "4st 7lb" - Manic Street Preachers
In some ways this is the song that sums up what is brilliant about the Manics. Who else could write a song about anorexia that is both so appallingly shocking and yet so starkly beautiful? Who else could come up a lyric as good as "I want to walk in the snow and not leave a footprint"? They're a bunch of awkward buggers, sure, but there's been no one quite like them, before or since. Awesome band.
> "MmmBop" - Hanson
This one's a bit hard to explain, but bear with me. Yes, I know that this is an awe inspiringly efficient piece of pop, but that's not the reason that this has crept onto my playlist.... it's the US PGA Golf Tournament this week. It's the last Major of the year, and it represents the culmination of the tipping contest that Statue John has been running for me, Pollstar and the Ultimate Olympian. A list is produced of all of the competitors, broken into three sections based upon the latest odds for each player. All we have to do is to pick two players from the top section, three from the middle section and four from the bottom section. If Tiger is playing, he's excluded from the list as he's far too obvious. At the end of the tournament, the prize money for each of your picks it totted up and the winner is declared. I'm doing really badly, but it's a good game nonetheless, and shows just how hard it is to pick a winner in golf. Anyway. It's become a running joke throughout the season, that the bottom section of the list contains two players called Hansen and one called Hanson. None of them have really done much in the US Masters, The US Open or the Open, but somehow it's become traditional to pick them. For the last major of the summer, I've picked all three of them. Three Hans(e)ons? and there's your earworm.
> "Climbing to the Moon" - Eels
Such a beautiful record. Seriously. One of the very best that I own, and prone to move me to tears at the best of times. If you don't own Electro-Shock Blues, then you simply must get hold of a copy. It's a brilliant, brilliant album.
> "Queen of the World" - Ida Maria
Ida Maria is a funny one. I fell in love with her from the moment that I heard her play "Oh My God" on Jools Holland, but she's difficult to define. Is she pop? Is she rock? Is she for real? The sticker on the front of her album tries to tell me that she's the meeting point between the Strokes and Amy Winehouse. Hmmm. I sort of see what they mean, but that doesn't get it either. She's poppy enough to be getting lots of airplay on Radio One and to be singing novelty Abba covers with one of their DJs, but I think that's really misleading. Listen to the album and although it's all very upbeat sounding, listen to the lyrics and the story changes. These are songs of loneliness and desperation and of drinking. There's a certain tristesse about Ida Maria, and for me it lifts her up above other, similar artists. Take this song:
I need some whiskey please
so bring me consciousness
and kill my innocence
please lay your eyes on me
lead me in the dance
give me no chance to reconsider
I'm queen of the world
I bump into things
I spin around in circles
and I'm singing
why can't I stay like this
let me be young and stay please
let me stay like this oh oh oh"
It sounds so upbeat, but that's pretty heavy stuff, I think. She's playing Nottingham soon, and she was pretty good at Glastonbury, so I think perhaps I should get myself a ticket.
Anyway. That's your lot. I'm off to London to hang out with an old friend I haven't seen in years who is over from Hong Kong.
Have a good weekend y'all.
Technology at a glacial pace Part 2
2 days ago