Friday 9 January 2009

so much for the golden future, I can't even start....

Shall we start another year's worth of Earworms then?

Ah, go on then.

Earworms of the Week

> "Career Opportunities" - The Clash

I fell for The Clash in a big way at the back end of last year, overdosing both on the "Live at Shea Stadium" album and on an electronic copy of their debut (that in the end cost me nothing) from iTunes. Stuck for present ideas for Christmas, I had the brainwave of asking C's brother, a confirmed Strummer-ite, to get me whatever Clash album he thought I should have that I didn't already possess. Helped by the fact that the whole back catalogue seems to be available for buttons, he came up trumps with not one, not two, not three, not four but five albums. I am now the proud owner of a CD copy of their debut, as well as "Give 'em Enough Rope", "Combat Rock", "London Calling" and "Sandinista!". How cool a present is that? I've done quite a lot of running in the last couple of weeks, and I've taken to listening to a playlist made from a selection from all of those albums. I've actually been surprised that so many people say that "London Calling" is the album to have, when in my opinion it's left standing by that first album. Still. "Career Opportunities" is a standout track even amongst all their other standout tracks. It's short, sharp and ferocious. I especially like the way how, in the 1982 Shea Stadium recording, Strummer changes the line:

"I don’t wanna go fighting in the tropical heat"


"I don't wanna die fighting on a Falkland's street"

Bit of politics for you there.

Brilliant band.

> "Hot N Cold" - Katy Perry

As if "I kissed a Girl" wasn't annoying enough an earworm, this one has come along and taken up residence in my head. I really should stop listening to radio one in the mornings. My radio alarm is set to Radio Five, but I like to listen to music radio in the bathroom and as I potter about in the kitchen. It's harmless enough normally, but it does mean that you run the risk of having something hideous planted in your subconscious. This is one of those times. The worst thing about it? That as calculating as it is, it's a great pop record.

> "These Words (Lenny B remix)" - Natasha Bedingfield

There I was, minding my own business in the gym. I'd fought my way through all the New Year Resolutioners in the pool and I was just getting changed to head off home for my tea, when BANG! This happened. I usually ignore the music playing in the gym - it's usually pretty bland, and played (in the changing rooms anyway) at a low enough level that I don't have to worry about it. For whatever reason, when they started playing some god-awful dance remix of this song, it drilled straight into my head and wouldn't let go. I don't mind the original, I suppose, but like so many remixes, this was execrable. What can you do?

> "Crack the Shutters" - Snow Patrol

I'm very undecided about the new Snow Patrol album. I've played it through a couple of times, and it hasn't really stuck on me, so I've put it aside and not listened to it since. I know lots of people hail Snow Patrol as being akin to an even less imaginative Coldplay, but just as I like Coldplay, I also quite like the Patrol. I'm not going to not like a band just because they're popular and feature a lot on Grey's Anatomy, anyway. Lots of the reviews of the new album picked this song out as being the "next Chasing Cars". I couldn't see that at first, and I don't really agree with them now, but the song definitely has hooks. Unfortunately, as the lyrical content invites you to imagine a naked Gary Lightbody having sex, it's not really an earworm you want to find yourself stuck with at any particular point.

> "Livin' on a Prayer" - Bon Jovi

Within the space of 10 days in March, two of my very best friends turn 35, and so do I. We usually try and get together to do something every year, but this year we are now halfway to the fabled "threescore and ten", and thus starting the downhill run towards the grave. So we're going to have a big party, and because we're halfway there, what better to soundtrack our slide into oblivion?

> Theme tune to "Ivor the Engine"

Oliver Postgate was an absolute genius. This featured in the "backwards TV Theme tunes" round at the pub quiz on Wednesday night, but was actually intially planted in my head a few weeks ago when we sat and watched a couple of episodes when I was in Oxford. The one where they rescue the fox from the hunters is an absolute cracker.


> "Say aha" - Santogold

The album passed me by, and I only picked it up on the recommendation of bedshaped in the Auditorium's countdown of the albums of the year. It's something of a mixed bag, I suppose, and certainly seems to cover a pretty wide variety of genres, but basically I think it's all pretty good. "L.E.S. Artistes" is my favourite song, but this is the one that I've been singing to myself all week, so....

> "Heart in a Cage" - The Strokes

I started craving The Strokes at the beginning of the week when I was sat in the Sauna (just before I heard the Bedingfield song, actually). I have no idea where it came from, as I've never especially liked them as a band, and I haven't listened to them in years. I resisted the urge. Why the hell would I want to listen to them now? The very next day, the craving came back as I was getting into my car to drive to work. I thought about resisting, then idly scrolled my iPod to the relevant section and plugged it into the stereo. As "Juicebox" came on, I knew I had done the right thing, but it was when this one came on that I knew I was doomed. It's a great song, isn't it? They were an infuriating band in that they *looked* as though they would be all style and no substance. I'm still not convinced that they were all that, but they were certainly capable of some fantastic records.

> "Breaking the Law" - Judas Priest

Picture the scene: we're in the pub, in the middle of a tense quiz, locked in battle with our arch rivals. It's the "Nish's Nana's Bontempi Organ" round, in which well known records are played on a bontempi organ. We'd had a mixed round so far, picking out ELP's "Fanfare for the Common Man", but had missed a couple of others. The last track in the round comes on, and within about 2 seconds I know exactly what it is. I let out a cry of triumph. Oh yes! It's "Breaking the Law" by Judas Priest. This song was included on the very first CD that I ever owned: "Protecting the Innocent". A brilliant compilation that opened up with "Don't Fear the Reaper" by the Blue Oyster Cult, rolled on into "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath, "Fireball" by Deep Purple and then into "Ace of Spades" by Motorhead. Somewhere a little further down on the first disc is this little beauty. I bought that CD when I was thirteen years old, and I was delighted / ashamed to discover that I still seemed to know all the words. Ah, just for a moment there, I was thirteen all over again. Brilliant song. Utterly ridiculous, but brilliant all the same.

Have a good weekend y'all and stay classy.

Any volunteers for guest editors in 2009, then just say the word (the word is on your lips).


  1. Me too - with Don Henley guaranteed.

    Though I still have more time for Snow Patrol than Coldplay, I found the first single from the new album did nothing to encourage me to dig further. That said, 'Crack The Shutters' is a real grower. The cynical side of me says that there's something incredibly calculating about it, and I shouldn't allow myself to be drawn in. But that's never stopped me before.

  2. I know I've done it before - more than once - but I'd be delighted to share my earworms with you. Currently a Robbie Williams number, which has a line about being Madonna, and I have no idea of the name of. (In fact, I only know one line, which is really, really infuriating. Especially for the people around me.)