Friday 29 May 2009

sometimes I envy them....

Earworms of the Week

> "We Made You" - Eminem

I wouldn't say that I was an Eminem fan, exactly.... I own precisely three of his tracks (can you guess which three?), but it's not hard to see the talent, is it? Like a lot of his stuff, the first few plays of this left me pretty cold, but then it started to grow on me as I started to pick out some of the lyrics and to see both how verbally dexterous he is and how funny. Amy Winehouse's Blake may achieve nothing else in his life, but he can at least now say that he has been namechecked by Eminem. "Never has there been such finesse and nostalgia". Indeed.

> "New in Town" - Little Boots

Hmmm. I can't say that I'm entirely convinced by Britain's hottest new talent, or whatever it is that New Boots is supposed to be. Still, there's no denying that this is in my head, so it must be good at least for that, eh?

> "Dakota" - Stereophonics

A band that once promised so much and settled for middle-of-the-road trad rock mediocrity. This is probably their most frustrating song of all, given that it shone like a diamond in the mud of their other work of the time, showing a clear sign of what they might have been. It's still a great song though, and it sounds especially good when that thousand mile, soaring guitar riff is played when the sun is out.

> "Biology" - Girls Aloud

As an entirely manufactured band who sing nothing but other people's songs, I really want to hate them. You just can't though, can you? In fact, I'll be seeing them live before the year is out.

> "Walking on Broken Glass" / "There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)" - Annie Lennox

C. doesn't listen to all that much contemporary music. She's more of a Radio 4 or classical music kind of a girl. She suffers much of what I listen to, very occasionally expressing a liking to a band like the Kings of Leon or the Fleet Foxes. Eurythmics and Annie Lennox are one act that she could happily listen to all day long. I observed her thrilling to Annie Lennox on "Later...." the other day (coincidentally on the same show that Little Boots appeared), and made a mental note to pick her up that Annie Lennox solo compilation that's come out (she already has the Eurythmics equivalent). I have it to her for her birthday, and gratifyingly she's been listening to nothing else since. French radio being what it is, naturally we heard a bit of Eurythmics as we hopped around the channels). A band I would be more than happy to have on the iTunes library that we share.

> "Stonehenge" - Spinal Tap

The lineup for the Glastonbury Festival was announced this week, and as we get nearer and nearer to June, and the sun is shining, I'm starting to get more and more excited. My tickets even arrived this morning. There are plenty of bands that I'm keen to see (although it looks as though there's going to be no Billy Bragg, which will be very odd, to say the least). One huge highlight looks as though it's going to be the double-header on the Pyramid of The Eagles of Death Metal and Spinal Tap. Can you imagine a more perfect place to hear "Stonehenge" turned up to 11 than at the Glastonbury Festival?

Nope, me neither.

> "Say, Say, Say" - Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson
> "All Night Long" - Lionel Ritchie
> "I Can't Dance" / "Another Day in Paradise" / "In The Air Tonight" - Phil Collins

Whilst driving around in the Loire Valley last weekend, taking in the magnificent sites at Meung-sur-Loire, Amboise and Chenonceau, I spent a fair bit of time in the car flicking around the FM dial and getting to grips with French radio: Forum, RFM, SkyRock and the like. Of course, these stations are obliged by law to play a certain percentage of French songs, so I got to hear exactly how parlous a state French pop music is in (although I did like that song about how the world would be an entirely better place if it was run by women... except for Mrs. Thatcher). In between times though, the playlist seems to consist entirely of music from the 1980s and early 90s, with a particular obsession with Phil Collins, either in solo or as part of Genesis. Still, it's not an entirely bad thing - once in a while - to indulge in a bit of Lionel Ritchie, eh? And when was the last time you heard that McCartney/Jackson duet played on national radio? Superb.

> "Virginia State Epileptic Colony" / "Marlon J.D." - Manic Street Preachers

The new Manic Street Preachers album is epic. The band have returned to a folder of lyrics left behind by Richie James Edwards shortly before he disappeared. After the success of their last album, the band finally felt able to return to them and see if they could do them justice. Oh my, have they succeeded. My favourite Manics album by a country mile is the Richie-dominated "Holy Bible", so perhaps it's no surprise that I would like this, but it's an absolute delight to hear the Manics playing songs like the ones they used to play back in the day. They're older and wiser now, of course, but Richie's lyrics are preserved as though in aspic: they're pithy, dense and impenetrable, of course, but as always, James Dean Bradfield pulls of the not inconsiderable task of bringing them to life and putting them to music ("Oh Christ, Richie. Not Chomsky again?"). The whole album is superb, but these two songs are the obvious standouts for me. I don't think any other band in the world would be capable of an album like this, and we're bloody lucky to still have them.


So, that's your lot. The weather forecast is set fair around these parts, so obviously I'm planning to go to the cinema. The new Sam Raimi horror film, I think. That should bring me out in a cold sweat, eh?

Have a good weekend y'all, and stay classy.

1 comment:

  1. My guesses for Eminem would be Stan, Lose Yourself... and either Real Slim Shady or Guilty Conscience.

    I used to love Em, and I admired his decision to 'retire'. Undecided on the comeback.

    Not sure about Little Boots, mainly since the only thing I've heard by her so far is a Freddie Mercury cover (and Fred's version was obviously better).

    I've been listening to a fair bit of 80s MOR myself lately. I think there's enough distance now for me to start appreciating it again.