Friday 17 July 2009

eyeliner and cigarettes....

Earworms of the Week

After a couple of weeks absence, earworms are returning with a vengeance. In spite of being flat on my back and with nothing much else to do, I haven't actually listened to all that much music. Instead, I've read my book, listened to the radio and watched a bit of sport on the telly. In spite of all that, I just can't seem to stop songs from floating across my head. Perhaps it's the lack of anything much else to think about. A real mixed batch, too, as you'll see......

> "Tears of a Clown" - Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

A classic, of course, but it's very specifically the first few seconds of the song before Smokey starts to sing that is lodged in my head. The lyrics of the song always make me smile too. You might look like you're having fun, but you're a crying on the inside kinda guy, right Smokey? Whatevs.

> "Always There" - Marti Webb
> "Anyone Can Fall in Love" - Anita Dobson

"Inspired", if that's the right word to use in conjunction with either of these songs, by LB's post over on Postculturist about the lost songs of the 1980s. They're both the song versions of some very well known theme tunes, of course: Marti Webb is caterwauling along to the Howard's Way theme, and Anita Dobson is screaching along to the Eastenders theme. Both are, to be fair, enduring earworms, having lasted some twenty-odd years on my internal jukebox.... but of the two, and given that everyone in the UK is probably unavoidably exposed to the Eastenders theme every so often, whether they like it or not, I really have to tip my hat to that Marti Webb song. I can't even remember the last time I saw this programme on the telly, nevermind heard this song, but somehow it's still inside my head. I have very clear memories of sitting in front of my Dad's midi system on a Sunday evening taping the charts. I wouldn't say that this was something that I did every week, but I certainly went through a phase of trying to catch as many songs as I could without catching any of Bruno Brookes' irritating banter. For some reason, I remember catching two songs in particular in this way: this one, and "Star Trekking". Hmmm. Perhaps I should be grateful that I'm earworming one and not the other, eh?

> "The Blood That Moves The Body" - A-Ha

Also inspired by that post on Postculturist, this time by a comment from Queenie that, believe it or not, A-Ha actually recorded songs other than "Take On Me" -- not that you'd know it from what you hear on the radio. Queenie picked out this one as being especially good, and you won't hear any disagreement from me.

> "When You Were Young" - The Killers

A good song, for sure, but sadly it's in my head because it's being used in a bastardised instrumental version as the bedding track for Sky's coverage of the Ashes cricket. The BBC also appear to be using a similarly bastardised version of a Strokes song on their coverage of the Open golf... although it took me a few minutes to place it. What's that all about? Is it because of the whole golf / Strokes pun? I hope not. Good songs, both... but not really improved in the musack versions, to be honest.

> "Street Fighting Man" - The Rolling Stones

I can only think that this came from one of two places: it was either because the Rolling Stones are something of a constant background presence in the Ian Rankin Rebus novels that I have been eagerly ploughing my way through, or because the cameras at the Lords test keep showing Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts in their box watching the game. Perhaps it's a combination of the two. Good song. I have a slightly strange relationship with the Rolling Stones: I sort of instintively feel a sense of mild distaste when I think of them, and yet whenever I actually sit down to listen to them - their golden period stuff, anyway - I realise how good a band they were. I just can't shift the image of that leathery old, big-lipped, lascivious goat from my mind, or a picture of Keef going through the motions every night, including a mouthed "I love this job" at the camera as he plays "Jumping Jack Flash" for the ten millionth time to a crowd who've paid far too much to see a band that used to be brilliant but are now just a creaking tribute band who insist on playing newer material. Maybe I'd have liked them more if they'd packed it in in the 1970s? Who wouldn't?

> "F.E.A.R." - Ian Brown

He can't carry a tune in a bucket, of course, and you certainly should never voluntarily pay to go and see him perform live.... but King Monkey does occasionally remind the world that he's still got it. This is one of his finest moments. I have a confession too: I actually liked this as a song quite a long time before I realised what he was doing with the lyrics. Fantastic expectations, amazing revelations..... etc.

> "America" - Simon & Garfunkel

Possibly inspired by the episode in the new series of Flight of the Conchords where Bret and Jermaine are booked to appear as a (splendidly bad) S&G tribute act and where Jermaine meets a girl who will only make out with him if he remains in costume.... In fact, now I think of it, that's definitely where it comes from. The episode guest stars Art Garfunkel, but for me the real star is the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

> "Tracy Jacks" - Blur

Brilliant at Glastonbury last month, but I do wish they hadn't released their back catalogue to advertisers: you can't move at the moment for adverts featuring "The Universal" or "Song 2". How often does an association with an advert for such well known songs really enhance our enjoyment of them? Still, this was one of the standouts played live; made all the more enjoyable by the fact that it's an album track and I had to think for a moment or two before I could place it. Great song. All the better for not being used to advertise insurance.

> "Rhymenocerous vs Hiphopopotamus" - Flight of the Conchords

Yes, the Conchords again. This one because it still makes me laugh.

My rhymes are so potent that in this small segment
I made all of the ladies in the area pregnant
Yes, sometimes my lyrics are sexist
But you lovely bitches and hoes should know I’m trying to correct this

The songs in the new series probably don't stand up so well out of the context of the programme, but they seem more collaborative and are often performed by the whole ensemble and not just by Bret and Jermaine. Who doesn't enjoy seeing Murray and Mel get songs?

> "Believe" - Cher

Where the hell did this come from? No idea, I think it's because I heard a tune on the radio that had absolutely nothing to distinguish it apart from the fact that someone thought that it would sound better with the vocals shoved through a vocoder. Needless to say, it didn't work. Well, lightning was hardly going to strike twice, was it?

> "Paparazzi" - Lady Gaga

I like Gaga. There, I've said it. Maybe it's pop, pure and simple, but I like the little touches of art school that she seems to bring to it, with the costumes, the back projections and all that kind of stuff. I really should have made the effort to go and see her at Glastonbury, and not just because she got her foufou out for the crowd, either.....

Hopefully normal service will be resumed around here next week. I've an appointment at the hospital on Monday morning, and hopefully I'll be able to get on with my life shortly after that. Work might be bobbins, but I've just discovered that not going to work can be pretty rubbish too........

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


  1. I'd like to stay here and be normal but it's just so over-rated!

  2. Anita Dobson...muwahahahahaha.

  3. Haven't seen any of the new 'Flight Of The Conchords' yet. (I've missed all of 'Psychoville' too.) Really must sit down and watch something other than Dave of an evening...

    As for 'Tracy Jacks', that was the song that made me disappear off in disgust at Glastonbury. Never been a Blur fan (except for a brief flirtation around the time of the self-titled album, when they were reacting against The Great Escape and Coxon's influence was coming to the fore), but that, for me, is a fucking terrible song.