Friday 3 July 2009

if we worked hard, if we behaved.....

Earworms of the Week

Well, given that I spent much of the last week in a field in Somerset, it's perhaps a little inevitable that a good number of the songs that have been circling on my internal jukebox come from the bands that I saw at Glastonbury. Given that I didn't actually see all that many bands, and given that I spent so long in the car getting to and from the festival listening to my iPod, there are also a good number that have nothing to do with the festival at all. Besides, since when has there been much logic to earworms?

> "Talk" - Coldplay

I'm off to see Coldplay / Girls Aloud / Jay-Z / White Lies at Wembley Stadium in September - mainly, it has to be said, because we all quite fancied watching the girls. Jay-Zed I have seen before and, although he was quite good, I don't really have a burning desire to see him again I must say. White Lies I'm hoping to see at Rock City later in the year, but haven't yet pulled my finger out to get hold of a ticket, so at least I know I'll be seeing them once. Coldplay, of course, are something of a favourite of mine. As everyone knows, every self-respecting music fan should probably hate Coldplay: partly because of their music, but mostly because so many other people like them. I was reminded of this in a meeting the other day with a senior manager in the business and a forty-something year old lady. The lady's phone rang. The senior manager practically jumped out of his seat:
"Don't tell me! Coldplay..."
The ringtone was "In My Place".
"Yes, I love Coldplay"
"Me too!"
I like Coldplay too, but shouldn't I be trying to maintain at least a thin veneer of credibility.....?

Nah. Damnit. I just like them, alright?

> "Keep Rockin' in the Free World" - Neil Young

...especially when it goes on and on and on played live by the great man himself. He may have left the stage eventually, but I bet he's still playing that solo in his head. Actually, I like to think that Neil Young probably wanders around everywhere with a little amplifier attached to his belt, playing solos to everything he does as he potters about his house and garden.
"Going down the stairs now [epic guitar solo].... going into my kitchen now [epic guitar solo]..... makin' me some toast now [epic guitar solo]" etc.
I know for sure that's what John Fogerty does.

> "Let's Talk About It" - White Denim

An earworm of long-standing, brought back to the surface by last night's fantastic gig. The set list pretty much blended everything into one 50 minute song, but their extended jam around this was a particular highlight.....

> "Down Down" - Status Quo

Why was I surprised that the Quo were so good on Sunday afternoon at the Pyramid Stage? They've been doing this for a very long time and certainly know by now what buttons to press. They may only have three chords, but they certainly know how to use them. Fantastic fun. Francis Rossi has finally shed that ridiculous pony-tail too, and looks all the better for it.

> "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" - Michael Jackson

Predictable that I should have at least one MJ earworm. Actually, "Thriller" and "Beat It" also feature, but this song gets the nod by dint of being so damn perfect. Whatever else he was, Michael Jackson was a very talented man. Perhaps that fact is easily lost amongst everything else, but let's not forget that at least. Bizarrely, I saw the video to "Bad" on the big screen at Glastonbury, and it has opened my eyes to the possibility that some nifty formation dancing could be the answer we've been looking for in this country to end knife crime amongst the young. Has anyone suggested that before?

> BBC Wimbledon Theme Tune / "Soul Limbo" - Booker T & the MGs

Cracking tunes both, and although we sadly don't get to hear the BBC cricket theme much anymore, the Ashes are starting next week and you can rest assured that it will be playing in my head for much the rest of the summer, together with an image of Malcolm Marshall ruefully gesturing that he was looking for some out swing.

> "Born of Frustration" - James

An old favourite. They were some band, eh?

> "Grey Day" - Madness

Amongst all the more obvious hits, this is somehow the one song from their set on Sunday that has stayed with me. They always were something of a melancholy band, but this song is especially downbeat, and in spite of the fact that I was watching them in the blazing sunshine, it's the image of standing in the pouring rain that has endured. Absolutely brilliant band. Love them to bits.

> "Fire" - Kasabian

They're gibbons and they attract the same kind of crowd as Oasis... but ..... but.... I'm reluctantly being led to the conclusion that they've actually got some tunes. They've certainly shown more creativity in their last three albums than Oasis have in about 10 years. Yes, the 60s influences are rather to the front on this record, but its power is surely undeniable. Damn them. That is a bloody silly album cover though, isn't it? Surely I'm not the only person to think that?

> "Allentown" - Billy Joel

Another perennial favourite of mine. I think it was listening to Springsteen singing of working class dreamers that made me think of Billy Joel. Musically they're quite different, of course, and the Boss probably endures far greater levels of credibility and critical appreciation, but in many ways they're cut from the same cloth. Billy Joel's songs are shot through with stories of blue-collar dreamers looking to escape or simply to find their way in a changing world. This song is the perfect example of that, and for me captures beautifully the problems of a whole generation, born after the second world war, when the factories began to shut down. I wonder if Billy Bragg likes this? He'll never sing like Billy Joel (and he'll certainly never marry any models), but surely he can appreciate the sentiment?

That's your lot. I'm knackered and it's time to shut down for the weekend. It's not easy going back to work after the Festival, and it certainly doesn't get any easier as I get older. Grumble grumble. (oh alright, the pub quiz on wednesday and the gig on Thursday are my own doing, but still....)

Have a good weekend y'all and stay classy.

1 comment:

  1. James were one of my favourite late '80s and early '90s bands. Hadn't listened to them much over the past ten years or so, other than as an occasional nostalgia trip. However, a few weeks ago I was flicking through my vinyl collection - mostly inaccessible in the cupboard above the wardrobe, so special effort is required - and pulled out a few of the earlier albums. Strip-Mine in particular sounds remarkably fresh.