Friday 24 September 2010

I'm the captain of my soul....

Earworms of the Week

> "Northern Sky" - Nick Drake

I just keep on coming back to Nick Drake.  I was listening to "Bryter Layter" and "Five Leaves Left" in the office earlier this week as I struggled to get motivated enough to actually complete the process flowchart I was working on.  I could almost have picked anything off either of these albums as both are magnificent, but I settled on this one.  Beautiful song.

> "Can You Tell" - Ra Ra Riot

As introduced to me by Mandy a few years ago on her shuffleathon disc.  It's an almost perfect pop song and I love it to bits.  Brought to mind by a friend in New York saying that she was attending one of their concerts this week.  She'd never heard of them, but reported that they were excellent.  Good to know.

> "To Lose My Life" - White Lies

Doomy guitar rock?  Check. 

I listen to a lot of stuff like this, and I've decided that the most sophisticated of the doomy, portentous white boy guitar bands that I listen to are probably the National.  I mean, I like bands like Interpol too, but they just seem to lack something in comparison with their fellow New Yorkers.  I'm not sure that White Lies are as good as either, and there's something very naive and certainly uncomplicated about the emotions expressed in the lyrics here, but it's a good song nonetheless.

> "Chocolate Salty Balls" - Chef

Isaac Hayes rarely sounded better on this "joke" record that is ageing surprisingly well.  One of my big Glastonbury regrets is that I didn't go and see him, preferring instead to stay at the Other Stage and watch someone like We Are Scientists.  I like WAS, but that was always a poor decision.... something I knew for certain when I heard he had played this song.

> "California Gurls" - Katy Perry

Stupid song.  Awesomely catchy.

> "Fire" - Kasabian

They're gibbons, for sure, but I love the change of pace in this song.  It sounds almost sloppy, but it just works.  I was singing this one in the car on the way to work. People could see me and everything.

> Theme tune to "The Incredible Hulk" (The Lonely Man Theme)

Wistful.  For the record, it sounds very much like the theme to the 6 Million Dollar Man when played backwards at the pub quiz.  That's our excuse anyway.  And we still won.

> "Shiver" - Natalie Imbruglia

I'd almost forgotten that this song existed when I heard it being played on the PA in a shop I was in earlier in the week.  If you'd asked me to list the Natalie Imbruglia songs I knew, I'm not sure that this one would be on it, but as soon as I heard it, I knew it was her and I even found myself singing along.  I worry about forgetting things, and there's stuff like this in my head.  Good song, actually, and an excuse to post a link to Nat almost pornographically enjoying a Tim-Tam-Slam on the Graham Norton Show.

> "Elephants" - Them Crooked Vultures

I liked the idea of this band, but wasn't sure about the record.  Nine months later, when I listened to it again, it turned out to be brilliant.  Sloppy and a bit loose-sounding, but a fantastic rock album nonetheless.  I love the way this song changes pace about ten seconds in as the drums and bass kick in and start to drive it forwards.  YEAH!

> "Spoonman" - Soundgarden

...Speaking of rock.  I really like Chris Cornell's voice, whether it's married with the RATM guys in Audioslave, solo or particularly with Soundgarden.  It seems almost laughable now that they were often mentioned in the same breath as Nirvana as Seattle grunge bands back in the day: Soundgarden are a classic rock band and that's that.  Every time I go looking for them on my iPod, it's because I want to listen to Bad Motor Finger ("Jesus Christ Pose" in particular, although I have been loving the Johnny Cash cover of "Rusty Cage" over the last couple of weeks....), but I always find that I've only ever got around to ripping Superunknown.  I really must remedy that.  And whilst I'm at it, I need to remember to pull my finger out and rip some Tindersticks and the Billy Bragg and Wilco Mermaid Avenue albums.

> "Say You, Say Me" - Lionel Richie

A Walkers crisps advert Lionel?  Why?  Why?

> "Captain of my Soul" - Electric Boys

I saw the Electric Boys at the Aston Villa Leisure Centre supporting Thunder in about 1989.  I wasn't familiar with their work before I saw them, and although I went out and bought the album, I probably haven't even thought about them, never mind listened to them, in about 15 years.  They were really good, as I remember it.  It was one of those gigs where the bass is so loud that it vibrates you to your very core.  This was always my favourite of their songs, and it was inevitably called to mind when I was reading "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

It's an awesome poem, of course, and I was inspired to dig it out the other day after listening to a  wonderful answer Stephen Fry gave at a Q&A session a while ago.  Where some of the humanist/atheist rhetoric of the last couple of weeks has been quite strong, and focused on throwing brickbats at religious organisations, Fry spoke inspirationally about how we are the masters of our own fate, the captains of our own souls..... and some ropey 1990s Swedish funk-metal was inexorably brought to mind.  Perhaps not the response he was hoping for.

Do go and listen to that Fry clip though.  Wonderful.

Have a good weekend y'all.

1 comment:

  1. Can't believe you found a vid for the song! Great gig, great gig.