Friday, 7 January 2011

but then I know it's growing strong....

Earworms of the Week

"Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" - Daft Punk

Like many a good earworm, this one crept into my head when I was listening to something completely different by the same band - in this case, the Tron soundtrack.  I like the new album, although it is unmistakeably the soundtrack for a film (a film that I have no intention of watching.  The original, as I remember it, was mostly confusing and entirely boring).  This is 'proper' Daft Punk.  It's not my favourite of their songs (that's probably still "Da Funk", just about, if only for the brilliant video).  Good record though.

"Black Mirror" - Arcade Fire

Another song that popped into my head when I was listening to another tune by the same artist, in this case "No Cars Go", which was playing on the radio when I drove to work this morning (Moyles being temporarily replaced by Zane Lowe is apparently enough to get me tuning back in again).  I downloaded the new Arcade Fire album the other day, and gave it a good old listen last night as I read my book and waited for the cricket to start.  It's very good.  I didn't really think that "Neon Bible" was all that, but it does feature some cracking songs, this one included.  As a band, I find Arcade Fire quite hard to love.   They get loads of critical acclaim, but there's just something about them that I don't warm to.... same thing when I saw them live.  Still, if you've got the tunes, then that's more than most, right?

"I've Been Everywhere" - Johnny Cash

Apparently Johnny Cash was the artist that I listened to the most last year.  Shame on you if that isn't true for you too! He is a legend.  The Last FM stats tell me that I listened to "Ring of Fire" more often in 2010, but if you'd asked me which of his songs had been most frequently on my iPod, I would have said this one.  We seemed to have it on all the time as we breathed the mountain air, man in the Rockies in July, for starters.  Johnny Cash might be my karaoke speciality, but I'm not sure I could quite manage to pull this one off.  I'm much more a "A13, Trunk Road to the Sea" kind of guy.

"Boys Outside" - Steve Mason

Steve Mason used to be the singer in the Beta Band.  Not surprisingly, this album sounds a little bit like the direction that his old band might have taken.  Of all the new albums that I downloaded at the back end of 2010, together with Plan B, this is the one that really stood out.  Not heard the album (of which this is the title track), then I strongly urge you to go and check it out.  It's not exactly cheerful, but it's entirely beautiful.  The Beta Band had some great tunes, but they never really put together an entirely coherent album, in my opinion..... Mason manages to get it right with his first solo attempt.

"29 Years" - The National

I binged on The National before Christmas and downloaded all of the back catalogue stuff that I didn't already know.  When listening to their debut album for the first time whilst sat at my desk in the office before New Year, I was slightly surprised to hear the following lyrics:

You know I dreamed about you
For 29 years before
I saw you
"

They're beautiful lyrics, sure, but they are also identical to the lyrics the band use on "Slow Show", recorded several years later.  Well, recycle, recycle, recycle, I guess.

"You Are the Blood" - Sufjan Stevens

Speaking of the National, I also finally got around to downloading "Dark Was the Night",  the compilation album that they curated a few years back to raise money for the Red Hot Organization that raises funds and awareness for HIV and AIDS sufferers.  As well as a song by The National, the album has contributions from the likes of Bon Iver, My Morning Jacket, Grizzly Bear, the Decemberists, the New Pornographers and this one by Sufjan Stevens.  I disliked "The Age of Adz" so much when I listened to it for the first time a while back that I haven't been able to steel myself to give it another try yet.  This song, however, I really like.  It's a cover and it goes on forever, but it has somehow sunk its way into my skull and won't let go.  It's a good album though, and if you haven't heard it, you should check it out.

"Les Champs-Élysées" - Joe Dassin

By her own admission, C is not much of a singer.  On the whole, she also prefers classical music to popular music.  I rather think she tolerates most of the stuff that I listen to around the place rather than actually liking much of it.  There is, however, one song that is guaranteed to make her sing along with abandon: this one.  It's cheesy as hell, but also brilliant.  If I was to chose an earworm of the year for 2010, then this one would be right up there for me.

"Stay Too Long" - Plan B

As I've said before, "The Defamation of Strickland Banks" was the album that surprised me the most last year, and it just keeps getting better and better every time I hear it.  This is the third track, and although I had been enjoying the album up to this point, this is the song that really unlocked it for me and made me really sit up and pay attention.  The genius of this is the way that the soul groove is so seamlessly blended with the rap that you barely notice the join.  I think I could listen to this song all day long and not get bored, although to do so would rather interrupt the flow of the album.  It's a fiendish earworm too....

"Sweet Caroline" - Neil Diamond

Speaking of weapons grade earworms.... you know you've got it bad when you are caught singing the same song out loud at your desk several times over the course of a single day.  And when that song happens to be something as cheesy as "Sweet Caroline", then you are really asking for some abuse.  I haven't actively listened to this in months, but for some reason I woke up with it in my head one morning and it didn't release me from it's grasp until I went to bed at the end of that day.  The trouble with being caught murmuring along to this is that it is pretty much obvious to anyone and everyone exactly what it is that you have stuck in your head.  I'm not ashamed of liking a bit of Neil Diamond, but singing along out loud at your desk on a Wednesday afternoon?  Really?

"Soul Limbo" - Booker T & the MGs

Do I really have to explain this one?  I've watched every single crappy England team we've sent to Australia since we last won there in 1986/7, some 24 years ago.  Every single one got pounded into the dust, culminating in the 5-0 humiliation the last time we were there in 206/7.    Not this time.  We've finally done it.  Oh sure, the team played brilliantly to achieve a comprehensive 3-1 winning margin in the series, but I reckon I've put in the hard yards too and feel like I've really earned this.  Truly a result to savour.  Great sport.

Have a good weekend, y'all.

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