Friday 8 April 2011

whatever happened to the boy that I once knew?

Earworms of the Week

James Bond Theme - Monty Norman
"You Know My Name" - Chris Cornell

It's been a bit of a bumper week for earworms... my head has been churning them out, and I've made a bit more of an effort to write them down.  Lots of theme tunes, for some reason... starting with a bit of a James Bond theme.  Well, with the James Bond theme itself.  Usually credited to Monty Norman, but I believe that was a bit of a sore point with the great John Barry.  Still, it's an absolutely classic.  Not timeless, exactly, as it does in truth sound a little bit of its era.... but none the worse for that.  The Chris Cornell theme to Casino Royale popped into my head a little later in the week of its own accord.  I was browsing through the "Purchased" playlist on my iTunes, and this was actually straight after the song that I went looking for, and I left the stereo on until it was finished.  For lots of people, it's not a classic Bond theme, but I like it.  Both as a Bond theme (it's the surging brass bits) but - more importantly - as a song in its own right.  Great rock voice too.

"Voodoo Chile" - Jimi Hendrix

It's famous for a reason.  No guitarist, before or since, sounded anything like this.

Theme from Parkinson
Theme from Terry & June
Theme from the muppet show

Ah, and so into a run on 1970s tv theme tunes.  GJ, who sits next to me at work, deserves some credit for these (and if I don't give him any, then he'll be on here demanding it...).  Terry & June featured in this week's pub quiz in the backwards round, but the others arrived when I was sat at my desk.  The Parkinson theme is a classic of the genre, of course.... although now I come to think of it, I can't remember if we started singing this tune before or after GJ's terrible Michael J. Fox joke.  Before, I think.  The joke made me laugh, but it is shockingly poor.  Shame on you, GJ.  All classic tunes that have stood the test of time though, eh?  You can't argue with the Muppet's theme, can you?

"Popcorn" - Gershon Kingsley / Hot Butter

Kingsley did it originally, but it was made famous by Hot Butter.  The first electronic / techno hit in chart history, apparently.  Whatever.  You can't beat a good moog instrumental, that's what I always say.

"If I Can't Change Your Mind" - Sugar

"Copper Blue" came out when I was at University, I think (yeah, it was the NME's album of the year in 1992, so it was my first year).  The chances are that I probably played this on the my show on University Radio.  Whatever.  This was the kind of era when I was listening to the Lemonheads, "Modern Life is Rubbish" era Blur, Belly and debut album period Suede after emerging, blinking, from my long years in the heavy metal wilderness.  The reason this song works is the tune, pure and simple.  Listen to it now: it's a great pop song.  You could give this song to almost anyone and it would sound great.

"Hash Pipe" - Weezer

Speaking of heavy metal, the riff on this record -- by a famously weedy indie band -- is muscular to say the least, and the record enjoys at least one magnificent "UH!" by Rivers Cuomo.  You have to be pretty resolutely contrary to come up with a song this catchy and then give it a name that is going to immediately alienate you from the mainstream (in the USA at least).  LOVE them for that.

"After the Gold Rush" - Neil Young

There's a lovely article on the Guardian today about the songs that make you cry.  Rosie Swash picks this one, and reading her reasoning had me reaching for my iPod to give it a listen.  It doesn't make me cry, but it is a beautiful song.  I was asked by my boss this afternoon if I was in a bad mood, and I had to reply, "I'm listening to Neil Young.  How could I be in a bad mood?".  Lovely song.  "I was lying in a burned out basement with the full moon in my eyes."  Not too shabby that, as lyrics go.

"Who's in Control" - British Sea Power

They're a bit willfully awkward, aren't they?  In spite of being nominated for the Mercury Prize a few years ago, they're still almost deliberately non-mainstream, with their plus-fours and with all the bits of tree and things that they like to decorate their stage with.  When they get it right, though, the tunes speak for themselves.  I love "Waving Flags", and by the second time I heard this record on 6 Music this week, and found myself singing along, I knew that this one had stuck too.

"She's Lost Control" - Joy Division

Speaking of control.... my favourite Joy Division song.  As I've mentioned before, I try to pick a band each week and then slip the titles of their songs into the weekly report that I have to write.  During a fire alarm break from a meeting, one of my colleagues came up to me and said he'd clocked how I used The Smiths the other week (I've also used the Beach Boys and the Manic Street Preachers, to name two), and he asked if I could use Joy Division this week.  His wish was my command.   Although I couldn't use this particular song (can you imagine?), I was able to squeeze in "Transmission", which pleased me greatly.  Well, you have to keep yourself entertained during the working day, no?

The Shangri-Las - "Remember (Walking in the Sand) / Leader of the Pack

"Is she really going out with him?".

"Leader of the Pack" is probably their most famous song, and it's ace of course.... (even if it makes me think of the Rocky Horror show) but the song that's been stuck in my head above all others this week is the beautiful "Remember".  This version has been stuck in my head, but the first time the song came to my attention, was when Aerosmith did a cover at some point in the 1970s.  I went through a big Aerosmith phase around the time "Pump" came out, and slowly worked my way backwards through their catalogue..... but this week it's been all about the Shangri-Las.  They're probably not even in the top division of all-girl groups, but I love the atmosphere of this recording nonetheless.  Melancholy.  Right up my street. 

So.... bumper edition of earworms over.  Enjoy your weekend.  The forecast is good, I hear.....  stay classy, y'all.

BBQ's for everyone!

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