Friday 6 January 2012

I know my way is hard and steep....

Earworms of the Week

Shall we?  Oh, go on then.

Close to You” – The Carpenters

Much though I love Burt Bacharach, I have to say that this one isn’t one of my favourites. I find it saccharine, but you can’t argue with how naggingly bloody catchy it is, can you? It’s certainly a song that has endured, anyway. I’ve no idea why this popped into my head, as I can’t remember consciously hearing the song, but isn’t that always the way with a good earworm?

Mr Brightside” – The Killers

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again: the Killers apparently wrote this in their first fifteen minutes together as a band, but no matter how long their career is, I doubt they’ll write many songs as good as this one. “When You Were Young” is the only other one of theirs that comes even close…. And that’s not a criticism of their subsequent career as much as commenting how damn good this song is. Welcome in my head anytime.

Wake Up And Make Love With Me” – Ian Dury and the Blockheads

This popped up on shuffle when I was out running the other day. It’s not an obvious running song, but sometimes the strangest songs give you a little spring in your step. This was definitely one of them. I can’t think of another song that sounds quite so affectionately smutty, either.

Mountains” – Biffy Clyro

Still in my head after a solid couple of months of residence. It’s a great tune, this and I love to listen to it LOUD on the drive into work in the morning. I have almost no awareness of any other song the band might have done, but I can’t get enough of this one.

You Only Live Twice” – Bjork

Another one that popped up randomly on shuffle. The start of this is almost exactly the same as the original, but as soon as Bjork starts to sing, it simply couldn’t be anybody else. It’s a very faithful cover, but yet also very much a Bjork song (with a few added David Arnold trills and warbles). Tribute to both the quality of the original and to Bjork’s voice.

Danger! High Voltage!” – Electric Six

Silly, silly band. Great tune. One of Jack White’s finest vocal performances?

Graceland” – Paul Simon

Timeless. I was reading a big interview with Art Garfunkel the other day, and he talked quite a lot about what a genius songwriter Simon is, but how he also put in a lot of work with the vocals (so the high bit in “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was all his idea). Fair enough, and you can’t beat a bit of S&G, can you? But then you listen to a song like this and the brilliance of his songwriting shines out loud and clear. The tune rumbles along nicely, but those lyrics are just superb, right from the very first sentence:

The Mississippi Delta was shining
Like a National guitar
I am following the river
Down the highway
Through the cradle of the civil war

You don’t quite get that from N-Dubz, do you?

This Ain’t New Jersey” – Smith & Burrows

My new favourite seasonal album (it’s wintery rather than just Christmassy), and this is my favourite song from it. I’ve rabbited on about this already, but those lyrics are just fantastic.

Blitzkrieg Bop” – The Ramones
Wayfaring Stranger” – Johnny Cash

So, I finally pulled my finger out over the Christmas break and bought myself the ukulele that I’ve been toying about taking up for a little while now. I’ve never really played the guitar or anything like that, so I’ve very much been starting from scratch. Thanks to a great website ( and the book that the site creator has written “Ukelele for Dummies”, I’ve quickly been able to learn a few chords and quickly get to playing some songs. “Five Years Time” by Noah and the Whale is three simple chords and a doddle, but I was absolutely made up to discover that learning the mournful sounding minor chords enabled me to get my teeth into Johnny Cash (whose version of this song, if you needed telling, is infinitely superior to the pish offered by Ed Sheeran). Bliss. I’m currently working on the Ramones, but I’m still pretty ropey as – belying their image as purveyors of simple, three-chord songs – some of the fingering required for “Blitzkrieg Bop” is taking a bit of practice to get the hang of. It’s absolutely great to be learning to play songs that I know, though…. I doubt I’ll be tearing up any trees or performing on a stage any time soon, but I’m having a blast (although the cat seems to have taken a dislike to E minor in particular…)

That’s your lot. Have a good weekend, y’all.

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