Saturday 28 September 2013

I want to feel small, lying in my mother's arms....

Earworms of the Week

"Catholic Girls" - Frank Zappa

I've got to be honest with you, I don't often feel the need to listen to Frank Zappa.... even if I retain a huge soft-spot for "Bobby Brown Goes Down" (he can, after all, take about an hour on the tower of power...). But, you know, sometimes there's nothing else for it.

Mind you, this isn't an especially subtle song:

All the way
That's the way they go
Every day
And none of their mamas ever seem to know
For all the class they show
There's nothing like a catholic girl

But, you know, the tune is so damn perky that it's irresistible.

Bad to the Bone” – George Thorogood & the Destroyers”

Because it reminds me of travelling in the back of a big truck called Denver through the deserts of Namibia.  Specifically, it reminds me of a particular hipster friend of ours who we will be spoiling when we get over to New York in early January.

Fire” – Kasabian

They're six-fingered gibbons from Leicester, obviously... but I caught a snippet of this song on the radio the other day and I have to admit that it has a certain lumbering charm.

The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite” – R.E.M.
"The Lion Sleeps Tonight" – Tight Fit

There was a slightly odd moment in Stewart Lee's performance at the Nottingham Playhouse last Sunday where he was heckled by someone in the crowd singing the chorus to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight".  As well as remarking on how incongruous it was when talking about an Australian animal, Lee proceeded to grill the heckler on how much he even knew about the song.  Not much, apparently.... and Lee seems to know an awful lot, from the original artist, through the various covers (including the Tight Fit one) and on to songs that reference it, including the R.E.M. one.  I'd never actually thought about that connection before, but it sort of makes sense, and now obviously both songs are playing in my head.

Gentleman and Players” – The Duckworth Lewis Method

The cricket season is over, and Trent Bridge have sent me the renewal forms for my membership and the ticket applications for the match against India next July.  The seasons roll around too quickly, eh?  Cue cricket earworm.

Rattlesnakes” – Lloyd Cole & the Commotions
"Rattlesnakes" - Tori Amos

C. doesn't have all that many popular musicians that she will say that she really likes.  She seems to have a soft-spot for the White Stripes and retains an affection for various cheesy French artists, but it's Lloyd Cole that she really seems to remember most fondly.  I had "Strange Little Girls", the Tori Amos album of covers, on in the kitchen as I was cooking the other night.  "Rattlesnakes" is on there, and C. obviously knows the song well... but it did prompt a discussion about which version is the better.  I like both, but think definitely prefer the Tori Amos cover.  C. is a little more old school and prefers the original.  In the end, I just put on the Arctic Monkeys.

Do I Wanna Know” – Arctic Monkeys

Once in a while, you hear a song out of the blue that really gets you moving, right from the very first listen.  It doesn't happen very often, mind.  For me, the last time was for "Kemosabe" by Everything Everything earlier this year, but before that it was "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" way back in 2005.  That had me rocking in the shower, which happens even less often than that.... Anyway.  I bought their first couple of albums, but sort of drifted away after "Humbug".  I really, really like "Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High" from their new album, so I took a chance (and a price-point of £4.99 helped too) and bought it.  It's excellent.  They might be based in LA now, but that quirky English phrasing of the song lyrics is still in place and it's altogether excellent (" summat in your teeth").  Well worth a listen, I would say... even if I elected to watch Chic at Glastonbury this year instead.

Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying” – Belle & Sebastian

Of all the songs to get stuck in your head all week, something by fey indie wastrels Belle & Sebastian wouldn't seem to be the most likely, but here we are.  Not that I'm complaining, I'm a fan... it's just that you'd expect something more obviously catchy, wouldn't you?  This has been slinging around my head as I've cycled into work along the river every morning.  I don't wear headphones or listen to music when I'm on my bike, in the main, so my brain has free reign to let rip with whatever springs to mind.  This week, it's mostly been this.

Rewind the Film” – Manic Street Preachers

I go back a long way with the Manics.  I bought "Generation Terrorists" back in the day, and first saw the band at Reading in 1994, their first gig without Richie (who was in rehab and hadn't yet disappeared, although that wasn't far away).  "The Holy Bible" was released the following Monday, and I can remember stopping at Milton Keynes shopping centre on the way home from the festival to buy a copy, only to discover that everything was shut because of the Bank Holiday and I was just going to have to wait (imagine that now! shops shut!).  "The Holy Bible" remains by far my favourite of their albums.  It's fair to say that the band have come a long way since then, and "Rewind the Film" barely sounds as though it's been recorded by the same band.  The ferocity has been replaced by reflection and regret.  I love it.  Some will no doubt mourn the loss of a band that no longer exists, but I think that if this is the sound of a band approaching late middle-age, then they're doing just fine.  I'm not the same person I was back in 1994, so why on earth should we expect them to be?  The title track in particular is a majestic piece of work: guest vocals are provided by Richard Hawley, but James Dean Bradfield bursts in towards the end of the song to great effect, and they combine beautifully.  This album is nothing like I expected, but the more I listen to it, the more it sinks under my skin.  It's brilliant.  What a band.  Sustained excellence over two decades, and this is as good as anything they've done in years, if not better.  It's a beautiful song.

And with that ringing endorsement, I'm off for a run to listen to the album again.  Have a good weekend, y'all.

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