Friday, 20 September 2013

it's hardly what I'd be doing if you gave me the choice....

Earworms of the Week

I don’t know what’s been going on inside my head this week, but there seem to be a few perennial classics knocking about. Perhaps this is what happens when I leave my internal jukebox to its own devices…. I start trying to remember the lyrics to adverts from the 1980s.

Tonight I'm Going to Rock You Tonight” – Spinal Tap

Spurred by the brilliant news that “This is Spinal Tap” has an aggregate score of 7.9 on IMDB…. Out of 11.

Live and Let Die” – Wings

Is this actually even on the Shrek soundtrack? It hardly matters. I seem to have a number of colleagues around me at the moment who speak before they think… in a good way, I mean. In an endearing, nothing-at-all-to-do-with-work kind of a way. There are also large amounts of people here who never think before they speak, but you get them in every office. Endlessly entertaining. I had a conversation with another colleague this week where she insisted that age wasn’t relative and that she would never be my age. No amount of attempting to explain had an impact on her certainty. It was brilliant. I had a chat with her about Schrödinger’s cat last week, and I think I blew her mind… and that was in spite of the fact that she remembers Sheldon talking about it on Big Bang.

Oops Upside Your Head” – The Gap Band

Definitely this and not the Snoop sample. I haven’t listened to either in years, but it’s funny what goes through your head when you are cycling along a riverbank at 6am in the morning. I’ve taken to hailing each rabbit I see along the way: “Good morning, Flopsy! Good morning, Mopsy! Good morning Cotton-Tail!”. No, I’m not losing it.
Why do you ask?

The theme from “Um Bongo”

I spent valuable brain time this week trying to remember the order of the fruit in the lyrics to this song. For reference:

Way down deep in the middle of the Congo,
A hippo took an apricot, a guava and a mango.
He stuck it with the others, and he danced a dainty tango.
The rhino said, "I know, we'll call it Um Bongo"
Um Bongo, Um Bongo, They drink it in the Congo.
The python picked the passion fruit, the marmoset the mandarin.
The parrot painted packets, that the whole caboodle landed in.
So when it comes to sun and fun and goodness in the jungle,
They all prefer the sunny funny one they call Um Bongo!

Now you know, eh?

Showgirl” – The Auteurs

An absolutely belting song, this. It’s the first song I heard by the Auteurs – pipped to the original Mercury Music Prize by a single vote to the eventual winners, Suede in 1993. That’s 20 years ago! Twenty years ago, I was 19 and David Bowie was a mere 46!

That Don’t Impress Me Much” – Shania Twain

Ugh. Seriously. I earworm this song so often that I even once ended up actually downloading it in an attempt to exorcise it. It didn’t work. Clearly.

Unbelievers” - Vampire Weekend

The new Vampire Weekend has been getting better and better with every listen. Their debut album absolutely sparkles, of course, but I don’t think I’ve listened to their second album in literally years (perhaps I should give it another chance). The new one though is excellent. I wasn’t initially sure about all of the vocal effects that are layered on, but over time they’ve blended in pretty seamlessly and I barely notice them at all. Fantastic band. They make me think of my hipster New York friend, Jane. She rocks their style. Or perhaps more accurately, they rock hers.

Supersoaker” – Kings of Leon

As far as I’m concerned, the Kings of Leon have been on a slow, downward career trajectory since the release of their outstanding debut, “Youth and Young Manhood”. As they’ve become more and more successful, to my ears at least, they’ve become less and less interesting and seem determined to become The Eagles. I heard the band being interviewed by Steve Lamacq on 6Music the other day, though and they sounded like really decent, interesting guys. Lamacq has already said that he has been a bit disappointed with the new album, but I suppose they’ve done enough over the years that I might just give them the benefit of the doubt. They also played this record on the radio to accompany the interview - from their forthcoming album - and it sounded alright, actually. “Sex on Fire” does almost nothing for me, so perhaps I’ve been a bit unfair and used that to judge all of their later work. Maybe I’ll try and give them another go and see how they sound.

Pop Goes the Weasel” – Anthony Newley

My friend Mark first played me this song when we were at University together in about 1993 and I’ve never quite been able to shake it off since. Newley is famous for once being married to Joan Collins, but here he seems to be doing his damnedest to sound like Tommy Steele. C. finds this song unlistenable, but I really quite like it. At one point, Newley gives us the “official” definition of what the expression “Pop Goes the Weasel” means. Something to do with hatters pawning their tools at the weekend to buy booze… but what it makes me think is how the internet has completely changed the way we access information. This song was recorded in 1961. Then we had to take Newley’s word for what the expression made. Nowadays, you only have to have a quick google.

Newley was right, incidentally.  Probably.

How to be Dead” – Snow Patrol

In 2004, I saw Snow Patrol live no fewer than 4 times. They also remain the only band to have received the accolade of a 10 / 10 gig review on this blog. At some point, though, I went right off them. The quality of their albums has fallen away a little, I think… but mainly it’s the cumulative impact of hearing their ballads used all the time on shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and starting to perceive Gary Lightbody’s work as soppy in the way that Fran Healey’s songs with Travis went all soppy shortly after “The Man Who”. I dug “The Final Straw” out the other day, and it still sounds fantastic. It’s aged better than the follow-up “Eyes Open”, if you ask me, although possibly the ubiquity of “Chasing Cars” is warping my opinion. Funnily enough, Lightbody came up again when my colleague, Chloe, suggested that I listen to “Tired Pony”… who turned out to be one of his side projects also featuring Peter Buck, lately of REM. Quite the retrospective week, eh? Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to dig out my old Kings of Leon and Snow Patrol records and to revel in the glory years of the first decade of the new millennium. Or I might just listen to some Sabbath. I’ll play it by ear.

And just missing out this week:  "Let's Get Physical" - Olivia Newton-John

Let's all be grateful that it came too late for inclusion, eh?  It's about taking exercise, right?

Have a good weekend, y’all. See you next week.

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