Friday 29 January 2016

the wind that lifts her perfume through the air...

Earworms of the Week

"I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair" - Nellie Forbush (South Pacific)

Not only do I not have hair, but I don’t really own any shampoo either. Nor do I have any great need to forget a man. I haven’t even ever seen South Pacific either…So, all in all, this one is a bit of a puzzler. Still, there’s a bit of a musicals theme to this week’s earworms, so it seem kind of apt that we kick it all off here.

"Autobahn" / "Computer Love" – Kraftwerk

I listened to some of my Kraftwerk albums this week. My conclusion: I much prefer “Man/Machine” to “Autobahn”. The latter is far too much like background music for my liking, whereas the former has things that can much more simply be recognised as tunes. “Computer Love” is a great example, with a riff so catchy that it was wholesale stolen by Coldplay for “Talk”. Unlike lots of people, I actually quite like the first two or three Coldplay albums, and that’s not actually a bad song… but it is pretty much totally made by the genius of that original riff. Plus, those lyrics are timeless and as relevant today as they day they were written. Perhaps more-so, as they seem to be foreshadowing Tinder….

Another lonely night
Another lonely night
Stare at the TV screen
Stare at the TV screen
I don't know what to do
Don't know what to do
I need a rendezvous
I need a rendezvous

You can’t argue with “Autobahn” though, eh? All 22 minutes of it….

"These Dreams" – Heart

I have been sort of meaning to get around to downloading “Barracuda” for some time now. That’s a proper tune…. But quite why this one is in my head, I have no idea. I actually had to double-check to see who performed the song as it seemed to have just dropped into my subconscious of its own accord and set up camp. When was the last time I even heard this? 1989? Why now?

"Let It Go" - Idina Menzel (Frozen)

This one I can explain: I spent a few hours today sitting at a colleague’s desk and she has a box of Frozen tissues featuring both of the princesses. I’ve been through a lot of tissues over the last couple of weeks, so my eye was drawn, and that together with the fact that I had to learn this song for choir in the summer, and it all comes together. Is it just me who has a soft-spot for that lyric about frozen fractals? Is this song at least partially responsible for educating a generation of children about the geometry of snow? Alt-J would be proud.

"Island in the Sun" - Weezer

An awkward band at times, but when they hit a melody like this, they’re pretty much untoucheable. I put the whole of the Green album on this week, and it still sounds great, even though it was (unbelievably) recorded in 2001 – fifteen whole years ago, ladies and gentlemen. I’m old and Zayne Malik has a solo single out. Hip hip.

"Spanish Ladies" - Sea Shanty

Reading an article about how the chumming of water off South Island New Zealand to draw in Great White Sharks for the cage divers is maybe changing their behaviour and teaching them to see boats and divers as a source of food…. Something that, as a diver myself, I’m keen not to encourage. And the earworm that played as I read this? Quint singing this sea shanty in Jaws, and the image of him sliding down the boat into the open maw of the shark, hacking at it with his knife even as he’s bitten in half. What a great film that is, and what a magnificent species sharks are. Before I learned to dive, you always have an anxiety about sharks in the back of your mind. Before I’d even qualified, I was happily jumping into water where I could see sharks circling. There’s not much better than seeing such a beautiful creature in its own environment. Apart from anything else, in the context of the open ocean, you soon realise that you’re just not on the shark’s agenda. I’d recommend it. Although perhaps not with a Great White…. Here's to swimming with bow-legged women!

"The Thénardier Waltz of Treachery” - Les Miserables

The only version of Les Mis that I can remember seeing is a straight-laced, no-singing version starring Anthony Perkins as Javert, and I can’t remember much about that because I was about 8. I’ve never seen the musical and I don’t know any of the songs. Imagine my delight, then that we’re singing a huge medley of songs from the musical in this season’s choir set. And by huge, I mean it’s about 17 minutes worth or something. We tend to learn these things a song at a time, week-by-week, singing the medley through up to the point we’ve learned. I have to tell you, I still haven’t watched any of the songs on YouTube, but I am quite enjoying singing them, and I actually found myself singing this one to myself completely unprompted this week. They must be doing something right, eh? The choir voted for their favourite song from each of the fifteen seasons we’ve done (this is my fourth) for the CD we recorded in the summer, and this was by far and away the most popular song, apparently. We couldn’t get the rights to record it, but our musical director brought it back for us to sing, and I must say that I’m pleasantly surprised how much I’m enjoying singing it. What’s it about? No idea. Convicts innit?

"Wonderful Life" - Black
"Wonderful Life" - Smith & Burrows

I was due to sing this song at a singposium on Saturday, but unfortunately it’s been cancelled due to illness, and I now have to decide if I want to audition this for a solo proper without the benefit of any feedback or knowing if it sounds any good. It’s also been very much on my mind because of the very sad death of Colin Vearncombe this week at the age of 53. No need to laugh and cry, indeed.  (My version is deeper than both of these, incidentally.  I struggle to reliably hit the high note at Black's pitch, but I'm all over Tom Smith's version.  My backing track just takes me to the deeps...)

"Good Vibrations" / "Sloop John B" - The Beach Boys

I watched “Love and Mercy” the other day, the Brian Wilson film that stars Paul Dano as the young Wilson and John Cusack as the older Wilson. It’s a triumph of a film, but perhaps the best part about it is the way that it so vividly captures the way that Brian desperately tries to catch the sounds that he hears in his head. The soundtrack, of course, is second to none. What beautiful songs that man has written, and it’s a sad story with a happy ending. I was lucky enough to see Brian Wilson at Glastonbury ten or so years ago. It had been a muddy weekend, but the sun came out and we were able to enjoy some of the most joyful music ever written. I was delighted to be able to secure a couple of tickets today to watch Wilson performing Pet Sounds in full in Nottingham next June. Maybe he’ll play Glastonbury again, who knows…. I just didn’t want to miss my chance. He’s over seventy now, and there won’t be many more opportunities. An absolute genius.

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

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