Earworms of the Week
"Jumpin' Jack Flash" - The Rolling Stones
It was pretty big news when the Rolling Stones played Havana the other week. Apparently, it's another symbol of how a country that has been open most of the world except the USA for years, is now opening up. Well, I don't suppose they've hosted many free, open-air concerts by landmark rock acts over the years, so I suppose it was a pretty big deal. Actually, it's a pretty big deal for the Stones to do anything for free, isn't it? I was amused to read it reported with whispered reverence that the band came onstage and opened their set with this song. Yes, it is an all-time classic; yes, it is a brilliant way to open up a gig and is a magnificent statement of intent.... but it's hardly a surprise, is it? The Stones have been opening their sets with this song for as long as anyone can remember. I bet Keith Richards looked straight down the camera during "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and mouthed "I love this job" to the crowd on the big screens. It's what they do. I'm not knocking it - I very much enjoyed the Stones when I saw them in Glastonbury - but is this really all that newsworthy?
"(Is This The Way To) Amarillo" - Tony Christie
This was funny when used on "Phoenix Nights" and much less funny when used by Comic Relief, yeah? We can all agree on that? It was overplayed so much back then that it's STILL annoying to get it caught into your head.
"Rid of Me" - PJ Harvey
I bought this album when I was a student and I absolutely loved it. It's quite a difficult album, and PJ was clearly angry, but I couldn't get enough of it. I loved it so much that I used to play this song on my radio show. This was problematic for a couple of reasons... first was the fact that PJ was screaming "LICK MY LEGS, I'M ON FIRE" at an unsuspecting campus, and the second was the fact that the record goes from so quiet to so SO LOUD so often that it's a nightmare to broadcast from a levels point of view. Mind you, I'm also the person who played "Dead Skin Mask" by Slayer on a sleepy Sunday afternoon, with a dedication to "all you lovers out there". Ah, what a wit. Apparently, I was a direct contemporary in the University radio station with Stephen Merchant. I spent loads of time up there, and given that he's so physically memorable, you'd think I would remember him... but no.
"Afternoon Delight" - Starlight Vocal Group
Anchorman seems to be on an almost permanent loop on one of the Sky channels at the moment, and obviously I stop and watch a bit whenever I happen to be channel hopping by. What's not to like? As you know, I like to watch obscure subtitled movies with obscure existential themes... but this is just a really, really funny film. In fact, it's one of my favourites. I like the sequel too. Sue me.
"Mr Blue Sky" - E.L.O.
I have to say that I'm not really all that familiar with E.L.O. Maybe they're one of those bands where I actually do know loads of the songs and just don't know it... but I suppose I'll get the chance to find out on the Sunday afternoon at the Pyramid Stage in Glastonbury this June. They played in Nottingham the other day, and lots of people I know where really excited. They did this one, right? I know this one! This is the one that took the least interesting Beatles song and copied it, yeah?
"I Got a Feeling" - Black Eyed Peas
I absolutely loathe this record. It is inane tripe of the highest order....so imagine my delight to find it popping up in my head this week. Lovely. If I never hear it again, it will be too soon. It's been viewed 235 million times on YouTube, for goodness sake! WHAT'S WRONG WITH PEOPLE?
"Alive" - Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam are one of those bands where I bought their first couple of records and then never really bothered with anything else. Everyone had their debut, obviously... but I also really enjoyed the follow up too. But they just didn't stick for me. I was thinking about this song during the week after reading a "10 of the Best" type article in the Guardian. It's an absolute belter, isn't it? Just listen again to that guitar solo! It's really stood the test of time. Almost enough to make me want to seriously get into their back catalogue, or at least to dig out the two albums that I do actually own. Maybe I will.
"The Show Must Go On" - Queen
"The Sound of Silence" - Simon & Garfunkel
...although it will probably have to wait or week or so until I've got through the two end-of-season choir concerts I've signed up to. It's that time of the season where I'm not really listening to anything much except the MP3s of my rehearsal tracks. I tried to sing "books down" at our last practice on Tuesday this week, focusing instead on our musical director's cues.... and there are a couple of songs that still need a bit more work, not least these two. It's always the bloody Queen song that ends up stuck in my head, isn't it? I hate these stupid songs with their stupid, mock-profound lyrics. Much better to develop a newfound appreciation for the lyrical genius of Paul Simon. I thought I knew "The Sound of Silence" pretty well, but studying it this closely has given cause to look again and to realise how brilliant a song this really is.
And the sign said:
"The words of the prophets are
Written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sound of silence.
Just outstanding... even if I am looking forward to the chance to listen to something else (a bit like I'm looking forward to running this marathon and being able to think and talk about something else for a change).
"Mandy" - Barry Manilow
I overheard an argument at work this week where two colleagues were arguing about who was the trendier: Simon Cowell or Barry Manilow. Well, the correct answer is clearly neither.... but Simon Cowell never produced anything as brilliant as this song or "Copacabana", did he? In fact, most of the music he's been involved with positively counts against him. Quite how anyone could think that either of these two people are "trendy" is remarkable. Who even uses the word trendy? Certainly not the people who understand trends, I would think.
Right. That's your lot. Have a good weekend, y'all! I'll be running and singing, as per....