Look, I appreciate there are lots of things about this blog that have been neglected recently. It's been a bit of a journey from blogging 4 or 5 days a week, through not blogging at all, to coming back out the other side with a bit of occasional blogging. What can I tell you? Life happened.
I miss the good old days when we all used to actively participate and comment on each others blogs, but I guess we should all just look back fondly on the time we had some analysis done on handwritten song lyrics (quiz - results), or tried to guess which bookcase and which fridge belonged to which blogger, or when we posted mix tape CDs to each other. (2006 2007 2008) [some of those links to the old blog are really slow, and where I've used a link to the archived content on the new URL, the comments won't be there, which is a shame... but you get the general idea]
One feature that has been here since the very beginning -- way back in 2004! - is Earworms. I don't know if I'm more prone to them than other people, but the idea of a song popping up randomly in your head and then playing on repeat has always struck a chime with me. Cataloguing them and then listing them every week as a blogpost has been oddly therapeutic. Looking back the other day, I was tickled to see an appearance by "Chim-Chimney", together with an explanation of how you can recreate the sound of the song using only your finger on a piece of paper.
The point is that I'm going to try and be a bit more disciplined about cataloguing my earworms and putting them up here. You may not be entirely thrilled to hear that news, but I've never really written anything on here for an audience... so.... tough.
I'm also delighted to say that I've managed to get another Guest Editor to share the contents of their head. Long time readers may remember that I used to try and get someone else to do this on a fairly regular basis. We slowed down a bit by the end, but there's still an archive of over 100 different guest slots, Apart from anything else, having a cut and paste made for an easy post for me on a Friday anyway.
Steve and I go back a fair way now. As he mentions below, our paths actually crossed long before they actually crossed. These days, we're fairly regular correspondents, still comment on each other's blogs and have even made the effort to overcome the massive distance between us (i.e. the length of Brian Clough Way) to meet up in real life. Steve is a veritable musical guru; he's one of those guys who has actually listened to all those bands that lots of people pretend to like because they're cool and obscure and difficult to like when you actually put their records on. As someone who enjoys music in a far lazier way than that, I love to listen to him talking on this subject and on his own career as a musician/songwriter. Who doesn't love listening to someone talking with passion on a subject they love? He's also taken a really rigorous approach to the challenge of earworms by forensically cataloguing what's gone through his head on a day-by-day basis over the course of the week. Now that's commitment.
So, without further ado, I'm delighted to present for your listening pleasure.....
Earworms of the week - guest editor #102 - Steve from It's a Shit Business
D'Angelo - "Devil's Pie"
I listened to the album this is from - Voodoo - for the first time in a while last weekend, prompted by the fact that apparently it’s 20 years old. Which is mental because it was only recorded next week.
Anyway, it's still a cracking psychedelic soul album. Some of the tracks feature drums which are simultaneously playing before and after the beat.
Having said that, this song was always one of the ones which sounded pretty normal to me and I'd never have this pegged as one of my favourites. But it sounded great. And the following day I realised that I was walking around singing "Fuck the slice, we want the pie" all day (whenever my daughter wasn't around anyway).
Harry Nilsson - “Gotta Get Up”
A bit of a literal earworm this one, being prompted on Monday morning when we were trying to get our daughter to school on time.
I love Harry Nilsson. Some people unfairly tag him as a professional hanger-on. He was along for the ride for John Lennon's infamous "lost weekend", which was also when Harry introduced Lennon to the Brandy Alexander cocktail - cognac, crème de cacao and cream. Ouch.
Famously self-destructive to a fault, Harry drank so much that by the end of his life he’d completely f**ked his voice. On this track - and also on his brilliant album of Randy Newman songs - it's a pure and nimble thing of creamy beauty.
Very much like a Brandy Alexander, which apparently taste like milkshake.
Super Furry Animals - "Demons"
Stereolab - "We're Not Adult Orientated"
SFA are one of those bands who I seem to have a lot of albums by, even though I've never really loved them. There is no reason at all why this song popped into my head on Tuesday morning.
Stereolab are similar in that I have a lot of their albums. The only difference is as the years go by, I seem to love them even more. One of my old bands supported them in London in the early 90s. We did not go down well.
This song takes the end section of the Velvet Underground's "What Goes On" and runs with it for a good six minutes. Totally relentless. Great drumming, rattling guitar, overdriven organ.
According to “the Googs”, the lyrics translate to:
I do not
I do not write
No I don't write
To waste my time
We don't write
I'm wasting time
"Ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum", indeed.
Bonny Light Horseman - “Bonny Light Horseman”
We've all been there. Your boyfriend / lover / husband has gone off to fight in the Napoleonic Wars and you don't know if he'll come back alive. So you end up writing a song about your hatred of Bonaparte.
Apparently Bonny Light Horseman (the band) is a US folk supergroup, formed with the encouragement of Bon Iver / Justin Vernon. And Bonny Light Horseman (the song) is "...a lament of English origin from the Napoleonic Wars. Though written in England, it became popular in Ireland as a broadsheet ballad."
Despite the fact that folk music remains one of the few musical genres which I can't seem to get completely behind, this recording (from their 2020 album and the last one I bought) seems to make whatever room I'm in at the time incredibly dusty, every time every time I play it.
My wife's take on it? "It's a 'no' from me...", the moment the vocals started.
The Pointer Sisters - “I’m So Excited”
Yes this is a stone-cold 80s banger. But there is no earthly reason why this was in my head on Thursday morning. The mind is a mysterious and terrifying thing.
But a good pop song is still a good pop song. Recently our daughter has discovered the NOW That's What I Call Music albums. And it has been good to know that there are still some really great pop songs being written - Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Lizzo, even (gasps) The 1975. It's just the fact they're just not as all-pervasive as they were in my day.
BRING BACK TOP OF THE POPS!
Killdozer - “Ballad Of My Old Man”
No word of a lie, when I woke up this morning the song was playing in my head.
I bloody love Killdozer. Turgid (in a good way) grinding riffs and weird / funny lyrics. Along with Butthole Surfers, they provide the soundtrack whenever I need to put together flat-pack furniture. This song tells the story of the narrator's father who worked in a grain elevator. After it blew up, he was the only survivor but was "left with a face that looked like chewed bubble gum". Nice.
FUN FACT: Butch Vig's production work on Killdozer's albums was one of the main reasons why Nirvana used him to record Nevermind.
In 2012 I responded to a tweet from the blog Sweeping The Nation, looking for classic TV music performances which weren't often seen. I mentioned Killdozer's performance of "American Pie" on Channel 4's Club X (a late night music and art show which predated The Word - I think it only lasted one series).
Seven years later I received the following tweet:
I love the internet.
Case in point: years ago, me and Swisslet were contributors to The Art of Noise blog's "A-Z Of Music" series - start here, obviously.
Following that we were united by our similarly wonky immune systems.
Now we've even met IRL on a loosely semi-annual basis. Crazy times!
Nice one, Steve! Thanks for that, and you have a platform here to talk about music any time you like. That's an earworm post two weeks running! Nothing inbetween, for sure... but it's a start. Have a good weekend, y'all.
[Previous Guest Editors: Flash, The Urban Fox, Lord Bargain, Retro-Boy, Statue John, Ben, OLS, Ka, Jenni, Aravis, Yoko, Bee, Charlie, Tom, Di, Spin, The Ultimate Olympian, Damo, Mike, RedOne, The NumNum, Leah, Le Moine Perdu, clm, Michael, Hyde, Adem, Alecya, bytheseashore, adamant, Earworms of the Year 2005, Delrico Bandito, Graham, Lithaborn, Phil, Mark II, Stef, Kaptain Kobold, bedshaped, I have ordinary addictions, TheCatGirlSpeaks, Lord B rides again, Tina, Charlie II, Cody Bones, Poll Star, Jenni II, Martin, Del II, The Eye in the Sky, RussL, Lizzy's Hoax, Ben II, Earworms of the Year 2006, Sarah, Flash II, Erika, Hen, Pynchon, Troubled Diva, Graham II, Cat II, Statue John II, Sweeping the Nation, Aravis II, Olympian II, C, Planet-Me, Mike, Michael II, Eye in the Sky II, Charlie III, The Great Grape Ape, asta, Ben III, Earworms of the Year 2007, Cat III, JamieS & Wombat, Pynchon II, Briskate, Craig Cliff, Fiery Little Sod, Cody II, J, Yoko II, Rol, Lisa, Pollstar II, Joe the Troll, Eye in the Sky III, Jerry Cornelius, Stevious, Luke, FLS II, Earworms of the Year 2008, FLS III, Mik, Mark Again, Ben IV, Lisa, FLS V, FLS VI, FLS VII]
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