Sorry I’ve been a bit crap at updating recently. Between computer problems at home, pressure at work, and the general blandness of most of the comics recently, I’ve not really had any momentum for posting. Hopefully that’ll be back again soon and I’ll be back to the level of productivity from last month within a few days.
Anyway, the nights are drawing in, so we all need some cheerful pop music to pick us all up, and here is a playlist of just that.
Come On In by The Association is as good an opener for anything as you could hope for. The one time I DJ’d I started this up as soon as the doors opened (unfortunately, of course, no-one heard it as they hadn’t arrived yet. This is the kind of thing you don’t think of if you’ve never DJ’d before).
Mayor Of Simpleton by XTC is one of those list songs like What A Wonderful World, to which it bears a huge lyrical resemblance – “Never been near a university/Never took a paper or a learned degree… And I may be the mayor of Simpleton, but I know one thing and that’s I love you”. The music is insanely catchy, though, and I’m amazed this was never a hit. Everything here’s perfect and thought through – listen to that bassline from Colin Moulding, going all over the place, commenting on the main melody – but at the same time it’s *immediate* in a way much of XTC’s stuff isn’t… I actually considered just doing an XTC playlist today, they’re so great.
Broadway by Stew is one of his few cover versions, a radical reworking of the Clash song, turning it into a disco track backed by drum machine, analogue synth sounds and fast-picked banjo (presumably played by Probyn Gregory?), this gives some idea of what the Negro Problem’s side project The Covers Problem sounded like (at some point I must post an MP3 of their live cover of the full Thriller album).
I’ve posted Nerdy Boys by Candypants in more than one playlist before, but who cares? It’s the best pop single of the last decade.
7 And 7 Is by Love is the song that invented punk, back in 1966 when the rest of California was busy inventing hippysim, and it’s still one of the most ferocious records ever (fantastic song to play live, too, especially since the rhythm section has to do all the work while the guitarists just have to slash out chords). Drumming by the great Alban “Snoopy” Pfisterer (I’ve told Holly that if we ever have a kid I’m going to name it Alban “Snoopy” Pfisterer in tribute, which has ensured we shall remain child-free).
September Gurls by Big Star is the track that invented powerpop. Unfortunately, Spotify removed the three proper Big Star albums recently, so this is what sounds like a full-band demo – every element of the track is there, but not *quite* as tight as the finished version. For those who don’t know the original, though, it’ll more than suffice.
More Important Things by The Mockers is another catchy-as-hell harmony-based spiky jangly guitar song. Sometimes I like those.
Baby It’s Real by The Millennium is a track I’ve adored for ten years even though it breaks the cardinal rule of lyric-writing , Harry Nilsson’s “Never use the word baby unless you’re talking about a little person”.
Friends Of Mine by The Zombies is almost unique in that it’s a song about being happy about other people being in love, although rather sadly almost all the (real) people named in the backing vocals have either split up or died (Jean and Jim are still together forty-one years later though, if that’s any consolation).
This Whole World by The Beach Boys is an astonishing tour de force. Stupid lyrics, but in one minute fifty-seven this manages to cycle through something like five different keys, never settling on one for more than a couple of bars, in a completely unusual structure.
Thankful/It’s Over Now by Linus Of Hollywood is another example of LoH’s rather odd attitude to women (which I can only hope is a Randy Newman-esque ‘writing in character’ thing) – “If you would just leave and take all of your things I’d be grateful… don’t forget to take your mood swings/don’t forget to take your nasty attitude” over one of the most upbeat, bouncy pop tunes I’ve ever heard. Again, a cleverly-structured, complex piece.
And Jaded by The National Pep is my attempt at doing a pop song as clever and complex as the last couple, or even more so. And if you listen to it through spotify, I’ll get a whole shiny penny to share with my collaborators…