52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Friday, June 10, 2005

West Xylophone, Yemen, Zimbabwe!

Evening all. After last week's ramble, I'm just going to jump straight in this week.

I'm pleased to present for your pleasure this week's guest editor: something of a legend in these parts for services rendered in response to a confused request about where to start with Joy Division....

Ladies & Gentlemen....

Earworms of the week - Guest Editor #4 - Mark Reed a.k.a. Retro-Boy

In an honour passed down by SwissToni, here are my ten earworms:

Earworms, for all their graceful naming, are those songs that Can’t Get Out Of Your Head.

10. Coldplay – “Fix You”, “The Scientist”.

Until I put their CD on in the office four minutes ago, the main piece of music that was strumming through my head was the moment the guitars start in “Fix You”, the chiming guitars of a end-of-album, elegaic chorus type thing, which is pretty much every song off the album. In the fashion of most truly successful British groups, the music sounds in a state of exhausted, hopeful melancholia. My favourite Coldplay song, and the one that melodically is always stuck in my head is “The Scientist”. Up until the point I first heard it, Coldplay passed me by completely, being just another band, overhyped by the talentless cloth-eared cretins from the NME and devoid of any original ideas. “The Scientist” though is excellent. It works from the concept of an ordered, logical person trying to control and order his life around scientific principles and then finding that emotion ruins everything. That a life made of order, of control, of logic, is fundamentally untenable when emotion occurs. And that every forumlae and theorum cannot unravel the mystery of feeling.

09. Crazy Frog – “Axel F.”

ding ding dingadingdingdingding ding ding dingadingdingdingding ding ding dingadingdingdingding ding ding dingadingdingdingdingding dinging cunt.

08. Foo Fighters – “The One”.

I wanted to say “Best of You” to appear hip and with it, but erm, I’m not, and I won’t. I don’t own a copy of this song, never bought one in ‘hard’ format or MP3, but then again, I don’t know if it ever came out. If it did, it was on a movie soundtrack, or on the b-side of a single, and almost every Foo’s single has b-sides made up of rubbish live songs or something. They definitely did this when I saw them on their tour. Anyway, it’s stuck in my head now, with all the roaring drums and the geetars and the wonderful chorus of you’re not the one / but the only one / who makes me feel like shit… and I can never remember the words.

07. New Order – “Regret”

This song is never far from my mind. For about four years I always thought it was going to be the last great NewOrder song I ever heard. And so I spent five years and two months dancing around my bedroom to it until I finally saw them live. Air bass! But what is it about them? I don’t know. I love the intro, with the minor chords and guitar slives, and the drum bit on the 12” where the whole song stops for the shortest and least-rubbish keyboard / drum solo evah. Maybe it’s the mix of melancholy and joy. Who knows? And the cover? Two cowboys on horses in sunset. Kewl. Much snazzier than the cover to the Oasis record, which is, if I remember correctly, a garage? What a shite cover that is.

06. The Tears . “Refugees”

What is basically a Bernard Butler with Brett singing over the top is actually really very aces and brilliant, but it does sound a little tired, a little old-dog-not-getting-new-tricks, a little heard it all before, even though we haven’t, and the album is tons better than I feared, and certainly much better than the first few gigs, and probably better than the last Suede album.

05. Nine Inch Nails “The Hand That Feeds”

Often its just the little things that make all the difference, and little parts of songs that get stuck in my head. (I’ve had the horn ending for a Robbie Robertson song, “Testimony” stuck in my head for weeks now), and so I haven’t got this actual song in my head, just the wimpy 80’s-nu-romo-keyboardy bit. It’s a great song, probably the best individual Nine Inch Nails song since 1989 actually.

04. U2 . “Vertigo”

By this point you can tell that I really pay very little attention to the outside world, and when I say very little, I should say NONE. I generally never listen to the radio, or watch TV unless there’s something that I am specifically aiming to watch or listen. Hence, I suppose I get exposed to very little new music. But even I manged to get sucked into this one, even though it’s in no way new. It’s what Henry Rollins calls the U2 effect: get exposed to it enough and you find out you have it wether you want it or not like nasty STD’s or a cold. It just slipped into your shopping basket when you weren’t looking. I’m still trying to work out what the words are to this one. I think the idea of him singing “give us what I want/and nobody gets hurt” a bit rich when tickets are rare as gold bricks.

03. Har Mar Superstar – “Transit”

I have no idea why I like this self-obsessed, utterly irresistable, charming diminutive, podgy New York sex hedgehog, or his bad/brilliant pastiches of a sexcrazed Stevie Wonder. I just do. And the idea of a chorus of ladies pleading “Har Mar is so sexy / he gets all the ladies / I want him to touch me” always makes me laugh. This guy should, at the very least, be supporting U2 with a gaggle of lady dancers. Oh. And he has a dance-off with someone in “Starsky and Hutch”.

02. Kylie. “I Believe In You”.

Pop music at it’s finest. And like all great pop music, it’s both supersmart and superstupid at exactly the same time. And it makes you want to dance, sing, do anything.

01. They Might be Giants “The Alphabet of Nations”

A list of 26 nations, repeated three times, in one minute 26 seconds, and each and every nation (barring, possibly “West Xylophone”), is one that the US has been at war with at some point in the past two hundred of so years:

Algeria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Dominica, Egypt, France, The Gambia!
Hungary, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Libya and Mongolia!
Norway, Oman, Pakistan
Qatar, Russia, Suriname
Turkey, Uruguay, Vietnam
West Xylophone, Yemen, Zimbabwe!

A song you can take anywhere, and one that we, as Not Boring parents, sing to the little guy. Portability is the key, and unless we go senile, it is accessable at a milliseconds notice. Even faster than an iPod!

There you are, not a cool selection amongst them!

----

Thanks Mark. I see we had the bloody frog again. Next week I hope to be able to bring you someone who is fast becoming an internet legend....yes.... dig out your whistles and glow sticks....it's Statue John from Stand By Your Statue

----

It's that 'sprint' triathlon I'm doing this weekend, so probably no post until Sunday night.... I'm sure you'll cope.

Actually, I've been off the sauce for most of the week, so I'm hoping to have an "Ice Cold In Alex" moment when I get home... but I'll probably post an update right after that to let you know how I got on. In case you were worried, there probably won't be photos (C. is entering as well), so it's probably safe to read before the watershed.

Have a good weekend y'all.

11 Comments:

  • At 8:19 pm, Blogger Aravis said…

    Mark, that Foo Fighters song you mentioned was done for the movie Orange County, I believe. It sounds as though I'm a lot like you. I rarely listen to the radio or videos, etc. I stumble haphazardly across music. Thanks for sharing your earworms!

    Good luck at the triathlon, ST!

     
  • At 9:21 pm, Blogger spinsterwitch said…

    Maybe someone can explain to me why at the beginning of Vertigo they sing in Spanish 1, 2, 3, 14 (catorce is, according to my Spanish Vest Pocket Dictionary, 14). It troubles a perfectly good song for me.

    Good luck ST.

     
  • At 9:24 pm, Blogger SwissToni said…

    I'd heard it was because it was their 14th album proper....but I could be wrong (and to be honest, Mark is the man most likely to know). It makes me chuckle actually.... turns what might be a pretentious moment into something else.

    (and thanks - I haven't actually picked up my bike yet, but detail, detail....)

    ST

     
  • At 10:55 pm, Blogger Michael said…

    Mark, I had the exact same Coldplay experiance as you did (actually blogged on my own music picks ten minutes ago, LOL).

    I had only heard yellow, and passed them off. Then a friend made me listen to "The Scientist" and I got hooked.

    I'd also like to say, I haven't listened to the radio regularly, or watched music videos, for... about ten years now. Get all my music through recommendations. The beautiful thing about that is it has made my tastes expand. I'm not stuck on the one genre my radio station of choice would play.

     
  • At 9:59 am, Blogger Lord Bargain said…

    what a great list. I Believe In You is pop perfection.

    ding ding indeed.

     
  • At 11:31 am, Blogger Mark said…

    Bono said "Catorce" instead of "Quatro", they likd it, it suck. Simple really. Not a reference to an obscure bible quotation (Joshua Tree, side one, track 2, 3.14secs) at all.

     
  • At 12:54 pm, Blogger Graham said…

    The Foo Fighters song was done for the crappy Jet Li movie The One , used as the end credits, and released as a promo single in a limited edition format of ONE copy each. One 12", One 10", one 7", one CD. Ludicrous.
    Later on they used it on the B-Side of All my life. Its possibly the best track they've ever done, I reckon.....(and yes, he stole it from my collection)

     
  • At 4:52 pm, Blogger the urban fox said…

    Given that Har Mar managed to 'woo' Kate Moss and Sadie Frost at the same time, "utterly irresistible" may be right.

    Alternatively, maybe it's just that the drugs do work. Heh.

     
  • At 5:33 pm, Blogger the urban fox said…

    I forgot to say: how was the sporty stuff, Swiss?

     
  • At 7:11 am, Blogger Charlie said…

    I always highly enjoy these earworm columns, because I'm forever battling the tunes stuck in my own head, and this usually yields some new tunes to check out.

     
  • At 6:39 pm, Blogger Stickystacky said…

    I totally concur on the They Might Be Giant's Alphabet of Nations song. The kids dig it. Of course they're 1 and 5 so not the most descriminating of tastes but anything we can both enjoy musically is great. (please not the Strawberry Shortcake Christmas CD again!)

    By the way, have you seen The West Xylophone Tourism Board? "West Xylophone, Where your imaginary friend would go on vacation."

     

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