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

Friday, July 24, 2009

the dirty little herbert....

Earworms of the Week

...and so another slightly weird week comes to an end. On the one hand, I'm absolutely delighted to be back on my feet and to take my first tentative steps back into running and so on; on the other hand, it's still distinctly weird only working half days and doing shortened runs. Still, I'm heading back to normality - a little slower than I'd like, but at least I'm moving in the right direction. Anyway, my internal jukebox has been as busy as ever....

> "Lapdance" - N.E.R.D.
> "Time to Pretend" - MGMT

Like lots of people, when I'm at a loose end of an evening, I sometimes have the telly on with "Dave" on in the background, idly watching their endless repeats of Top Gear, Mock the Week, QI and Nevermind the Buzzcocks. If you're at all prone to earworms, then this last one in particular is an obvious minefield. In one episode alone, in the space of about 2 minutes, I had these two records planted firmly into my head.... not the standard versions, particularly, but the "Intro Round" versions of the songs as performed by Adele and Mark Ronson on one side, and by Phill Jupitus and the bloke from the Klaxons on the other side. Neither versions were especially good, it has to be said, and I think Ralph Little and Tim Minchin struggled with the guessing, but none of that's important. The damage was done and they've been whirring around my head ever since. N.E.R.D. were shockingly arrogant as Glastonbury and totally missed the point and their best part of their time slot, so we were denied the pleasure of being able to see them perform either of the songs that I actually know. Still, they do have an efficient way with a pumping tune. MGMT I'm not sure about all round, but this song's proved quite a stayer, and it didn't take all that much for the telly to bring it bubbling back up through my sub-conscious. Could be worse, I suppose. At least it's not Anita bloody Dobson this week, anyway.

> "Womanizer" - Britney Spears / Lily Allen

One of those horrible and overly staged looking flashmob T-Mobile adverts currently features a crowd singing along to "Hit Me Baby One More Time". Good song. In fact, you could probably put together a fairly convincing argument that Britney's not done anything anywhere near as good since. Well, this song is quite a good counter-argument (good video too, keeping up a long tradition of memorable promos). Britney came back from being mental (and, to be honest, she could well still be mental now, and was probably at least slightly mental before....) with this song. It's brilliant. According to wikipedia, it "is a moderate electropop song composed in the key of C# minor with 139 beats per minute. The chord progression in this song is C#m-F#m-E-Eb-D. Spears' vocal range spans over two octaves - from C#3 to C#5"

And who am I to argue with that?

Lily Allen performed a cover of this at Glastonbury, and I'm fairly sure I've heard Franz Ferdinand doing a version too. Lily's sounded really, really good. Then again, I was quite pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed her whole set too, so....

> "Willow's Song" - Rachel Varney

You may not be familiar with this song, but I bet you're familiar with the scene from the film it features in..... it's the scene from the Wickerman where a young Britt Ekland is dancing in the room next door to Edward Woodward's policeman, slapping on the walls and generally encouraging him to come and pay her a visit. Memorable enough already, you'd think, but of course she's doing all this entirely in the nude. Apparently she had a stunt double for all the - ahem - rear shots, but the rest is all her. Remarkable. Check it out (censored, sadly). Quite an alarming film too, especially when you stumble across it late at night when you're on your own. Apparently Doves have covered this, which I find slightly hard to believe, to be honest. Jimi Godwin / Britt Ekland. Hmmm.

> "Wow" - Kylie

Not her finest hour, for sure (which was surely either these hotpants, this amazing piece of sticky tape or this timeless, timeless duet). Stupidly catchy all the same though, eh? Is she trying to look like Lady Gaga in that video, or is it the other way around?

> "Goldfinger" - Shirley Bassey

I defy anyone to read the Ian Fleming novel without this popping into their head, trumpets and all, at every turn of every page. The book is lot of people's choice as the best of the Bond novels, but for my money it's not up there with either "Moonraker" or "Casino Royale". Still, it's a great read, and is packed with Fleming's usual, of-its-era, casual racism, sexism and homophobia. Marvellous.

> "Don't it Make you Feel Good" - Stefan Dennis
> "Never Ending Story" - Limahl

Well, there's only one possible explanation for this, isn't there? I'm pointing the finger here at a certain DJ on Progress FM who hosted a very entertaining 80s special on Thursday evening, and played both of these records, amongst many many other classics (Nick Berry? For real?). To be fair, I actually quite like both of these records. Well, I say like.... I have very fond memories of that Limahl record, and found it quite moving as a child, and listening to it now still reminds me powerfully of that feeling. Watching the video actually gave me a lump in my throat, great soft sod that I am. The Stefan Dennis record I find more amusing than anything else. It's not as bad as people remember, I don't think, but it does have a splendid video. In a parallel universe, could he have been the one who became a global star and Charlene who was forced to return to Ramsey Street with her tail between her legs? No, probably not, to be honest. Back to Lassiters, eh Paul Robinson? He was no Owen Paul, anyway....

> "Don't Stop Me Now" - Queen

Weapons grade earworm. I don't really like Queen in general, and this song in particular has been horribly overused in corporate motivational videos and the like.... but it is mighty powerful.

> "Had Enough" - The Enemy

I tend to listen to Radio One in fairly small doses - mainly because every other record is insufferable shite and many of the DJs talk far too much (I'm looking at you Moyles....). Once in a while though, you tune in and you hear a good record that you haven't heard in a while. The Enemy are not especially original, but I think that they do what they do pretty well and with admirable conviction. I like their first album a lot, but there are one or two songs that tend to stick in my head: "Aggro", "Away From Here", "You're Not Alone", "We'll Live And Die in These Towns". This song isn't really one of them. In fact, when it first came onto the radio, I couldn't immediately place it nor, once I'd recognised it as The Enemy and turned it up, could I name the song. It's a good'un though. Good band. I really should look up their second record at some point. Is it any good?

> "D is for Dangerous" / "This House is a Circus" - Arctic Monkeys

Ludicrously talented, obviously. I was listening to "Fluorescent Adolescent" the other day, and marvelling at Alex Turner's lyricism:
"Was it a Mecca Dobber or a betting pencil?"
Who else writes lyrics as evocative as that?
He's 23 years old, the bastard.
Actually, as I continued on through "Favourite Worst Nightmare", it was some of their less heralded songs that really stuck in my head. The songs roll nicely and are surprisingly heavy (if you've ever seen them perform, then you'll know that they are really fast and furious live). I'm not entirely sold on the new single yet, but they've set the benchmark ridiculously high so far, and I'm sure they'll be okay (and they manage to squeeze in a lyrical theme about pick n'mix sweets, which is good, right?)


And that's it. We've some friends visiting from Austria for a week at the back end of next week, so we're off down to my parents tomorrow to borrow my dad's car. After a childhood spend squeezed into the back of cars like a Fiat Strada, shoulder to shoulder with my two brothers as we were driven down to Devon to visit my grandparents, my dad has now bought a people carrier. Quite why, I don't know, but it does mean we'll be able to ferry our friends around the English countryside in just the one car, which will be nice. The last time I was in a car with them, they all sang along lustily to "Africa" by Toto when it popped up on the radio.... including the 12 year old. What's not to like about that?

Have a good weekend, y'all and stay classy.



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