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

Friday, October 07, 2005

I'd give it all gladly if our lives could be like that

This feels as though it has been an uncommonly long week. I felt as though I had completed the working week as early as Tuesday, which was of course unfortunate, as I still had 3/5s of the damn thing to get though. Imagine my delight to have finally made it though to the right side of Friday and to be able to lead you all in our weekly prostration at the feet of the God of Earworms.

I was actually mildly surprised to see that this week's Guest Editor hadn't already had a go at this. My surprise turned to delight when I realised that this meant that it was a pleasure yet to come.... Passionate and politicised, and yet also polite, positive and playful.... Oh yes.

Ladies & Gentleworms, without further ado.... it is my great pleasure to present for your earworming pleasure:

Earworms of the Week - Guest Editor #20 - RedOne from Run Over By The Truth

I’d never come across the term “earworm” until I read it here, on SwissToni’s blog. So it’s a special pleasure to be asked to contribute my own earworms of the week. Also, it’s a lot easier than a “favourites” list. The problem with favourites is, you have to actually choose. Decisions are not my strong point. But there’s no such problem with an earworm. It arrives, it burrows into your brain. There’s no choice about it. I have an unfortunate tendency to whistle whatever earworm I’ve caught, passing the infection to irritated friends and workmates. But in blogworld you are mercifully spared. Here are RedOne’s ears unplugged.

Hell No, We Ain’t All Right – Public Enemy
This is Public Enemy’s response to the New Orleans debacle and I was playing it a lot a couple of weeks ago. But after a break, it’s returned unbidden and I’ve still got it on the brain. I’ve been waking up with it already playing in my head for some reason. I never used to wake up to earworms.

Flag (Half Mast remix) – Alabama 3
Frankly, I blame blogworld for this one. Alabama 3 – of whom there seem to be at least half a dozen in south London –have been popping up all over blogworld recently. And this track is on the Peace Jukebox, where I’ve also stumbled over it recently. This is another wake up in the morning earworm. I should stress here that I don’t have any kind of musical alarm clock – the phenomenon is purely a function of my brain. Strange.

Sweet Dreams (are made of this) – Eurythmics
This was on in the caff. It’s always on in the caff. Somehow the DJ at Heart FM, the Home of Caff Music, knows when I’m on my second cuppa. I grew up with this one and it’s got the catchiest tune with a classic hook – you know when the cue’s coming and you’re ready to get up and belt into the microphone along with Annie Lennox. And then comes the problem: seriously dodgy lyrics. “Some of them want to abuse you,” – OK that’s a grim take on the world, but maybe with some justification. But “Some of them want to be abused…” You sure about that, Annie? I don’t think I really want to go much further down that route. I’ve always felt deeply equivocal about this track, to be honest. It’s so singalong and then – eek! – perhaps not…

Nobody’s Fault But Mine – Blind Willie Johnson
Don’t know why this one’s been on my mind. An argument rages among people who wrangle about these things – I don’t – about whether you can call it blues when a song has a gospel theme. This one’s got a gospel theme but it sounds like the blues all right, with Blind Willie’s searing voice laden with emotion, echoed by his slide guitar. “Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering,” said Marx, before moving on to the more famous bit. Hear it for real from Blind Willie in 1927.

I Loves You Porgy – Nina Simone
I love Nina Simone. The passion, the politics – and no-one brings the emotion of this track out quite like she does. Like many a Gershwin tune, it’s earwormy – not easily shaken out of the head. But Nina’s singing leaves the feeling of the song to linger with you too. I’d have loved to see Nina Simone live.

Suki Romnyi Gogyaver – Kalyi Jag
Kalyi Jag are a group of Roma musicians from Hungary. I love their music. The instrumentation is limited but the group use their voices both melodically and percussively. It’s hard to describe, but complex and beautiful. I often listen to my Kalyi Jag CDs late at night. And then find that a half submerged tune resurfaces the next day.

Girlie Girlie – Sophia George
I caught this one walking back from the shops the other day. I’ve no idea what set it off – maybe just an overheard word. Here Sophia scolds the young man who clearly doesn’t realise that zip thing can be used to keep your trousers closed. “Young man, you too girlie, girlie…” Yeah, you tell him, Sofe.

Bob Dylan’s Dream – Bob Dylan
This one has come up because I’ve been reading and thinking about travellers' tales – and about friendships. And generally reminiscing a bit. And each line of thought has brought this into my head. It’s not among the Dylan songs I was playing the other day, but is somehow still occupying the earworm slot. The pictures in my mind aren’t exactly sepia, but over time the colours in the prints have faded and changed. I drift off a bit sometimes.

Beaux Dimanches – Amadou and Mariam
Sundays in Bamako are wedding days, apparently. And this is great. It’s like an anti-earworm really, because it doesn’t nag or irritate. It’s a track full of melody and rolling rhythms. People near my tapping fingers might say different.

Al Ouzoubia – Sabah Fakhri
This one has been sticking in my mind for months at a time since I first got a CD with it on, two years ago. My whistled version isn’t much good, but I’m obsessed with the tune. Fakhri is a Syrian musician with an incredibly powerful voice who performs mainly traditional musical forms. I’m not really a dancer, but this is really a get up and grab two people’s hands and join in number even for me. It’s recorded live in the best way: where the audience clapping and singing along helps the atmosphere without taking anything away from the recorded performance. It gets faster and faster. I defy you to not at least click your fingers. Irritatingly, this earworm vacates my head whenever I’m with friends who could translate the lyrics for me. In two years, I’ve never remembered to ask anyone.


Oh Red - An excellent list. Well worth the wait I think. All that anticipation merely serving to heighten the pleasure! I don't know about anyone else, but my own personal earworm is now furiously keeping the red flag flying....

Next week's Guest Editor is an old friend and colleague of mine....so expect some gnomic pronouncements and plenty of zenlike calm from B1RDIE Num Num.

I was just about to say "same time next week", but as I've just discovered, time is relative. So perhaps next Friday will come around a little quicker this week, eh?

Well, I can dream.

(and don't forget - I want photos of your bookcases please, otherwise I'm going to stage them all and pop them up at some point next week. To be honest, that sounds like more fun, but is a bit of a pain in the arse for me, so get snapping!)

[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]


  • At 7:20 am, Blogger HistoryGeek said…

    I was so confused by Sweet Dreams when it came out...it was so simple, but so damned good...and yes, the lyrics didn't make sense. Still it was the beginning of a deep love affair with Annie Lennox.

    And Nina - what can I say, she makes me speechless.

  • At 2:23 pm, Blogger red one said…

    I'd feel happier if I knew it was about S&M sex, because while that is not my kind of thing personally, that gives it a context of consenting grown-ups in a mutually understood situation. As distinct from there just being people "out there" waiting to be abused...

    But of course explicitly saying, "and now, a song about S&M sex" would get it instantly barred from the airwaves, even though I think that is far less disturbing as a context. Oh well.

    Spin - you know sometimes I feel a bit sorry for whatsisname, the bloke in the Eurythmics. It IS all about Annie, really, isn't it?


  • At 9:27 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My Arabic is very rusty but I believe al Ouzoubia means like bachelorhood or to be single in the plural (singleness perhaps...) so the singer is asking his mother to find him a nice wife.


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