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

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

far too long chasing your tail (oh....)

>>>>>ST's ALPHABETICON - Part xiii: M<<<<<

Previously in the Alphabeticon: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L

Lots to get through this week, so I think we should just get straight in without much foreplay this week. Alright? Suffice it to say that this is *not* a definitive list of my record collection, just a run through one set of shelves.



Off we go.

275. Henry Mancini – The Rare Mancini

I think I picked this up from a bargain bin somewhere about a decade or so ago. It's a pleasant enough album, but the clue is in the title really: you won't find the theme to the Pink Panther on here. Not on regular rotation around here, I have to say.

276. Mercury Rev – Deserter’s Songs
277. Mercury Rev – All Is Dream

One of the regrets of my life is that I opted to spend a sunny Friday afternoon at Glastonbury in c. 2002 watching Ash instead of trudging over to the Other Stage and watching Mercury Rev. Ash are always good value live and it saved me some walking as all of the other bands I wanted to see were on the Pyramid.... but I'd seen Ash before, and I've seen them since, but I've still not seen Mercury Rev. It's not a major regret or anything, but it is a regret as they are a fabulous and interesting band. LB is a much wiser man than me - he made the trek, and apparently they were brilliant.

278. Moby – Play
279. Moby – 18

Play is instantly familiar, of course, having been used in so many adverts... but this is pleasant enough background music. He's surprisingly good (and surprisingly ROCK) live too.

280. Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill

It's a decent enough album, I suppose, but is it just me, or is it a little bit of its era (i.e. dated)?? I also cannot think of Alanis without thinking of two things in particular, one good and one less so: her (brilliant) appearance on "Curb Your Enthusiasm", where she was run over by Larry David, and a picture I once saw of her competing in a triathlon. As a sometime triathlete myself, I initially thought that this was quite cool, but then I noticed that there was some, shall we say, overspill from her swimsuit. Spider's legtastic. It's probably not quite the legacy that this accomplished and best-selling musician was hoping to leave with people, but there you go.

281. Muse – Origin of Symmetry
282. Muse – Absolution
283. Muse – Black Holes & Revelations

Brilliant, I suppose, but they are a band that I can only cope with them in small doses. Any more than about half an hour of Muse in any one sitting and my head wants to explode. It's just too intricate for me to cope with. It's so complex and dense-sounding that it's almost like listening to classical music, and I dislike classical music (or at least find it hard to listen to without becoming oddly tense). Good band to watch live though.

284. Mull Historical Society – Loss

I've got his other album on iTunes I think, and they're both very good. I've hardly listened to them. I really must.

285. Madness – Divine Madness
286. Madness – One Step Beyond

I grew up with Madness. Not literally, of course, but in the sense that I first really became aware of music at a time when they were all over the singles chart. They had an amazing run of hits, all of them on "Divine Madness", which as a result is a cracking album. I saw the band live a couple of times, once at Madstock in the early 90s, when they were supported by people like Aswad, A Guy Called Gerald and Ian Dury and the Blockheads, and once in their own right at Wembley Arena, backed by 808 State. They're great fun, as you would probably expect. There's also more to Madness than just the singles, and I would encourage people to check out some of their other stuff too. I think I used to have more on cassette, but "One Step Beyond" is notable for "The Bed & Breakfast Man": a song about a bloke who steals ladies' underwear from washing lines. Brilliant band.

287. Joni Mitchell – Blue

Obviously. Worth it just for "River".

288. Massive Attack - 100th Window
289. Massive Attack – Protection
290. Massive Attack – Blue Lines
291. Massive Attack – Mezzanine

I don't have a great deal of music that iTunes classifies as "Trip-Hop", but I do own quite a lot of Massive Attack. I suppose - like Faithless - they're a hip-hop band that it's okay for skinny white indie kids to like. That explains their presence here then, just as it explains the mass of Faithless stuff filed under "F". Actually, that's not fair on either Massive Attack or on me: they're a bloody good band, and they conjure up an air of menace like few others. "Unfinished Sympathy" tends to get picked out as their greatest song, but I prefer "Protection" myself.

292. Morrissey – Viva Hate
293. Morrissey – Bona Drag
294. Morrissey – Your Arsenal
295. Morrissey – Beethoven was Deaf
296. Morrissey – Vauxhall & I
297. Morrissey – Southpaw Grammar
298. Morrissey - Maladjusted
299. Morrissey – You Are The Quarry
300. Morrissey – Ringleader of the Tormentors
301. Morrissey – Suedehead –the best of Morrissey
302. NME Songs to Save Your Life (compiled by Morrissey)

Ah yes. Stephen Patrick Morrissey. Where to begin? My relationship with Morrissey started in 1992 and has been going strong ever since. Sure, there have been some bad times (and no matter what anyone tries to tell me, I'm not sure that "Maladjusted" has any redeeming features at all. Take the song "Roy's Keen", for example: apparently he's never met a keener window cleaner. Rubbish). But there have been some good times too. Oh, and then some. For all that he's had his ups and downs and the quality control has sometimes been variable, Morrissey reaches highs that -- in my opinion -- few others can touch. I listen to music for all kinds of reasons and in all kinds of situations, but fundamentally I want music to move me. There is no other musician in the world who has affected me as much as Morrissey. For me, it really is as simple as that.

303. The Smiths – The Smiths
304. The Smiths – Hatful of Hollow
305. The Smiths – Meat is Murder
306. The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead
307. The Smiths – Strangeways Here We Come
308. The Smiths – Best II
309. The Smiths – Louder Than Bombs

Yeah, alright, I realise that this lot is filed in completely the wrong place, and I realise too that the whole point of an alphabetical filing system is that you put stuff in the right place so that it's nice and easy to find... but bollocks to all that... it's me that needs to find stuff, and this is how my head works. Anyway. I actually discovered The Smiths before I discovered Morrissey's solo stuff. It was still some 5 years after the band broke up, but there you go. I was in my first year at University, and very much still in my heavy metal phase when I borrowed a cassette from my friend Leon and found myself mesmerised by what I was hearing. It was "Half a Person" that grabbed me first. I'd heard of the band before, of course, but I'd never really listened to them. It was the voice that first took me, but I was only really hooked when I began to listen to the lyrics. From that song, I moved on to the rest of the "Best I" and "Best II" collections, and my musical world changed forever. I still love heavy metal and rock, of course, but this is my benchmark of greatness now. Funnily enough, initially it was all about Morrissey and his lyrics for me, but as I've got older, I've begun to realise quite how much Johnny Marr brought to the party. If you want to know what Morrissey's solo work is missing (and compared to this stuff, it really is missing something), then the answer is a musical collaborator with anything like Johnny Marr's talent. Both are fantastic in their own right, but together their chemistry was something special that made them so much more than the sum of their parts. Their reputation has been growing every year since they broke up, and I just hope to God that they resist all the pots of cash they are surely being offered to reform. I'd love to see them of course, but I would love to see them in about 1986. I'm not interested in seeing my favourite ever band go through the motions for the cash. They're perfect. I have come a long way since I was that lonely teenager back in 1992, but in some ways I haven't changed at all.

310. Scott Matthews – Passing Stranger

"Elusive" is a brilliant song and the reason that I bought this record. The album is.... alright. I hear that the second album will contain a lot more acoustic stuff and material a lot more like his biggest hit. No shit.

311. Metallica – The Black Album
312. Metallica – Ride the Lightning

I bought "And Justice for All" on cassette when I was fourteen years old and an avid Iron Maiden fan. I discovered that Metallica are a very different animal to Maiden indeed, and it took me quite a long time -- years, in fact -- before I really appreciated quite how good an album that is. I still liked them well enough to buy the Black Album when it came out (Is "Enter Sandman" the greatest rock song ever? Perhaps.... Boh!), to investigate their thrashier past and to see them live (at the Milton Keynes Bowl - still one of the best gigs I've ever been to), but it's only comparatively recently that I've rediscovered them. The documentary film "Some Kind of Monster" should have made them into laughing stocks as they tried to resolve their differences through filmed therapy sessions as they recorded their new album, but somehow the band come out of it with an odd kind of dignity and a realisation (by me, at least) that they are really one of the great metal bands. Listen to a song like "Battery" and tell me that this band don't rock. And thanks to a generous friend, I now have all of their stuff in digital format too. Yay!

313. Maximo Park – A Certain Trigger
314. Maximo Park – Our Earthly Pleasures

Just before Glastonbury 2005, a colleague at work tipped me off to a band to go and see on the John Peel stage. Their guitarist was a friend of her brother, and she told me they were supposed to be pretty good and I should check them out. I was going to, but it was muddy on the day, and I didn't really fancy flogging myself down to the back end of nowhere in the sludge and stayed where I was. The first album I bought when I got back home was "A Certain Trigger", and it took me one play to realise what a terrible mistake I'd made. I actually didn't get to see them until earlier this year (and they were also one of the best bands I saw at Glastonbury this year too). Were they worth the wait? Hell yes. Brilliant band. And "Our Earthly Pleasures" is my favourite album of the year by about a million miles. I mentioned this to my colleague the other day, and she said she'd be sure to pass my feedback on to Dunc....

315. Bob Marley – Legend

Amusingly, I first bought this on cassette in 1987 and it was all a terrible mistake - I had got him confused with Bob Dylan. An easy mistake to make, right? Well, at least I picked a goodie. I'd far rather listen to this Bob.

316. Manic Street Preachers – Generation Terrorists
317. Manic Street Preachers – Gold Against the Soul
318. Manic Street Preachers – The Holy Bible
319. Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go
320. Manic Street Preachers – This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours
321. Manic Street Preachers – Know Your Enemy
322. Manic Street Preachers – Send Away The Tigers

A great band. I think I've been with this lot almost since the very beginning. Yeah, I don't have "Motown Junk" on 7" or anything like that, but I've been buying their albums since "Generation Terrorists" and have followed them ever since. I've also seen them live many, many times: from the furs and makeup of their fans when they backed the Stone Roses at Wembley Arena through to their sober, statesmanlike appearance at Glastonbury this year. I like most of their stuff, but for me, "The Holy Bible" is a work of genius. I spent several months studying in Venice back in the winter of 1994, and I have vivid memories of walking across town in the small hours of the morning on the way back from a bar listening to the Manics. My route took me across Accademia Bridge and through a totally deserted St. Mark's Square, and this was always my soundtrack. I also remember having an argument with a guy I worked with at HMV: he maintained that "Insomnia" by Faithless was the song of the year, I argued that it was "Kevin Carter" by the Manics. I think I can now see his point of view, I suppose, but I still reckon I was right.



Missing in iTunes: The Maccabees, Madonna, Machito and his Orchestra, Magic Numbers, Magnapop, Mamas & Papas, Marion, the Marvelettes, Matt Monro, McAlmont & Butler, McFly, Meatloaf (I've got Bat out of Hell on CD somewhere too), The Members, Men At Work, Mew, The Miracles, Modern Groove Syndicate, Mogwai, Molasses, Monaco, The Monkees, Morning Runner, Motley Crue, Motorhead, My Chemical Romance, Mylo...

Blimey. What a lot of "M"s.

We're now halfway through the alphabeticon, so I reckon I'll take a break next week and run you through all my CD singles.

Just for a change, like.


Shuffleathon 2007 Update

1. Tinayes
2. Sarahyes

3. Cody Bones
4. Mark
5. Michaelyes
6. Hen
7. Cat
8. bedshaped
9. Pynchonyes
10. J
11. The Great Grape Ape
12. Ian
13. Martin

14. Monogodo
15. Threelightyes
16. Paul
17. Charlieyes
18. LB
19. Katyola
20. Lisa
21. Graham

22. Del
23. Spins

24. Ben

25. Dragon
26. Adem
27. Mike
28. JoeInVegas
29. Wombat

30. Max Bob
31. Stevious
32. Asta
33. Alan
34. Russ L
35. E.

36. Mike T-D
37. JamieS

38. Briskate
38. Me

From a concept stolen from the lovely YokoSpungeon....

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  • At 11:25 pm, Blogger ian said…

    Isn't the song off Maladjusted "Roy's Keen"? If I had a quid every time I'd been recommended a band by someone whose brother was a friend of their guitarist, I'd be able to buy Maximo Park.

  • At 8:03 am, Blogger swisslet said…

    "Roy's Keen" it is. it's a 4 star album on amazon, you know...

  • At 9:50 am, Blogger Michael said…

    As promised, a review by Wednesday.


  • At 10:50 am, Blogger Poll Star said…

    We really should have found a way of sharing CDs, we'd have saved a bloody fortune over the years.

    Going through some stuff the other day, I found my CD single of Slash and Burn. Couldn't wait for the album. I remember buying Gold Against the Soul the week it came out, when I was in Jersey with my Gran (and had no access to a CD player). I remember us walking round Milton Keynes on an August bank holiday Monday looking for the Holy Bible (technically it's day of release), but all the shops were shut-how times change. We both stank as we'd come straight from Reading, where we'd seen the Manics (for the first time I think)-Pennyroyal Tea was my highlight.

    I could go on......

  • At 5:58 pm, Blogger Cat said…

    Isn't Trouble Loves Me on Maladjusted? No matter what anyone says, I love that record. (Track, that is, not the whole record, which is, other than that, crap. I'm showing my age with this record business, hey?)

  • At 9:05 am, Blogger The Great Grape Ape said…

    I think I am the only person who actually thinks that Maladjusted is alright. Particularly Alma Matters, Trouble loves Me and Satan rejected my soul. And Sorrow will come in the end is hilarious, and a clear demonstration of the sheer depths of bitterness reached by the man. I must confess I have little sympathy. I am also probably the only person who thinks that Southpaw is better and more interesting than Vauxhall (which seemed to be an attempt to revisit earlier moments). Surely his worst effort by far is Kill Uncle ? Still don't think he deserves the NME's trumped up vilification which is so clearly a (failed) attempt to make the NME even remotely interesting or relevant.

  • At 12:13 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    I agree with you about "Southpaw Grammar" and also about "Kill Uncle" (which is awful, especially the line "well your boyfriend he got down on one knee, well could it be he's only got one knee?").... we'll have to disagree on "Vauxhall & I" though - I think that's my favourite of his albums, and I was listening to it last night. I can't think of another (post-Smiths) example of where his voice and the orchestration have worked so well. "Now My Heart is Full" is just gorgeous.

  • At 1:43 am, Blogger Katyola said…

    I saw Morrissey and Johnny Marr play in Washington D.C. two years ago. With different bands, alas. If I had a time machine, I'd go back and see a Smiths show.


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