Posts from 18th July 2002

18
Jul 02

Who Needs Eminem?

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Who Needs Eminem? – apart from its odd conviction that an Australian rock band can tell us anything much about how British bands think and work, Christian Hoard’s piece is a pretty fair summing-up of the British rock (and rockpress) dilemma. Nothing new, but put quite elegantly: “the English press’s need to pretend — and believe — that just around the corner there are new messiahs with guitars in tow, saviors who’ll draw a straight line from Saints John and Paul to the present, thus saving the British economy and their jobs. Too many up-and-comers are content to base their careers on a similar principle.” Quite.

“Ours is better silence: it’s digital. Theirs is only analogue.”

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“Ours is better silence: it’s digital. Theirs is only analogue.”: more on current top music news story, Cage Vs Batt.

BREAKFAST OF BANALITY 6: THE MARMALADE – O-Bla-Di O-Bla-Da

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BREAKFAST OF BANALITY 6: THE MARMALADE – O-Bla-Di O-Bla-Da

Strike one agains this record is a that it is a Lennon & McCartney song. Not only that but a Lennon & McCartney song that they were initially too embarrassed to record. Its naivity and simplicity (and its attempt at ripping off reggae) smacks more of Macca that the poor stand-up comic of the group but nevertheless it is the Marmalade version which is laughably definative. McCartney was no stranger to breakfast songs of course, writing Scrambled Eggs which later got a lyrical overhaul – to no great improvement – to become Yesterday. But to The Marmalade…

The Marmalade were typical of your British psychedlic tinged rock groups of the late sixties. Spurred by Seargent Pepper, such bands would knock together loosely concepted singles and albums mainly on the theme of taking too many drugs. The problem is that the research needed to make such songs would involve taking lots of drugs and as anyone who has read my drugs poll recently – drugs do not make a good songwriting partnership. So much so in The Marmalade’s case that their first album had no less that seven cover versions on it. In 1968 did the world really need another version of Hey Mr Tambourine Man? Any tambourine men knocking around in 1968 must have thought they were the most popular men in the world – what with all this heying going on. Imagine being a tambourine man called Jude. You would be heyed to death.

O-Bla-Di O-Bla-Da was recorded with the incessant pop chirpiness of a band who really did not understand what the song was about, and more importantly had never met a black person in their lives. Nearly all trace of a skank is airbrushed out of it, not that McCartney skanked much in the first place, and this song about Desmond and Molly Jones was turned into a nonsense kids song. I’m not saying there was an awful lot of significance to the minor trials and tribulation of Des and Mol’s lives (Desmond sees Molly, he buys her a ring, they have kids, they live happily ever after, whilst still being relegated to working in a market for twenty years) but all the Marmalade got out of it was singing “O-Bla-Di O-Bl-Da life goes on” as some kind of meaningless hippy mantra. Infact the song represented a cruel indictment of the plight of the Windrush generation in inner-city England. Put upon, forced to work in the market, Desmond and Molly put up with it all just with the release of singing in the evening. A story of no stupider saps in my book, if you live for singing then you might as well be dead.

The Marmalade lived for singing, and despite this one hit with this anaemic cover, were no longer heard from and careerwise were dead. Life goes on: hey?

100 albums you should remove from your record collection

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100 albums you should remove from your record collection: do we sense someone with a few college-rock “issues” here? One of the most disturbing things about this feature is that 99% of them are considered to be the ‘classics’ which you should own – they’re not your favourites, but they’re still very important – for gods sake – we can’t KILL THEM ALL! And they’re all dire – apart from the two out of 100 which I own, being the Beefheart and the XTC. Go and compare your record collections with the more rockist wannabe-Tanya, and feel smug about how little of them you own – you’re KEWL!

pearls that are his eyes

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pearls that are his eyes: a very welcome return for Kathleen (my current longest-standing mixtape debt, in a highly competitive field). First Josh Blog comes back , then Vain, Selfish, Lazy, now Pearls…it’s like 2000 all over again! Surely Western Homes and Indieshite cannot be far behind!

MOMUS – “King Solomon’s Mines”

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MOMUS – “King Solomon’s Mines”

I have been reading a fair amount of Near Eastern Erotic Verse for a class. Reading Sumerian, Tamil, Egyptian, Hebraic and Greek variations on the same themes get repetitive, and this song plays in my head most of the day. Its from Circus Maximums and comes fairly early in the eye patched ones oeuvre.

This song is probably on the tip of my tongue because it is the only pop song that name drops the people who I am reading about, the arias to Aida are not really hummable. The thing is if you look at the lyrics it is about an English Couple enslaved to help Solomon build a monument to his own ego. On the third track of his first album we can see a game Momus plays through out his career. He writes elegant and debauched lyrics as a frilled curtain. If we draw this curtain we see under all this frou frou pretty lyrics about conservative men who yearn for the domestic life.

Its all here, each album talking about seducing woman with his wit and then the woman staying. All the way to Folktronic which begs the Appalachian Mountain Girl to love him . Its kind of Sad really- Momus as the eternal hipster, only wanting a warm place to rest his laurels.

The Jubilee Stuff (2)

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The Jubilee Stuff (2): the second part of The Pinefox’s state-of-the-nation address.