I Hate Music

30
Jul 04

Songs about or by puppets #7: Marvin Gaye – “I’m Your Puppet”

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Marvin, Marvin – where have you gone? Oh yeah, your dad shot you. And frankly with songs like this, do you blame him? Just look at the lyrics.

I’m just a toy, just a funny boy
That makes you laugh when you’re blue
I’ll be wonderful, do just what I’m told
I’ll do anything for you
I’m your puppet

Now I am not sure what kind of father son relationship they had, but this kind of lyric is red rag to a bull on a borderline psychotic. I’ll do anything you want me too – what like die? I assume that comes under the scope of the lyrics. Later in the song he suggests if you pull a string you can make him sing. Hmm, if I had been around then my scissors would have been out tout suite. Perhaps less drastic than the gun method, but hey, he’s only a puppet.

29
Jul 04

Songs about or by puppets #6: Keith Harris & Orville – “Orville’s Song”

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The controversy here is – is a ventriloquists dummy a puppet? Obviously its function is slightly different in the world of rubbish light entertainment, but I maintain that for being hand operated and anthropomorhic that yes, it is a puppet. And anyway, I’m not going to do a series called SONGS ABOUT OR BY DUMMIES. Because that encompasses everyone ever in the music business.

Not really much to say about this song though. It was one which was universally reviled from the moment it was released. Kids around teh country memorised the Kenny Everett joke about Orville wishing he could fly and being given a helping boot. Keith Harris’s genius as a ventriloquist was inventing a character so hateful, that he garnered sympathy when he invented Cuddles, his other character. The Cuddles schtick was after all merely how much he hated “that duck”, ie Orville, and in this he echoed the audience.

Of course a record made by a man pretending to talk for a oversized green duck in a nappy is going to be bad. But did it have to be this bad?

26
Jul 04

Songs about or by puppets #5: Robin The Frog – “Halfway Up The Stairs”

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Robin The Frog was Kermit The Frog’s nephew. He was a tiny little creature, whose main problem in life was:

a) Being a frog

b) Being a small frog more »

23
Jul 04

Songs about or by puppets #4: Metallica – “Master Of Puppets”

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Oh, they’re are a jolly band that there Metallica. There are plenty of stupid metal fans who saw Spinal Tap as a documentary, but only one band used it as a blueprint for a career. And Master Of Puppets is what you get if you have absolutely no sense of humour. When you don’t find grown men with long hair and impossibly faded T-Shirts amusing then you have probably lost all of your humanity to start off with and might as well be a puppet.

So what kind of puppeteer is this portentiously titled Master Of Puppets? Well he’s pulling our strings, no doubt, but he is also twisting our mind and smashing our dreams. I assume he is doing this by using sledgehammer riffs and singing which is just sub par for Neaderthal communication. Frankly this is a bit of a rubbish puppeteer, all he seems interested in is getting his puppets to fight and injure each other. And then it all becomes clear.

Master Of Puppets is about a Punch & Judy Man. Suddenly the reason for James Hetfield’s grunty vocals is that it is the only way he can make his kazoo speaking voice sound anything less like Mr Punch. Metallica are an end of the pier act – when will someone push them off? That’s the way to do it!

22
Jul 04

Songs about or by puppets #3: Barry Grey – “Aqua Marina”

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After an exciting half hour of underwater daring do, with the brave Captain Troy Tempest saving the world what would be more stirring than a fine piece of outro music. Well obviously what would be more stirring would be a soppy (and sopping) ballad about a mute bird who moons over said hero. Marina, mysterious woman of the waves, was one of the few Gerry Anderson puppets whose communication was not troubled by shoddy lip syncing, because she never spoke. This obviously made her attractive to the egotistic Captain Troy Tempest, something which makes the ballad even more unbelievable that it might be from his point of view.

Marina, Aqua Marina,
What are these strange
Enchantments that start
Whenever you’re near?

You would imagine that those strange enchantments would be a particularly strong fishy smell, considering her preferred habitat. Actually all the songs in Stingray were rubbish. The opening theme tune included. It may have kicked off with some stirring drums, but we were then promised that “Anything can happen in the next half hour”. I suppose given the liberating special effects of puppets this might have been true: but you could bet you bottom dollar it would be underwater. Submarines are rubbish on land.

20
Jul 04

Songs about or by puppets #2: Sandie Shaw – “Puppet On A String”

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It won the Eurovision Song Contest you know. Need any greater guarantee of its absolute wretchedness? A song which can appeal to non-native speakers is obviously going to have relatively banal lyrics. Nevertheless the metaphor being used here, that Sandie feel manipulated like a Puppet On A String, is never really followed through. Instead she goes off on a tangent about merry-go-rounds and fun fairs, where all the fun is in the air.

Well if she was shot from a cannon she would be in the air. What fun I think you’ll agree.

Sandie Shaw was not here real name of course. She chose the sobriquet based on the British coastline: apt as in the sixties the sandy shores were covered in crap. Here real name was Sandra Goodrich, which is not a pop star name and should have really tipped her the wink. She moans that her Eurovision entry ruined her career. Perhaps it did, though I suggest singing a stupid song about puppets may have also had a hand in it. That and the increase in international tourism. Why have a British Sandie Shaw, when you can have a Costa Del Sol (which does not make music).

19
Jul 04

Songs about or by puppets #1: Fuzzbox – “International Rescue”

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Walking down the street on the way to the pub the other day, I notice a big poster for an upcoming Thunderbirds film. As a youth I rather enjoyed the works of Gerry Anderson, theme-tunes notwithstanding, I found his childish simplicity and vision of a better world (of rockets) to be rather beguiling. A further examination of this poster however revealed that
a) This film was live action
b) Started a kid who looked like he was in Busted!
c) Had a theme-tune by Busted!
 
A shiver went down my spine as this fact opened a hitherto closed closet in my mind. As far as I was concerned Thunderbirds already had a thoroughly wretched theme tune already. Not only that but if they wanted a pop version, there was an equally terrible song from the eighties by Fuzzbox. Which fit in the category of songs about puppets – a short feature which hopefully will count as some form of therapy.
 
So International Rescue then. By Fuzzbox. Formerly We’ve Got A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It. Formerly We Haven’t Got A Fuzzbox Yet But People Say If We Get One It Might Go Some Way To DIstracting The Listener From Out Piss-Poor Singing And Songs. Formerly Class 5B at Dudley Grammar.
 
Fuzzbox went POP with International Rescue, a song about a fictional rescue operation. Ironically it was the listeners rather than Fuzzbox themselves who needed rescuing, the song being a tuneless repetitive dirge, wher ethe previous indie as fuck Fuzzbox tried to sell records by showing they were pretty girls. As it happened they weren’t all that pretty and their silly hair put people off. The reason International Rescue was a hit therefore can be put down to the fact that the girls all wore hats when performing it. Like the Thunderbirds. Which did bring up the horrifying idea that if a giant bridge collapsed, rather than the Tracy brothers swooping it save you, four Brummie musicians would be in charge. We’ve Got Thunderbird Two And We’re Gonna Use It. Whoops, just dropped the middle section on the bridge, accidentally killing everyone. This is assuming that as an ultra secret rescue organisation, Fuzzbox would be as competant as they were musicians. You exile them to Thunderbird 5 and send them spinning into the sun for all I care.
 

15
Jul 04

Damien Rice

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If the great god Poseidon made a record it could not be wetter than the puddly emanations of Irish good-for-nothing Damien Rice, a member of that lowest of all pop castes the singer-songwriter. Singer-songwriters need a gimmick, the simple truth being that a man, his soul and his guitar gets boring in an eye-blink. Paul Simon’s gimmick is that he is old; Cat Stevens is a Muslim; Nick Drake is dead and so on.

Damien Rice, a latecomer to this party (and imagine how bad a party must be that started with someone getting their acoustic guitar out) has a particularly irksome gimmick – he continually sounds as if he’s losing his voice. “Yes! Yes!” you sob in relief as his larynx sputters and peters during “Cannonball”, then time and again your hope is dashed as he makes it to the end of the song. Troubadours and minstrels used to be homeless buskers, driven from city to city (by baying mobs I hope) with the odd groat and a good bumming from Richard I being their only reward. Would that this were still so! (With Richard the Lionheart replaced by, oh, Richard Littlejohn maybe).

14
Jul 04

Fool’s Told

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In a priceless interview with Pete ‘Just Researching’ Townshend about what a bully he thinks Michael Moore is, the following priceless line is thrown out.

“…he’ll have to work very, very hard to convince me that a man with a camera is going to change the world more effectively than a man with a guitar.”

Hmm, I’m thinking of all those people who have got out of prison because of the Rough Justice TV show. I’m thinking of a approbation put upon China after Tianamen Square. Oh, what about the footage of the Ethiopian famine in the 1980’s (which admittedly caused Live Aid and changed the world for the worse.). Neil Armstrong on the moon changed a lot of peoples perspective. Footage of the Vietnam war was rather effective in changing some government policies.

Whereas Townshend and his trusty world changing guitar have done the following
a) Logged on to paedophile websites for “research purposes”
b) Pissed on an album cover
c) Made Tommy: a ridiculous rock opera about a deaf, dumb and blind kid who can somehow play pinball
d) Allowed his music to be used as the theme tune to CSI (made by notorious camera user Jerry Bruckheimer)
e) Hoped he would die before he got old.

Well, at least I agreed with e).

7
Jul 04

IHM LYRIC WATCH Rachel Stevens – Some Girls

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IHM LYRIC WATCH
Rachel Stevens – Some Girls

“Some girls always get what they wanna wanna
All I seem to get is the other other”

Two points to note about Ms Stevens’ song here. Firstly the grammar: because surely the other other is what you started with. If you have two things, the other is the other thing. So to be other from the other is to be back with the first thing. What she apparently wannas.

Nevertheless I think I can define a meaning from this insipid song. In particular that Rachel is moaning that some girls seem to get the good stuff, while she gets all the crap. Well listening to your records love I can’t disagree.