Top 100 Songs Of All Time
Its usage in the pinnacle of BBC light entertainment aside – what a record this is! The drum intro is played on the side of a rusty water tank. The noisy brass squawks like Pingu angrily trying to shoo geese off his lawn. The piano is straight out of a Chas’n’Dave pub knees-up, and the end of each chorus line is punctuated by Cher Lloyd’s grandma (subs check this) going ‘Ugh!’ All Shaggy himself needs to do is drawl along for the ride: sleazy, cheesy – easy peasy!
The Levi’s advert that propelled this to #1 has stuck in the memory for many: our hero takes on Pingu’s claymation form, effortlessly pulling motorbike stunts to save the damsel in distress from a burning building. The animated city itself has a similar feel to the spoof-robot-noir of Dick Spanner, as does our greaser’s chiseled chin.
Even the visual jokes are there: the roast pigeons coming back to roost on the telegraph line are exactly as subtle than the giant illuminated “SAVE ELECTRICITY” sign in Spanner’s metropolis. The advert is only a minute long, but still manages to cram in a number of other gags that would have been edited out of Police Squad for being too obvious – a firehose full of holes, a firefighter toasting a sausage on the flames, an oblivious nose-picking kid as one of the bystanders (which incldes someone wearing a Santa outfit for some reason?) and of course, finishing on a toilet joke.
The official video unfortunately contains none of these elements. Hence this can only be the third best song of all time! I wonder what could be at top spot?
Tom wrote about this on Popular here: so here is a project ending couple of thoughts.
“Life is a mystery”. But Madonna doesn’t mean a mystery like the kind Sherlock solves three times a year, or even the kind they solve using CSI in Las Vegas, New York or Miami (with or without sunglasses). What Madonna means here is that “Life is a mystery” sounds, in itself, mysterious. Smart. Sexy. A bit deep. Like a good lyric.
Compare that opening to the main couplet in the chorus: “When you call my name, it’s like a little prayer”. Now this sounds self-aggrandizing, perhaps a little big headed, a typical silly lyric – but of course is factually correct. If you call her name: “Madonna”, it is indeed like a little prayer, it is a little prayer to the Virgin. All of which lies at the heart of this terrific song. It earns its religiosity, by being factually religious and reassuringly secular at the same time.
Some time in the mid-70s, I went on a school trip to the Ludlow Festival, to see (I think) Cymbeline: six kids crammed in the back of a teacher’s little van, five in their late teens actually studying it for A-level, and me, experimenting and showing off. So naturally they were all having fun amiably teasing me, and hit on POP as a topic to trip me up. As a gamble — early version of a dodge I make to this day — I declared my Young Person’s admiration for my dad’s favourite singer: Eartha Kitt. Which paid off — they’d none of them never heard of her, and with no comfy take, to needle or muddle me with, preferred to chuckle a bit at my weird obscure tastes and went back to earnest Sabbath-chat.
Funny thing is, I grew up and through a life writing about and categorising music, exploring and improving histories, and still Eartha feels more like a handy prevarication move than a name to conjure with: someone people kind of know about, for sure, and maybe like (maybe a LOT), but without a set place, or role, or handy symbolic meaning.
“What were the skies like when you were young?”
I think everyone hears a record in their youth which suddenly reveals a whole new world of possibilities. It could be a three minute punk song, where simplicity and lyrical fervour suddenly make the business of writing your own songs seem possible. Maybe hearing the Aphex Twin opened a world of atonal computer music, bedroom techno that saw no instuments at all. Or think of the kid coming home from yet another tedious trumpet lesson hearing the joyous release of Two Tone and looking in a whole new way at his instrument.
What to say about this reggae supersmash not already said by Tom, and the army of comment crew enthusiast over on Popular. Ever angle of this amazing one hit wonder has been touched up, a worthy ten and a record that still sounds fresh as light as the day it was birthed upon the charts. The twin guns of confidence and sass bounce this along as such a terrific little pop gem that it really is very very hard to find anything to say except its really, really good.
So instead why not look at the conspiracy theories which swirl around the song. From the sabotage of the BBC Top Of The Pops orchestra to the misspelling of Althea on a record sleeve, its a song with a fair share of odd stories attached to it.
Poor Rosalia, the only Puerto Rican in West Side Story who seems to actually like Puerto Rico. In contrast to Maria, who prances around the bridal shop pretending to be Miss America (despite the competition being open only to members “of good health and of the white race” at the time), and Anita, whose witty and leggy defence of their adopted home is the basis of the catchiest song in the show and indeed FREAKY TRIGGER’S #10 BEST SINGLE OF ALL TIME, Rosalia is OK with Puerto Rico. In the play script she is described as “quietly dressed and not too bright”, which might explain why she doesn’t really have a problem with the Sharks’ homeland (although it does not explain why the costumers for the 2009 revival gave her such stupid hair). But Puerto Rico, according to Rosalia, is kind of okay. You know, it’s pretty. There are some nice tropical breezes and pineapples there. Maybe sometime she’d like to go back and visit.
NOT SO FAST, IMMIGRANT! You’ve made your choice and you can never go back!
[pic: also, in America, girls don't wear ponytails on top of their heads. Join us in the first world, chiquita!]
- attitude of complete indifference to all events
- inside-out knowledge of everything that happened on telly last night, especially Friends
- Rimmel Black Cherry lipstick
- copy of Sugar magazine (RIP :`()
- some trendy jeans
We’re big fans of Busted here at FreakyTrigger; speculative futurism, analysis of authority in the education system, asking people to dance at the disco and Thunderbirds are all highly relevant to our interests and I’m confident that if Charlie hadn’t thrown a strop to go and attempt to gain that elusive approval from Biffy Clyro that seems to be the prize on the X Factor these days then I’m confident their third album would’ve contained a song about the long egg continuum.
Goldfinger by Ash is a bit of a dirge, and amlost certainly one of those songs named because somewhere along the line it sounded to someone somewhere a bit like Goldfinger by Shirley Bassey. Its unclear from their performance, and the song where in the gestation period of the song it was, but they were still in school at the time they wrote it. Safe to say the song contains no luscious horns, no pussycat Bassey growl and no references to King Midas, or the oddly low temperature of anybody’s fingers.
Ash have never been asked to write or perform a Bond theme.