Posts from 9th June 2000

Jun 00

Here’s what

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Here’s what josh blog is asking people to do:

Think about the CDs you like the most; they can be current favorites or all time favorites, or whatever. For the most part, do you like every single song on them, or are there some you sort of abide by until something better comes along? Feel free to elaborate to make your response clearer (especially if my question assumes too much). Also, try to include a bit about albums you like, but which might not make your favorite albums ever. Try to distinguish between liking each song as a single, and as part of an album.

The odd thing is that despite my singlesmania I do like my favourite albums as albums, and am willing to overlook tracks which on their own I might consider duff. My problem is – and this is also why I don’t turn into a review machine – that there are so few albums that I actually like unreservedly. If you look at my Top 100 Albums, apart from the fact that it’s completely out of date anyway, the thing I’ve realised is that even by about No.50 I’m listing albums which I feel have some pretty major flaws. It’s the flaws and reservations that often make things interesting to write about, mind you.

Specifics. Two of my favourite albums I think are pretty much solid gold hitz from start to end: It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back is unflaggingly amazing, and the Go-Betweens’ Liberty Belle And The Black Diamond Express is about the most solid collection of ‘proper songs’ I know. But there are records I adore which have a lot of flawed tracks (most Pixies albums have a knock-off or two) or even an outright stinker (that godawful long ballad on Blood On The Tracks).

All bases covered

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All bases covered: “What’s different about That Should Just About Cover It… is what it says about a climate in which pop acts are not only not expected to write their own songs but aren’t expected even to choose their own musty cover versions”


New York London Paris Munich1 comment • 676 views

BRITNEY SPEARS – Lucky (from the album Oops…I Did It Again)
More world-stomping bubblegum with (checklist please) the usual touched-up meccano beats, rather prettier melodic flourishes than we’ve had from Brit lately, no Titanic weep-out middle bit, and, oh, some very interesting lyrics: she’s winning and the world’s spinning, but what happens when it stops and why does she cry when the lights go out? It’s all in the third-person, naturally: any other way the angst-weight would outbalance the froth and the song would topple over just like Eminem’s unpleasant pityfest “Marshall Mathers” does. But this way Lucky gets to stand for Existentialist Britney, and who’s to say she doesn’t feel stardom’s hollow ache just as much as, ooh, Eddie V. did? (Back when he was a star, of course). In fact come to think of it, “Lucky” is better than any other I’m-a-pop-star-and-I-hate-it bitchfest I can remember, not a difficult achievement I’ll grant you, but it’s still nice of Britney to come along with tungsten-plated pop like this to show the fringey boys how it’s done.


I Hate Music1 comment • 1,404 views


Fact One: Paul Simon is the name of a group of Estate Agents in North London
Fact Two: Garfunkels is the name of a chain of appalling restaurants in the centre of London, only beaten by Aberdeen Angus Steak Houses for poor services, wretched food and ambience you could cremate an elderly relative to (if dead – I am not suggesting any form of fire based euthanasia here).

These two facts should of course be enough coincidental proof to inter Mssrs Simon and Garfunkel to the I Hate Music top ten of shite, but I do occasionally feel duty bound to look at their recorded output. Look – not listen. Shall we take an oft toted example of Paul Simon’s lyrical genius – Homeward Bound. So the story goes the diminutive wonder was sitting in Crewe Railway station, waiting for a train. This being Crewe, he was subject to the laws of British Rail : both with respect to timetabling and conduct of carriage. So what insight do we get from Pauly:
“I’m sitting in a railway station (cf: stating the obvious)
Got a ticket for my destination” (cf: British laws on holding a ticket valid for your entire journey).
Its pleasing to hear that the troubadouric answer to Paul Daniels had insulated himself against getting a ten pound penalty fare, but perhaps the track might have been more exciting if it later referenced
“An inspector asked for my ticket,
I pretended it had fallen out of my pocket
He said that he would call the cops
And charged me ten pounds and the price of a standard single ticket to the next stop”

Art Garfunkel probably would have nodded, said this was rather good and then stomped around trying to find another film about rabbits he could sing the theme to. If only Paul Simon’s solo career had been as brief. Instead he sits at home with his Collins World Encyclopaedia trying to find hitherto undiscovered civilisations whose music he can rip off wholesale. I would like to think the sanctions breaking recording of Graceland was a major contributor to the bringing down of Apartheid, but unless PW Botha had the album played to him until he capitulated I cannot see how. Instead he launched South Africa’s answer to the Flying Pickets on the world, and raked in the profits. The less said about the Capeman project the better. Let us just restrict ourselves to the scientifically proven fact that on Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover there are not actually fifty ways. This is quite obviously because Rhyming Dictionary Simon has never actually left a lover, he’s always been dumped. Ask Carrie Fisher. I think her way may have involved coming off of drugs. Cold turkey is bad, but waking up for the first clean day in ten years and finding Paul Simon in your bed – not nice.

As a digression, it has recently come to my attention that there are no good double acts – be it in music, comedy or the field of murdering upon Moors – whose names are not billed alphabetically. Peters & Lee, Cannon & Ball, Sonny & Cher, Little & Large and – unsurprisingly -Simon and Garfunkel all have reverse alphabeticaly billing, and are all lousy.

Back to the folksie trappings of S&G, together again for the twentieth fucking reunion gig (I don’t know this for sure but if you stick a pin in a calendar you have a fifty fifty chance). Up on stage goes the frizzy but balding giant man-child that was Art, and the balding but meta-balding dwarf of dissonance and boy is it obvious they hate each other. This I understand – I hate them – but hey kids, do you think they are in it for the money? “Play The Sound Of silence will ya, and this time do it properly else I’ll rip out your tongues and break all your limbs – then you’ll finally get some clue of what silence sounds like”. If the Lemonheads can cover one of your tracks and make it better, then there is no sack of shit big enough for you to be compared to.

My final piece of evidence is slightly more sinister however. It involves the throwaway line “Hello Darkness my old friend”. Anyone on first name terms with Darkness must be in league with the dark powers and must therefore be demons in approximately human form (like eight is approximately ten). They are recruiting for their own special pit of hell reserved for them and their foolish fans. And estate agents, and piss-poor London restaurateurs no doubt.

(Not No Doubt. They have their own acre of hell where the ska is watered down and it is illegal to dance properly).

Could anyone have really expected us not to blog

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Could anyone have really expected us not to blog Britneylog? Despite sharing a host with an Anna Kournikova page this does seem to be an actual source of Britnews and not just an excuse for oglement.


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Now: a couple of weeks ago I reviewed a band called Now, who were great live but whose CD I didn’t enjoy. The band have now (ho ho) got in touch and to my immense relief didn’t want to kill me. But they did ask to point out that the band is called Now, not Now!, and they are not therefore trying to rip off Neu!. I also learned from their website that the stuff they played live is quite different from the stuff on the CD, so that’s nice too.

A school playground, twenty years ago

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KID KOALA: Hey! Hey guys! Lookit this!
KK’s SCHOOLMATE 1: Aw no, it’s that weird kid. I say we ignore him.”
KID KOALA: Guys!! Look at me! Look!
KK’S SCHOOLMATE 2: Ah shit, we’d better see what he’s after!
(They troop over wearily)
KID KOALA: I can get my armpit to make a fartin’ noise! Woo hoo!
(He does so. SCHOOLMATES look at one another.)
KK’S SCHOOLMATE 1: Let’s beat the shit out of him.
(They do.)
KID KOALA: Ow! Aaargh! Yaroop! Oof! Ow!


KID KOALA: Yo, guys! Check it.
KK’S EX-SCHOOLMATE 1: Who is that doofus on the decks? Don’t I recognise him from somewhere…?
KK’S EX-SCHOOLMATE 2: We’d better see what he’s doing.
KID KOALA: I can get my turntable to sound just like a chicken, man!
(He does so. EX-SCHOOLMATES look at one another.)
KK’S EX-SCHOOLMATE 1: What is the fucking point of that?
KK’S EX-SCHOOLMATE 2: Let’s beat the shit out of him.
KID KOALA: Ow! O-o-o-o-ow! Aaaargh-gh-gh! Gh! Gh! Ow! Yaroof! Yaroof! Yaaaaaaarrrrrrrroooooooooofffffffff! (etc.)

THE MORAL: Turntablists never learn.


New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 211 views

Fivesongs: other weblogs have mentioned this idea, for sure, but have they submitted to it? I think not! I disagree with the whole idea of “songs you’re ashamed to like”, but after careful consideration I did find a handful.

List of microtonal music on CD

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List of microtonal music on CD: cool resource found by Josh – add some microtonality to your day. “Pop fans need not click”, indeed!

A big mess of thoughts about listening

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A big mess of thoughts about listening: Josh writes perceptively about how he approaches music. I think the ‘thinking’ he talks about is something every listener does, and in general I can see where he’s coming from, with two caveats:

i) His method of growing into a piece of music (apologies for crass summarisation) still doesn’t solve the so-much-music so-little-time problem: there is simply too much music around even to try everything you might want to out, let alone listen yourself into liking it, and even if there was where would that leave the music that you’ve ‘got’ to your satisfaction and might want to play for pleasure?

ii) I can’t reading the article see any way for Josh to dislike a piece of music. Which plainly he does, and quite often.