Posts from 31st March 2004

Mar 04

CLIFF RICHARD – ‘Living Doll’

Popular21 comments • 3,567 views

#88, 31st July 1959

The production on ‘Living Doll’ is pretty special – impeccably polite but amazingly intimate, Cliff sings like his lips are almost brushing your ear but Cliff being Cliff he wouldn’t so much as ruffle your hair without a chaperone’s permission. In fact the remarkable thing about ‘Living Doll’ is how fully-formed Cliff’s Cliff-ness is on his fifth ever single. It’s hackneyed because it’s true: cuts don’t come much cleaner than Cliff, the thoughtful delivery and spick-and-span production the perfected essence of ‘good English boy’. The persona is so solid it’s survived almost fifty years – the occasional changes of style barely impact, though the moralising has gradually become more overt. Cliff Richard has made much better and much worse records than ‘Living Doll’ but this is his Rosetta Stone.

For all that I can’t say it works well today. It sounds marvellous but Lionel Bart’s queasy lyric has aged badly ‘ Cliff smirking over his doll, showing her off before locking her away; it’s not offensive so much as just tiresome. It reminds me of some religious couples I’ve met ‘ terribly well-turned-out, him telling everyone how marvellous she is and her never so much as speaking.

Please somebody stop me

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 370 views

Please somebody stop me eating these delicious crisps thx.

Peas In Non Bling-Bling Shockah

Do You SeePost a comment • 1,274 views

Peas In Non Bling-Bling Shockah: Juley on Eastenders last night: I don’t want vegetables on my face, bro!! The scriptwriters on last night’s ‘Stenders obv had been on a nightbus with some “street children”* recently, as the phrase “frontin’ on” was used approx. 9 zillion times, when they weren’t demonstrating the dangers of a materialistic society and it’s effect on “urban youth”. Clunnnnnk!

That Sharon needs to touch her roots up**, innit?

*or Jamie Cullum, haha
**I said ROOTS, you filth merchants

May I point you

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 412 views

May I point you to this lovely story about a man finding a packet of 82 year old Smith’s crisps? The packet apparently reads:

“Eat Smith’s Crisps with your morning bacon, chops and steak, fish, poultry or game, cocktails etc.”

And I didn’t even have a cup of TEA this morning! Things WERE better in the old days, weren’t they now?

On the right, down below the weblog links

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 1,304 views

On the right, down below the weblog links you may now see a box called “Listening to”. This is an agglomeration of FT writers’ listen-to data so you can keep tabs on the yawning chasm between our trendy claimed tastes and the shite we are actually playing. At the moment only me, Alan, and Dave B are playing – if you’re an FT bod and you have a listen-to bug that can be included please let us know! Even if you’re not then you should join the ILE group Alan has set up.

Pitchfork on Bonnie Prince Billy

FT + New York London Paris Munich1 comment • 705 views

Pitchfork on Bonnie Prince Billy: I think the new Bonnie Prince Billy album is quite – no, very – good. It’s re-recordings of his older Palace tracks in a warm, country-rockish style, faintly reminiscent of early-70s Dylan. Having mostly forgotten the old tracks I was able to enjoy the new versions unreservedly. I can quite understand fans not liking the new record, though some of the descriptions I’ve read makes it sound like he’d got Mutt Lange in to produce and Shania on backing vocals – in fact Greatest Palace Music is no more ‘overproduced’ or glossy than that Gene Clark reissue from last year which a lot of people seemed to like. Come to think of it it’s hardly more produced than Oldham’s own previous BPB records.

This reviewer thinks the new record is very bad indeed: fair enough. But the tortuous way he wrestles with this dislike is very odd. The whole piece seems like a good example of simply worrying too much about what artists are thinking. The first paragraph is classic self-denying doublethink: reviewer buys record, loves it, discovers it’s a re-recording of old classics and suddenly realises his error.* The last paragraph offers the frankly bizarre argument that the listener’s “struggle” with the Bonnie Prince Billy record and the realisation that Will Oldham must surely hate his audience is where “this record finds its wisdom and radiance”. I don’t buy it. If it’s an awful record, it’s an awful record** – no need to don the hairshirt and claim that sitting through it is some kind of transcendence!

*I do this sort of thing myself of course, cf. the Pay TV write-up below. I wish I didn’t though. You can’t break free from the things you find out about artists and records but it’s always good to stay as faithful as you can to your gut reactions.

**Luckily it’s not an awful record and is in fact pretty easy to sit through and enjoy. What I’d be really interested in is the reaction of somebody who’d never heard any other Palace records, though.

SASHA – “Hanky Panky”

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 375 views

SASHA – “Hanky Panky” (aka PopNose5): Sasha is part of a post-Sean-Paul pop-dancehall trend, literally in her case since her big break was on Paul’s “I’m So In Love With You” single. Now, I’m no expert on the economic effects of previous smash-and-grab raids by First World pop corps on Jamaican music but my hope is that this is a Good Thing for all concerned as it means i) more cash knocking about; ii) loads of great pop dancehall on the radio over here; iii) inevitable backlash producing ever newer and more surprising sounds over there. But who knows? It might mean everybody getting ripped off and loads of awful records. This track is good though – as a couple of the comments box people mentioned it’s a bit coyer than a lot of dancehall. Probably this is because Sasha is being groomed for proper pop stardom, but I think it’s kind of charming and it works with the subject matter: if spanking ever was a thrillingly decadent practise it surely isn’t any more, the catchy, cutesy and just slightly naughty “Hanky Panky” is a pop song for a post-Secretary world of furry handcuffs and Cosmo Girl S & M.

Ahem. Sasha’s solo stuff was brought to my notice by ILM stalwart Sterling Clover who started a whole thread on the topic. You can get this track on Riddim Driven – Project X and, who knows, maybe on Sasha’s own album one day soon.