I’ve been thinking about the idea that something can be established and cemented in culture and then accepted by subsequent generations. We can delegate understanding to people we trust as experts so we can take medicine without being doctors/chemists and travel in planes without being pilots or engineers. What I like about this is that it protects some absolutely demented cultural moments. I know there are more powerful examples, but the reason this comes to mind is because I’ve been listening to “That’s the Way (I Like It)” by KC and the Sunshine Band.
The bass is ridiculous. The horns are perfect. The backing vocals are iconic. “That’s the Way (I Like It)” is a great song, but what I love is that the lyrics are so fucking goofy. I love that the song and KC and the Sunshine Band as a group get a pass for being so goofy because they existed in the horniest time in history.
I like thinking about lists where there are multiple parameters. A playlist of the best disco songs is fine and dandy, but I’d get much more of a kick out of the best demented disco songs. So I’ve put together an hour of deranged disco for your listening pleasure. Let me know if you have any other recommendations for this playlist or any other interesting musical Venn diagram intersections.
I took a break from this blog at the end of September 2021. I had just moved. I was back working from the office most days. I was in a burnout. I think I probably could have tipped along at it for another while and been ok, but then external shit came into play.
On the 29th of September, I tore the ACL in my left knee. I proper fucked the knee. ACL torn, some MCL, bits of fracturing where my knee had slid out of place and then snapped back into place. I’d spent all of covid running with the idea of being super fit when I was able to play football again. So much for that.
A physical injury is one thing, but I think the worst part was how I started to feel. I was physically vulnerable. I spent about 12 weeks on crutches between waiting for surgery and recovery. I had the fear.
At the same time, I was feeling bad about work. I applied for another job. I got it. I went against my gut feeling because the money was a lot better. It was a really terrible job.
We got covid and ruined Christmas.
My grandmother died in my first month at the new place. I don’t think my grandad ever really recovered.
I got married in March 2022. It was great. People talk about how the pressure of the day ruins it. I don’t think we felt like that. Maybe we’d change some small details, but it was a great day. I remember watching my family and friends on the dancefloor and just knowing that this was what I’d wanted. We went to Cancun and had a cool honeymoon. I felt good.
The knee was healed by now but I wasn’t putting the full effort into the rehab. I reached a point where I could walk, but I was too scared to run or jump so I didn’t have the drive to get back there.
After the honeymoon, I went back to work and decided I had to leave. I felt isolated and my confidence was through the floor. I moved back to the old job. I felt more secure and less isolated but I had zero confidence.
I got covid and ruined my 30th birthday. I was super run down and my immune system just kept getting overrun. I had covid, then conjuctivitis and then a throat infection.
I did some therapy. It helped. I got some harsh truths, some weakness highlighted, some new perspectives. It was a nice older lady and she told me I was the best boy. I felt a lot better but still not 100%.
I left my job again at the end of 2022. We’re now in Sydney, Australia. I think I should be feeling shitty. My grandad died the week we got here. I don’t have a job. I talk to recruiters and do interviews but people don’t want to give roles to people on working holiday visas. I spend a lot of time on my own. If this was last year, I’d have left a long time ago. It’s not though. I feel ok. I feel relaxed. I feel energised and reinvigorated.
We went to Canberra over the weekend and got rained on for a few days. On the drive home, we talked about where we thought we’d be at this age if we’d been asked 5/10/15 years ago. I don’t know where I thought I’d be, but I definitely thought I’d care more about work than I have over the last few years. I had reached a point where a career intended to enable me to live and be creative without putting pressure on creativity, was taking up so much of my energy that I didn’t feel like I had anything left for me. So I’m going to write again. And I’m dreaming of furniture that I’m going to build. And I’m thinking about bands I want to start when I go home. I feel like I’m out the other side of the burnout. I’m feeling good and I’m going to get back to living.
I’m taking a break from the blog for a while. Between moving and going back to working from the office, I feel like I’ve lost momentum. I’m not sitting at my desk on my own for eight hours a day listening to music the whole time. I don’t have a commute on a bus where I could sit and search for music. It’s become a bit of a chore to come up with songs of the day. And that makes me feel shitty about the whole thing because there are so many songs that I love that I still want to talk about. I’ve also just been doing other stuff. I’ve been building furniture for the new place. That’s kinda just taken up the space in my brain that was the blog for the last six or seven months
So I’ll be back in two weeks or so. Hopefully feeling fresher and re-engaged.
I only realised when I did my reading about “Rescue Me” by Fontella Bass, that the recording features Maurice White and Louis Satterfield from Earth, Wind & Fire. I’m pretty sure this is a first for the blog, to have the same people featured on consecutive songs. Kinda impressive really to see people popping up again in another great song.
“Rescue Me” is so good. It’s a sing a long tune and and one for dancing. I love the 60s R&B drumming that drives the song along. The piano playing feels frantic, like the person playing the piano is dancing at the same time. It’s a great example of a song that feels happy but the lyrics are sad. I’m not entirely sure if it’s a sad song. I ask Shóna to rescue me about 4 times a week and that’s mostly when I have to do things I don’t want to do, like going to work on a Monday morning. The more I think about it, the more I feel like these lyrics could be written by me back in the days of commuting on the bus, feeling very melodramatic.
I wish I could write a song like “Rescue Me”. It’s a song that knows its strengths. It gives the listener plenty of what we want, lyrics that are easy to remember, repetition of the really good singing parts by Fontella Bass and top notch call and responses.
You can listen to “Rescue Me” by Fontella Bass here.
Picking anything other that “September” today would have been the wrong choice. “September” is a perfect song. The intro is iconic. The vocals, also iconic. The flourishes on the horns are flash, but perfectly measured. The bass grooves away. I love how the singing stretches a little bit in the second half of the second verse. Maurice White just kicks it up a notch. I’d love to find a version of the song where he went all Mariah Carey on it.
I think every night out should end with “September” regardless of what else was being played. It’s so happy. It’s all about love. It talks about dancing. It has nonsense lyrics so everyone can sing along. The end just drifts out in to the universe. And then the lights would come on and the night ends on a high.
You can listen to “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire here.
I’ve got a good Dad. I always hate when you hear about dads having to “babysit” their own kids. My dad was very involved and I think that was a really positive thing.
One of my key memories from when I was very little and we’d hang out with my dad at home was listening to Rage Against The Machine’s self titled debut album. Colin and I would run around in circles and throw ourselves into the couch. And we had to promise that we wouldn’t say any of the bad words we heard.
That album was an album that I just knew as a complete album. I didn’t know what the “singles” were. I think it’s a really consistent album. Even the less memorable songs are very solid. “Know Your Enemy” is a real wiggler. You can imagine how it works for a little kid running in circles. The intro really is the peace before the storm. And it’s a double drop. The riff kicks in and lifts it but then when the lyrics properly start it goes up another level.
Rage Against The Machine get a bad rep. I think they’re associated with teenage years of angst and lame attempted nonconformity. The truth is they talk about plenty of things that I agree with wholeheartedly. “Know Your Enemy” is a cool track with some fairly reasonable hot takes on the land of the free that I probably didn’t fully get until I was older.
You can listen to “Know Your Enemy” by Rage Against The Machine here.
Tennis cropped up on my Release Radar this morning. They had a song on the Rick and Morty soundtrack. I remember watching it and being intrigued by the song but then I forgot about it. Then when “Borrowed Time” showed up in the playlist today it all made sense. I really like that song and it sent me down a Tennis rabbit hole.
“Need Your Love” is a cool song. It’s got a flipped, anti love song kinda vibe.
I need your love and I need your touch Like I need a bolt of lightning from the sky above
The chorus leads in with a traditional love sick line, but follows it with a turn around that counters that. There’s a choppiness to the timing of the song. It moves along and then slows down and gets back going before slowing all the way down. The drumming has a relaxed feel to it that I like. It suits the vocals. They’re sweet and effortless. The whole song has a very laid back 70s vibe and reminds me of what I would call “disco ballads”, things like “How Deep Is Your Love” by the Bee Gees.
You can listen to “Need Your Love” by Tennis here.
“Wincing The Night Away” is a wonderful album. We had visitors from America at one point when I was a kid and they brought it and it has become one of my favourite albums. I return to it every few years and it’ll have a week or two of being the only thing I listen to.
“Phantom Limb” is the song that’s been stuck in my hear this time around. I think it’s the best example of everything that I like about the album. I like the vocal melodies a lot. It’s not a case of an incredible voice as much as really nice ideas for where the vocals go. I like the buzzy bass sound. It’s got a melancholy kinda folk sound which I find quite peaceful.
The Shins are a funny case of a band that I might not have given a chance at another time. This album came out when I was around 14. I don’t think I was as culturally aware as I was later in my teens. I wasn’t really aware of any buzz around them and I missed the later weirdness around the band’s line up changes. To me, this was this nice chill album that reminded me of the calmer Beck albums and frequently took very nice little melodic turns.
You can listen to “Phantom Limb” by The Shins here.
When I was doing my leaving cert in 2011 I listened to Amanda Blank’s “I Love You” album a lot. I distinctly remember putting it on and dancing to the whole album straight through.
“Make It, Take It” is such a cool opener. It sits in that sweet spot between indie, dance and hip hop. It’s high energy. It’s got a great bass line. The vocals are super slick. The chorus has a layered harmony and the repetition fits perfectly with the quite modular production. It’s just a cool, very danceable track.
You can listen to “Make It, Take It” by Amanda Blank here.
A few weeks ago I had a short lived dive into my iPod Classic and a look at (and listen to) some of the old tracks from my days scraping blogs. One of the tracks that I rediscovered was “WWW” by STS. It was always one of my favourites. I’m not sure where I first heard STS, but I downloaded quite a lot of his music.
I like “WWW” a lot. It’s a very solid song. It has what I would think of as quite an Atlanta type sound. The piano and harmonies combo would sound at home on a Big Boi album. The beat is punchy. I like the vibe of the lyrics. It’s kinda like Marie Condo’ing your conversations. There’s a million conversations we could have that wouldn’t bring us joy, but why bother? STS wants to talk about “Women, weed and what to wear” and so he does. It’s a bit facetious, but I think as I get older and more comfortable in myself, this makes more and more sense. I’d rather hear another person talk about something they’re passionate about than make small talk. And STS is good at talking about his passions on “WWW”. There’s two very smooth verses and the hook is very catchy. The word play is clever. The flow between the topics is seamless.
It’s a fantastic song and finding it again has encouraged me to bring the iPod for the walk to work tomorrow to see what else I’d forgotten about.
You can listen to “WWW” by STS feat. Count Justice here.