“The Bare Necessities” was stuck in my head today. I didn’t have earphones with me in work so I just had to roll with whatever soundtrack my brain came up with. I think it was inspired by the fact that I had a very disappointing pear for breakfast and that made me think of the prickly pear and then here we are.
I loved “The Jungle Book” and “The Bare Necessities” is just such a banger. It’s a hardcore wiggler of a song. There’s something magical about it that makes it appeal to little kids. It chugs along with the bass and tuba and then the trumpet zips along on the top of it. The solos are incredible – particularly the trumpet, which might be my favourite solo of all time. Phil Harris has such a smooth deep voice and it has permanently decided the voice that I imagine bears have. It’s such a happy and hopeful song. It’s a nice outlook to take, to be content and fulfilled by having what you need to get by.
You can listen to “The Bare Necessities” from “The Jungle Book” here.
I’ve been back in the office for the last few days and it’s really mixed my life up. It’s knocked my routine. Less sleep and no time to go running has my mood pretty crappy. I also think I broke a toe this morning so that might make running tough to do. I haven’t had a lot of time to listen to music at all so I haven’t had much inspiration for songs of the day. It’ll probably be next week before I get back into the swing on things here on the blog because on top of me being a moany bastard I’m moving this weekend.
So that’s a little update on what’s going on.
I’m not sure if “Downtown” is actually a good song. It’s wildly inconsistent. The be completely honest I think the only bits I really want are the Eric Nally parts. The Macklemore parts just aren’t for me. How much of a song do you have to like to like a song?
Dealing with negatives, there are two, maybe three. Number one: as mentioned above, I just don’t really get Macklemore. Number two: the video has too many vests. The third negative is a bit of a combination of the first two. Macklemore really tried to make the thrift store thing his thing and just milked it to death.
I think the positives out weigh the negatives. Eric Nally has a great voice and it is a top notch feature from him. He really steals the show. He has one of those big voices like Freddie Mercury or Justin Hawkins. The song got some hate on blogs for ripping off “Uptown Funk” but that ripped off so many songs in the first place that that becomes redundant. I think the reason I like it so much is that one of my favourite things to do when a song gets stuck in my head is to mix and match the lyrics and vocal melody. It’s a standard enough meme idea that was particularly big around the time when “Allstar” by Smashmouth was getting the serious meme treatment online. So we eventually arrive at all the lyrics of “Downtown” becoming “Beef boy”. It was a running joke last summer when we played a lot of Warzone online so I’ll always have very fond memories of the song. And that’s enough for me to actually like it.
You can listen to “Downtown” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis here.
When I was 15, Beck’s “Midnight Vultures” album blew my mind. There’s a bunch of great tracks on there, but “Mixed Bizness” was my ringtone in the days when you could first set mp3s as your ringtone. We used to sit out on a football pitch near my house and blow up cans of deodorant. I missed so many phone calls because it was essential to dance whenever my phone rang. I think the fact that the whole album was so focused on sex was a bit of a novelty as a teenager. It added a real element of mystery to the songs because it was hard to tell what was erotic nonsense and what were real things that I just didn’t understand. “Mixed Bizness” itself is Crash Bandicoot music and I mean that as a compliment of the highest order. It’s funky and speedy. I has loads of little fills and turn arounds. The surf guitar sound is pure gold throughout. The whole song is a general good time.
You can listen to “Mixed Bizness” by Beck here.
I like “The Less I Know The Better” a lot. It’s got a great video. It’s got great disco vibes. I feel like there’s been a bit of a swing back against Tame Impala because they have an association with a stereotype of a certain kind of shitty man. I think that’s fair because that indie, mansplaining man-child exists, but at the same time it’s a weird endorsement. It’s an acknowledgement that Tame Impala are good.
So where does that leave us? Well, I guess making a Tame Impala song my song of the day is not like I’m recommending something that nobody knows and that’s valid on my list. I don’t think “The Less I Know The Better” is taken for granted or forgotten about so I don’t really have an angle to it on that level. The reason “The Less I Know The Better” is my song of the day is because I like singing and Shóna doesn’t but she’ll very occasionally perform a high pitched re-enactment of the first verse, replacing all the words with “La”. And I always find it very funny.
You can listen to “The Less I Know The Better” by Tame Impala here.
Sometimes it’s tough to come up with an idea for a song of the day. Some weeks I might just listen to one album every day or I might not listen to a lot of music at all. In times like that it can be tough to come up with something that I actually have anything to write about. That’s part of what this blog is really about. It’s all writing practice. I want to be able to write when I normally wouldn’t want to. I’m trying to push past the obstacle of feeling uninspired.
Sometimes I just need a little push from something else. And that can be a little reminder of a song and then I’m off. And then it all manages to work itself out. “Dominos” by Northeast Party House is one of those songs that is a little push for me. I listen to it and I feel so pumped. When I started running last year I used to have to be very careful when it came to music. I would listen to easy going things at the beginning so I wouldn’t run like a maniac and use up all my energy too soon and then “Dominos” towards the end of the run to keep myself going. It’s just that kind of song. It’s super high energy. It’s very danceable. On my spectrum of dances where “Golden Years” by David Bowie was slow wiggler, this is a song for a dance made of low kicks and throwing elbows.
Northeast Party House are an incredibly consistent band. They always come out with exciting tunes. They have a great singer and every song could be a part of a great night out.
You can listen to “Dominos” by Northeast Party House here.
I’ve always felt like Tears For Fears should be the name of a proto-goth band. The band look like sensitive boys but not in a goth way. “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” is probably an obvious choice if someone was making a list of the best songs of all time, but sometimes those type of songs can slip through the cracks in my never ending compilation of songs that I like a lot on a given day.
I’m not sure how a person or group could sit down and write “Everybody Wants to Rule The World”. There’s so many mad little bits to it. It’s so 80s. The beat, the singing, the synths and the serious guitar playing. The lead guitar is one of my favourite bits to it. Guitar playing in pop music is pretty tame nowadays but this is proper shredding. I think the singing has a similar vibe. The song ticks along with solid singing and solid guitar playing until these moments where they both go up a level and that’s what puts the song into the next bracket of quality. The best part for the vocals is in the chorus at the end:
“Everybody wants to rule the—
Say that you’ll never, never, never, never need it”
The part where his voice reaches for the higher note is pretty excellent.
You can listen to “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” by Tears For Fears here.
I’ve always been very suspicious of Post Malone. He seems like a nice boy but very odd. As a musical entity he makes very little sense to me. He seems so randomly generated that he could only have been created using big data to hit the exact demographics to be massive.
“Circles” is a sad song with a bit of a dance in it. The bass line keeps it bouncing along. It feels like the culmination of a decade of Fleetwood Mac influences creeping into pop music. Even the lyrics are Fleetwood Mac-esque in the finger pointing in the demise of a relationship.
“Seasons change and our love went cold
Feed the flame ’cause we can’t let go
Run away, but we’re running in circles
Run away, run away
I dare you to do something
I’m waiting on you again, so I don’t take the blame
Run away, but we’re running in circles
Run away, run away, run away”
I think part of what I like about Post Malone is that he’s relatable but not necessarily in the way other people might feel. I think some people think of his lyrics as relatable, which I’m sure they are for some people. In my case, he’s relatable because if I had the money, he’s probably what I’d look like. He does exactly what I’d do in a world of no consequences. Including transition from a rapper to writing and singing future karaoke anthems like “Circles”.
You can listen to “Circles” by Post Malone here.
I was a very odd little boy. I read The Guardian football and music sections as a child. It probably explains why I enjoy music and football in the way that I do, in an anorak-ish and kinda bookish way. I still read The Guardian but I’ve expanded my reading to include the demented relationship advice columns and the blind date segment. I have a couple of very distinct music journalism memories, but I think Franz Ferdinand were the first band I ever read about and then sought out. In a lot of ways they were the perfect band for me at the time and despite my suggestion that my dad might like their first album for his birthday, “Franz Ferdinand” by Franz Ferdinand arrived on what I assume must have been my 12th birthday.
“The Dark Of The Matinée” was the first song I remember hearing. It has a kind of an evil sound. I think part of the appeal is that the lyrics are obviously talking about things but I really didn’t understand what was going on. Rereading them now, they are daft but fantastic.
“Take your white finger
Slide the nail under the top and bottom buttons of my blazer
Relax the fraying wool, slacken ties
And I’m not to look at you in the shoe
But the eyes find the eyes”
The use of language and things like run on lines made the lyrics seem very cryptic. The bridge and, in particular, the concatenation of Terry Wogan and the word “how” to fit the rhyming pattern, are one of my favourite pieces of lyric writing.
There’s a lot to the sound of “The Dark Of The Matinée” that still appeals to me. There’s solid guitar riffs and some disco influenced guitar in there. The bass riff drives the song along. And then the drumming has that great indie disco sound. If you listen with decent speakers you can hear some mad harmonies. The vocals have a bored sound that was the coolest thing in the world and there are even moments where you can hear Alex Kapranos sigh. It was all part of the aesthetic and I thought it was brilliant.
You can listen to “The Dark Of The Matinée” by Franz Ferdinand here.
My first experience of George Michael was the album “Older”. When I was a kid, I used to go over to my grandparents house and play Quake II on the PC and listen to the main man, George Michael. “Older” is such a fucking cool album. George Michael’s voice is fantastic and the songs are all very funky but also so chilled and atmospheric. I’ve only really understood what the songs throughout the album are actually about as I’ve grown older and there’s some real sadness in there.
Picking a song from “Older” is easy for me though. It has to be “Fastlove”. It might not even be the best song on there, but it’s the song that has stuck with me the most through the years. The sample from “Forget Me Nots” by Patrice Rushden is perfect. The bass is so good. It’s strange to have a dance song that is about sex but seems sad at the same time. If you consider when this came out in George Michael’s life you really can see what he was going through and what was to come. He’s very clearly in a bad state. There’s the fairly clear gay references, but he wouldn’t be publicly outed until 2 years later in 1998. He’s isolated and depressed and a secretly gay man using sex to cope with his life. It’s worth giving the lyrics a read and seeing how it fits so perfectly into what was going on. It sounds so bleak but as a child listening to “Fastlove”, I just thought it was a bop. And I guess that’s George Michael. Bopping away but having a really tough time in the background.
You can listen to “Fastlove” by George Michael here.