18 August 2021 – Everybody Wants To Rule The World by Tears For Fears

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.

18 August 2021 – Everybody Wants To Rule The World by Tears For Fears

17 August 2021 – Circles by Post Malone

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.

17 August 2021 – Circles by Post Malone

16 August 2021 – The Dark Of The Matinée by Franz Ferdinand

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.

16 August 2021 – The Dark Of The Matinée by Franz Ferdinand

12 August 2021 – Fast Love – George Michael

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.

12 August 2021 – Fast Love – George Michael

11 August 2021 – I’m the One – DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne.

This is probably the most apologetic I’ve had to be for a song of the day choice, but there’s enough pros to this song to justify its inclusion. “I’m the One” is a mad song. It’s worth getting the obvious out of the way. DJ Khaled is objectionable. Justin Bieber is objectionable. At one point Justin Bieber puts on a Jamaican accent that I don’t think got enough heat at the time.

Really it comes down to a couple of things. Chance the Rapper has a verse that I just enjoy immensely.

Uh, she beat her face up with that new Chanel
She like the price, she see the ice, it make her coochie melt
When I met her in the club I asked her who she felt
Then she went and put that booty on that Gucci belt

I think those four bars are just hilarious. Chance the Rapper generally has a pretty consistent flow so the whole verse sounds good, but those are some demented lyrics. The lines roll so perfectly but the idea of a grown man saying these things is so funny to me.

One verse of Quavo is the perfect amount. It’s hard not to enjoy some Quavo adlibs. The Lil Wayne verse is wild.

She think we Clyde and Bonnie
But it’s more like Whitney and Bobby,
God, forgive me!”

I like that idea. People in volatile relationships like to act like its them against the world, raising hell. The truth is that might be the case sometimes, but other times they’re smoking crack and bashing the heads off each other.

“I’m the One” is like a song from space. All these crazy aliens came together to make an insane song and for some reason I love it. Whenever it comes on I can feel my face light up. It’s good for a bop and it’s an all round good time.

You can listen to “I’m the One” by DJ Khaled here.

11 August 2021 – I’m the One – DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne.

10 August 2021 – Lazy by X-Press 2 feat. David Byrne

I followed through on last night’s post and dug out my iPod Classic. It seems to work alright, although the only usb lead I have for it is very ropey. I’ve been digging through it to see what I had on there. It’s been a long time since I’ve used iTunes and it’s been a struggle. It seems intentionally clunky, like they’ve just handed me a crap Excel spreadsheet with shitty folders. Honestly, I’m a big spreadsheet fan so an Excel spreadsheet would be an improvement on this. I’ve been trawling through the old playlists and albums and there’s plenty of blog era specific tunes in there, but I also found some other spicy tunes. I was reminded of all the cheap CDs I used to buy just to get one song. One of the best cases of that is NOW 51, the 51st edition of the iconic pop compilation series. Some truly dreadful shit on that. But it’s all worth it for today’s song of the day, “Lazy” by X-Press 2 feat. David Byrne.

David Byrne is of course, a wizard. He’s responsible for some of the greatest songs of all time. He has such a distinctive voice. “Lazy” is a great song. The track itself seems subtle at first but there’s lots of good things going on in their. It’s very funky. The bass is very active in the mix. The keyboards and synthesizers combine with the beat to create a dance music sound but there’s probably enough for the song to exist as just the vocals and the piano. It’s atmospheric and danceable on its won but I think David Byrne takes it to the next level with his vocals. They’re very deadpan at times and feel like a voiceover, sometimes it’s almost a croon and at some points David Byrne’s voice is almost sassy.

It’s a great song and I’d happily pay whatever I paid for the full NOW 51 album again, just because for reminding me of it.

You can listen to “Lazy” by X-Press 2 feat. David Byrne here.

10 August 2021 – Lazy by X-Press 2 feat. David Byrne

09 August 2021 – A post that dies in the third paragraph.

One of the great things about Spotify for me is rediscovering songs that I first heard on blogs back when people downloaded music. I had a nice iPod Classic and I would religiously download the Sunset in the Rearview monthly playlists. A lot has happened in the world in the time since, technologically, culturally and personally. It was a time when you could hear a couple of songs from an artist and then they’d change their name or just stop making music and there’d be no trace they existed after a while. Now music just stays on streaming services, ticking away, getting a couple of plays a year. For me, it was a mad transitional period of going to college, living in Galway for a while and starting work. Between the life changes and and the global shift to streaming, I lost track of a huge amount of artists whose music I had digital copies of. I think that’ll be a project for this week, finding my iPod and chasing down musical leads.

Part of the problem of losing track of music is that I’ll be able to remember riffs or vocal melodies and often forget lyrics so I can never find the songs again. The other problem is not really knowing what I was forgetting. The technology was all about how many hundreds of thousands of songs you could have, so the list is impossible to keep track of in my little brain.

I had rediscovered a song from that time recently and up to this point I was writing with that song in mind. I started writing and reading at the same time, doing my regular research. I was midway through what was going to be my next paragraph when I found some very problematic stuff about the artist. I don’t really feel comfortable featuring the song on my blog anymore. If more information comes out and the story changes then maybe I’ll think about posting about it but I’d rather not write about the song right now.

09 August 2021 – A post that dies in the third paragraph.

08 August 2021 – The Suicide Squad

I’ve been trying not to write about relatively new films so I can avoid spoilers but here’s your spoiler alert for “The Suicide Squad”. I’m not going to ruin things but I’m going to talk about the film so read at your peril.

Here’s the poster for the film. It’s here to give you time to process the spoiler alert.

From the beginning, it’s important to make the distinction between “The Suicide Squad”(2021) and “Suicide Squad”(2016). “The Suicide Squad” is billed as a standalone sequel to “Suicide Squad” but it was also referred to as a “soft reboot”. So it operates in an in between space, not quite a proper sequel but not an independent event.

I went to see “The Suicide Squad” in the IMAX in Odeon in Blanchardstown on Monday. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I was definitely impressed. I knew that James Gunn was involved but I had very little faith in DC to get it right. I guess I was probably expecting something like “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2” crossed with “Deadpool”. At this point the charm of “Deadpool” has well and truly worn off and the second Guardians film, while better on the second viewing, was a weaker sequel. I had seen the trailers and they were pretty good, but I was confused as to why this film was being made at all.

The first Suicide Squad film was shit. It looked crap. There was all that nonsense with Jared Leto as the Joker. It seemed like it was more focused on seeming gritty than actually doing anything. It felt wasteful to use so many characters so badly. When you hear the criticism from the writer and director, David Ayer, it all kinda makes sense. Too much messing around, too much changing track midway. It’s just disjointed and if not for the cast and the promotion of it, the film would be very forgettable.

So since that was so bad, why make a sequel? There was some positive feedback to Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and they made the “Birds of Prey”. That was an alright film but not really a success financially. It really felt like they had a bad film in “Suicide Squad”, tried to milk what was good from it in “Birds of Prey” and at that point it should have been time to quit. There just didn’t seem like audiences would have an appetite for it. I definitely didn’t think I wanted to see a sequel.

But it’s great. It’s very funny. Plenty of proper laugh out loud moments. The characters are great. The characters are from source material so that might not seem like something that “The Suicide Squad” deserves credit for, but “Suicide Squad” managed to fuck up pretty cool characters so we can’t take that for granted. The cast are pretty solid and everybody was good in it. It’s always great to see David Dastmalchian. He’s very entertaining as Polka-Dot Man. John Cena kinda steals the show as Peacemaker. It’s probably Idris Elba’s best performance in a while. He’s a weird one. He was great in “The Wire” and I’m sure he’s had some other good roles since then, but it mostly seems like his acting has been limited to putting on glasses to show that he’s smart. He’s good in “The Suicide Squad” though.

One of the biggest things that I liked about the film was that it made pretty brave choices. I’m not going to get into details because that’s spoiler territory, but bravery is one of the most important things in film making in my opinion. The other DC films have been relentlessly cowardly in their approach to everything. The changes in direction; the casting in some cases; and even just the fucking storylines have not been brave enough to warrant the films being made. The last Wonder Woman film is the best example. Just unambitious crap. And the truth about it is that a film that doesn’t make brave choices is a film that has been made in an attempt to trick an audience. They’re not working hard to be original or interesting because they think that audiences are stupid enough to go to anything if there’s enough promo behind it. “The Suicide Squad” is trying to do more than that and I liked that about it.

The interesting question from watching “The Suicide Squad” is: has there been a better sequel that should never have been made? Despite the philosophical debates around whether “The Suicide Squad” is a pure sequel to “Suicide Squad”, the fact of the matter is, from the studio’s point of view, this was a sequel. It’s the same source material, same cinematic universe, same characters and even the same cast. The consensus is that sequels are usually worse. There’s a laziness to sequels as a concept and they have a vibe of selling out. So the opposite is interesting. A lazy film with an ambitious and interesting sequel. I would be interested to know if this has been through hard work and vision from someone over at Warner Bros. or if it was just a case of the stars aligning after successive blunders.

Is this how “The Suicide Squad” came into existence?

However “The Suicide Squad” came into existence, I feel like it was a great film. I could very easily see myself going to see it again this week. Lots of laughs, great action, great characters. Just an all around great time. Very much worth a watch.

08 August 2021 – The Suicide Squad

05 August 2021 – Say Nada by Shakka feat. JME

I was in Prague in January 2017 and I was watching the music channels in the hotel when we got home one evening and I heard “Say Nada” for the first time. Up until that point, I didn’t really get grime or grime affiliated R&B. Then it started to make sense. I know by now it’s expected, but I liked that Shakka sings with his own accent and the language is local. “Say Nada” was the first time I heard JME. JME is a great example of how different accents create different flows and styles. I think people writing lyrics the way they speak opens the door for more of that. The English language has a huge amount of variation and it’s nice to hear things that aren’t made by Americans for Americans. The vibe is different as well. The American equivalent of this song would be in VIP sections and sports cars. “Say Nada” is weekday raving and Ubers.

The first thing that struck me was the riff though. The guitar fluctuates between levels of distortion but creates a bounce to the song. The beats in the verse are quite sparse and building into the hook where they lift up a level. I like towards the end of the song as it gets hectic. The layered vocals create a massive sound. I also love the lyric “My ex left saying she ain’t got the time, yo. I double take and pray the e-mail was a typo”. I like the idea that someone’s partner dump them via email.

You can listen to “Say Nada” by Shakka feat. JME here.

05 August 2021 – Say Nada by Shakka feat. JME

04 August 2021 – Golden Years by David Bowie

I’ve talked about this before, but, when I was a teenager, I didn’t want to like David Bowie. In my mind, he was the obvious glam rock choice. I was just a little dweeb. Over time, I heard more David Bowie songs and had to concede that he definitely had some good songs. Eventually, I fully accepted defeat.

“Golden Years” was one of my first favourite Bowie songs. I hate to admit it, but I think I heard the Marilyn Manson version first. I think that’s the only way anyone could ever think the Manson version was any good. It’s a very poor imitation of the original and Manson is literally just doing a David Bowie impersonation instead of actually singing in his own voice.

“Golden Years” starts off strong. The riff is the most obvious part and it’s a belter. Just grooving away. There’s also a lovely bit of finger snapping with tonnes of echo. That then reoccurs periodically throughout the song. Apparently it was written for Elvis. I love the idea of an Elvis version. It kinda makes sense. It’s a funk/disco song, but it’s an Elvis disco song. There’s a country twang to the guitar at times and there’s a bit of a croon to the way Bowie is singing at times. It’s a cool track because there’s a definite dancability to it, but it’s quite meandering at the same time. It’s a slow wiggling song. And I think that’s my favourite Bowie, slow wiggling Bowie.

You can listen to “Golden Years” by David Bowie here.

04 August 2021 – Golden Years by David Bowie