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

20 May 2021 – Freedom! ’90 by George Michael

You can listen to “Freedom! ’90” by George Michael here.

I was thinking about George Michael and I was going to write about how I first heard him. I went to listen to that first song that I’d heard and I got side tracked on the way so that will have to wait for another day. I watched “This is England ’90” today and as well as the similarity in title, I copped the similarity between “Freedom! 90” and some of the soundtrack to the show, most obviously “Step On” by The Happy Mondays. I thought that was a fun coincidence.

George Michael was a tremendously talented songwriter and his lyrics could be cutting or cheeky or emotional all at the same time. “Freedom! ’90” is a classic example. There’s criticism of the music business, all wrapped up in an incredible pop song. You can see that in the video which features Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista and was directed by David Fincher.

The link back to Madchester tunes isn’t just that piano sound. The beat is sampled from James Brown’s “Funky Drummer”. If you do any reading about Madchester and the sound, there’s a quote from Joshua Clover about how the dance beats were descended from the James Brown track.

I have a huge amount of time for George Michael as a singer, songwriter and as a man. He has an incredible and unique voice, he has written some truly fantastic songs and he seemed like a very good dude.

20 May 2021 – Freedom! ’90 by George Michael