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Thursday, September 23

calm before the storm

I'm really starting to panic, got a hour so free now before it all kicks off, its a real mixture of excitement and nerves.

Got a wonderful meeting in a few hours then my 21st Birthday celebration type thing on Brighton pier which shuld be a laugh.

Then tommorow for the first time since June, which the first of six gigs in eight days including two in one night.

Then the following day the fun of helping run a radio station in freshers week, oh and two hour show every day for a week.

its so hectic i nearly forgot it was my 21st in there as well.

Still no rest for the wicked, though I wouldnt exactly describe myself as wicked, but then would anyone?

Thursday, September 16

Dare - Human League

This was one of the very first vinyl LPs I bought, at the time I was going through a bit of I heart the 80's phase. And what better record than Dare to exemplify that. To be honest I didn't really know what I was buying , at the time I only knew Don't you Want Me, but it was one of my favourite songs of all time but more on that later.

(the audio clips are courtesy of Amazon which is a nice if unintended touch)

Things that dreams are made of - I've actually had this album a few years now, back in the days when I didn't know who Richard X was, now he's probably one of my favourite producers. This song is probably the song on the album that reminds me of Mr X the most. Its weird to think when this album came out there were few pop acts making use of synths like this . Maybe it's because I'm removed from the times and not an expert but I see the synths in Human League on the same par as the Roxy Music debut album maybe its the success that Mister Oakey and co had that made them a lot less respected than Eno?

2. Open your heart - One of the Things I love about Phil Oakey is he absolute lack of ability in the singing department, but I think that is half the charm. In this song especially though he does rely on the backing vocals of Joanne and Susanne. The story of Joey and Suzie is one which I'm not older enough to really understand. If the I heart programs are to believed he just found them in a disco while they were at school, if that happened now I'd smell a Simon Fuller masterstroke but surely then was the same. Am I too Cynical?

3. Sound of the crowd The 'get it right now' and 'get around town' forever make this an electro reworking of 'I get around' which it isn't but it is a nice ode to the New Romantic club type things, and it has a good percussive Synth outro.

Darkness -Oakey Brings us in with some lovely 'la-la-la-laaaas' It's a bit of a darkness cliche, but I'm still a sucker for the 'I can see better in the dark cliche' it's poetic in an 'I'm a teenager writing poetry' kinda way. Which has to be admired or your condemning yourself.

Do or die - A little to samba for my liking, especially for a song about the difficulty of survival, a song like that. Though those early synths didn't do dark really so I'll let them off.

Get Carter - I have a confession to make, I've never seen Get Carter. The amount it's referenced and name-checked I feel like I've committed some kind of pop culture cardinal sin. But I like the track is that a get out clause?

I am the law - This is more of the darkness I was talking about for 'Do or Die' In this one I can't decide whether I like the really simple essentially spoken word chorus. It's like Fitter Happier of OK Computer, I can't work out whether its genius or a cop out. This listen its a genius next time might be different.

Seconds It sounds like Prince on the Intro - 1999 I think, but its the start of one of the best closes to an album, Normally in my experience the first three tracks are better than the last three. There's not many cheery songs about murdering, and this is suitably dark, and its simplicity really seems to imply the fundamental simplicity of the act which ultimately gets you to question whether there can be any mitigating circumstances to the act. Not bad for an eighties synth pop band with one song.

9. Love action (I believe in love) - Oakey has put on his best butch voice in parts of this. It just make the track even more camp. But as mantra or call to arms 'I believe in love' fulfils the role nicely. I wonder if someone called Justin might have heard this one?

10. Don't you want me -One of the best mini-narrative songs ever. It's like a premise of a pulp Mills and Boon book, plus what with Oakeys discovering the Girls in the band it has a nice blurred line between the songs fiction and the bands fact. And its more catchy than a lot of STD's

Tuesday, September 14

Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)

In an attempt to contribute something worthwhile to my blog rather than just links to stuff I like I've decided my recent quest to begin collecting vinyl might provide just the kinda thing I'm looking for.
Having just sorted myself out with a proper deck hooked up to my Hi-if I've started getting classic albums that I've never had on CD. So god bless the charity shops, second hand stores and car boot sales.

For some reason my parents never had this album which seems pretty strange considering just how ubiquitous it has become. In all honesty when I got hold of this I thought I only knew title track and didn't expect a huge amount from it.
anyways a track by track run down

1. Bridge over troubled water
I doubt there's much about this that I can say that hasn't been before, it's about as beautifully powerful as it can get and is a prime example of how Popstars/Pop Idol/The Xfactor isn't all bad. It's the kinda song that inadvertently is impossible to avoid and has a place in the conscious of society but it wasn't until the accapella version by those who would become Hear'say and Liberty X , that I truly understood the sentiment and emotion of the song. Sometimes it takes something like that to truly appreciate a song that's "just there"

2. El candor pasa
For some reason this track is filed in my brain as a Christmas song rather than the hypothetical option a or option b it really is. The minds a strange thing.

3. Cecilia
The first track on the album I didn't realise I already knew, and Ive got Suggs to thank for that, his first solo album had a cover of this one there. That album was one of the first that I actually bought with my own money, and its got a strong place in my heart. I defiantly appreciate the original, show just how simple a song can be, to me like the great early Beatles Singles but with out repeated infinitum nature that inevitably goes with anything penned by John and Paul.

4. Keep the customer satisfied
A bombastic horn line crashing drums and a clever catchy lyric a pleasant surprise.

5. So long Frank Lloyd Wright
More what I expected of the album, gentle and plantive, but it's always gonna be hard to make a stormer about dedicated to an architect

6. Boxer
This song is all about three little word lie-la-lie a proper moment in a song, they don't come along like that often. The only kinda bit like that were I sit waiting for a certain point in a song recently is the breakdown in Take me Out By Franz Ferdidnand, who knows in 30 odd year people might be writing about that moment in the song...

7. Baby driver
Intro reminds me of hey little schoolboy or summin by Rod Stewart which is probably a slur on Art and Simon, though probably not as bad as an insult as the fact I think modern bands like the Libertines et al would love for a song like this. (though prob not admit it)

8. Only living boy in New York
An album were you have well crafted tracks like this reasonably late on proves to me just how lacking some albums are. I mean its not as great as some of the earlier tracks on the album, but that's the difference between a good album and a classic album where there is no weak tracks.

9. Why don't you write me
The dual harmonies get me everytime, there's a few punk bands out there like Twofold that sucker punch me with four part vocals but I'm still a sucker for a pair.

10. Bye bye love
Another one I knew, but didn't know I know. That's something I maybe a bit lacking in in songs at the moment, handclaps basic guitar and vocals that's all you need.

11. Song for the asking
Quite a romantic little sketch at the end, apparently this wasn't intended to be the final track and it's abrupt end certainly seems a bit of a disappointing end

Saturday, September 4

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