Music Stunt 2009

Stunt 2009: Week 12 – Dodgy French

*This is a companion piece to a similarly-themed article on Karen’s site which, all things being equal, should be published at roughly the same time.*

I’ve enjoyed listening to this playlist, because the connection between the songs is fairly tenuous, and subsequently there’s been a fairly diverse range of genres in here. Here’s Spotify showing its incompleteness again.

1. **Denis** Blondie – it’s not a particularly impressive feat of songwriting, but it’s okay to listen to.

2. **Le Freak** Chic – I can’t listen to this song. Not so soon.

3. **Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick** Ian Dury & The Blockheads – great song, fantastic bassline. And yes, the French is dodgy.

4. **I’m Not Scared** Eighth Wonder – ah, this takes me back. My first album (not including toddlerfeed) was Hits 8 and tape 1, side 1, track 2 was this song. I remember, when I was young, making “radio shows” – I didn’t have a substantial archive, so most of the songs on those radio shows were lifted from this album. Most of the inter-song banter was between me and my toys. Memories.

5. **Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi** Kylie Minogue – I don’t really have much time for Stock Aitken Waterman songs these days.

6. **Joe Le Taxi** Vanessa Paradis – what a thoroughly unremarkable song, practically the dictionary definition of “5 out of 10”.

7. **Lady Marmalade** Labelle – it’s probably received more cover versions than would be advisable, and is subsequently a little over-exposed, but you can’t deny that this song is fantastic.

8. **Michelle** The Beatles – I quite like the bridge, but on the whole this song did nothing for me. I can talk about the way that the instruments were panned, if you like.

9. **Psycho Killer** Talking Heads – this playlist has also coaxed me into finally making a date with Talking Heads, a band that I’ve always had intentions of familiarising myself with, yet never got round to. It’s good news.

10. **Si Si Je Suis Un Rock Star** Bill Wyman – a slightly daft song, twice as long as it needs to be, but lyrically entertaining. And pigeon French lyrics always make me think of Checkout Girl, which is no bad thing. At the time, I thought I was doing something faintly original.

So, in conclusion: people should take the relevant precautions before handling an unfamiliar language.

The next week’s playlist

The Randomaroo picked 386, but there are no playlists starting on this page (as it is at the end of a chapter). I rolled again, and threw a 3. Two playlists, the Randomaroo picks the second – Africa calling. The book says

> A playlist for a whole continent? Tall order, mad idea, etc. Still, here are ten tracks that wear the classic tag with some ease.

Surprisingly near-full Spotify playlist

I have been unable to find a copy of *Monie* by Kanda Bongo Man. If you are able to provide me with an MP3 for study purposes, then we’ll be able to include it in next week’s playlist. If not, then when it comes to time to review it, we’ll have to make something up, and it will probably be hilariously insulting.


Daily links for Wednesday 25th March 2009

  • Like a miniature version of The Settlers (oh my how I loved that game)

Pete is…

…giving Facebook another go. Just for a few days. Just to see if it might be in any way useful these days.


Daily links for Thursday 19th March 2009

UPDATE: Here’s another building that you might recognise.

Music Stunt 2009

Stunt 2009: Week 11 – Chic Productions

*This is a companion piece to a similarly-themed article on Karen’s site which, all things being equal, should be published at roughly the same time.*

Two weeks ago, I said “God, I love disco.” God was evidently listening, and suspected that I was full of bullshit, which is why he sent this playlist to test me. Turns out God knows me better than I know myself. Apparently I don’t love disco.

Incomplete Spotify playlist.

After the first or second run through this playlist, I was aware that I wasn’t enjoying it as much as the week 9 playlist. Nothing that I could put my finger on, I just wasn’t getting the same buzz from it. In the interests of giving it a fair crack of the whip, I listened to the playlist again. But the more I listened to it, the worse it got.

There are lots of incredibly funky basslines on this playlist, but that’s not enough to justify listening for half an hour. I’ve always been a little critical of the “Let’s See How Long We Can Stretch This Out For” school of songwriting, and that seems to be what’s going on here. I can look down the playlist and say “ooh, *Good Times* is a good song, as is *Lost In Music* and *I’m Coming Out* by Diana Ross and *Why* by Carly Simon” but when it comes to actually listening to the song all the way through, I find myself reaching for the skip button after a minute, because I know that there’s just going to be more of the same for another four minutes.

This isn’t the first time that I have felt like God’s chewtoy.

The next week’s playlist

Random number: 139
Two playlists on this page, a coin toss selected – Dodgy French. The book says:

> Somehow, putting a few French *mots* in an otherwise *anglais* song pretty much guarantees *sérieux* kitsch. Blondie managed to get away with it; way down at the other end of the scale, there’s Bill Wyman.

\#2 in the playlist is *Le Freak* by Chic, but we’ll ignore that one.

Spotify playlist, once again woefully incomplete, don’t know why I bother




Music Stunt 2009

Stunt 2009: Week 10 – Natalie Merchant & 10,000 Maniacs

*This is a companion piece to a similarly-themed article on Karen’s site which, all things being equal, should be published at roughly the same time.*

We’ve listened to this playlist probably more than any of the others so far, as we went to Worcestershire at the weekend. I think this might be the first time I’ve left Berkshire in 2009. It gave us ample opportunity to listen to it. The Spotify playlist is so incomplete as to be mostly useless, but hey.

1. **Hey Jack Kerouac** from In My Tribe – off the bat, I’m aware that Natalie Merchant has one of those vocal styles which means that you’ll struggle to figure out the lyrics just by listening. There’s potentially lots of fun to be had here. Fairly pleasant, inoffensive song.

2. **Don’t Talk** from In My Tribe – more of the same, very jangly 80s guitars. It’s hard to categorise the genre of 10,000 Merchants, but I suppose my initial reaction was “that sounds a bit like Blondie”.

3. **Like The Weather** from In My Tribe – I’ve come to the conclusion that I really like this song. The guitar hook, the vocal melody, the rhythm, the handclaps, the bassline. There’s lots of cute details in the drum part too. Utterly dishy.

4. **Eat For Two** from Blind Man’s Zoo – decent song, but those jangly guitars in the chorus do start to grate after a while. There’s nothing particularly remarkable to single it out, except perhaps the bass run that leads into the chorus. Quite listenable though.

5. **These Are Days** from Our Time In Eden – this one sounds like the theme tune to an American TV show. I can’t listen without imagining a series of one-second clips of some impossibly-good-looking teenagers or twentysomethings with the actor’s name superimposed.

6. **Trouble Me** from MTV Unplugged – a fairly good song, but fairly uninteresting. Musically speaking, it doesn’t feel like much effort went into this. I guess Natalie wrote some lyrics and a chord sequence, and then the rest of the band just phoned it in.

7. **Because The Night** from MTV Unplugged – not terribly different from Patti Smith’s original, but definitely better. Perhaps a bit quicker, far superior vocal performance, much more sensitive drumming.

8. **Carnival** from Tigerlily – very strongly reminiscent of Texas (you know, the band fronted by Sharleen Spiteri). I think the main reason why I have this association is because the backing vocals mirror the main vocal melody, but an octave higher. That’s a very Texasy thing, in my head. This song has made quite an impression on me – it’s memorable, albeit at 6 minutes long, it’s not very lean.

9. **This House Is On Fire** from Motherland – Karen took the words right out of my mouth when she said “sounds like Kosheen!” Well, it sounds like one of Kosheen’s slow songs. The similarity is mainly in the vocal performance. Speaking of vocal performances, she sees to be enunciating a bit more clearly in her solo stuff. And the songs seem to be a bit more crafted than the thrown-togetheredness that was apparent in the 10,000 Maniacs material.

10. **Which Side Are You On?** from The House Carpenter’s Daughter – for some people, this kind of slow, miserable folk music is their kind of thing. Not me.

So, in conclusion: I know that Karen’s really enjoyed this playlist, but it’s a bit more her kind of thing than mine. For me, this is a 5/10. No strong feelings one way or the other, though *Like The Weather* definitely has a chance of making it onto my end of year highlights playlist (assuming that such a thing will come to pass).

The next week’s playlist

Random number: 68
Two playlists on this page. The Bernard Device chose the first, which is Chic Productions. The book says:

> In the late 1970s and early 80s the sond of the Chic production team (guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards) was the sleekest and most stylish in popular music. Some might even say that it was never surpassed.

Yay! More disco!

Incomplete Spotify playlist


Daffodils and snowdrops





Egypt Mill

Water wheel


Taken at Egypt Mill this weekend.

Music Stunt 2009

Stunt 2009: Week 9 – Disco

*This is a companion piece to a similarly-themed article on Karen’s site which, all things being equal, should be published at roughly the same time.*

One of the problems with disco music is that there tend to be about 8,000 different versions and remixes of each song, so it’s hard to get hold of the definitive version. Still, here’s an incomplete Spotify playlist which hopefully comes close.

1. **Law Of The Land** The Temptations – the obligatory “historical significance” entry in the playlist, this one starts quite promisingly but goes downhill when you realise it’s just going to squat on a C chord for ages, with no direction or dynamic. There’s a cute little breakdown at about the 3 minute mark but it only lasts for 20 seconds.

2. **Ten Percent** Double Exposure – this one was relatively hard to get hold of, and isn’t on Spotify. It is on YouTube though. The version that I’ve been listening to all week is a thrilling 9:45, which has impacted my view of it somewhat. The version on YouTube is just over 4 minutes long, and much more bearable. Atrocious sound quality though. Anyway, to the song – all of the disco cliches are in evidence here – the brass stabs, the slow strings with the fast run in the chorus, a very funky bassline. Adds up to a very fine disco song.

3. **Don’t Leave Me This Way** Thelma Houston – words cannot describe how much I love this song. Utterly fabulous bassline, and the build up to the first chorus is so perfect that it makes me cry. If your only experience of this is the Communards’ version then you really are missing out.

4. **You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)** Sylvester – again, the original is far superior to the Jimmy Somerville version that you are more likely to be familiar with, but the difference is not so pronounced as with the previous song. That said, it feels a bit busy – I think there are some bongos in there, along with a palm-muted electric guitar (or something that sounds a lot like it) that just don’t let up, and it leaves the song without enough room to breathe. It’s also a bit long – a 3-minute version of this track would be far more listenable than this 6-minute version, but perhaps a bit less disco-friendly.

5. **Weekend** Phreek – the version that I’ve been listening to all week is shorter than the one on the Spotify playlist, provided. Which is the definitive version? I do not know. Anyway, this song is another hit, in my opinion. It takes the best part of a minute to get going, and you have the feeling that there’s something great about to happen. And indeed, there is. There’s a great melody here, with a most appropriate slap bass line.

6. **I Feel Love** Donna Summer – I think you probably already know this one. Very memorable, it’s a song that you think has been rendered lame and cheesy through overexposure, until you actually listen to it and realise the depth in the arrangement.

7. **I Will Survive** Gloria Gaynor – what do you mean, you’ve never heard the Shiny Tight Stuff version?

8. **Disco Circus** Martin Circus – this seems like a fairly dull house track. Not sure what it’s doing in a disco playlist. Maybe I’ve accidentally picked up a remix or something, but it’s all I could find with this title.

9. **Vertigo/Relight My Fire** Dan Hartman – okay, so I will try to put this as unconfusingly as possible. The song on Spotify is eleven minutes long ((it is referred to on Wikipedia as the Full Length Version)). The first half is *Vertigo* which is a sort of instrumental thing that’s rather groovy, and builds up the suspense nicely, and the second half is *Relight My Fire* but it’s a version that doesn’t seem to have verses. It’s too long, and fairly dull. However, the song that I’ve been listening to all week is less than four minutes ((I think this is the one referred to on Wikipedia as the Radio Version)), and is just *Relight My Fire* but with verses. So much more akin to the version that Take That did. Having explained all of this, I’m bored of the subject and can’t be arsed to bother reviewing it. Which is a shame, because if I *could* be arsed to review it, I’d actually have some positive things to say about it. TOO MANY REMIXES! TO THE BACK TEETH I AM SICK!

10. **Go Bang #5** Dinosaur L – another rather boring dance song, this one has delusions of artiness. It just comes off as pretentious and clumsy. Again, it doesn’t seem to belong on this playlist.

God, I love disco.

The next week’s playlist

Random number: 233
Only one playlist on this page – Natalie Merchant & 10,000 Maniacs. And yes, that’s on the facing page to Memphis – I’m starting to wonder about whether this random number generator is really random. The book says:

> The Maniacs were a quintessential college-rock band, yoking good-time party-boy musicians to a solemn singer-songwriter… who finally took off for a solo career.

I could only find half of the songs on Spotify, but here’s the playlist anyway.