Music Stunt 2009

Stunt 2009: Week 17 – Tindersticks

*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.*

It’s been quite a busy week, with fewer listening opportunities than usual. So far, with these stunt posts, I’ve reached the end of the week and been happy to move on to the next playlist, but with the Tindersticks playlist I actually want to listen to it some more! So I’m going to keep it on my MP3 player, I think.

1. **A Marriage Made In Heaven** from Donkeys – a nice song, but not the best on the playlist. We can get an idea very early on what to expect – nothing flashy, lots of strings, crooning male singer whose vocal technique is not the most tuneful, but definitely effective. I love the brass that comes in half way through the song – surprises me every time.

2. **Rented Rooms (Swing Version)** – the transition from the non-swing first half to the swing second half feels a little clumsy and really reinforces the fact that this is a song that has been swingified as a bit of a joke, really. I can understand where the desire to do this came from, but it still feels like a silly drunken gag that got taken too far.

3. **Kathleen** from Live In Amsterdam – this is great, very moody, very minor key, very Nick Cave. The urgency ramps up as the song progresses, and your pulse rate rises alongside. Nice execution.

4. **Her** from Tindersticks (The First Album) – lulls you in with some Spanish guitar and then goes all Misirlou on you. Very intense.

5. **Tiny Tears** from Tindersticks (The Second Album) – it’s got a chorus that has hooked itself onto my train quite tightly. It’s at about this point in the playlist that I realise that the vocalist is more or less incomprehensible. If you listen to this song with the lyrics in front of you, it’s actually hard to stifle a chuckle.

6. **She’s Gone** from Tindersticks (The Second Album) – I once wrote a song with the same title, but I don’t think it was as good as this. It was more of a “Hooray! She’s gone!” than a song which is, as far as I can see, about the sadness you feel when your child grows up and leaves home. Musically, this song doesn’t really stand out as anything special.

7. **Patchwork** from Tindersticks (The First Album) – pleasant, but by the standards of this playlist, it feels like 4:40 of filler.

8. **Can We Start Again** from Simple Pleasure – quite a bit bouncier than the preceding songs, this song pulls me along nicely. It doesn’t have a chorus, as such, just a great hook that occupies the last third of the song. It all feels like it’s over very quickly.

9. **People Keep Comin’ Around** from Can Our Love – a fairly groovy soul song, but fairly dull too. Check out the repetitive bass line. It’s not too bad as background music, but that’s like saying “it’s okay if you’re not listening to it”.

10. **Travelling Light** from Tindersticks (The First Album) – hmmm, it seems that if you take a man with a semi-tuneless vocal style, and pair him with a similarly-equipped female, you get a pretty rough end result. The chorus on this song annoys me fairly effectively too. But I love the sentiment behind the lyrics, with the male part trying to portray himself as someone who lives in the now, and isn’t weighed down by nostalgia, and the female part saying “sorry, fella, you’re full of shit, and you know it.” At least, that’s how I interpret it.

So, in conclusion: there are a couple of nothingy songs that don’t really have anything to make them stand out, but all things considered, this is probably one of my favourite playlists so far. It seems to have roughly the right balance of factors which is required the kind of music that I like to enjoy. It’s funny, I never realised that I had such fussy taste in music, but this stunt seems to be highlighting my criticalosity.

The next week’s playlist

Random number: 133
Two playlists on this book – Flying Nun and “Folk-rock (1): English & Irish”. Coin toss favours the airborne Sister. The book says:

> Famously feted by the late John Peel as a model independent record label, Flying Nun took punk’s DIY ethic (also a defining feature of New Zealand culture) and nurtured the “pop primitive” sound that defined Kiwi music from the early 1980s.

I’ve managed to find 6 songs online, but the other 4 only appear to be available by buying the albums, and they probably wouldn’t arrive within a week anyway, so FTFAGOD.