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Posts Tagged: Music

Songs I haven’t listened to in ages: Pigs on the Wing

Sunday 24th July 2016

How great is the full version of Pigs on the Wing?

The two parts of this song have always been my favourite part of Animals because I think they’re lovely little songs (and, lets face it, the brightest parts on what is thematically quite a grim album). I love this version because a) great solo and b) makes it easier to listen to both parts without having to sit through all of Animals

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October

Saturday 18th October 2014

9 posts in 2012. 2 posts in 2013. May as well have at least have one this year, even if it is wholly as a point of reference for myself.

This song’s been stuck in my head for the last week or so; found this version a couple of days ago and it’s really not helped:

I’m basically putting this here so that I can find it in future without messing around searching on YouTube. And hey, perhaps one of the three or so people who may read this will enjoy it!

I might write something longer at some point. I probably won’t. I also possibly might migrate this over to another url at some point, but again I probably won’t. I like the idea of writing something every now and again, but… effort. We’ll see, I guess.

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Meandering Musical Meanings

Sunday 23rd October 2011

As occasionally often happens, a while ago I started to listen to “just one more song” before turning the computer off and doing something else, and ended up listening to music for a while, rather than just 5 minutes. One of the songs that I listened to was Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Deep Blue Something. No particular reason, just happened to listen to it.

When I listen to music I quite like to read the lyrics and think about what the song is about. Sometimes that can be quite tricky; people like Bob Dylan or even Radiohead, often have lyrics which can be interpreted in many different ways. On the surface, not so here:

You’ll say we’ve got nothing in common 
No common ground to start from
And we’re falling apart
You’ll say the world has come between us
Our lives have come between us
Still I know you just don’t care

And I said what about Breakfast at Tiffany’s
She said I think I remember the film
And as I recall I think we both kinda liked it
Then I said well then that’s one thing we got

So yeah, probably pretty easy to interpret that. But whenever I listen to the song, I wonder if there are two potential meanings. Either it’s the absolute final end of a relationship, they’ve decided they’ve got nothing in common and that it’s over. But one of them remembers this film they both liked, and so they remember that. It’s over but “well, that’s one thing we’ve got”, it wasn’t all just a waste of time. Or, it’s the turning point in an argument. She said they’ve got nothing in common, he remembers the film they both liked and maybe then they think of other things they have in common as well.

In the latter interpretation, I suppose the song ends with an ellipsis; that’s one thing we’ve got…. perhaps there’s some other stuff too. For the former, it’s a full stop. On balance, it’s probably a full stop. At least, judging by these lines:

So what now it’s plain to see we’re over
And I hate when things are over
When so much is left undone.

Anyway, pretty good song. And the film it takes its name from isn’t bad either. Although I couldn’t decide if I liked Audrey Hepburn’s character in the end; I couldn’t shake the feeling that she’s just a bit shallow and manipulative. So it made it the end a little bit dissatisfying. Maybe that’s just me though.

Ooh, while I’m on the subject of good songs that are related to films, I direct you to Year of the Cat by Al Stewart. Only realised recently (after I’d seen the film) that it draws pretty heavily from Casablanca. Well worth seeing that if you haven’t already, very good film indeed.

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Separator

Sunday 27th February 2011

Here’s the last song from King of Limbs, the new Radiohead album.

Truly excellent stuff.

“It’s like I’m falling out of bed from a long and vivid dream,
Finally I’m free of all the weight I’ve been carrying.”

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Breathe

Monday 15th November 2010

Breathe, breathe in the air
Don’t be afraid to care
Leave but don’t leave me
Look around and choose your own ground
For long you live and high you fly
And smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry
And all your touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be

This is one of my absolute favourite songs. It’s the first proper song from Dark Side of the Moon, and what a way to kick that album off! It starts with Speak To Me, which is essentially a heartbeat (actually a drum) which steadily gets louder, with loads of other sound effects and snippets and which is quite hard to explain. It all builds up until the start of Breathe. With that crisp bass riff, the sumptuous pedal steel guitar, the soft drum beat… It just washes over you, this lovely warm, laid back sound. And then a minute or so later the singing kicks in; David Gilmour softly singing, with this tone of… resignation almost, which is compelling but at the same time slightly contrasting with the feel of the music. It’s captivating.

I think it’s interesting how my music listening habits have changed over the years. In the past I used to listen to it all the time, but now not so much. For instance when I want to concentrate on something (like work, or when I’m reading), I generally find it trickier to do that now with music on. I sometimes get away with putting certain types of music on when I work, but generally that’s music that I’m not hugely keen on otherwise I’d start paying more attention to that! This is one of the reasons why I don’t listen to things like Pink Floyd all that much any more; it requires me to decide to stop and listen to music rather than just putting it on in the background.

Run rabbit run
Dig that hole, forget the sun
And when at last the work is down
Don’t sit down, it’s time to dig another one
For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race towards an early grave

The second verse is more cynical than the first, perhaps even bitter. The ideas of work never stopping; racing towards an early grave. I suppose it’s an expression of dissatisfaction with the drudgery of everyday life, but still with that luscious, warm sound which envelopes you as you listen. And still with the tone of resignation in Gilmour’s voice.

The upshot, I suppose, is that I probably spend more time listening to music these days. I mean really listening, as opposed to merely having it on in the background. It’s great to go somewhere quiet with a decent pair of headphones, stick an album on and then lose myself in the music, although I don’t even do that all too frequently now. I generally listen for a short period between doing other things, because I don’t always have an hour or so to dedicate to listening to an album. And that’s something I never thought I’d do, actually. A few years ago I pretty much only listened to albums in their entirety, because it sort of puts music in context; listening to one song is almost like reading just one chapter of a book. I was probably a bit snobbish about it really, but now I’m less averse to just listening to the songs I want to listen to.

Home, home again
I like to be here when I can
When I come home cold and tired
It’s good to warm my bones beside the fire
Far away across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spells

And later, of course, the encore. It’s the same again. This comes just after Time, and we go from hearing about how “hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way”, to this. It’s almost like a temporary respite, a shelter from a harsh realities of life. And it really is temporary, because the encore only lasts a small amount of time before The Great Gig in the Sky, which is an absolutely perfect piece of music.

It’s nice how my tastes have diversified too. There’s a whole heap of stuff that I enjoy listening to now, much more so than a few years ago. And I absolutely love listening to music I haven’t heard before, especially when I discover a track or an album which sticks. I find that every now and again there’s a song which I get hopelessly addicted to and end up playing over and over again. Which means I associate those songs with times. For instance The High Road by Broken Bells brings back strong memories of writing my dissertation back in April, because I listened to it during my writing breaks.

But then, every now and again I return to music that I’ve known and loved for years. Things like Breathe, Tunnel of Love, Goodbye Stranger. And I remember that I’ve not listened to them for ages and why I really like them. And the familiarity is, in a way, comforting; like meeting up with an old friend. Tis a good thing.

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When Your Money’s Gone And You’re Drunk As Hell – 2009 Part II

Friday 1st January 2010

Well I covered January to June in the previous post, so now I’m going to jump right into the second half of the year.

July
A continuation of the Garden State theme from June here… The soundtrack has 2 songs by The Shins, so I also Spotify’d their stuff. Wincing The Night Away is the only one of their albums on there (and it’s my favourite), and I think at some point I mentioned them to one of my housemates who promptly retrieved three of their albums from the wretched hive of scum and villainy that he lovingly refers to as his bedroom.

I said at the start of this entry that the music I mention would be stuff I listened to a lot or that I associate with certain memories, and this falls into both camps. Wincing the Night Away was pretty much constantly on in my car during July, because it was the perfect soundtrack to my summer. I remember driving with the windows open, enjoying the fresh air rushing into the car and singing along (really badly!) to the music as I drove. It seemed perfect to me for those summer evenings, when the air has that weird, charged, “summertime” feeling and it takes ages to get dark, and the sky at dusk looks stunning.

August
This was the month of V Festival, so theres quite a lot to mention. Obviously I saw a fair few bands and artists there – Oasis, The Killers, a bit of Athlete, Ocean Colour Scene, Bjorn Again (hahaha), Fatboy Slim, and so on. The standouts for me though were Lily Allen, Snow Patrol and – weirdly enough because I’m not actually a great fan of their music – Pendulum. Oddly enough though, the music that sticks in my memory for August is actually not someone I saw at V. There are two reasons this sticks in my mind; firstly that it’s a stunningly good album, and secondly because it reminds me of driving back to Cardiff after V. I stayed at home for a family meal before I left for Cardiff, so I don’t think I left home until about 11pm and it’s a 2 hour drive to Cardiff. I was incredibly weary and just wanted to get back, and I remember driving through the night whilst listening to this album. For some reason it was one of those really nice moments I get sometimes whilst driving. It wasn’t a particularly fun drive, but it was one of those moments of clarity where I find myself completely focussing on the moment and forgetting about anything else. I seem to readily associate music with driving. I suppose that makes sense; the music provides a soundtrack to the drive and when those two fit each other, it sticks in my memories.

Anyway, the album is For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver. I actually first heard of Bon Iver from the Glastonbury coverage on the BBC earlier in the year and I listened quite a bit in July, but I didn’t listen to the album properly for a while. If you haven’t heard it, go on Spotify now and listen to it because it’s an absolute treat. In my opinion, For Emma and Skinny Love in particular are songs which are absolutely perfect in every way. Yum.

And I told you to be patient
And I told you to be fine
And I told you to be balanced
And I told you to be kind
And now all your love is wasted
And then who the hell was I?
And I’m breaking at the britches
And at the end of all your lines

September
Two choices this month. First, Radiohead. I’ve liked Radiohead for a while but I’d sort of forgotten about them, if that makes sense? I watched their set at Reading this year on iPlayer though and was blown away by how awesome they were. I ended up re-listening to OK Computer all the way through after that and I pretty much fell in love with it again. I travelled by train into Birmingham a few times to meet up with friends, and that album (as well as Kid A) kept me company as I travelled.

Second choice is Muse, mostly because thats when they released their new album. Which I thought was OK, but it also made me re-listen to some of their older work as well, and someone bought me a couple of their albums for my birthday. I vaguely remember ranting on Messenger about how good the earlier ones are to the person who bought them for me, whilst I was very drunk after a night drinking cider (which I don’t usually drink)…

October
At some point in October, one of my housemates recommended that I listen to the Stone Roses on Spotify. I did so and became slightly addicted. Actually I think we both were for a while, so it was funny coming out of my room listening to an album and hearing the same music coming out of his room…

This was the first month back at Uni since Spring 2008, so the memories are the typical student stuff. Lectures, work, socialising, sleep, lectures, work, socialising, sleep, lectures…. It stays like that until now really, so you can see why I’ve been so fed up of it. Pretty much all the people who took a year out to work feel the same, which I find fairly interesting. University is just boring!

November
We come to November and the first real mention of Formula 1! Jenson Button took the championship with a stunning drive at the Brazilian Grand Prix in the middle of October, and he was also on form at the first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, on the first weekend in November. For the most part, the race wasn’t great. Hamilton looked imperious all weekend, but a problem with his brakes at the start of the race meant that, despite starting on pole, he didn’t manage to pull away in the manner that most people predicted. That meant that the race got more interesting for a while, because it was shaping up to be a good fight for the victory between him and Sebastian Vettel. Sadly, Lewis retired after his first stop (iirc) after his brake issues got worse. So mostly an average race, except for the last few laps. Webber and Button had a cracking battle for 2nd place – reminiscnant of the famous clash between Villeneuve and Arnoux at Dijon in 1979 – which made the last few laps of the 2009 F1 season pretty excing.

Anyway, BBC Sport ended their coverage with this montage of the season, which introduced me to Florence + The Machine. I listened to Lungs a fair bit after I heard that song on the F1 coverage, and I reckon it’s pretty good.

December
I think that I’ve partially covered this before, but there are a few extra things to add. Towards the start of the month, I discovered the latest Eels album, Hombre Lobo. I’ve liked Eels for a while, so I’m disappointed that it took me 6 months to listen to the latest album. Anyhow, it’s all pretty damn good, but I keep finding myself being drawn to the last 4 songs… The second thing is Mumford and Sons, and I listened  to their album a couple of weeks ago. One of my brothers needed to go to Cardiff for the day so I said I’d drive him down, which meant that I had a day down there with time to kill. I decided to look this album up on Spotify and I enjoyed it. I still enjoy it, although I realised the other day that the album is basically about religion, which sort of lets it down a bit in my book.

So there, some of the music I’ve listened to in 2009, and some of the memories that go along with that music. Mostly for my own entertainment, I’ve put together a Spotify playlist with some of the music mentioned here, but here’s the link for anyone who wants to listen.  With the exception of the last few months (because of Uni), 2009 has been pretty damn good. I’ve got 6 months of University to get through in 2010 and once it’s over I really have very little idea what I’m going to do with myself. I’m not sure where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing, which is both exciting and unnerving. A year of opportunity, hopefully.

Happy New Year :-)

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In The Waiting Line – 2009 Part I

Thursday 31st December 2009

I thought I’d do a sort of “review of the year”, but I’ve decided to come at it from a slightly odd angle. I was bored the other night so started looking through my Last.fm profile, particularly the charts bit. It’s not completely accurate because there were periods when I didn’t have scrobbling set up properly and because obviously I don’t scrobble from the car or my mp3 player, but it still shows the trends from a good proportion of my listening, which I found quite interesting. The music I listen to sometimes reflects events or life at the time, so it’s quite a nice walk down memory lane in some respects. With that in mind, this is a review of the music I’ve listened to over the year, and why I’ve listened to it. It’s not necessarily all stuff that’s been released this year, just what I’ve listened to. I’ve tried to filter out some things, lke the bands that I listen to pretty much all the time anyway (Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Bob Dylan etc), so it’s mostly the stuff that I’ve “discovered” or really gotten into during the past 12 months.

Also I’ve not written about music for a while, so it makes a nice change.

For each month, I’m gonna pick an artist which I “associate” with it. It might be because I listened to them a lot, or because I have certain memories from that time which are related to a song or something. I’ll also sum up some of the other things I listened to, and more than likely I’ll go off on tangents at regular intervals because, well, why the hell not? I shall also use Spotify links throughout (or YouTube links if the song isn’t on Spotify), for anyone who wants to listen to the songs I’m referring to.

January
First month in and already I’m going to break my rules by picking two bands!

I basically had most of January off, so I filled some of the time by playing games. One that I played a lot was Darwinia, and as I was playing that I used to put music on in the background. A band that I particularly liked putting on whilst doing that is múm, an icelandic group. Their earlier stuff is pretty electronicy and fit really well with Darwinia, but I also listened a lot to Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy, their (at the time) newest album, which has a very different feel.

Funny story. For those who don’t know me, I’m fairly lax about getting my hair cut. My hair is blonde and curly, so when I’ve left it for a few months it turns into the most ridiculous looking afro you’ve ever seen. Actually there’s more than a passing resemblance to Art Garfunkel, and a year or so ago I went to see him at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham (he was very good btw). I was sat near the front and my hair was a reasonable length at the time. Anyway, during an instrumental part of one of the songs, he looked pretty much directly at me and started grinning. I dunno if he thought I was taking the piss with my hair or something, trying to imitate him. I wasn’t, I’m just really lazy, but there ya go. Was quite a weird moment really…

Anyway, at the end of January I bought the Simon and Garfunkel box set, and got pretty into that. I’d heard Bridge Over Troubled Water before, because I bought that album a while back, but it was the first time I properly listened to their other albums and I enjoyed them very much, so that’s my second January association.

February,
February was my first month working on-site, so was pretty exciting if more than a little daunting. The really big adjustment was living away from home during the week, although I was lucky in that one of my colleagues was staying in the same hotel as me so I at least had someone interesting to talk to over dinner and beers (paid for by the company!). During that time I think I read a review of Spotify on The Register during one of my lunch breaks, so I installed it to kill some time and see what it was all about. I quickly became addicted and one of the first artists I looked up was Bob Dylan (quite a bias on the week I installed Spotify!). OK so I know I said I wouldn’t include stuff that I listen to anyway, and I know I that even mentioned Bob Dylan, but back in the day Spotify had all of his back catalogue on there. If you’re not familiar with Bob Dylan, firstly whyever not?! And secondly, he has a massive back catalogue and it’s all pretty varied in sound. Some is awesome and some is, well, awful. SoI took the opportunity to listen to some of the stuff that I’d not heard before and found some absolutely great music there. Two things stick out in my memory. The first is I’m Not There (the one the film is named after), which I think is fantastic. I love the way it’s understated and sort of builds up gently, and I think that some of the lyrics are stunning:

Yes she’s gone like the rainbow that was shining yesterday
But now she’s home beside me, and I’d like her here to stay
She’s a lone forsaken beauty and it’s ‘Don’t trust anyone’
I wish I was beside her, but I’m not there I’m gone

The second thing to stick out was the album World Gone Wrong. It’s a bunch of covers of folk standards (recorded, I think, in his garage…) and I think it’s a vastly underrated album. I particularly love the title song.

March
So this was always going to happen at some point in this thing; I can’t think of anything in particular to say about March. This isn’t helped by the fact that my Last.fm history is patchy because I wasnt scrobbling all the time, but also I suppose it was the time when I was getting settled into work, still learning the ropes but gaining confidence, and generally getting stuck into the weekly cycle. Looking at Last.fm, there’s the occasional unusual thing but really nothing sticks in my mind as such, so I shall move swiftly on.

April
My choice for April is easy, although it’s a band that I first heard back in 2008: Death Cab for Cutie. Someone recommended them to me back then and I thought that they were OK, not bad but also not exactly brilliant. With the exception of I Will Possess Your Heart (I actually like the long intro), nothing really grabbed me that much. At some point I must’ve looked them up on Spotify (probably to listen to that song) and ended up listening to more and really enjoying it. I remember after what must’ve been a pretty tired day, lying on the bed in my hotel room listening to Narrow Stairs.  I remember the first few songs, then the next thing I knew I was listening to the album credits which are on Spotify for that album. Made me late for dinner! Anyway, I bought a couple of albums shortly after and I think I played them fairly regularly in the car through most of April, so there we go.

May
Yet another Spotify find! I’m a big fan of old blues and country recordings, and I was searching for a particular song, I Got Mine by Frank Stokes. I really like this song and there are lots of versions on Spotify, so I (accidentally, I think) listened to the version by Mississippi John Hurt, and instantly fell in love with it. This was whilst I was sat in a hotel room with plenty of time to kill, so I listened to some of his other music and really liked that too. It was May, the weather was starting to get better, it was coming towards the end of my time on a particular site. I have a really nice memory of chilling out listening to this music, killing time before going for another agreeable (and free) meal with a couple of pints with the other guy from work who stayed in the hotel, and of all being right with the world.

June
At the start of June, I saw Garden State for the first time. Actually I heard the soundtrack before I saw the film because one of my brothers put it on in the car on the way to Cardiff. This was during my “between-site” stage when I spent 2 weeks mostly working in Birmingham, but I went down to site in Cardiff for 2 days to do some preliminary setting-out. I remember the first day being boiling hot and the second day I sneezed a lot because they’d cut the grass at some point, which had the bonus effect of erasing a lot of the line marker I’d put down the day before. Someone really should’ve told the groundkeepers not to do that area, because a couple of weeks later we cut the grass rather more drastically by excavating it all. Nevermind eh? Anyway, the soundtrack to Garden State is very good and one of the songs on it is In The Waiting Line by Zero 7, which I became slightly addicted to. When I listened to some of their albums on Spotify I became even more addicted, before I finally bought a couple. I remember being bored rigid in the office in Birmingham, listening to that song over YouTube on my phone, whilst watching the text commentary on Friday practice for the British Grand Prix from the BBC website.

So, thats the first half of the year. Those first few months onsite seemed to last forever, but really it was only about four-and-a-bit months that I was there. I was always meant to be going somewhere else “soon”, so I guess the fact that I was constantly waiting for that exaggerated that feeling. I suppose looking back at this, I get the impression of being stuck into the grind, the same cycle over and over again. And I guess that was true (although certainly less so than at university!). But I did enjoy it and I learned a lot, which set me up nicely for the rest of the year…

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Sultans of Strings

Saturday 31st May 2008

I wanted to reply to comments from the last post, but it’s probably gonna get quite long so I thought I’d just write a new post. Most of this is aimed at Andy’s comment…

Something I want to get entirely clear (and probably wasn’t clear in the post) is that I think the Killers’ cover of the song is – on the whole – ok. Passable. Not bad. Note that I avoided any jokes about them “killing” it (despite the obvious temptation). Okay so the guitarist simply can’t play the part, and the tone is awful, but whatever. It sounds OK. But…

Juliet when we made love you used to cry
You said I love you like the stars above, I’ll love you till I die
Theres a place for us, you know the movie song
When you gonna realise it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet ?

So it’s clearly a love song. And to my mind a love song should have some sort of element of passion to it. If you listen to a good one (like the original version of Romeo and Juliet, or Buckley’s version of Hallelujah, or Love Sick by Dylan), that comes in spades. When Knopfler sings the lines I’ve quoted, you can hear the heartbreak in his voice. I don’t get that feeling from The Killers’ version. They’re just going through the motions, which makes the whole exercise pointless. Music is about emotions, about conveying a feeling and telling a story, and a song (or performance) which fails to do that isn’t worth listening to.

So “how fucking dare anyone cover it who doesn’t fully understand the subtle nuance” is half right, I guess. It’s a nuance, but not a subtle one. A love song which is devoid of emotion just seems to defeat the point, and that’s why it’s bad.

It’s not purism by the way. There’s a cover of the same song by The Indigo Girls, and I think it’s absolutely brilliant. They’ve taken the song and performed it in their own way, which is surely the point of a cover? Think of Hendrix’s version of All Along the Watchtower, or Buckley’s Hallelujah; they take other people’s songs and make them their own, and arguably make them better by doing so. But this is straying from the point… What I’m trying to say is that it’s not “how dare anyone cover this!?”, it’s more a case of “meh”.

I disagree with the point about “The guy even says at the start of the video that they won’t do it justice, but that it’s worth doing if they get a Killers fan to listen to Mark Knopfler. They’re on your side, for crying out loud” as well. My main gripe wasn’t that they didn’t perform the song that well – I didn’t like them beforehand, and I remain justified after having heard them do it. My main gripe stems from the comment about “I’m amazed that they’re from England”. If he’d heard any of their songs, he’d know they plainly are from England. A lot of the songs even mention places in England, for fuck’s sake! It just sounds cynical. “Oh, they’re popular, let’s play that…”. Maybe I’m being cynical; maybe someone else in the band wanted to play it, and he’s just going along with it. I don’t know, and perhaps I’m being harsh, but it just irked me.

I also didn’t call them “complete wankers with no skill at all”. I called them “talentless no-ones”, which I should probably take back; they have a talent for writing relatively mediocre poppy songs with a strong chorus, which is popular because of the whole club thing, and bring little new or interesting in terms of musicality. Hey, if you like that sort of thing, fine; I’m not saying it’s wrong for people to like them (as I’ve said before, people want different things from music). I just happen to have a penchant well played, well written, interesting music, so The Killers don’t particularly float my boat. It’s not that I’m a purist (well, maybe a little), it’s just that they’re really bloody dull!

Re: “wanky bullshit”, well you just can’t say that. I doubt you even know most of the people I listen to (without looking at Last.fm), and of those you know I listen to, how much have you listened to? Very little, I’d wager. Even if you have heard it, still can’t call it “wanky bullshit”. Well, you can, but you’d be wrong :-p

Re: Hendrix is best… That’s slightly more complicated. He really was great, and anyone who disagrees is a fool or a liar. This story particularly amuses me. But… As I said up the page, music is about emotions; about storytelling. So yes, Hendrix was a fantastic performer, and definitely a great technical guitarist, but Knopfler is my favourite purely because of the way he uses a guitar to convey feelings. To quote the great Douglas Adams:

“Mark Knopfler has an extraordinary ability to make a Schecter Custom Stratocaster hoot and sing like angels on a Saturday night, exhausted from being good all week and needing a stiff beer”

QFT.

Also, that list has Kurt Cobain at number 12, David Gilmour at 82, and Nick Drake nowhere to be seen. It was clearly compiled by idiots.

Anyway, now you see why I didn’t want to write this via phone… I’m probably gonna write some other stuff relating to this week when I’m less tired, but for now I think sleep would be a good idea.

Oh, re: Monaco… I had a few things I wanted to not hear about while I was away: the race, who left the Apprentice, and the Lost finale. I found out the part of the result of the first when someone told me, and the rest when I looked it up afterwards. And then some people were watching The Apprentice on iPlayer the other day whilst I was playing cards with some people, and I kinda caught the end of it. Oops. I’m gonna watch Lost unspoiled tomorrow though, which is good.

The GP result is kinda annoying. I’m in a fantasy league with some people here, where you pick teams & drivers and get points depending on how well you’re doing. I did have a pretty clear lead, but it’s gone down to something like 4 points now because most of my teams did badly. Ho hum. I look forward to watching the recording on Sunday, anyway –  sounds like a pretty damn good race (despite it being the dullest part of your weekend, Flix :-p).

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All I Do Is Keep The Beat

Sunday 25th May 2008

I think I’ve mentioned before (on a comment elsewhere, iirc) that I have a certain amount of distaste for The Killers. This cover of “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits is (mainly) why.

Ok, it’s not bad. But then it’s an amazingly good song (better than the inoffensive trite they usually play…), so they’d have to be fools to completely cock it up. That said, the guitarist is blatently struggling to play his part (and the tone of his guitar is awful. Awful!), and his solo at the end is just laughable, but y’know… The guy singing kinda fails to convey any sense of emotion as well. It sounds like he’s trying really hard to sound cool, rather than trying to tell the story within the song.

So it won’t go down in history as The Best Cover Ever, but anyone who hasnt heard the original (most of The Killers’ fanbase, I imagine) would probably think it’s ok. But I have heard the original, and it’s one of my favourite songs ever. So the Killers’ lacklustre effort really shows them up for the talentless no-ones they are. For comparison, this is the way Mark Knopfler, who wrote the song, performs it live. Take note of the decent singing (when you write good lyrics, you don’t need to try to sound cool), the excellent guitar playing (best guitarist ever), and the band just generally being awesome. Also, take note of the tone of the guitar being much nicer on this version. But then he has a Resonator (a National from the 1930s, iirc. And apparently a bitch to play), and they’re pretty fucking awesome.

That said, the performance isn’t what irritated me when I first heard it (to be honest, it just makes me laugh). It’s the little interview at the start:

“I’m amazed that they’re from England, y’know? To me, all the songs sound like they’re from the deserts of Australia. You don’t imagine the clouds of England hanging over their songs, it’s just not there…”

Wrong. Just wrong! That quote really just says that they know nothing about the band, that they’re not really that into the music, and just… Suffice it to say, it really annoys me. Knopfler has a way of writing songs which really tell a story, and the fact that they’ve misunderstood his music that drastically is just contemptious. If they were a proper band, who cared about music, then they wouldn’t say such a thing…

Basically, all this is a roundabout way of saying: I went with one of my brothers to see Mark Knopfler play in Cardiff the other night, and he was bloody brilliant. But then, I’ve seen him before and he was brilliant then, so it wasn’t exactly unexpected.

What was unexpected was another band we saw on the same night. We went to a jazz bar in Cardiff after the gig (which is bloody good, if expensive – £2.95 for a pint of Guinness!), and saw some random band play there. Didn’t really know what to expect, but they were actually really bloody good. After that gig, there sadly wasn’t any more live music to go see, so we ordered another couple of pints and talked about girls…

Anyway, two great gigs in one night. Can’t beat that!

(Yes, another post starting with the letter A. I would try to find another lyric which doesn’t start with that, but…)

Posted In: MusicRant Tagged: | 6 Comments

It’s Gonna Be The Future Soon

Wednesday 26th March 2008

So yeh, saw Jonathan Coulton in London last week (thanks again to Andy for the use of his sofa, and more importantly for the use of his spare Xbox controller…) and it was pretty awesome. I’ve basically had his music stuck in my head ever since the gig (not a bad thing), and its basically all I’ve been listening to. I burned up some Explosions in the Sky earlier so I can listen to it in bed when I eventually try to go to sleep (sidebar: thing I hate the most about coming home is that I have to leave my CD collection in Cardiff. Grr) just for variety’s sake, but I bet I’ll still wake up with Skullcrusher Mountain in my head.

Anyway, I’m straying from the point before I’ve even started… Theres a bunch of things I’ve wanted to write about on here lately, but frankly I’ve been far too lazy to write them out. So I haven’t. Of course, by the time I can be bothered to write some of them out I will have forgotten what I wanted to say, but meh.

I’ve probably written before on here about time, how it goes quickly, blah blah blah. I know it’s not an entirely original idea, so I’m not going to elaborate too much on it now. Anyway, it’s almost the end of the University year (I think I’ve got just over 2 months yet) and it leaves me thinking “crap, where has that gone?”. I’m almost at the end of the second year, and when I think back to when I was still a in school (or even in 6th form, looking round places) and how uni students looked to me back then, that’s not how I feel about myself now.

Lately I’ve been thinking back though over the last year and a half-ish I’ve been at uni, and thinking about how I’ve changed. Outwardly, I’m not sure if I have massively (other people can judge that better), but inwardly I think I have quite a bit. Not just as a result of going to university, but as a result of certain things that have happened and the way I’ve coped with them (I’m mostly thinking of a specific thing, but I’m not elaborating on a public website. If you wanna know what thing, ask me elsewhere :-p).

Argh, I have this idea floating around in my head, but I’m not sure how to transfer it to words. Annoying to the extreme…

Basically, I realised the other day that I’ve turned into an adult. I’m not sure when it happened, or how it happened, but it has. And in some ways it’s scary, but in others less so.

We’re grown-ups now, and it’s our turn to decide what that means…

==

As an aside, I was pressing the “I” key often enough whilst writing this that it reminded me of this… Thanks Hannah, made me all self-conscious :-P

Anyway, I’ll try to write something more good soon.

Posted In: MusicStuff Tagged: | 14 Comments