Search My Blogs

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Numbers 40-36, "Hope There's Someone"

#39, Antony and the Johnsons
40.We Call Upon The Author - Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (2007)
OK so firstly, I messed up. So there are TWO #40s. I can't imagine why you'd care. This is some kind of brilliance this one. Cave's songwriting has evolved significantly to allow the "voice" that's present here. There's no Birthday Party DNA left in this one at all. In the place of po-faced junk-addled posturing is real humour and self-effacement.

And while arguably the most self-consciously LITERARY track in this entire list, it extracts its own piss in a manner you can't help but think of as quintessentially Australian. The brilliance of "everything is banal and jejune" rests on the reality that absolutely no human being alive would ever use those words in any context, and yet here they are in a pop song rendered almost conversationally.

And it's the conversational tone "My friend Doug's tapping on  the window/Hey Doug how ya been?" and the succession of weird banalities that populate the song that are its central charm. It seems a song of literary pretensions, but is it laughing at them or not??

"Prolix, prolix, there’s nothing a pair of scissors can’t fix." That seems to be the crux of the song, but is that Fitzgerald or is it Freud? Literature or its interpretation? It's highly entertaining, that's what it is.

40.Hoppípolla - Sigur Rós
Takk... (2005)
One of the decade's truly standout and standalone musical wonders, both the band and this track, and their live shows for that matter.

Almost impossible to situate, it has a post-rock provenance, but also a world music heritage, at least for a western audience where the experience of hearing sounds not words is the essence, and what sublime sounds. It could be absolutely noone else.

39.Hope There's Someone - Antony and The Johnsons
I Am A Bird Now (2005)
What to say. If I called the last track sublime, this goes wherever beyond that your imagination might allow. That voice. The plaintive lyric and the matching melody. The sentiment that makes every human at the core of however cold curmudgeonly heart yearn.

A wonderful band, and they make wonderful albums, although frankly an hour of this stuff is just a bit too much ...

38.Fall From A Height - The Honeydrips
Here Comes The Future (2007)
This is just a WEIRD weird beast. It's kind of Retro-minimal-futurist, but there's a lot more going on than that. Probably because there's a movie soundtrack playing out in the background. That's a sample from Annie Hall, if folks are interested. The child actually becomes the central figure, and his sense of both naive threat and resignedness to it is affecting. Plus it turns heads at parties in a way that says it's not just me.

37.At Death, A Proclamation - Phosphorescent
Pride (2007)
Surprisingly disappointing live it must me said. At least their set list was. I'm only familiar with this album - mostly excellent, but the tracks were sort of rocky dross. This was a very standout highlights, and some of the finest experimental rock certainly the noughties threw up.

36.Carry Me Ohio - Sun Kil Moon
Ghosts Of The Great Highway (2003)
So this is Mark Kozelek's noughties project. And some of his finest work was done in the decade - selecting the highlights here was hard, but this is probably fore amongst them. A typically  languid, woozy melody and a lyric that probably suffers from veering into purple prose a few too many times. What the hell is  he actually talking about?