Search My Blogs

Friday, November 4, 2016

Numbers 30-26, "You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve"

#29, Robert Smith - fat bastard
30.Silence (DJ Tiësto's In Search Of Sunrise Remix)
Delerium Feat. Sarah McLachlan
Perfecto Presents Another World [Disc 2] (2000)
Voted by Mixmag as the "12th greatest dance record of all time", in what's an otherwise mostly appalling catalogue of utter dross. (Seriously, that's the WORST BEST OF anything I think I've ever read. It's not even vaguely canonical.) Because of the vagaries of randomly tagged pirate MP3s I spent most of the decade thinking this was Paul Oakenfold. But no, bugger me, it turns out I like a Tiësto song. Well, mix. And it's the source material that really shines, rather than the mix. There are umpteen similar versions, but this does actually seem to be the best.

Sarah McLachlan's voice is what carries it. She bends just the right notes JUST enough to render the delivery quite unique, quite effective, and quite affective, and the semi-breathless vocal is married perfectly to a curiously haunting and for the genre atypically complex melody. The original is MUCH slower, more like a traditional pop song, so well done Tiësto for seeing the potential in it. Now would you mind explaining the remainder of your career?

29.Bloodflowers - The Cure
Bloodflowers (2000)
God, The Cure are irritating. When this came out, Robert Smith was all over the media saying this was going to be the last ever Cure album, and well they've pulled that act about three times now. But this was believable.

Because this sounds like a gamma ray burst from a dying, once massive star. The utterly epic swansong you'd produce if you wanted to keep your place in history secure. Smith has said he sees this as the culmination of a trilogy that began with Pornography (1982) and Disintegration (1989). The lineage from Disintegration is everywhere obvious, these are brooding, sullen, monolithic, epicly serious songs, all driven by reverb laden guitar riffs. They're both albums crying out to be played end to end in a massive darkened stadium.

"This world always stops," I said
"This wonder always leaves,
The time always comes to say goodbye"
"This tide always turns," I said
"This night always falls again,
And these flowers will always die."

Lying, deceptive bastard. Lying, deceptive, obscenely talented BASTARD.

28.You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve - Johnny Boy
Johnny Boy (2006)
I can still remember the first time I ever heard this. I was in Sydney for  I forget what reason, some conference I was flogging books at, probably. Women's Health? doesn'tmatter.

I was banged up in bed, Friday night I think, with a huge tray of room service, remnants of the minibar scattered artfully across the duvet. Rage on the telly. This came on and well bugger me, now I need another miniPims, because that song is the damnest, catchiest, freshest, most original bit of pop I've yet heard this side of forever. These guys are the NEXT BIG THING. You heard it here first, and boy did I tell everyone I met for the next fortnight exactly that.  

Well. I have no idea how any artist can possess enough talent to produce a debut single THIS GOOD from an album this turgid. Do NOT ever buy this album. Little chance of that unless you only shop the 99c bin at Dixon's, of course, because it and this band, frankly deservedly, sank without trace.

How can anyone have the ear to produce a tune this killer and not be able to hear the other 11 tracks aren't in the slightest bit tuneful or interesting on frankly any level? Doesn't matter. Enjoy this, because it's the last you'll ever hear from Johnny Boy. 

27.The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (2005)
This works on so many levels, the intro riff that's basically one note and a pitch bend that stays in your head for hours. Alex Ounsworth's voice. The wholly unintelligible vocal. The way it ramps up to the chorus:
"Hauuuuuuunteeeeeeeeedd byyyyyyyy apastijustcantsee anymore anymore anymore well leeeeeeeeetmetellyou..."
It's got a vaguely alt-country whiff about it, but in essence it's pure pop. And I think I've had grander fun bouncing around dancefloors than any track discussed here so far. Actually maybe Modest Mouse win that. You don't care, either way. PLAY LOUD!!!

26.Halo - Beyoncé
I Am... Sasha Fierce (2008)
OK, this is the last of the Beyoncé. Not a track I should really need to introduce. But it's everything that's great about her. It's epic, it's positively oozing grandeur, the vocal goes places most singers simply aren't capable, it will run madcap around your head for a solid hour after any given listen. It's some of the finest Top Forty Chart-pop of not merely this decade, but most of those preceding it equally.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Numbers 35-31, "Middle of the Road Class War Terra Nullius Blu-hoos"

#32 Lil Wayne

35.Punks - I heart hiroshima
Tuff Teef (2007)
"Don't lock your doors, I have these PUNKS  on the ropes..."
OK so once again, we start this list with a duplicate #35, because, well I find numbers challenging. Shurrup. So, here we have one of the highest-placed Australian acts of the decade, and easily the lowest-profile such artist to make the top ranks. Because this is just GREAT songwriting in every dimension that matters. It has a hook to it that could land a White Pointer, it's delivered with sass and bravado, it swanks around your speakers like it was wearing a zoot suit.

And the band is WELL worth  catching live. It's ALL rather weirdly about Susie Patten. Weirdly because she's the drummer. Weirdly because she's the archest tomboy you're ever going to meet, and we're not used to either of those tropes as "frontman". The band is now apparently on hiatus as Susie is spending some time in Germany, like all the best Aussie artists do eventually. And I can't wait to see what she comes back with. Songwriting chops like this - and this came from their DEBUT - don't just evaporate. This one belts you with the first beat and doesn't stop whacking for three solid minutes.

35.Float On - Modest Mouse
Good News For People Who Love Bad News (2004)
Ah, the mice of modesty. Supposed to be indie, but this will fill any given dancefloor. The chorus is as catchy a one as has ever been written. Not much more to say really, you know the tune already. All-RIGHT.

34.The Coast Is Always Changing - Maxïmo Park
Apply Some Pressure (2004)
I  seem to recall back in the day I hailed this as the finest song of 2004. It now appears I was right, but only just. Someone from Sydney tried telling me I was 'Emo' for that opinion, or I forget, maybe it was my haircut, but what nonsense.

"You react to my riposte" is apparently pretentious emo lyrics or some such rot. But this BELONGS here for wearing its poecy so LIGHT on its sleeve. For a song with so may finely strung together shades of light and dark, an effect itself like waves over the sea floor. Oh, alright ... piss off.

33.Umbrella - Rihanna Feat. Jay-Z
Bravo Hits - The Hits 2007 (2007)
Some songs are just so well written that even an anodyne hits funnel like Rihanna can't mess them up. Even adding Jay-Z won't render them COMPLETELY banal, hard as he tries here.

Uh huh, uh huh, Yeahhh Rihanna,
Uh huh, uh huh, Good girl gone bad
Uh huh, scoop the remnants of my brain out with a fish fork ...

32.A Milli - Lil Wayne
Lollipop (2008)
So, yes, you know I'm supposed to be all gender progressive and blah. But I've always loved hip hop. LOVED. Picked on every day for a year for wearing a RUN DMC shirt to school camp. "Rap is crap, man." Yes, seeing what you did there ...

But some songs you just have to listen to with your ears half closed. It's a male-dominated genre, and it's in its essence puerile. And when those two factors work in tandem, sexism is going to bubble up. You either need to find a coping mechanism or a new genre.

So, here's what works for me. Some of this stuff is SO puerile that it's completely self-parodying. And there's a rare breed of artist that you no doubt instinctively despise, who actually when you drill down through the discourse seems to just know, accept and revel in it all, to such an extent that they're not really spreading ideology. I'm talking about Eminem, and I'm talking about nobody more than Lil' Wayne.

There's nothing here to mimic, it's all too ridiculous. "I'm a venereal disease like a menstrual bleed", "Coke in her derrière"? For God's sake, it's all just so laughable, does it parody itself so much that it's actually progressive? I'll reserve judgement.

This, its entire form, the lyrics, the backing track, it's all just RIDICULOUS. And there's never been a song like it.

31.Middle of the Road Class War Terra Nullius Blu-hoos
G.A. Richards and the Dark Satanic Mills Bros
Closed Off, Cold and Bitter - My Life as a Can of Beer (2005)
The good people in Augie March may well use this chart as evidence of their utter prominence amongst quality Australian artists over the course of the decade.

You recall the rules here limited each artist to a maximum three songs. Glenn A Richards, next to whom I once had a piss at Lounge..."Can't really say 'love your work' while we're doing this, can I? CAN I?"... Glenn is the only artist to feature here FOUR times.

I wish the Augies would add this to their repertoire, as it's up there with their finest, lyrically and musically. It kind of drones along letting the vocal to most of the work. And the vocal is certainly up to it.

"Here rests the thief who stole my self-belief."