S.S.O.S. (Stop Spoiling Our Songs)

In these troubled times of Trump and Brexit and all the rest, it’s very easy for us to lose sight of the most insidious, creeping¬†evil in modern times.

The appropriation of great records to try and sell us stuff we neither want nor need.

Broadly, the version of a once great classic that appears in adverts falls into one of two categories:

  1. A whimsical, piano backed cover version, usually performed by an unknown, but breathy female singer, or
  2. A version with altered lyrics, which now mention the actual product.

But rarely does the actual song itself feature, which I assume is something to do with whoever owns the publishing rights for the song in question.

I would dearly love to see some statistics showing the success of these ad campaigns. Do they actually work? Because whenever I see one of those adverts, I immediately pledge to never buy anything by the company putting the adverts on.

There’s one on at the moment. I’m not going to name the company it aims to promote, but it’s for a travel agent who has recently changed it’s name, which I imagine is so that it has the same name as it does overseas (see Marathon bars becoming Snickers, Opal Fruits to Starburst) and definitely not as some sort of tax dodge.

Anyway, the first time I saw that advert, I knew that when I next go on holiday, I will not be booking it through them. (I rarely go on holiday anyway, but that’s not the point.)

So a new thing here, where we reclaim the song back from the capitalist pigs.

And here’s the song in question, which has recently had all life sucked from it. Give it back, Ad Men, it’s not yours to suck!

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Rufus and Chaka Khan – Ain’t Nobody

There will almost definitely be more of these soon. Suggestions welcome.

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Sunday Morning Coming Down

Has I been inclined to provide you with a list of my favourite records of 2017 before we got to the new year, then Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile’s Lotta Sea Lice would have undoubtedly featured pretty highly.

Here’s the opening track and lead single from it:

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Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Over Everything

More soon.

 

Late Night Stargazing

Last year, as they were looking for something new to watch on TV, I recommended the third series of Fargo, which was just about to air at the time, to my parents.

Generally,¬†there’s an overlap in our TV tastes, although Dad watches far too many of those American Pickers¬†or fly-on-the-wall documentaries about customs officials than I can stand, and Mum can’t miss Coronation Street or Strictly, but often when it comes to dramas there’s a consensus about the kind of things we like, so I felt on fairly safe ground with this recommendation.

They were initially sceptical, mostly because they were concerned that, since they hadn’t seen the first two seasons of the show, they wouldn’t know what was going on, but I managed to allay their fears, and I think they enjoyed it. Certainly, there were enough positive noises to lead me to buy them the box-sets of Series 1 and 2 for Christmas, which I have told them are much better than Series 3. For whilst the latest¬†series was good, the first two – the second in particular – are magnificent.¬†I’m expecting the feedback soon.

I spent a good few weekends revisiting the first two series on Netflix recently, and you won’t be in the least bit surprised to learn that one of the things I was reminded that I love about the show is the soundtrack.

Here’s a cheerful example from Season 2, which some of you may also recognise from the Coen Brothers’ O Brother Where Art Thou:

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Ralph Stanley – O Death

More soon.

All Crazee Now

There may be fewer than usual posts here over the weekend, as for the second time in a month I’m off up to visit my parents.

There’s a family get together happening this weekend, as two of my aunts, and one of my cousins all have their birthdays at this time of the year.

As does my Mum, whose birthday it was yesterday. And what better present for her than a visit from her favourite youngest son?

I was reminded of today’s song over Christmas; I stayed with them from the Friday before until the Wednesday afterwards, and we were joined by my brother on Boxing Day. Usually, as I’ve mentioned before, these family reunions tend to remain around the dining room table, as we sit drinking, playing board or card games, listening to music and trying to make each other laugh until the wee small hours. Mum is always first to go to bed, Dad generally lasts a little longer, my brother and I usually carry on until we notice the sun’s coming up and we should try and get some sleep.

And that was the plan for Boxing Day; indeed we’d even stocked up. He and I had agreed we wold just but each other a bottle of Jack Daniels each, so that we knew we were not going to run out, but we hadn’t taken into account that one of our aunts would also buy us a bottle, and another, who recalled us over-indulging in it a few years ago, bought us a bottle of J√§germeister. In preparation, I placed it in the freezer, and popped to the¬†shops to stock up on Red Bull.

But, as we all know,¬†the best laid plans of mice and men…..something something something.

Shortly after he arrived, my brother asked me how I had managed to occupy myself for the past few days, and I answered honestly:

“There’s been a lot of snoozing on the settee in front of the TV,” I confided.

Later that evening, after we had finished eating, my brother mentioned that a quick snooze seemed like a rather good idea. And that was how the day ended, with us all asleep in front of the TV (until Match of the Day came on, and everyone else went to bed, disinterested).

So I post this song ironically,¬†whilst also knowing that even though I’m posting it in conjunction with her birthday, my Mum will have absolutely no idea who they are:

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 Slade РMama Weer All Crazee Now

Still plenty of booze left for next time we all hook up.

Ba Ba Ba Ba-Ba Ba Ba Ba

The other night I watched “Kill Your Friends”, a movie about A&R men set at the time when Britpop was at it’s peak, which doesn’t sound like a particularly fascinating subject, but I really enjoyed it.

Not least because – oh, and spoiler alert – James Corden gets horrifically murdered quite early on.

The justification for his untimely demise? Perfectly reasonable:

  1. Not knowing that Guy Stevens, the producer of The Clash’s “London Calling”, was dead, and had been since 1981;
  2. Not knowing that Paul Weller writes his own songs;
  3. For considering signing Menswear.

I’m with the script-writers on points 1 and 2, but 3….hmmmm.

Generic, tail-coat hanging Britpop-by-numbers it may be, but I really like their Nuisance album, and I especially love this:

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Menswear – Stardust

More soon.