Well, hello. Nice of you to drop by. It’s Friday Night, fancy some tunes? Yes? Good stuff, I knew you wouldn’t let me down.
This week: the second week of the split down of the far too long, Volume 5. Running order tweaked a bit, a couple of songs which weren’t in the first one make an appearance, and there’s a definite 80s vibe about this one (once you get past the first five tunes, which are, in order: 70s, 60s, 70s, 90s, 00s.
I listened to this whilst waiting for a much delayed bus back from the hospital a few weeks ago, and, at the risk of appearing immodest, I bloody loved it. And I think you will too.
So let’e crack on shall we? Yes? YES!
Friday Night Music Club Vol 5.1
And, as is tradition, here’s your track-listing, and yes, this time I’ve even bothered to write some sleevenotes for you to tut over:
- The Stylistics – Sing Baby Sing
I’ve become a tad obsessed with The Stylistics recently. I’ve been trying to work out why. Is it the natty suits? The dance moves? That incomparible male falsetto? Could be. More likely is that this is just one of many Philly Soul records they put out that are just irresistable to these ears.
2. Sandie Shaw – Girl Don’t Come
Ah, Gawd bless Sandie. As it was Eurovision a couple of weeks ago, it seemed appropriate to slip one of her less-remembered tunes in. And you’ll find no smutty jokes about that song title here, you’ll have to make your own up, which I’m sure you’re more than capable of.
3. Blondie – Picture This
Suprisingly, given the ones which were to follow – like it was an aperitif, designed to whet the palate in anticipation of what was to come – this was the lead single from Blondie’s incredible Parallel Lines album. Anyone who heard this when it was released in August 1978 probably had no idea they were being lubed up for the pounding that was to follow. And anyone who doesn’t love that long-player must be dead – or, given that last analogy, at least a little sore – inside, I reckon. But what else is there to be said that hasn’t already been said about Blondie? Not much, so I’ll simply repeat some well-versed facts: Blondie were probably (as in “I haven’t checked”) the most commercially succcesful band to emerge from the New York punk/new wave scene, and that was in no small part due to Debbie Harry (before she insisted on being called Deborah) being sexy, coquettish and just downright cool. Girls wanted to be her, guys wanted to be with her.
4. Echobelly – I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me
This is just ruddy great. The band’s first of too few Top 40 hits, this scraped in at #39 in June 1994, which is criminal. And here we are, almost 30 years later and it still makes me want to bounce around the room and proclaim my undying love for Sonya Madan.
5. Girls Aloud – Wake Me Up
You can keep your Little Mix, your Saturdays and any other all-girl pop band that came after them: Girls Aloud may not have written their own tunes, but they sure as hell had some bangers in their repertiore. This one is not as well known as some of their others mega-hits, but damn right it’s worth revisiting.
6 Kim Wilde – Chequered Love
Nothing wiill shake me from my opinion that this, and not Kids in America, is her finest moment, I had the pleasure of meeting her once (CLANG!); she and her entourage came into the motorway restaurant I worked in when she was touring supporting some bloke called Michael Jacksonon his Bad tour of the UK. Not sure what happened to him. She had a burger and chips and an ice cream float. She was nice (swoons).
7. Animotion – Obsession
Yes, it’s a bit euro-pop. Actually, it’s a lot euro-pop. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s no good. Because it isn’t, it’s the opposite of no good, which I believe is commonly referred to as good. In fact, it’s better than just good, it’s a terrific tale of unrequited lust. Still with me? An over-looked 80s classic in my book. Mind you, there’s quite a few entries in that book.
8. Colonel Abrams – Trapped
Speaking of over-looked 80s classics…
9. Gorillaz – Dare
It’s hard to believe that Shaun William Ryder is now probably better known as “that sweary bloke from Celebrity Gogglebox” or “that sweary bloke from I’m a Celebrity…” than he is as one of the most pioneering lyricists and shambolic, shuffling lead singer of Happy Mondays and Black Grape fame. I think this record had a lot to do with his reinvention, projecting him into the psyche of a new group of fans, especially because, so the story goes, it was supposed to be called There but whenever Ryder tried to say the word, it came out as Dare, so the title was changed. I mean, how can somebody be as famous as he is without being able to pronounce such a basic word? And then I realise that Bez is almost, if not more, famous, and it all starts to make sense.
10. Hercules And Love Affair – Blind
Now let me make something perfectly clear: I did not enjoy the musical output of Antony and The Johnsons. Each to their own and all that, but Antony’s voice just wound me up, like fingernails down a chalkboard, made worse when I read reviews describing his vocal performances as innovative, ground-breaking blahblahblahblahblah. So, suffice it to say I did not have high expectations for this tune, on which he, just like Ryder in the last tune, provided guest vocals. Blimey, was I surprised. I love this, I think despite rather than because of Antony’s presence. It’s a total banger, right kids?
11. Van She – Kelly (Cut Copy Remix)
The original of this is a bit yacht rock but this 80s-upped remix definitely isn’t. It’s the second best (that I can think of, off the top of my head) Kelly in pop, and no, Kelly Jones from Stereoploddingphonics is not the best (Kelly Watch the Stars by Air is, of course). And this isn’t a million miles way from the uber-cool French duo, it’s just a bit more upbeat and contains more obvious retro synth-stabs. You’ll like it. No really, you will.
12. The Human League – Love Action (I Believe In Love)
Since we’ve gone all 80s-esque, we may as well have the real deal, so you can see just how well these all slot together. Philip, Susan and Joanne: national treasures in all but name.
13. Beth Ditto – Open Heart Surgery
Back to the 80s-homage gang, and I’ve included this one because there’s something about the bassline which reminds me of The Human League’s Don’t You Want Me. Can you spot it too?
14. Simian Mobile Disco – Audacity of Huge
Here’s some reviews of this, which I lifted from wiki:
Pitchfork called it “a limber, name-dropping, ear-catching body-mover, sleek and uncluttered and populist”.
Consequence of Sound stated that the lyrics were “hopelessly catchy non sequiturs”
NME (remember them?) felt that said “hopelessly catchy non sequiturs” were the only thing that made the song “listenable” (instead of “as annoying as stubbing your toe”)
The Quietus praised it as “amusingly bizarre” and “a pitch-perfect satire of the bling-bejewelled breast-beating so prevalent on [Kanye’s] 808s and Heartbreaks“
This is why I would never have made it as a music journalist, as I wanted to be when I was in my late-teens: I have no idea whether any of those reviewers actually liked it or not (admittedly, I’ve not read the whole review, which usually gives a score at the end, which is a bit of a clue).
I’d never hit my required word target if all my reviews simply read: “An absolute beast of a record.” which this clearly is. And it features Chris Keating of Yeasayer on guest vocals, which I gather should be considered another point in its favour.
15. The Gossip – Standing In The Way Of Control (Soulwax Nite Version)
Yes, I know that there’s a strict “the same artiste shall not appear twice on the same playlist” rule in place. I haven’t broken the rule by including this. Yes, Beth Ditto was the lead signer with The Gossip, but that’s a very different beast to her flying solo. Anyway, I’ve not featured any of Soulwax’s awesome remixes for a while, so it seemed fitting to bring this week’s shenanigans to a close with one of theirs this week.
And that’s yer lot. Hope you enjoyed.