Going For A Song: ‘Quick, Before It Melts’

Cinerama – Quick, Before It Melts

I can’t think of many songs written on the subject of impotence. Only two come to mind (though there has to be at least one blues song?): Art Brut’s ‘Rusty Guns of Milan’ and Cinerama’s ‘Quick, Before It Melts’.

Cinerama’s is the better song, I think, for not just being solely about the subject. David Gedge captures, in his lyrics and ushered in vocals, the precariousness of the entire venture; and Cinerama’s music – slurring picked guitar lines on the verses, loud martial like guitars and drums on the chorus, strings prominent when they need to be – provides the suitable soundtrack for the subject.

Going For A Song: ‘Didn’t We Almost Have It All’

Whitney Houston – Didn’t We Almost Have It All

This week’s blog post concerns Adele’s song ‘Hello’ as much as it does Whitney Houston’s ‘Didn’t We Almost Have It All’.

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Going For A Song: ‘Lonesome Valley’

Richard Dyer-Bennet – Lonesome Valley

You may be preparing for Christmas. You may be stuck for a present to get that music loving relative. So, instead of choosing a Christmas song, I’m using this week to write up a few music books I’ve enjoyed this year (though most have not been necessarily published this year).

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Going For A Song: ‘Blooms’

Chris Mills And The Distant Stars – Blooms

There are those bands and songwriters you love but inexplicably to you no one gets it. I began listening to Chris Mills around 2000 when he released Kiss It Goodbye. I followed his progress, bought the new albums and searched out the old album and EPs, saw the odd show when it made financial sense for him to tour the UK, all the while coming to terms with, and baffled by, that he might never get the recognition I at least thought he deserved. But then in the time after 2005’s wonderfully conceived and executed The Wall to Wall Sessions album, I too lost contact with what he was doing.

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Going For A Song: ‘With Tomorrow / I’m On Fire’

Ólöf Arnalds – With Tomorrow / I’m On Fire

There is the option when choosing a song to cover, to choose a song that’s written in the opposite gender. This can be extremely effective, or it can be used by scoundrels to give the song an instant novelty to hide the dearth of originality in the cover.* After a few listens to ‘With Tomorrow / I’m On Fire’, Ólöf Arnalds can be filed into the former. The segue from her own ‘With Tomorrow’ into Springsteen’s ‘I’m on Fire’ feels like it has been done with some thought and consideration, and not just because she found it happened to be in the same key.

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Going For A Song: ‘The River’

Bruce Springsteen – The River

I read something a few weeks ago, that if it hadn’t been for his manager Jon Landau, Bruce Springsteen would have given the song ‘Hungry Heart’ to The Ramones to record. Aside from being a nice piece of rock trivia this has got to be one of the great missed opportunities in music, hasn’t it?

I like Springsteen, have a few albums, but haven’t heard The River, the album ‘Hungry Heart’ is off. But one of my favourite Springsteen songs is ‘The River’, which is on the album as well. It’s a song that shows just how adept Springsteen became at writing those first-person narrative songs*. He was so good, that the craft necessary to do it could be taken for granted, resulting in some maybe assuming these type of songs are easy to write. I don’t think they are.

It’s important that here Springsteen was – as the article says – drawing on family he knew for the source material. The tact necessary to do this is maybe a clue to the sensitivity in the writing, that is as much part of Springsteen as is the type of masculinity which may be seen best to manifest itself in his album artwork. In any case it is this sensitivity that feeds into the ‘The River’, and is that which doesn’t allow it – or any of his other songs which have this perspective – to fall into machismo.

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* I don’t want to suggest he is no longer adept, but I’ve not listened to enough Springsteen to not use the past tense here.

Going For A Song: ‘Caught In A Dream’

Napalm Death – Caught In A Dream

My friend, Sarah, asked me this week what is death metal. “I don’t know anything about it,” she said. “Neither do I,” I replied. This hadn’t stopped me dredging up, from half remembered issues of Kerrang!, and columns by Neil Kulkarni, references to the Norwegian metalers Mayhem and Burzum (“They killed each other,” I said. “Onstage?” “No, in real life.”) and alighting somehow on Napalm Death as an example.* I have always know something about Napalm Death. I could always reel off a few vague facts about them (very short songs, vocalist Barney Greenway, from Birmingham.^) but I have never actually listened to them properly. So, what’s death metal? Really I don’t know. This though is Napalm Death.

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* As I’ve tried to make implicit, I understand I was on shaky ground with all my examples.

^ Yes, after checking, I realised I’ve been labouring under a misapprehension.