Monday, January 04, 2010

52 Weeks, 52 Songs (2009): Part One

52 Weeks, 52 Songs (2009):
Part One

For an explanation of what this is go here, to listen to any of these songs the playlist is here.

1. 'Meet Me By The Rivers Edge' The Gaslight Anthem.

For a good portion of December 2008 and January 2009 I played Sound of '59 on repeat. I played it so much that when I hear it now it plunges me back to those weeks in all their heady glory of falling for someone new, living in Forest Hill and David Tennant's back getting better quick enough for me to see him for the third time in Hamlet. Worryingly, it also reminds me intensely of writing about Kneehigh Theatre Company and adaptation. Oh well. Of all of the songs on that album 'Meet Me By The Rivers Edge' was my favourite - it had me with one line: 'you wore Audrey Hepburn pearls'.

I saw the band live at Latitude in the summer and, thankfully, they were as wonderful as I wanted them to be. It also led to the discovery that, maybe, I might actually fancy a man who had tattoos. I'm not sure if my mind's processed this one yet.

2. 'You Can't Count On Me' Counting Crows

I heart Adam Duritz and, really, I could have picked almost any song, especially since I like writing to them. But 'You Can't Count On Me' was my favourite from Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings and it packed some punch in January.

Sorry, did I mention that I heart Adam Duritz?

3. 'Summertime' NKOTB.

Some times you just have to do something to placate your inner eleven year old. And some times that thing has to be whooping and considering the molestation of Joey NKOTB at the Hammersmith Apollo. Seriously I cannot utter enough superlatives for how great that night in January was (though I did give it a go here). 'Summertime' is a piece of old-skool boyband pop and shows just how glorious such music can be. In twenty years time will JLS be dancing in co-ordinated outifts at the Hammersmith Apollo? Some how I doubt it.

4.'Snow Day' Lisa Loeb.


I honestly can't remember when, prior to February 2009, I had a 'snow day'. And, even now if you mention 'Snow Day' in London everyone immediately knows that you mean February 2009, just as the rest of England (without even getting the Camericans started) quite rightly roll their eyes. For 24 hours everything stopped and instead there was much picture-postcard photo taking and snowmen building and strangers talking to each other in the street (which in London is obviously a sign of an impending Apocalypse). Ms Loeb's snow day is, I posit, more of a metaphorical than literal one but, back in February, my brain couldn't help but make the link (see also the fact that I named my posts abut the snow after the title of a Snow Patrol album...cough, geek).

5. 'First Love' Emmy The Great.

Do you know how much I hate the Alexandra Burke version of 'Hallelujah'? Let's just say that it is almost as much as I hate Leona Lewis's version of 'Run' (Simon Cowell, step away from my music collection, NOW). I heard that Burke didn't like 'Hallelujah' when she first heard it which, frankly, says it all. But don't let my rant sidetrack you from the greatness of 'First Love' which has the kind of intertextual relationship with 'Hallelujah' which makes me squeak with joy. Some times, for no clear reason, a song just makes it on repeat play and this was the one that dominated the first week or so of February for me.

6. 'Free Fallin' John Mayer.

Believe it or not, I'd never listened to John Mayer before February this year. This is pretty much standard boy with guitar material and as such I am one big sucker for it. Makes me think of writing at the table in the bay window in my former Forest Hill flat.

7. 'Little Victories' Matt Nathanson.

There's a point in foreverafterwards, the play I wrote as my final project for my MA, where Alice, the lead character says 'You were nice to me, even when I didn't deserve it'. The response that comes is: 'That's a little victory for me'.

I wrote that line because of this song, just as I borrowed stole lines from Mr Nathanson elsewhere. Even though he didn't release any new material in 2009 not having heard of him until the early part of the year I've had the joy of discovering his entire output (and there are years worth, I can only conclude that he must have been making albums when he was a toddler). In particular Nathanson was a long term companion during the endless days and evenings trapped in Goldsmiths College library (causing Arsenal Fan to roll his eyes muchly at the sound of boy-with-guitar leaking from my earphones) and if Counting Crows begot Films About Ghosts then Matt Nathanson begot foreverafterwards (and probably After Eurydice too). I probably owe him a pint.

8. 'Observatory Crest' Captain Beefheart and His Magical Band

I'm sitting on one of the squashy sofas in Nice Pub, food in front of me, talking to Surfer Girl and Arsenal Fan. I notice Breakfast Club Boy the moment he rounds the bar, largely because of the combination of his rather noticeable hair and the large earphones he is wearing. He's got the kind of earphones that immediately say 'Music Geek'. They're black and disproportionately large and make his hair stick up and -

They're now on my head.

Without hello or how are you or would you like your hair squashing with my earphones he says:

"Captain Beefheart".

Captain Beefheart is one of those wet patches of absence in my musical knowledge. An absence I didn't know was there until Mr Beefheart came up in conversation as such things are wont to do when you have lunch with a music geek.

Breakfast Club Boy scrolls through his ipod until he finds the right album (for, with hopeless predictability it appears that he has the entire back catalogue at his hands).

"Try this - "

He hands his ipod over -

I brace myself for though we both like a boy with guitar (albeit in slightly different ways) it remains that Breakfast Club Boy thinks that my taste in music is bland and predictable and I think his is shouty and unmelodic.

Yet, as the opening chords fill my ears I feel surprise flood me -

"That wasn't quite what I expected..." I say after I've listened to a couple of songs.

Breakfast Club Boy smirks.

"Told you so".

[Postscript: months later Mr Beefheart cropped up again on The Mighty Snow Patrol's 'mixtape' Late Night Tales. Stalking I'd call it.]

9. 'Someone Else's Life' Joshua Radin.

Mr Radin was another of those BwGs who characterised the early months of 2009. Broken, soulful - hey, I was writing about a play about a failing relationship this was my bread and butter.

10. 'A Dustland Fairytale' The Killers.

It's not quite the song that goes with this photo:


But when Bourbon, Old Friend and (Lovely) Tour Guide saw The Killers in Newcastle in March it was the first time that I'd heard 'A Dustland Fairytale' live (my favourite song on Day and Age, fact fans). It didn't have the throw-yourself about impetus of 'Human', or the they-really-should-play-this-in-Doctor-Who-montages of 'Spaceman', or the spine-tingling chanting of 'All These Things I've Done', and certainly not the sheer unmitigated brilliance (genuis) of 'Mr Brightside' but I couldn't help but feel that this was painfully beautiful. And, anyway, 'Mr Brightside' would make the list of songs that defined my life (never mind a particular year) so it's only fair that this very 2009 association got a look in.

[Postscript: I got stick from some quarters for my love of The Killers in March '09 but I do not care. I heart The Killers.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It will be great to watch Snow Patrol,i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.