Sunday, December 19, 2004

"Deutscher Girls"

Twenty-five years on, after the pop-sociologists and the music journalists have had their say, wasn't punk just another pose? Yes, the anarchy thing was liberating, the permission to be unpleasant, to shock and to speak the unspeakable were all great, but when you listen to early Adam and the Ants, for example, don't you get the feeling that these were just art-school kids looking for a peg to hang their hats on? On the other hand, songs suddenly became real, and if they weren't addressing An Issue, they were telling a Real Story. And the guitars were sharp, angular, vicious. Made a nice change from twelve-minute concept songs. For a while, anyway.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

"Wrecking Ball"

Another Neil Young song that sounds immeasurably better for being sung by someone with a fantastic voice - in this case, Emmylou Harris. I can only describe her voice as a diaphanous country moan, but Lord, it send shivers up my spine. It almost sounds like she's fronting Lambchop - the music is muted, echoing, with a gentle insistent beat and plenty of atmosphere. The whole thing sounds like a half-remembered date that might or might not have been a dream anyway.

Friday, December 10, 2004

"Ezy Ryder"

Possibly the greatest guitar intro ever (well, it's either this or "Gimme Shelter"). Jimi Hendrix invented funk-rock and the everlasting guitar solo and they're both on display here. Hendrix was a genius for letting songs follow their own arc and flying off on tangents before getting everything back together before the close. Nothing here is what you could call "tight" but it doesn't matter - this song is unstoppable.

Friday, December 03, 2004

"No Matter What"

Absolutely fan-bloody-tastic. Another one of those perfect three-minute pop gems from the 60s, harmony, happiness, hearts and flowers....

Sunday, October 31, 2004


I miss Stevie Ray Vaughan. He did things with a guitar Clapton could only dream about. If you thought Stevie Wonder's original was was funky, this is downright dirty.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

"Waterloo Sunset"

It must be a particularly British thing, this ability to write small, perfectly-formed kitchen-sink songs, because I can't think of anywhere else that I've heard anything like this. You start off with a big picture to set the scene - in this case the river, the night - and then you focus in very tightly on two people, meeting at Waterloo Underground station. Paul Weller wrote like this too. The sort of song that makes you feel warm, looking out of your window overlooking the city.

Saturday, October 09, 2004


I have a sneaking admiration for John Mellencamp. Hey, it can't be easy having to live with unfavorable comparisons to Springsteen, Seger, Petty et al, but he just keeps on keeping on. This is a great tune; I can almost imagine line-dancing to this. What Mellencamp does, he does very well. I was almost tempted to recommend "Small Town" but then I figured it was more or less the same song...

Saturday, October 02, 2004

"Theme From Boat Weirdos"

I thought Joe Walsh's song "Life's Been Good" was a hoot, I loved his crazy album titles, so when "But Seriously, Folks..." came out, I went out and bought it straight away. I enjoy the album still, and this track, for some reason, always gets in very close. It's an instrumental, there's nothing outstanding about it, but it just... just.... brings peace. And that's got to be a good thing.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

"Stay On These Roads"

I don't want to talk about this. It's by A-Ha, I think it's fab, if totally incomprehensible, and that's all I'm going to say on the subject.

Thursday, September 23, 2004


I suspect that U2 bear more than a small responsibility for latter-day Manic Street Preachers. U2 can't walk past a song without turning it into an anthem, which is why this is so unusual and such a treat. It's like the Velvet Underground were writing about a firing squad - there's real darkness in here, like some Freudian couch-trip, and it explodes into jackhammer life. Another great song if you're dark-angry and feeling like you want to punch the wall.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

"In The Bath"

I'm a fan of ambient music these days. I like the fact that you can project your own images over it, that you don't always *have* to listen for a lyric. Lemonjelly seem to have a great sense of humor too, which means that you can toy with some fun imagery. It's hard to describe ambient music, though... This has a rolling beat, cascading strings in the background, and really does make great listening when you're in the bath.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


Possibly one of the very few songs out there that really, really deserves the name "epic". I'd never totally trusted David Bowie - when I first listened to Ziggy Stardust and properly understood it, I began to wonder where *he* really was in all this. Everything he wrote seemed to me too cool, too icy calm, too......remote. And then I heard this, and for a brief moment, I hoped he was being honest. Now, I'm not so worried about his honesty, just the song's. This is fantastic: the hooting synthesizer completely makes this track, and the fact that out of all that cold, electronic whirlwind he produced such a passionate vocal just slam-dunks this one.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

"Welcome to the Boomtown"

I got into David & David while I was living in Washington DC for a while, working restaurants and watching the yuppies get on with their lifestyles. This was a perfect soundtrack: acidic, edgy, spearing the unutterable self-satisfaction of an entire generation. You could have played this over Robert Downey's death scene in "Less Than Zero" and it would have been perfect.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

"I'm On My Way"

My kids introduced me to this. I knew about the Proclaimers already, and I furtively liked "500 Miles", but this is great. It marches along like some deeply uncool song by some half-remembered sweater-clad grand-dad, but who cares? It brings a smile to my face. And I'm a fan of Scottish accents anyway.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

"Rex Bob Lowenstein"

Having been a disc-jockey once (for a couple of months, but what a gig!), I have some sense of what it must be like to be a jock on a small-town station, with three cats for listeners. I like songs that pay respect to the down-trodden, ever-hopeful, folks who love what they do and don't ask for the world in return. So this song is fab. Rex is a drivetime DJ who's about to lose the job he loves. "He's forty-seven, going on sixteen/He's frequently heard but he's seldom seen".

"Everything Must Go"

This one's a real tough choice. The Manic Street Preachers are my guilty pleasure these days. I don't identify so easily with their early stuff, but I'm a slave to anything that came after Richey Edwards disappeared. I like their inability to write a song that isn't an football anthem, I like that they always want to draw on a big, big canvas and talk about big ideas, and I love the fact that they can't seem to avoid writing commercial. They write great big chiming church bells of songs, James Bradfield's voice always sounds like it's about to unravel, and Nicky Wire looks fantastic in a skirt. What a band. They make me want to jump up into space and chew on Saturn.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

"Power in The Darkness"

Wasn't Margaret Thatcher GREAT? A strong-minded political leader, riding roughshod over any and all opposition, destroying the unions, shoring up the forces of conservatism against us students. It was a lot of fun being a paranoid, conspiracy-theory-believing, badge-wearing, meeting-attending lefty back then. Tom Robinson was one of the standard bearers for politics-as-identity, with these great anthems of oppression and victimisation. This one is great for memories of Greenham Common, roll-ups and political correctness before it became mandatory.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

"She's A Star"

I should have chosen "Sit Down" really, but I've got sentimental reasons for this choice. It's got such a great chorus that any guy simply isn't going to be able to sing since it's so high, swooping guitars and bittersweet lyrics. James wrote such great songs but never really got the interest they deserved.

Monday, August 16, 2004

"How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live"

You have so much choice with Ry Cooder: he writes funny, he writes blues, he writes low-life and low-rent, he writes Latin, the man's a genius, basically. This is low-rent, and it's beautiful, short and to the point. What I like about Ry is that he's happy to just play; doesn't matter who with; and he does turn up in the strangest places. Any man who can write an ode to "One Meat Ball" has got to be all right.

Monday, August 09, 2004

"Somewhere Only We Know"

Usually, I like to take some time, you know, mull over, consider and think about a band or song before I get all preachy or enthusiastic, but this grabbed me right away. I think Keane are damn good: they've got an unusual schtick, with a keyboard and vocals leading, but the voice reminds me a lot of James (who were great) and the songs are interesting. OK, it's not down with the kids, for sure, but it's intelligent and at times achingly sad. Works for me.

Friday, August 06, 2004

"First/Second/Third Rendezvous"

I'll be frank here: I'm a huge, I mean HUGE, Jean-Michel Jarre fan. I had a classical music upbringing, so his music has always resonated, despite the electronic nature. I thought "Zoolook" was a riot, I loved "Magnetic Fields" to bits, and I even thought "Equinoxe" was damn fine. But Rendezvous 1-3 blew me away. It's like Bach's Toccata & Fugue, a Requiem Mass at 200 mph, a soundtrack to the Day of Judgement, you name it. It's very, very classical, but Jarre throws the kitchen sink of noises and gadgets at this and it turns into some forbidding piece of High Gothic. If you're out driving through the Black Forest or the Dolomites at two in the morning in the pitch black, crank this up and watch out for vampires.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

"The Disappointed"

I love XTC. Andy Partridge is right in the middle of the grand tradition of eccentric songwriters (see Kevin Ayers, Roy Harper). I mean, look at those song titles! Making Plans for Nigel? Bonkers. This song may be a bit too polished for some, but I like the lyric: "Once I had no sympathy/For those destroyed and thrown away by life"....

Friday, July 16, 2004


I don't think The Beloved made much impression outside the baggy culture, but this is fab. Apparently it's about Thatcherism, but hey, to me it's a clever list of name-checks with a driving beat. There's a whole host of bands like this that got thrown up in the early 90s - Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, you name it - that seemed to get the idea that you can dance to guitars. Radical notion.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

"Political Science"

Despite being American by birth, I can empathise with the feeling of general opprobrium that washes over the US very time Dubya says something. I think Randy Newman can, too. I'm surprised nobody thought of this song before he did, though. It's such a simple song, but it nails the whole reverse-psychology victimisation thing that a lot of Americans have.

Friday, July 02, 2004

"Darling It Hurts"

This is so typical of stuff I like to play very very loud indeed in the car. When I'm in south London being assaulted by the boom-boxes-on-wheels playing rap, I crank songs like this up just to remind people what basic rock and roll sounds like. You can usefully mix this with ZZ Top or Stereophonics and it fits right in. Fab. Bit morally suspect though.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

"Nancy Boy"

I can't account for why I love this song. I think Placebo are great, they kick the living crap out of "20th Century Boy" and Brian Molko's got a fantastic voice. It's urgent, nasty and full of life. Maybe it reminds me of what punk used to be like.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

"Finishing Touches"

You know when you're so angry you can hardly speak? Someone or something has really rained on your parade and turned the day black..... here's the song you need. You can spit out the lyrics as you sing along: "You can screw everybody I've ever know/But I still won't talk to you on the phone". Warren Zevon R.I.P.

Friday, June 18, 2004

"(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding)"

Sometimes the message gets a great medium: sadly Brinsley Schwartz never made it big, but they left this behind. You can make this song happy, uplifting, sad and downright dirge-like, but it should always leave you with a spring in your step.

Monday, June 07, 2004

"Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes"

I'm sure Kevin Ayers isn't from this planet. This reminds me a little of Charlie Daniels' "Uneasy Rider", a shaggy-dog story of a song, but I can't help laughing whenever I hear it. There's a bunch of eccentrics out there writing songs, but this one is right up there with the loopiest.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

"You're So Good To Me"

Once in a while, you have to have a song that just celebrates the limits of human emotion. And there's more than a few Beach Boys songs that do this for me - "God Only Knows" is right up there, as is "Caroline, No". But this song is so damn SIMPLE! It's like looking at a David Hockney painting and saying to your buddy: "Shit, *I* could have done that". And the eternal response is "Yeah, but you didn't: *he* did". Which can be kind of depressing once in a while, but then you get caught up in the sheer joy of the song and it doesn't matter any more.

Monday, May 31, 2004


Stereotypical 60s right up to the chorus, but "You're my pride and joy, etcetera" is a glorious line.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

"Wasted Time" and "The Last Resort"

Definitely not easy listening. You know they're Don Henley songs when you feel you have to listen to the lyrics and get all righteously outraged at some perceived ill. On the other hand, "She came from Providence, the one in Rhode Island" makes me smile.

Saturday, May 22, 2004


How can you not like this song? It marches right up to you, grabs you by the scruff of the neck and commands you to jump up and down. You can almost imagine attempting to break the world mass aerobics lesson record with this song. It's got one of those typical Scottish overdubbed-guitar mixes which is just fab and hope-out-of-heartbreak lyrics. Unstoppable.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

"Teenage Kicks"

Music doesn't get more direct or all-consuming than this. Sure-fire contender for the Greatest Three-Minute Pop Song Ever. I got to see them last year at the St. Patrick's Day festival on the South Bank and they played this - oh how happy it made me. It's songs like this that probably proved the whole punk ethos; you don't need to be Rick Wakeman or Yes to make great music.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

"Women in Chains"

Simple, atmospheric, and totally hypnotic. Set Roland Orzabal's muted scream "Men of stone!" against the warm vocal of Oleta Adams.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

"Needle & the Damage Done"

I didn't think Pete Wylie could do much more than shout until I heard this. Soul-seared harmonising on a haunting version of one of Neil Young's best songs. Comes from an obscure anti-drug compilation album but it's nice to hear the song given some welly.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004


One of the simplest heartfelt teenage love songs ever: "Tonight we're just a boy and girl/The only people in the world". Takes an old man like Nick Lowe to get back to basics.

Saturday, April 24, 2004


The segue from "Nkosi Sikelele Africa" into the intro is totally compelling. The threat of the fuzzed guitar, the inevitability of the funeral drumbeat. And the lyrics: so simple, so effective. It's fascinating to listen to the various ways in which politically-active artists demonstrate their commitment: listen to this, and then play Little Steven's "Sun City". Peter Gabriel doesn't need to sloganise; he lets the images do the talking, while Little Steven has to keep reminding us that he "ain't gonna play Sun City". Which works better?

Monday, April 19, 2004

"Whole Wide World"

Despair, hope and tuneful tunelessness. Wreckless Eric can't sing, yet he's a huge star in France. Go figure. A love song for closing time.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

"Effloresce and Deliquesce"

One of the most atmospheric productions you're likely to hear: fantastic echoed guitars, a hurry-up beat, coupled to sharp, observant lyrics. I still don't know what either "effloresce" or "deliquesce" mean, but it's one of those tempestuous break-up/make-up-in-bed songs. So I'm guessing there's "imagery" involved. I'll admit that the album cover hooked me as well.

Friday, April 02, 2004


Procol Harum should be better known for this song rather than "Whiter Shade of Pale". Lyrics are just as totally bonkers, the mood is the same, beautiful keyboards and organ. Why is it that most art-pop 60s songs resembled really bad art films or "Alice in Wonderland" rip-offs? And what's the deal with trouser cuffs?

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

"Silver Machine"

Actually, I lied about the Motorhead track. There are two heavy metal songs you need to own, and Lemmy sings on both of them!

Saturday, March 27, 2004

"Ace of Spades"

If you can only contemplate owning one heavy metal song, this should be it. All you need to know about long hair, leather, bad skin and ear-bleeding volume in two minutes and forty-six seconds.

Monday, March 22, 2004

"Stay With Me"

It's a loud, obnoxious, raucous, mysogynistic, funny, irresistible party. You will dance. And to think Rod Stewart gave this up for dross like "D'Ya Think I'm Sexy"..... There was a time when he was a fantastic soul singer, and Ron Wood was a pretty fair guitarist too....

Tuesday, March 16, 2004


A rolling New Orleans bar-room groove, a master of boogie-woogie at the keyboard, a few shots of tequila... all you need is a Cajun dictionary to work out what Professor Longhair's singing. Damn, this is fun!

Thursday, March 11, 2004

"Kiss Me Hardy"

Serge Gainsbourg never made for comfortable listening, his subject matter was often deeply suspect, but he had an impeccable ear for rhythm and a tune. Maurice Chevalier wouldn't have stood a chance if Serge had been around a little earlier. This one's about cruising gay bars, Francis Bacon and a pun about Nelson's dying words. But when it's sung in French, you sort of forget all that. Actually, scratch the Maurice Chevalier reference... he'd have had a coronary.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004


Once in a while Prince gets back to his roots. If Dirty Dancing was a sport, this would be the soundtrack. It's downright nasty, misogynist, funky and frankly, irresistible.

Monday, March 08, 2004

"The Sound of Musik"

If you thought "Rock Me Amadeus" was over the top, this goes just that little bit further. I think Falco stuck a kitchen sink in there somewhere, too. It's rap for the uncomprehending Europeans, it's as funny as hell.

Friday, March 05, 2004

"Deeper Underground"

What is it with Jamiroquai? Jay Kay's got the best soul voice since Stevie Wonder, he cooks up evil hooks, and he moves like he's slept in Vaseline all his life.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

"I Ain't Ever Satisfied"

There's a dusty, arid hopelessness about this song, perfectly conveyed by the almost-monotone vocals. Steve Earle is one of those few guys who's reached a point where he isn't afraid to take on the moral majority with in-your-face observations about "Amerika", but when he was still earning his stripes he created some great country imagery: "I was born by the railroad track/Well the train whistle wailed and I wailed right back".

Saturday, February 28, 2004

"White Punks on Dope"

Fast, furious, this one bleeds all over the speakers and then comes back for more. If you know the Tubes, you know you can't take this seriously, since they satirised just about everything they came across in their early days, but Lord, there wasn't much around in 1977 that came close to this for balls-to-the-wall intelligent rock. Two drummers, three guitars and a singer wearing a Bacofoil jockstrap and twelve-inch stack heels, these guys made Alice Cooper look like Moby.

Friday, February 27, 2004


Why weren't Cheap Trick absolutely huge? They had the nous to take hard rock and splice it to the Beatles (they even did a killer cover of "Magical Mystery Tour"), they had the pretty-boy singer, the wacky guitarist and the doleful drummer thing all perfectly arranged. There are so many terrific Cheap Trick songs, this is just one of the best. Nudge-nudge wink-wink drug/sex references and a fab chorus for "the kids".

Monday, February 23, 2004

"Little Does She Know"

Right up there at the top of the list of forgotten classics, a mini pop-opera that just gets better and better. This one came out around the same as a lot of pub-rock in the lat 70s, and got a little lost among the Nick Lowe/Dave Edmunds/Eddie and the Hot Rods/Dr Feelgood noise, but it's got one foot back in the 60s when songs told a story - sort of a Jilted John thing.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

"Downtown Train"

Tom Waits wrote this and no matter how many folks cover it, his sandpaper vocals are the definite take on the song. It's about as close to a straight love song you're going to hear this man perform, full of high-rise sentiment in a low-rent world. Avoid all imitations. I mean..."Outside another yellow moon/has punched a hole in the nighttime"....

Friday, February 20, 2004

"Beasley Street"

It's a poem, it shouldn't even need to be set to a backing track: it's a savage, pustulent, weeping sore of a poem that goes straight to the bottom of the pile of human experience, and it's brilliant. John Cooper Clarke was the Laureate of Thatcher's Britain.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

"Don't Come Around Here No More"

Tom Petty's last truly GREAT song. This one is a killer: it's bitter, twisted, the drum/cymbal patter drives gently but firmly, the sitar gives the song a slight left-field feel, and the pain in Tom's voice would squeeze tears from a rock. This one can be handily dedicated to girlfriends who've just dumped you for the nth time.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

"All or Nothing"

I don't think there've been many performers able to convey the passion and anguish that the late Steve Marriott had: there's always the feeling that this song is just about to spin out of control. The Small Faces were possibly the greatest British band of the sixties, they got the mix between rock and soul spot on, something only the Manic Street Preachers seem to have these days.

Friday, February 06, 2004

"Love Like Blood"

They liked their apocalypses, did Killing Joke. An unstoppable, insistent bassline, washes of ominous organ and huge glass shards of guitar. Funky, in a nuclear kind of way. It echoes, it cuts and it glooms big-time. The shocker is you can dance to doom!

Monday, February 02, 2004

"Me in Honey"

The clincher here is the insistent, repetitive guitar figure, and B52's Kate Pierson in the background doing this zombified droning, and it really really works. Michael Stipe plaintively, achingly, wailing "what about me??" at the end is one of those perfect hair-raising moments that I always wait for. Not sure why, but this song makes me think of sex. It's a break-up song, but there's a desperate sexual energy here too.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

"Come Back! (The Story of the Reds)"

A love song to a principle, if there could be such a thing. There's a massive, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink production and Pete Wylie's got his soul thing going to match the passion of the lyric. There's a fantastic instrumental version of this that you can loop into a never-ending mellow bass background track. Politics never sounded so passionate: "Down by the docks the talking turned/As some are striving to survive the others thrive/Reaching the realm of no return/I don't want charity, just half a chance/ And it's all up to you!".

Saturday, January 31, 2004

"All Is Forgiven"

I was just about the biggest Jellyfish fan going. They had this Beach Boys-meets-Stevie Wonder in Todd Rundgren's head vibe which made them incredibly fun to listen to. And they wrote intelligent lyrics which is always a bonus. This one's a full-on almost-metal racket, just about to go out of control, and then they stop for a second to do this amazing "aaaahhhhhhhhh" in perfect harmony. Total bliss. I saw them live in London on their first tour - I don't think they'd seen someone stage-dive before, and they all collapsed laughing when the first punter went flying.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

"Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds"

It took me about a minute before I realised what song this is, and then I was thinking: "Damn, that's clever!" I had thought the Hooters were a really typical mid-80s fashion-handicapped band till I heard this. Deconstructing a classic: they slow it down, pick apart the intricate patterns the Beatles built, and it works!

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

"Desperadoes Under the Eaves"

Warren Zevon was the most under-rated songwriter of the last 30 years, bar none. He came across like this scruffy, mumbling street person who picks over the rubbish in the street and stops passers-by to tell them something that they'll remember the next day and think, "You know, he's absolutely right!" He writes angry songs, sad songs, funny songs and each one sticks in your head. This song has my favorite lyric: "And if California slides into the ocean/Like the mystics and statistics say it will/I predict this motel will be standing/Until I pay my bill." Various Beach Boys sing harmony, which can't be bad......

"One of Those Days In England (Parts 1-10)"

Never mind Roy Harper's an ancient hippy, never mind he's always been slightly the other side of bonkers, this is stunning. Part 1 is, for Roy, a reasonably taut pop song with only eccentric lyrics and a gorgeous chorus: "My love it seems so long away/Since when we both together lay/And yet it's only yesterday/Dreaming of tomorrow/My love, there's no today". Parts 2-10 are a rambling yet focused 20-minute epic, stuffed full of philosophy, sex, violence and Arthurian/Olde England references, a treat for the ears as well as for the brain.

Friday, January 23, 2004

"Movin On Up"

Gospel dance rock by Primal Scream. It's as if Sly Stone got religion, discovered guitars and took downers all at the same time. I like to play this one LOUD. There's a hint of "Sympathy for the Devil" about this one, and those gospel voices and that looping guitar suggest drugs may have been involved.

"Say It Ain't So Joe"

Some of the most wondrous singing ever committed to record. Murray Head's voice goes from a thin, warbly squeak all the way to intense passion. It's probably one of the saddest songs ever written, and one of the most beautiful. Steer clear of Roger Daltrey's pale imitation.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

"Sweet Jane"

It's not quite like playing the Velvet Underground original at 33 rpm instead of 45, but it's damn close. For some reason, the Cowboy Junkies get their version to sound like a finished song, while the original feels like it just ran out of steam. There's a groove that you think you can ignore, but it's so insidious and so strong despite sounding like nothing at all. And the voice sends shivers up my spine.

"I Want to See The Bright Lights Tonight"

Richard Thompson's three-minute opera for Friday nights. It's like listening to an ancient folk song about being down the pub. The lyric is so simple and timeless, and is all the better for Linda Thompson's plaintive delivery; "Couple of drunken knights fighting on the floor/Is just the kind of fun Im looking for". I like the version with the brass band, gives the song a sort of marching feel to it.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

"The Great Gig In The Sky"

Stately piano, an old man talking about death, gorgeous swooning guitars, and then Clare Torry's feral, orgasmic keening. A song that proves how sex and death are just opposite sides of the same coin. Every time I hear this I just stop whatever I'm doing and let it wash all over me. Pink Floyd may have stopped making fresh music ssome time in the 70s, but this one will live forever.

"I Saw The Light"

Todd Rundgren's mad-genius ultimate three-minute pop song, in which he proved he could do it better than anyone else. So much of what he's done is kind of hard to get into, but once in a while he comes up with something that's just so perfect - plays every instrument, sings all the harmonies, writes the perfect hook. Damn. There's a dash of the Carole King-Brill Building bubblegum thing, and a healthy dollop of George Harrison's guitar from "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" but -- get this! -- it's double-tracked for harmony. Crazy. I know a lot of folks who go for "Hello It's Me" instead, but Todd's trick was to put the bittersweet lyrics against an upbeat riff.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

The premise

I'm a tad obsessive when it comes to music. Fussy. Anal.

I like to enhance, create, upgrade or calm the environments in which I find myself by the judicious application of tunes.

On the other hand, when you're jumping around the kitchen, creating a masterpiece there are only certain songs that'll do.

And when you're contemplating your loved one with a view to some bedroom gymnastics, there's a particular kind of music that helps encourage those thoughts and turn them -- with luck -- into the real thing.

Music has that useful ability to turn things round, turn things up, or even show the blues the door.

This is my list.