Friday, February 11, 2005
"A New England"
God bless Billy Bragg. He's become a bit of an institution, a "have guitar, will travel" kind of Queen Mum to the UK music scene. Never less than 110% committed to the cause, never less than 110% excellent, one man and his guitar. This song is perhaps where it all best came together, when instead of polemics, he simply let the song tell the story. But rather than Billy's version, I much prefer the late Kirsty MacColl's. I could write a whole chapter about her voice: it didn't soar, it held a close conversation with you. It was an understated, husky instrument, almost anonymous (which probably explains why she could do harmony overdubs so well), with a vulnerable quality that shines so brightly on this song; "I saw two shooting stars last night/I wished on them, but they were only satellites/It's wrong to wish on space hardware/I wish I wish I wish you cared."