Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tales of the Unexpected - FP's Twisty Playlist

I very much liked Maddy's first article to accompany her 'anxiety' playlist. It was beautifully written. I must confess however to a certain worry that she won't indulge my pop sensibilities as much as Dorian did. This is, afer all, the man who defiantly included The Spice Girls in a playlist. And put up a good argument for it too. Perhaps I should stash away my old Smash Hits for a while and concentrate on the more indie/grunge side of things. Or perhaps I should just be honest and say I like "Two Little Boys". Oh well.
Moving swiftly on to this week's ten from me, I never seem to talk about the songs I choose, so here's wot I picked and why:
  • Italian Leather Sofa - Cake: There's so much going on in this incredibly dense song. A guitar riff intro to make Darce beam, a cutting portrait of a gold-digging girlfriend who bounces around on her man's expensive sofa but ends up bobbiting him, and an astonishing circus clown trumpet solo bang in the middle. It even has the guitar equivalent of a Tish b'dum as if they were only joking after all. Utterly irrisistable.
  • Lola - The Kinks: Wonderful to hear this again. Cherry Co-La! rhymed with Lo-La! I'm always fascinated by the kind of twin effect going on between Ray Davies on one side of the Channel and Jacques Dutronc on the other. Similar careers at the same period and the same wry humour in their songs. Wonder if they ever met... "And then she was a he....."
  • Pictures of Lily - The Who: This follows on nicely from Lola for a bit of well earned 60s nostalgia. Also a rather surprising trombone riff in there. Poor love lorn adolescent cures his insomnia by dreaming about photos of Lily rather thoughtlessly given to him by his Dad. A massive crush develops and the same inconsiderate Dad then informs him that Lily died in 1929. Parents? Choh!
  • The Queen and the soldier - Susanne Vega: She always creates her own singular universe in her songs and this is somehow pure Lewis Carroll. You can almost see the Cheshire Cat's grin in the corner. The meeting of a humble soldier who questions the Queen's right to use him to wage useless wars. It's an elegant plaidoyer for peace and almost a love story. But it ends with a very sad twist indeed.
  • God (Interlude) - Outkast: A pretty cool guy saying his prayers discovers that God is a woman. Steenbeck and I suspected this all along. This is sweet, drole and touching and I love the end where he tries to say "A-Men".
  • Where do you go to my lovely - Peter Sarstedt: Beautifully written portrayal of Marie-Claire: a high society lady who turns out to have been a street urchin in her childhood. I'm a sucker for an accordeon solo and this is just beautiful. I do think it's a mistake to think there's anything stalkerish about this song. I think the sting in the tail is that he was her childhood friend - "two children begging in rags". He knows exactly where she has come from and just how far.
  • I used to love H.E.R. - Common: Very smooth hip hop which has just made the sun come out. I'm mentally bracketing this together with Ghostface's "Back like that" in the category of creamy hip hop I've discovered thanks to you lot.
  • The Streets of your town - The Go-betweens: Deceptively jolly, Smith-esque kitchen sink drama which beneath its sunny exterior deals with domestic violence.
  • Miss Maggie - Renaud: This was a succes de scandale in the 80s. It's basically a protest song against Margeret Thatcher and was mentioned in hushed tones when I first started studying French. The sting in the tail is in the structure of the lyrics - Renaud is a brilliant lyricist. Each verse is a hymn to womankind - what we do, what we are and our special powers. But each outpouring of praise ends with the killer line "except perhaps Mme Thatcher....".
  • Our mutual friend - The Divine Comedy: Boy meets girl, boy almost gets girl, boy loses girl. Beautiful chamber orchestra writing accompanies this wry tale of lost romance. It builds up majestically to the final dramatic d√©nouement which is sad and funny at the same time. Hannon is a master songwriter and this is possibly maybe my favourite Divine song. When he sings it live he changes it to "we sang The Sun Don't Shine Anymore".

Rain has stopped and I really have run out of excuses to go and get the groceries. Anybody need any milk? Sugar? Right OK then...

free music

17 comments:

ToffeeBoy said...

Nice selection fp. Loved the Divine Comedy (obviously!) and The Go-Betweens - of the ones I didn't know, Renaud stood out. I only understood about 10% of the lyrics but that didn't spoil it all.

How did the shopping go?

nilpferd said...

we had a wet one here too- spoiled the quarterly flea market a bit, unfortunately. What's the connection with streets of your town and domestic violence, by the way- I never heard that in the tune.

ToffeeBoy said...

Wet (and very cold) in old Blighty as well.

The first verse of Streets of Your Town (which interstingly - and possibly even twistingly - comes after the first chorus) goes:

Don’t the sun look good today?
But the rain is on its way
Watch the butcher shine his knives
And this town is full of battered wives

So it's not really "about" domestic violence - it just mentions it incidentally in a song which outwardly sounds quite sunny and 'up'.

Frogprincess said...

Cheers gentlemen. Toffee I am utterly gob smacked to see that someone has translated Renaud's songs into english respecting the rhymes which is danged difficult to do. Lyrics to Miss Maggie here:
http://www.paroles.net/chanson/18448.1
Flea market sounds good Nilpferd. I adore them and antiques fairs. FrogPrince collects books and old navy paraphanalia and I collect any old junk that's pretty and looks like it may be worth a bob or two.
Shopping went OK. Got a good bottle of wine for the meal tonight. A 2004 Bordeaux so I'm hoping it turns out decent.

ToffeeBoy said...

Thanks for the link fp - I bet it's better in the original French.

"I would join the doggic host" - some way to go before it reaches English as we know it...

2004 Bourdeaux sounds good - ToffeeGilr's in Paris for the weekend with YoungMissToffee so I'll be off down the chippy in a while - I may push the boat out a bit and wash it down with a half of ginger beer!

nilpferd said...

I got something local I'd never heard of on the recommendation of a wine store downtown, and very nice it was too. Unfortunately my microwaved frozen lamb attempt wasn't up to the wine...

steenbeck said...

I'm making ginger beer! Trying to, anyway. Has anyone ever done it? Nilpferd, the recipe is from OUR cookbook, in one of the African sections. I have a bowl brewing in the sun in the back yard as I write. Still intending to go out and buy wine, though.

Frogprincess said...

So how much do we all want a glass of steenbeck's ginger beer? Oh sooo much! At least post us a picture. Toffee, hon, do yourself a favour and go the whole hog. Mushy peas AND onion rings. She'll never know. And we won't tell her. Nilpferd at least you didn't explode the lamb...Off to pretend to eat our veal in cream sauce. Full up after too much aperitif (cheese tortilla chips). I'll let you know about the wine. Bon appetit à tous.

nilpferd said...

Managed to avoid exploding lamb, yes. Thanks for that consolation FP ;-)
Ginger beer sounds great, I'll look it up- sure Nilp. jr would love it.. although I remember my father trying it once and hearing the corks hitting the underside of the floor in the kitchen- the bottles were stored underneath..

Mnemonic said...

I used to make ginger beer when I lived in Libya - very dry, Libya.

If you use polythene water containers, they don't explode, just expand slightly. On no account use coloured ones; apparently the colour can leach into the ginger beer. It was the old method of starting with yeast, sugar and ginger, adding a little water until it starts to ferment and then adding lots of water and leaving it to ferment a few days longer. I'll have to look up the recipe again. Unlike shop-bought ginger beer, this is distinctly alcoholic.

steenbeck said...

The one in our cookbook is decidedly not alcoholic and won't explode. You make a kind of concentrate you keep in the fridge and add sparkling (or still) water to. It's not bad, but I might have overdone it on the cloves and cinnamon.

ejaydee said...

Pas de jaloux, it's been mostly cloudy here, wiith a bit of rain at the end of the day. Great list, I've been listening to WHere Do You Go To for a few months but I never paid attention to the lyrics, so taken was I by the climactic cello. Am I the only one who only first heard this song thanks to Hotel Chevalier/Darjeeling Limited?

FP said...

Cheers Frenchy. Where do You Go To is very very famous in England. It just sounds very French to us and the lyrics are wonderful. What's Darjeeling Limited like? I love Jason thingy and am intrigued at the idea of Adrian Brody doing comedy. He's such an ac-tor.

FP said...

And I am going to have to get some ginger beer in this week. A new English shop has opened down town and I get also get Stones Green Ginger Wine. I make ginger kir with it. Brilliant.
I've added a bonus track to my list which is the unexpected combination of rap and....celtic music with Brenton binious and swirling kilts. We heard it on the telly last night and were reminded that we both love it. thought I'd share it. The group is Manau and the song is 'Le Tribu de Dana. Give it a whirl. The wine was good - enough to get two or three bottles in to keep anyway. You just have to be careful that it doesn't peak then go downhill.

ejaydee said...

What I first liked about the song, is how he ticks all the boxes of all the cliches of a sweet life in Paris and France in general (the apartment, the records, etc.) at the time. Until I figured out what it is really about.
About Darjeeling Limited, you get what you usually do with Wes ANderson films. Quirky relationships between the endearing characters. Awkward adults acting a bit like children; beautiful sets, cool costumes and slow motion shots. Great soundtrack and good dialogue. BUT, in all his films, I feel like there's something missing, a certain depth maybe, I don't know. I like his films, but they always leave me unsatisfied. Bref, if you liked the others, you'll also like this one. I think they're worth the one watch.

goneforeign said...

So much going on here this week that I didn't listen to your list 'til yesterday, loved it, well most of it. Many new groups to me but I loved hearing the Kinks again and also the Who, who I think were one of THE most creative groups of that era, loved 'em. Thank you.

FP said...

Glad you enjoyed it GF. My bloke and, I think, most French people call Roger Daltry's group 'The Wooo' which I think is very sweet and makes me smile. We very much like The Wooo in this household.