Monday, November 30, 2009

A Reader Recommends...

This week marks two momentous events in the annals of RR. This week, RobF’s self-indulgent inclusion of Red House Painters’ “Rollercoaster” brought my grand total of A-listers to 20. And today, the Marconium tells me, is the 3-year anniversary of my first playlisted song (Luke Haines’ “Death of Sarah Lucas” – songs about art). Yes folks, that's 20 songs in 3 years. Time well spent, I hope you’ll agree.

The list makes interesting reading (for me at any rate). Is it representative of my music collection? Yes and no. In Belle & Sebastian, Tindersticks, Luke Haines and Paul Simon, it’s got four of my all-time favourites, but the particular songs aren't anywhere near my favourites of theirs. I seem to have spent the 90s listening to trip-hop and one Red House Painters album, but from the last decade we have two of my favourite artists (The Streets and Joanna Newsom) and one of my favourite songs (“Carion”). “Tread Water” by De La Soul was an anthem for me and friends at 6th form (along with the sadly unzedded New F.A.D.S.’ “It’s Not What You Know”), “P.S. You Rock My World” is one of the greatest album closers ever, and the Arvo Part is one of the most divinely sad pieces of music ever written (and still, I believe, the only “classical” piece in the RR Hall of Fame).

If I managed to introduce at least some of these songs to at least some people, then my work here has not been in vain. As these were nominated for very different topics, it’s hard to make a coherent playlist out of them, but I’ve done my best. Already looking forward to the follow-up post in 2013…

James – Gold Mother (Babies and Childbirth)

De La Soul – Tread Water (Lessons in Life)

Red House Painters – Rollercoaster (Coming of Age)

Belle and Sebastian – Lord Anthony (Character Songs)

Luke Haines – Death of Sarah Lucas (Art and Photography)

Tindersticks – 4:48 Psychosis (Mental Illness)

Joanna Newsom – Sadie (Pets)

The Soggy Bottom Boys – Man of Constant Sorrow (I Am… Songs)

Paul Simon – Song about the Moon (er, Songs about the Moon)

British Sea Power – Carrion (The Sea)

Morcheeba – The Sea (Holidays)

All About Eve – Martha’s Harbour (The Sea)

10,000 Maniacs – Verdi Cries (Holidays)

Arvo Part – Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten (Songs that Make You Cry)

Lamb – Gorecki (Devoted Love)

Red House Painters – Dragonflies (Insects)

Pet Shop Boys – Always on my Mind (Guilt and Apology)

The Streets – Empty Cans (Songs with a Twist)

The Streets – Stay Positive (Consolation)

Eels – P.S. You Rock My World (Bereavement)


DarceysDad said...

Great, GREAT idea for a thread, barbryn. Of course, you wouldn't have hit that score score (geddit?) yet if I'd been a little bit faster with my own RHP search last week!


I'll need to think about this, and might save my version of same for when I reach my half-century, which I think is just two A-listings away. Can the great Marconium confirm that, I wonder?

DarceymDad said...

MarconiuSSSSSSS, I meant, of course. Sorry, sir!

tincanman said...

Great post. So well written. Thanks for sharing

AliMunday said...

Great idea Barbryn, and some wonderful music - I'm very fond of Arvo Part and posted some on the Spill ages ago. Gorecki, too. And I hadn't heard 'Martha's Harbour' for ages 'cos I've only got it on vinyl. I think 20 'hits' in 3 years is pretty impressive. I've only ever got one on the 'A'list (but it was Roy Harper and it was my birthday, so what more could a girl want?)

Abahachi said...

Slightly off topic, but I'm confused: having spent years thinking that barbryn was female, presumably due to resemblance to Barbara, I think picked up from somewhere that this was completely wrong - and yet now the new Twitter feed says that "barbryn picks her 20 fave mp3s from the last 3 years of Readers Recommend" - which is certainly wrong insofar as this is a (verging on smug) list of his/her 20 A-lists, not a random selection, but perhaps also wrong about the gender. Or not. Anyone?

Mnemonic said...

I thought Barbryn was a bloke as well

barbryn said...

I'm a him, Abahachi, although confusion does still seem to occur (online - not in real life...). Never trust anything you read on Twitter. (Tone was meant to be self-mocking rather than smug, but there you go...)

Abahachi said...

Very sorry about that; I was sure that I'd replaced the 'smug' remark with something more obviously humorous and non-serious, but there it is. Actually I'd be tempted to post a list of the Top 20 A-Lists I Wish I'd Got (if I ever stood a chance of getting 20 in the first place...); your Pet Shop Boys would certainly be on it.

ToffeeBoy said...

Believe it or not, inspired by my success in last week's A-List I'd been thinking of doing the very same post. I'd probably have done so already if it hadn't been for the shitty cold that I've had for the past few days. Not nice at all.

Of course, my list would be much shorter ... [sigh]

And since you ask, here it is:

1. Whoever You Are - Prefab Sprout (strangers)
2. Afternoons & Coffeespoons - Crash Test Dummies (afternoons)
3. Live Bed Show - Pulp (beds)
4. From The Ritz To The Rubble - Arctic Monkeys (nightclubs)
5. The Land Of Grey And Pink - Caravan (fictional lands)
6. Oxford Street - Everything But The Girl (coming of age)

It's not a bad summary of my taste in music, and even bearing in mind that one of the six is nominally 'prog rock' the one thing that unites them all is that they are all pop songs and lyrically ... OK, the two things that unite them all is that they are all pop songs and lyrically intelligent and ... the three things that unite them all are that they are all pop songs, they are lyrically intelligent and they drip pure melody from every pore.

@ barbryn - as hinted at in blimpy's post below, I wouldn't mind owning your record collection ... if you're ever thinking of giving it away ...

ToffeeBoy said...

... most of the tracks on your list are ones that I would have been proud to nominate. The others I would probably be proud of if I knew them well enough.

saneshane said...

really good idea.. made me look up my winners.. oh well here goes:

1 make me smile (come up and see me)- S H & cockney rebs (smiling and laughing)

2 birthday - sugarcubes (children)

3 99 luftballons - nena (historical events)

4 disko boy - shantel (nightclubs)

5 the world will deem us dangerous - her space holiday (lessons in life)

6 i want a dog - pet shop boys (pets)

there should be another.. but I'm not looking that closely...
4 years and two months worth.. there

but my 13 Bs would make quite a cool playlist!

tincanman said...

Neat thread this is turning into.
My A list is wayyyyyyyyyyy too long to include here.
All of 'em?
OK, you asked for it remember. Don't blame me if your machine overheats.
Communards - Don't Leave Me This Way (separation)
Hold Steady - Hot Soft Light (hospitals)
*Peter, Paul & Mary - Leaving on a Jet Plane (separation)
Neil Young - Old King (pets)
Black Flag - TV Party (televison)

*I actually nominated the Chantel Kravatziuk version, but mentioned PP&M had also done it so got the credit. I wouldn't have nominated the PP&M version. May1366 (I think) nominated the PP&M version.

tincanman said...

Darn rest of my A listers don't seem to have printed.
Here they are now:
* ...................
* ...................
* ...................
* ...................
* ...................
* ...................
* ...................
oh yeah, and then there's
* ...................
* ...................
* ...................
* ...................
* ...................
* ...................
* ...................

and who'll ever forget


Blimpy said...

according to the marconium, i have 13 in the a-list (before i retired 18 months ago) - what's the easiest way of finding out which are mine?

Abahachi said...

I want 99 Luftballons...

nilpferd said...

I think if I skimmed through the list of All Songs Zedded, I'd know which ones I'd nominated... still, I haven't had much competition for my small set of A-list noms, so that makes it easier.. failing that Blimpy, you'll probably just need to read each of the A-lists for the duration of your active career.. maybe Marconius can do a data grab for you..

tincanman said...

List by song (I think) showed who nominated it, but could be only for 2009

Blimpy said...

I averaged 1 in the A-List per month during 2007 (lynskeyite) , before the 'Spill took over:

13. The Carny - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

12. Lazarus - The Boo Radleys (biblical)

11. Gouge Away - Pixies (biblical)

10. Different Drum - The Lemonheads (instuments)

9. Kill the Poor - The Dead Kennedys

8. To the End (La Comédie) - Blur (multi lingual)

7. Death to Everyone - Bonnie "Prince" Billy

6. Province - TV on the Radio (love)

5. Ms Jackson - OutKast (mums)

4. Repo Man - Iggy Pop (songs recorded for films)

3. Fallin' - Teenage Fanclub with De La Soul (ditto)

2. Heaven is a Place on Earth - Belinda Carlisle

1. Permafrost - Magazine

nilpferd said...

I think you'd stopped posting by then Blimpy, but I always felt slightly guilty getting The Ruby Sun's Tane Mahuta A-listed for Myth and Legend- I was in NZ at the time though and Tane himself was with us a lot of the way, so it was genuinely meant..

nilpferd said...

or Ruby Suns', for apostrophe freaks..

saneshane said...


I am thankful to maddy for my 99 Luftballons ( we both knew it was bollocks for Historical events - but I put forward a winning case - possibly of wine - and a few dance steps - who knows)

I do believe my bowing out - ruff, I know- with a Pet Shop Boys B side.. just proves my musical depth of knowledge too!!!!

barbryn said...

That's a genius list Blimpy. Bonnie Prince Billy and Belinda Carlisle...

I'd remembered most of mine (that is a little bit tragic, isn't it?) but was surprised by some of them - had completely forgotten about "Martha's Harbour" (which I had to download specially for this post, hence the free eMusic live version), surprised and delighted that "Always on My Mind" and "Carrion" were mine.

treefrogdemon said...

I've had 9 - not bad for person with minority tastes!

Complainte pour Ste Catherine - McGarrigles - songs in French

Ghost In This House - Alison Krauss - ghosts

However Much I Booze - the Who - failure

Lord Gregory - Shirley Collins - social class

Marilyn Monroe - Ian Campbell Folk Group - actors

The Cruel Mother - Shirley Collins - cruel songs

Mrs Rita - June Tabor - anti-work

I'm The Face - the High Numbers - 'I Am' songs

Nottamun Town - Shirley Collins and Davy Graham - surreal songs

I hope Shirley is grateful!

Blimpy said...

@nilp - you'll remember this 'spillage:

nilpferd said...

Of course.. I never got that prize, by the way.. guess shane's superior knowledge of dutch just shaded it..

ShariVari said...

I apparently have five, which is more than i thought. Three were from the same column though - Asia:

Naxalite - ADF
Musst Musst - Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Asia No Junshin - Puffy

I also had the magnificent Je Veux Te Voir by Yelle for the French thread and Dirty Money by Clipse for Wealth.

Quite interesting that, for a column based around lyrics above all else, more than half of my A-Listers have been in a language other than English.

CaroleBristol said...

I have 5 zedders;

Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone

Talk Talk - Eden

Jefferson Airplane - We Can Be Together

Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth

The Pharoahs - Freedom Road

Abahachi said...

I'm waiting for my score: see you all in 2012, with a following wind.

ejay said...

I'll swap one of my A-listers for In A Silent Way/It's About That Time.

nilpferd said...

*Puts on poker face. The original one ain't that great either*

I'll swap.. um.. ALL my A-listers for In A Silent Way/It's About That Time.
Think about it before trying to outbid me, big guy.. it'll take you at least two weeks to earn those babies again..

InOverHisHeadEJ said...


Lightnin' Jack DiamonDsD said...

*Leans over in direction of resident Frenchman, and sotto voce*

He's bluffing Ed. Look at the way that hippo ear is twitching. Offer to call at three A-listers each for a shared credit on the Miles, and I'll bet he snatches your hand off!

nilpferd said...

Curse you, Lightnin' Jack!!

Three A-listers? Wait a sec..

*Calls broker.
"Al, I need three A-numbers 'til payday.. yeah, yeah, it's a dead cert- Consumption. I got Sign o' the times, Mose Allison, The The lined up. No, The THE!! It's a band, you dope. Sure, sure, can't fail. Whaddaya mean, you'll get back to me, click?!!"*

*Hippo looks deflated*

Um.. Eej.. buddy... how about my next B-lister and half a year's complimentary donds?

Lightnin' Jack DiamonDsD said...

And that, my friend, is why you have to fight with the crocodiles, whereas I simply consume them.

*Leans back in chair, and raises legs onto angle of table, revealing ostentatious pair of gold-tipped croc-skin cowboy boots*

nilpferd said...

*Hippo freaks out at sight of croc skin. Jaws open on reflex, Lightnin' Jack is snapped up and disappears into the rancid depths of (the following section has been removed for reasons of it being extremely disgusting)*


snadfrod said...

*looks around carefully*

'Actually, I think I nominated In a Silent Way, didn't I?...'

For what it's worth I evidently have 7 A listers. Not sure how many I can name but I can sleep well at night knowing I got Okkervil River (John Alleyn Smith Sails) and Ben Folds (You to Thank) into the list.

It's odd how nothing else matters after something like that, isn't it?

Exodus said...

Now the poker games settled down I'll throw in my hand

1) Down In The Park - Tubeway Army (Machines, Robots 7 Computers)
2) Them Heavy People - Kate Bush (Lessons In Life)
3) Nibelungenlied - Nico (Myths & Legends)
4) Jezebel Spirit - Brian Eno & David Byrne(Ghosts)
5) Singapore - Tom Waits (Adventure)
6) Twat - John Cooper Clarke (Cruel Songs)
7) Headache For Michelle - The Au Pairs (Surveillance)
8) Fireflies - Patti Smith (Desperation)

That was quite a fun exercise, as there were a couple I'd forgotten about. Noticeably female heavy also.

Exodus said...

Now the poker games settled down I'll throw in my hand

1) Down In The Park - Tubeway Army (Machines, Robots 7 Computers)
2) Them Heavy People - Kate Bush (Lessons In Life)
3) Nibelungenlied - Nico (Myths & Legends)
4) Jezebel Spirit - Brian Eno & David Byrne(Ghosts)
5) Singapore - Tom Waits (Adventure)
6) Twat - John Cooper Clarke (Cruel Songs)
7) Headache For Michelle - The Au Pairs (Surveillance)
8) Fireflies - Patti Smith (Desperation)

That was quite a fun exercise, as there were a couple I'd forgotten about. Noticeably female heavy also.