Monday, April 6, 2020

Three Months Later

Stealing the names of songs or snatches of their lyrics to make up titles for posts has been a feature of this blog since the very beginning but it took five years for me to come up with the idea of compiling them into a playlist. I planned to make that  an annual tradition but after just one more year I realized I was generating more references than a single post could handle.

Last year I split the tally in two with a collection in June and another in December. This year, after just three months I already have almost as many titles banked as either of those posts so I've decided to move to a quarterly schedule.

After I noted last time that I couldn't always quite remember what I had in mind when I came up with some of the titles, this year I took the trouble to make notes. I know the precise provenance of every title used in 2020 so far. When this is done, you will too. God help us all!

I'm also using a strict rubric, which I shall share with you here:

Full song titles used as post titles (even if altered)  - Large, Bold , Green
Quotes from lyrics used as titles (even if altered) - Large, Bold, Blue
Original titles from which quotes were drawn - Small, Italic, Bold, Green
All other music - Small, Italic, Green

Every source song is included in an official studio version or promo video, either by a link via the post title, the source title or as a pull-out video. Other versions may also be linked. All links should be unique unless there is literally only one extant version, as in the case of Gift Horse, where I've both embedded and linked the same video.

Let's get this party started!

I Was ThereLosing My Edge - LCD Soundsystem - One of those acts I've been aware of but never paid much attention to. I didn't realize until I picked this out of a whole bunch of possibles to represent the generic phrase I'd used, just how much of an art project this band is. It explains why I kept reading about them in The Guardian. With all the Alan Vega whooping and the occasional Martin Rev keyboard fills it's kind of like listening to Suicide from another dimension.

Overseer Overture - Jethro Tull - I thought long and hard about this one before I buckled and went with it. It was the perfect title for the post, after all, and there really aren't many songs that use the word "overseer".  Does anyone ever want to admit they listen to Jethro Tull, though? Or even that they know who they are? And this isn't even good Tull, ffs! Not like some of the early singles. Moving swiftly on before I inctiminate myself further...

You Keep Me Hanging On - Vanilla Fudge - Although I'm not sure this is much of an improvement, credibility-wise. The real original is, of course, by The Supremes but it's the impossibly pompous, overblown Fudge version I was thinking of when I pulled it out of my mental dump bin. I wasn't imagining the entire band having a collective seizure while they performed it, though.

Maybe We Could Go Back To The Basics - From Back To The Basics by Lana del Rey. Okay, Lana, bring us in. "You lose your way, just take my hand/You're lost at sea, then I'll command your boat to me again". In Lana we trust. She soundtracks the last decade for me, possibly my favorite songwriter of all time. She just keeps getting better, too. This is one of hundreds of her songs available online but still waiting for an official release. Nice Clueless tribute video from Mermaid Motel, relaiable as always. I must watch Clueless one day.

Go Play Your Video Game - Video Games - Lana del Rey - Oh, look! It's Lana again. Quel surprise! I've used this one before and I imagine I'll use it again. There are a million covers, most of them either slavishly loyal or quite unpleasant but this one by Bluejuice is... odd. As one commenter observes, "I actually don't feel like slitting my wrists anymore when I hear this". Props to Jake from the band for coming into the thread to argue at length with Lana fans who hate it.

Speeding Away - Walk On The Wild Side - Lou Reed- the man who used to wear the crown Lana wears now. So many covers of this, including a great version by Alice Phoebe Lou and another by The Arctic Monkeys.

Please Be Seated - Aeroplane - Petite Meller - Scarcely counts as a quote but I did actually do some research at the time to source the phrase. I came up with either Mister Jones by Conway Twitty (in rock and roll mode) or the very odd video you see above. It's by no means her oddest. Try Baby Love, if you dare. Great tune, though. I was originally thinking of calling the post Sit Down, in which case I wouldn't have had to explain. Everyone would know I meant James.

Throw Me In The Deep End, Watch Me Drown - Hold Me Down - Halsey . I have a real soft spot for Halsey. She seems to get a bad press for not being enough of a pop princess like Ariana or Selina but she doesn't get cred for having edge like Melanie Martinez or Hayley Kiyoko. I have an odd feeling it's a class issue but I can't stand that up.

Familiarity Breeds ConfusionFamiliarity Breeds Contempt - The Chills.  A long time favorite of mine. I used to play the CD it comes from (Submarine Bells) all the time at work, back when I had a job that allowed for that sort of thing. As I discovered when I watched the lyric video on YouTube, it's one of those songs that's a lot better when you can't really make out what they're singing about.

Different Angles - Starcrawler - I'd kind of like to see Arrow and Petite Meller in a video together now. Probably the kind of thought I should keep to myself...

Try Another Flavor - Antmusic - Adam and the Ants - We appear to have entered a run of titles where I actually came up with something from memory. I guess I could tell my Adam and the Ants story here but even I've heard it too many times and it wasn't much of a story to begin with.

Get Lucky - Daft Punk - There are some very fine covers of this around. I have the feeling I've run one or two of them before, though, like the San Cisco version above (my favorite) or the famous Daughter  super-slowed down mood piece. If you've already enjoyed those, how about this one by the Russian Police Choir, which pretty much bends the nature of reality. Thank the funk we have Niles Rodgers and Chic to put things right side up again.

Between Thought And Expression - Some Kinda Love - The Velvet Underground - I always thought the line "between thought and expression lies a lifetime" was Lou quoting his old mentor from Syracuse U, Delmore Schwartz, but on investigation it appears to be all his own work. There are an impossible number of covers of this, just like there are of every VU classic. Most of them are... well, you can guess what most of them are. The Falling Spikes kinda nail it, although the security guard at the back would appear to disagree.

When You Close The Door - After Hours - The Velvet Underground - Again. Another song everyone thinks they can do but can't. I mean, even The Red Hot Chili Peppers go all Spinal Tap over it.

A Younger Version Of Myself - Telefon Tel Aviv - This has a Blade Runner feel somehow, don't you think? It's been a bit of a Philip K. Dick year, one way and another.

Real To Irreal - Stereo Sanctity - Sonic Youth - I should probably listen to more Sonic Youth but there's such a lot to listen to and it's so... variable. They're one of those outfits I respect rather than enjoy, to be honest. This rocks, though.

On A Mission For Love - Hush Hush - Ragdoll -  The best thing about doing this is the discovery. I have three ways to find post titles: pull a suitable quote out of my memory, trawl my hard drive for something that might fit or type keywords into search engines in the hope it turns up something I can use. The last is the least authentic but the most fun by far. I would never have found Ragdoll any other way. Or maybe I would...

Don't Make Me Admit Stuff - Papernut Cambridge - This, on the other hand, was already on my hard drive. I can't remember how I ran across it now, except that I was following links late one night and this is where I ended up. There are a couple of versions but predictably I like the "electronic" mix better. I love a little corruption.

My Idea Of Fun - The Stooges - Iggy, eh? What can you do? I saw him twice in the 1970s. The first time he sat on a chair and could barely stand up. The second time he literally walked across the upraised hands of the audience like a demented Jesus lizard. According to this cheerful ditty Iggy's idea of fun is killing everyone so I'm guessing he comes home of an evening and logs into an MMORPG. It's what we do best, after all.

Transmitting Live From Mars - De La Soul - A cut from one of my favorite albums, set to clips from one of my favorite films. Nothing else to say.

Like A Bad Head In The Morning - Badhead - Blur - According to my notes I already linked to this in the original post. I wonder if anyone's covered it and if they have if they were any good? Let me answer that. Yes they have and no they weren't. Even Blur's own live versions tend towards the shaky.

Glimpse of the Past - Monome - My notes tell me it "starts well, goes a bit reggae halfway through". Never a good thing. Reminds me a bit of Little Fluffy Clouds by The Orb.

Too Much Information - Duran Duran - I like Duran Duran. There, I said it. What's more, I really like that infamous album of covers they did, the one everyone loathed. I used to play that a lot but mostly when I was sure no-one was likely to walk in and catch me.

Funny Ha Ha - My Life Story - One of my favorite bands of the '90s and one of the best live acts I've seen. Didn't have to look this one up, that's for sure.

My Future And My Past Are Presently Disarranged - Nostalgia - Buzzcocks   Observant readers will notice I just broke my own rules. That video above isn't the Buzzcocks tune - it's My Delorean by Timecop 1983. I thought long and hard about using it as the title of the post but in the end I decided it was too obscure. Yeah, right, and what I went with was obvious as all getout, right? Timecop 1983 are a newretrowave duo. Newretrowave is a subgenre of retrowave, which is a subgenre of synthwave, which is a bunch of people who wish they lived in the 1980s, at least as far as I can figure it.  I wish I'd gone with it. I'm not making the same mistake again.

An Opportunity To Go To The Moon- Reese Lansangan - Reese celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landings as only she can. I don't believe it could ever be too late for Rees to come by anyone's window.

A Vision Sent From The Past - Jack The Lion - Harvey Danger  -  Sean Nelson, looking uncannily like a wasted David Thomas from Pere Ubu, powering through an acoustic elegy for his dying father, with Harvey Danger co-founder Jeff Lin on piano. Painful. Beatific.

Funny How Time Slips Away - Al Green and Lyle Lovett - Lyle looks like he's in physical pain. Also as though he's been embalmed. I was too scared to watch the interview at the end.

Tuesday's Gray - Friday I'm In Love - The Cure - Fat Bob and the boys in their all-too-brief popstar phase. So many covers I don't know where to start. (A bit like Thursday, then. Ed.). Phoebe Bridgers' take is predictably wonderful but David Gray just makes it sound like a David Gray song, which is hardly a recommendation. Yo La Tengo almost carry the vote with their folk-apocalypse but once again Puddles wins out, this time with a Bruce Does Bob mashup. The Stereophonics shall not be mentioned.

Get Older - Matthew Sweet - From 100% Fun. Which it is.

The Letter - The Box Tops  - Alex Chilton before Big Star, seemingly in some kind of stare-off with Roky Erikson and Skip Spence for the Pop Star Most Likely To Give Network TV Producers Nightmares Award. The 60s, eh? Don'tcha just love 'em?

The Outskirts Of Expansion - Service and Repair - Calexico - I never really listened to Calexico and it must be painfully obvious this is a search engine pick. Like "overseer", "expansion" is not a word that comes readily to the pen of most songwriters. It's a good tune, though. I do like a nice hit of Americana, once in a while.

Hey, Nature Boy, Are You Looking At Me?  - Nature Boy - Nick Cave  - Nick gets his groove on. Apparently this is about some woman who spotted him staring at  her in a garden center. Take your inspiration where you find it, Nick, that's what I say! And your tunes, since this is self-evidently stolen from Steve Harley's Come Up and See Me, right down to the stop-starts.

Red White BlueNational Anthem  - Lana del Rey - I'd pull this out but I'm fairly sure I've used the official video here before.  There's a fairly surreal death metal cover by Defiler that I do not recommend or a passable straight rock version by His Dream Of Lions, who at least have a decent name.

Working With Fire And Steel - China Crisis - Another one I had to think hard about before using. It's absolutely perfect for the post but China Crisis? Seriously? Then I listened to it and it's much, much better than I remembered. In fact, this live version sounds ridiculously like Talking Heads.

Make It Go Right - Childish Gambino feat. Kilo Kish - Ye gods, this is good. I should listen to more Kilo Kish.

A Piece Of Lost Dead Past -   Lost Parts Stinging Me So Cold - Melt Banana - I was something of a late adopter when it comes to Melt Banana. I think I read something about them in a book at work. I came home and looked them up on YouTube and I was sold. I find this sort of thing hard to listen to, which is kind of the point, but for great art you have to make the effort.

Strange Days - The Doors -  As the woman in the ballgown says at the start, "Some people like The Doors but they're like "I can't do Jim"". Yeah, that's me. I can't do Jim. There's a novel downstairs called "Jim Morrison's Adventures in the Afterlife" by Mick Farren, one of my all-time favorite writers. I had to stop reading it half way through. Even when he's fictional, I can't do Jim.

A Dead Squirrel That I Hit - Bottoming Out - Lou Reed - It shouldn't surprise anyone to learn there are very few songs that feature dead squirrels. What are the chances of one being on an album I own? Indeed, one that I bought on release? Not that I would ever have remembered the line I quoted. I don't think I've played Legendary Hearts since the late '80s. And look, here's a cover by someone else I really like - Felt. What're the chances, eh? It's the first track, by the way, but don't stop there. The entire gig is excellent. Well, it is if you like Lawrence.

Gift HorseDebrider - Five hundred views on YouTube and a very home-made video. This is what they want as Chris Tarrant used to say on TisWas. Mind you, compared to Everyone Is Dirty (54 views, hits herself in the face with the mic) this is big time professionalism. Gorgeous, lush dreampop. Wallow in it!

Blapril Come She Will - April Come She Will - Simon and Garfunkel - There's a curious instrumental cover by an outfit calling themselves JHMJams, which sounds more like the name of a catering contractor than a string quartet. They seem to specialize in almost unrecognizeable deconstructions of popular songs. I imagine it keeps them amused. Better by far is this electro version by Mohini Geisweiller, who sounds like a more upbeat Nico. It would be hard to sound like a less upbeat Nico, to be fair.

Tell Me Something I Don't Know -  Moe Tucker - The Jesus and Mary Chain - I heard this years ago but I'd totally forgotten about it. I worship the early Mary Chain but they were burned out by the third album and I never really paid them much attention after that. They had another brief flare of wonderfulness when they brought their sister in to do the singing. If that's not to your taste, how about Selina Gomez? It's okay to like them both equally. I do.

You've Been Fooling Me, Baby - Cousin Marnie - A goth duo doing country death songs to a minimalist synth backing. With out of tune vocals. What's not to like? The studio version (linked in the title) is a bit more synthwave.

Priceless Advice - Heart Shaped Box - Nirvana- They're close to being the only grunge band I ever liked. Dinosaur Jr. had their moments, I guess. Even so, I prefer covers of Kurt's songs most of the time. Like Lana or Patti or even Hayley Richman, whoever she may be.

You're Italic, I'm In Bold - Copycat - Billie Eilish -  I embedded it in the original post but not with Billie doing it. I wrote a song once, chiding people for wearing spiked leather collars. No-one wore them after that, as you can plainly see.

And that's it. More than a hundred different video clips linked in one post. If you heard or saw something you liked - or even if you didn't - meet back here in three months and we'll do it all over again!

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