Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Lionel Richie - Stuck On You

Joe writes: If I was going to Glastonbury, I'd be excited about hearing this:

Also love Mark Oh's cover, which was a hit in Germany but sadly not the UK:

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Everything Everything - No Reptiles

Joe writes: New Everything Everything, produced by Stuart Price, with shades of Barenaked Ladies and 10cc. Brave and interesting from a band I hadn't really liked until now.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Jamie Lawson - Wasn't Expecting That

Joe writes: Supporting Ed Sheeran played a big part in Passenger's breakthrough. Now Ed is doing his best to break another British singer songwriter who has been around for a while. He has not only taken Jamie Lawson on tour but has signed him to his amusingly named Gingerbread label.

Wasn't Expecting That is a different kind of song to Passenger's Let Her Go but maybe equally good in its way, especially lyrically. Any Nashville songwriter would be proud of this song, and it also has pleasant echoes of Squeeze's Up The Junction.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Little Big Town - Girl Crush

Joe writes: This is a big hit in the US despite being pulled from country radio stations after complaints from their listeners who (wrongly) felt it was endorsing lesbianism.

The lyric is clever and I love the production - classic soul from a country band.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

more Graceland - Paul Simon

Joe writes: My last post was about a song inspired by a visit to Graceland. Here's Paul Simon talking about the role Graceland played in inspiring his song of the same name:

Hot Chip guested and chose some records on Jo Whiley's Radio 2 recently including Paul Simon's Late In The Evening, chosen by Alexis from the band. I've written before about Late In The Evening and the One Trick Pony album and film from whence it came, but hearing it again made me realise that the template for the Graceland album was right there, lyrically and musically, six years earlier.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Eternal Flame, Graceland and songs without choruses

Joe writes: I learnt recently that Eternal Flame, the classic Bangles hit, was inspired by a visit to Elvis Presley's former home Graceland, which has a supposedly eternal but actually intermittent flame. More info here from Billy Steinberg who wrote the song with Tom Kelly and Susanna Hoffs. Interesting to learn that the demo of the song was acoustic guitar-based in a bid to make it more "Bangles-y".

Here's a very evocative Top of the Pops performance:

Billy says Eternal Flame doesn't have a chorus. It's an interesting one - when you're listening to "Close your eyes, give me your hand darling", you're clearly listening to the verse, but by the end of the verse and especially by the end of the song, the verse has effectively become a chorus, as Billy says. Anyway, I've added it to my "Songs without choruses" playlist on Spotify. Other suggestions welcome:

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Ricky Nelson - Lonesome Town

Phil writes: The new Blur single 'Lonesome Road' reminded me of this great Ricky Nelson track.  The Blur song even has what must surely be a reference to the earlier song with the words 'going down to....' repeated several times in the outro.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Ainsie Wills - Hawaii

Joe writes: This is my favourite Ainsie Wills track and it's her new single. The vocal really reminds me of Tracey Thorn. Beautiful.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Carly Simon and Warren Beatty

Joe writes: Carly Simon had had breast cancer when she recorded The Bedroom Tapes album, so called because a studio had to be built in her daughter's old bedroom to enable her to make the album. She thought it might be the last album she was able to make, and she used it to settle some old scores. There are some wonderful and vitriolic tracks on there, my favourite of which is Scar. You're So Vain is famously rumoured to be about Warren Beatty and I have it on good authority that Warren may also be the old flame who makes an unsavoury appearance in Scar.


The Bedroom Tapes album has just been reissued on Carly's own label, having initially been released on Arista.

Here's a live version of You're So Vain:

[this is an update of a post originally from October 2007]

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

R.I.P. Percy Sledge

Phil writes: I remember being blown away when I first heard 'When a Man Loves a Woman'. An archetypal soul number, it has that rare ability to get to you every time:

Monday, 6 April 2015

Sandy Denny

Joe writes: I've been listening to Sandy Denny again after reading a review of her biography. Of the songs mentioned in the review, my favourite is No End - predictably, as it's a bitter break-up song with echoes of The Last Time I Saw Richard and Diamonds & Rust.

I've just added it to my Spotify playlist of break-up songs, .

But I'd still say Sandy's greatest hit is Fairport Convention's Who Knows Where The Time Goes:

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Ciara - I Bet

Joe writes: I very much enjoyed this throwback to the She'kspere/Rodney Jerkins era of R&B. In fact I had to double check I wasn't listening to an old Ciara track by accident.

Here's She'kspere's greatest hit, No Scrubs by TLC. I heard this played as a feminist anthem recently. I'm not sure it is, but it is a classic pop record.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Chumbawamba - Ugh! Your Ugly Houses

Joe writes: This is the Chumbawamba track that should have been re-released as the follow-up to Tubthumping. It would have been huge. Chumbawamba instead elected to go with a track called Amnesia and were soon forgotten.

Ugh! Your Ugly Houses is a political song in the best kind of way and has shades of both Clean Bandit (in the string breakdown) and Blur's new anthem of overpopulation (in the lyrics, all seven of them).

Monday, 23 March 2015

Ainslie Wills - Drive

Joe writes: I've been listening to a lot of Ainslie Wills, who is from Melbourne. I really love her voice which (on other tracks, not so much this one) has shades of Tracey Thorn, and this song is infectious.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Courtney Barnett - Pedestrian At Best

Joe writes: My brother sent me a Pitchfork link to this in February and now it's everywhere (or it might seem that way if you listen to a lot of Radio 1 in the evenings, and 6 Music, which I do).

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Deacon Blue - Win

Phil writes: This new Deacon Blue single is up there is almost on a par with their best work I think.  It reminds me a bit of the Tom Baxter song 'Better' which deserves to be much better-known:

Friday, 13 March 2015

These are the greatest Todd Terje edits of all-time

good list from Thump

but they forgot this one, the Diamonds Dub (Tangoterje Edit) of Paul Simon's Diamonds In The Soles Of Her Shoes:

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Tobias Jesso Jr - How Could You Babe

Joe writes: I thoroughly approve of Tobias Jesso Jr because I love the seventies soft rock he's referencing, and he's doing it authentically - you could play this next to Nilsson or the first Elton John album and it would stand up. OK this is no Your Song or Without You, but it's a decent song, with shades of George Michael's One More Try.

Your Song:

Without You:

One More Try:

R.I.P. Lesley Gore

Phil writes: Lesley Gore will surely be remembered for one monster hit that has echoed down the years.  It may or may not be great music.  I happen to think that it is a worthy pop classic.  When a song is played so many times over so many years it usually deserves to be on WGM: