Sunday, 29 December 2013
The blog is one year-old, (pretty much) and here is a big playlist of the best bits from the albums covered so far. Please listen and share, so that it becomes the most talked-about toy in the playground next year.
Thursday, 19 December 2013
So how did Julie 'Cry Me a River' London fare during this period? On this 1969 album, and her final for Liberty, we can find out. The thing is, Julie didn't really do 'fast'. She was pretty much stuck on the 'slow and sultry' setting. At best, she could work her way up to 'moderate'. So here, everything is slower than you're used to. This is fine on something like 'Light My Fire' as that's always being bloody slowed down, but 'The Mighty Quinn' is practically soporific, and seeing as it is the most inherently un-sexy composition this side of the Frog Song, 'sultry' isn't much use here. The bubblegum title track is taken to somewhere that lies beyond ideas of 'good' and 'bad', while 'Louie Louie' has never rocked less, and having such a gloriously stupid song sung as if it means something can only end badly. The version of 'Hushabye Mountain' here, however, is definitive.
Thursday, 12 December 2013
Thursday, 5 December 2013
The album kicks off with the hit 'From Here to Eternity' and it's obvious that Moroder has been giving the newly-released Trans-Europe Express by Kraftwerk a bit of a spin. What also quickly become obvious, however, is that this album predicts the musical future of now more accurately than the Kraftsers managed to. Obviously, they are massively important and influential and legendary and velodrome-filling, but whereas they sing about trains, German Expressionist halls of mirrors and showroom dummies, Moroder goes on about love and all that soppy stuff, at one point even covering (although radically transforming) the old country heartbreak standard, 'I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone'. Often this is done in a disco-robot voice, and the album feels uncannily contemporary.
Because this is where we are now with pop music, with heartfelt explosions of emotion only seeming 'real' if drenched in autotune. Pop stars now are singing cyborgs. Even someone playing towards left-field like Frank Ocean uses it extensively. Not because he needs it - I understand he can hold a note without wavering very well - but because it seems the right thing to do at this point. Maybe because our emotional lives are conducted via our devices to the point they almost seem part of us, and autotune is shorthand for this. Anyway, this is what From Here to Eternity by Giorgio Moroder made me think of, so there you go.