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The A+ List 8-8-14

Bad Poetry Brigade

Bad Poetry Brigade

1. I Can Change – LCD Soundsystem – James Murphy’s best songwriting is great and it has nothing to do with DJing or electronica or synths, none of it matters. “I Can Change” the song so well because it has a smart lyric, a sweet and sad melody and it aches in all the right places. Based on the simplest of romantic declarations, him to her about her, “Never change”, him to her about him, “I can change” and a falsetto which caresses the music just out of reach, the song has a simple romatic yearn and a deep seated is like James is stretching his hand to her, and also, like it is too late. The longing can’t save it, the pleas feel as though they are falling on deaf ears. Plus, no one ever changes now, do they? How can he?

2. I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do It) – Daryl Hall and John Oates – The bassline sounds worthy of contemporary Bernard Edwards, and the singing has the sheen of Bee gees but with the restraint of a sort of anonymous disco singer. The actual construction is bizarre; it is like two songs fitted together.

3. Bedroom Athlete – James Chance And The Contortions – By the time the song appears on the Contortions no wave finest movement, you’ve been listening for half an hour and are deep in the grooves and with a clear path to the end, then this song which seems unhinged even by Chance standards, he sounds like what John Coltrane might sound like if he had cut his teeth at Max’s.

4. N.Y. State Of Mind – Nas – This was raps coming of edge, the Queens native had a dark serious soul here and here it is on display trying to express life in the projects while two jazz samples pull him down from either side.

5. Wanda And Duane – Marshall Crenshaw – Dave Alvin wrote it, but this rockabilly triumph replete with Fats Domino reference and cool cat guitar solo works best when Marshall performs it because the song is recalcitrant; it refuses to be nice and Crenshaw is such a supremely empathic singer, he draws out the sadness in the situation. Back in 1981, Crenshaw said to me he felt somebody could hear his songs and know everything about it. What he meant was his uniquely compassionate version of this song.

6. Wichita Lineman – Glen Campbell – This is one of the most written about songs of all time and I have nothing much to add.

7. Get Lucky – Daft Punk – It is true but not enough to claim that Nile Rodgers guitar lick makes this song the great towering thing about picking up girls in clubs, but without it there is no song and with it, daft Punk have crafted the song of song that sprung Niles out of the disco nostalgia circuit, and Pharrell from behind the producer board and thrust them right into the limelight. It was huge for months and months and if “Blurred Lines” was bigger, “Get Lucky” was mucg much better.

8. It’s Not Unusual – Tom Jones – Has a big baritone built for pop ballads and death songs and big bruising blues dramas and… pop songs? That is what “It’s So Unusual” is, it is pure pop 60s style plus squealing electric guitar, soul horns, and a thundering vocal.

9. Nursie, Nursie – Ambrose And His Orchestra – Yes, this is tongue in cheek 1910s (nearly exactly 100 year agos) double u double u one jingoism, ignoring on the ground death in the millions to play a sweet infatuation track for all it’s worth. Oh, what a lovely war indeed.

10. Sunny Afternoon – The Kinks – Ray Davies gives a vocal performance of a lifetime portraying… himself, the taxman have taken every thing he’s got, his girl has run home to Mommy telling tales of drunkenness and cruelty, and all he’s got this sunny afternoon. In summer time. If you don’t know what he means you’ve had a very different life than mine.


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