Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sunday Selection: The Thursday Late/Pre-Emptive SF Version

So, I didn't do one last Sunday on the way back from DC, but today, in San Francisco, looking over the bay, was struck by a shameful, but true, longing for Chris Isaak's Can't Do a Thing (to Stop Me), from his San Francisco Days album. So that's the start of Genius...

  1. Love Comes Quickly - The Pet Shop Boys. I downloaded Discography, their greatest hits, about six months ago after a real yen to hear them again. This is one of my favourite ones although, to be fair, I love almost every single equally, other than West End Girls and Rent, which are my all-time faves. I just love the line "It may seem romantic/but that's no defence." His voice is so compelling, in such a weird way.
  2. Who's That Girl - Eurythmics. Thanks to my mother, I know almost every Eurhythmics song ever. Unlike some of our other 80s, more naff stuff that I know off by heart but am embarrassed to be so familiar with (Queen, Simply Red, basically), I utterly love them and have no shame in proclaiming that. This song is miraculous - the way it switches from this soft, cheesy sounding song, to the more strident, demanding bit, and then she changes again to the beseeching "Who's that girl?" over choppy synths and beats. Her voice is spectacular, and I think extremely understated - no frills, no warbles except used sparingly. It blends so well with the synthesisers, it's remarkable.
  3. Everybody Here Wants You - Jeff Buckley. One of my desert island discs because it is so utterly, utterly perfect: longing, pretty, and the sparse instrumentation lets his voice soar and honestly always send chills down my spine.
  4. Before Today - Everything But the Girl. Generally, I found their stuff pretty drippy, but I love this album, Mirrorball. It's the one dance album they did, inspired by Missing. It's wonderful for running to, so long as you're running outside. I used to run to this all the time over Blackheath during my masters. This is the opening track, and just brings back such clear memories of running down the hill into the village. When my knees worked. Sigh.
  5. Hit - The Sugarcubes. I love this - the jangly guitars, the crazy little Icelandic man screeching incomprehensible madness over the break in the middle. The best bit, of course, is Bjork lamenting her falling in love - alternately upbraiding the object of her affections for doing this to her, and describing in detail exactly the effect of this undesired obsession.
  6. Badge - Cream. Fine, but not exactly exciting, and I think Boston definitely borrowed part of the guitar from this for More Than a Feeling.
  7. I Wanna Be Adored - The Stone Roses. The beginning build up to this is magnificent and, thank goodness, the rest of the song doesn't let it down. I didn't get why everyone was so into this album for such a long time, but then, for a long time I didn't get anything Manchester-sounding - this, the Smiths, New Order, Electronic, and then all of a sudden it happened. It may have been an Oasis-inspired awakening, but it had to happen somehow, better late than never, right?
  8. Skin Trade - Duran Duran. DD are my favourite 80s band - barring # 10 here and Culture Club - and I just fricking love this song. It's them trying to be all slinky, and utterly ridiculous, but I love it. It really shows the versatility of SLB's unbelievable voice. For all the ridiculousness of the decade, DD show us how awesome that silliness could be, but that often hides how fab they were.
  9. Getting Away With It - Electronic. This is ace - the combination of Neil Tennant, Johnny Marr and Barney Sumner was bizarrely a supergroup that actually worked. This is my favourite song off that album.
  10. Head over Heels - Tears for Fears. TFF were my favourite, favourite band of the 80s. Full stop. I had videos, all the songs, and when I was 6 I was convinced I was going to marry the bass player, Curt Smith. I'd not listened to them for ages until Donnie Darko came out and people were going on about Mad World, and then I realised they were actually referring to the TFF song, just not their version. That reignited my interest, and I now listen to them quite a lot, but particularly this song, which I think is brilliant. I love the use of this in Donnie Darko in the first high school scene, it just fits wonderfully. But they were everything that's silly but kind of cool about the 80s - took themselves far too seriously, it seemed, but good pop tunes.

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