Friday, 29 July 2011

Yer Big Five.....

Introducing a series wherein I declare certain quintets of loosely related things to be YER BIG FIVE.

5 Pairs of Songs With The Same Title That Are Actually Both Pretty Darn Gretchos.

How do you name a song? Surely it's easy, isn't it? You just pick the most obvious part of the lyrical refrain and call it that. Good enough for Noel Gallagher, Brian Wilson and a host of others. It's not as if its important is it. Not as important as an original tune, say. But what if said title's been done already. Dang. You want people to remember your tune, you dont want it confused with somebody else. Such apprehension explains the titling strategies of acts such as Public Enemy (Black Steel In The Hour of Chaos), The Fall (Mere Pseud Mag Ed) and Aphex Twin (Btoum-Roumada).

If you lack confidence in your title's originality, then dont worry. If the tune's original enough, just use whatever title you want.

1: Come Together - Primal Scream and Spiritualized

Now I know neither of these were the first to use the title but I hate the Beatles song of the same name. Sacrilege to some I know but there you go. Such a celebratory, communal, orgasmic title should lend itself to something mind blowing and spiritual, not something lumpen and tired. That's why I celebrate the Primals and the Lized's songs rather than that old bollocks. The Scream's song is the Screamadelica era version of that band in essence - a well chosen sample (Jesse Jackson at Wattstack 1972 concert), a gospel choir, some housey piano, and a throw the kitchen sink at it style of arrangement and production. Spiritualized's song comes from a different angle, somewhere between where the Scream would be at the time of their song and where they'd be at the end of that same decade, a throbbing, vital, angry jazz funk techno avant garde krautrocknroll spectacle. It's an edgier, more menacing affair - old Spaceman famously playing a condemned prisoner in the video - play back to back and celebrate perhaps the two most important bands of the 1990s.

2: Temptation (new order/heaven 17)

For New Order, Temptation marked the point of no return. Leaving behind once and for all Martin Hannett, Joy Division and a monochrome austerity that defined their embryonic post-Ian Curtis releases, New Order's third single is a thing of such epic loveliness, it's amazing it hasn't soundtracked a thousand romantic movies. Blue Monday was a year away but the seeds are here; lyrical non sequiturs, an euphoric momentum, an insistent and motorik beat. Thirty years old next year, it sounds vital even now. Forget everything they did post 89 and listen to this - four people from Northern England changing music forever. From across the Pennines and a year later, Sheffield's Heaven 17 release a behemoth of crazed discosoulgoth - despite their many other fine releases in the first half of the 80s, this would be the millstone around the necks, they'd become songwriters and producers for hire and all on the strength of this one song, their preposterous but ultimately rewarding anthem. In the Heaven 17 song, its worth pointing out that singer Glenn Gregory looks like Rob Brydon playing a Yuppie Rutger Hauer.

3: California (Low/Wedding Present)

California. The Sunshine State. Hollywood. Surfing and earthquakes. The end of the road in all them movies. Who better to sing about it than a bunch of Mormons from neighbouring Utah? Or an even dourer jangly band from Leeds. Low's effort is just unbearably gorgeous, like a Steinbeck story sung by Teenage Fanclub. The Wedding Present's effort stems from their Hit Parade period, California is Gedge at his plaintive best - three minutes of almost summery optimism.

4: Raindrops (Basement Jaxx/Tindersticks)

Coming from opposite ends of the happiness spectrum. For Basement Jaxx, Raindrops are the cleansing and euphoric kind. For the Tinders, they're the unwept tears at the end of a troubled relationship. One of these songs is easier to dance to than the other, but both are fantastic.

5: Here We Go (Stakka Bo/Arab Strap)

Stakka Bo was a one hit European pop star of the early 90s. His song is ludicrously of its time. It was a little bit acid jazz, a big bit Stereo MCs. Despite that, it still sounds good mind. Arab Strap remain one of my favourite acts of all time, this song documents the post-indiscretions row on the way home from the pub familiar to just about every bloke I know. And if that makes them sound like the Streets, I apologise, they're a thousand times better than Mike Skinner - this is genuinely soulful music for the recently dumped clubber....

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