Sunday, 15 April 2018

Shaping Songs

Hello again everyone and thanks for still reading! I’m finding it hard to get a handle on my writing at the moment and I’ve probably got about 20 more articles in my drafts ready to go. I’m trying to maintain a steady flow rather than blasting them all out at once, aiming to keep to 1-2 a day for now. When I said I was going to do this a close friend Mark (shout out to the Pretty Random Podcast) suggested doing a ‘Tracks Of My Years’ kind of formula with the songs I’ve loved through my life, so this is the first part of that, covering the songs my parents used to play when I was young and how they’ve shaped my music tastes. Hope you enjoy.

1. The Cure - Close To Me
This is one of those songs where you hear it once and remember the melody forever. From the creaking door sample into that first bass line dripping with more funk than Nile Rodgers’ jockstrap, the opening is powerful, upbeat and you can’t help but snap your fingers along. Robert Smith’s effortlessly haunting vocals rise and fall all over that aforementioned bass groove, even the mad horn section towards the end can’t drag it down, (I have a thing against Brass, don’t call me on it). Released 2 months before I was born in October 85, my Dad bought it and it became one of his favourite songs. Whenever I hear this song I remember being 6 years old and travelling down to Southampton with my parents to collect a new car. I’m fairly certain Dad only bought the car for it’s beautiful Pioneer stereo and I remember Dad blasting ‘The Head In The Door’ album all the way home. I still listen to The Cure all the time, I’ve got one of their records in my car at the moment. I’m grateful to my Dad for a lot of my musical education but I really fucking owe him for this one.

2. U2 - I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
Yes. Bono is a helmet. You’re very astute for noticing. Now that’s out the way I’m going to talk about this song. This bloody song man. Just thinking about that first verse makes the hairs go up on the back of my neck. I have absolute sympathy for The Edge, Adam Clayton and the Drummer (Alan Partridge Joke) with them having to deal with the barrage of shite that has been aimed at their band because of the huge piece of shit that Bono is (South Park Joke). The Joshua Tree album came out in 1987 and I’m almost certain this song is the first piece of music I ever actually remember hearing. That incredible bass line and ringing guitar with the pounding drums behind, along with Bono’s best vocal performance of his career was a pretty good first musical memory, I reckon.

3. Van Morrison - Bright Side Of The Road
There’s a couple Van The Man songs I could put on this list, but it came down to two with the other contender being ‘Have I Told You Lately’ but due to that being played at my Gran’s funeral I’d rather talk about the more upbeat song. Not sure how I heard this first because I know there’s a version on The Commitments soundtrack which my Dad also played pretty heavily. All I know is that I heard it ALOT. I know I said earlier I have a problem with brass, but it just works so well, the whole song just swings and it just has a gorgeous positive message. One that probably would have appeared on my positivity list if I didn’t include it here.

4. T-Rex - 20th Century Boy
The only one on this list directly influenced by my Mum. She absolutely loves T-Rex, which combined with me working for the record store for 10 years meant lots of easy birthday and christmas presents for mum over the years. Swear to god she’s got deluxe editions of all the albums, books, etc all gifted to her by her darling son! From the driving iconic guitar intro paving the way into Marc Bolan’s unmistakeable voice, the whole thing oozes charisma, confidence and sex appeal. The song has been covered by absolutely everyone but this original version tops them all.

5. The Jam - A Town Called Malice
One of my top 50 songs ever. Weller’s ode to living in a shithole but making the most of it has become iconic. From the moment that bassline hits you know you’re in for a treat. A cheery song that has a very optimistic tone despite Weller’s lamenting of a terrible town with terrible people. My Dad used to play Jam tracks in the car on the way to football, and this one always stuck out to me because of that catchy organ bit before the verse and because it was just so happy sounding with the tambourine and the hand claps. Me and Dad go and see Weller at least once a year and I always buy the ticket for his Birthday. Nothing better than belting this one out with my old man, beer in hand, smiles on faces. The little things.

That’s the end of this one folks, hope you enjoyed reading, going to go on to my early teens next, I’ll try and keep the Britpop to a minimum! As always cheers for reading, this has been such a good change for me and it’s really helping me. Any feedback just inbox me! Thx, Craig

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