A couple of weeks ago, Jonathan Calder at Liberal England posted a video of Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me) by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel. This provoked a bit of related YouTubery on my part and the discovery that Erasure had covered this song back in 2003 on a cover album entitled Other People’s Songs.
I still prefer the Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, but Erasure’s video is… visually arresting.
Wednesday was a fun day. I turned up at the station at the usual time, only discover that all trains were cancelled due to a defective train further up the line.
Since I can work from home, and the station was giving no information about when the problem would be resolved, I went home.
Coincidentally, Alexandre was feeling a bit ill on Wednesday and we had already decided he could miss karate this week. As I was already home, it made sense for him to stay at home with me rather than go to the sports centre to watch his brothers for an hour.
This, of course, meant that it was Alexandre and I that went to collect the pizzas.
The TV in the pizza takeaway happened to be tuned to a music channel this week. One of the songs that happened to come up was The Nights by Avicii. This is now Alexandre’s favourite song.
I think he was mainly inspired by the footage of people jumping off things. Whatever the appeal, though, I can’t fault his taste.
Next weekend is Tradfest Belgica 2019 in Leuven, an Irish music festival that runs from 21st to 23rd February. I doubt that we will be able to go along as we have a fair bit going on already.
I did, however, check out this year’s headline act, Four Winds.
They’re really rather good.
I hadn’t realised the Pet Shop Boys were still going. But they are, and their latest song takes a snarky swipe at Donald Trump, Michael “we’ve all had enough of experts” Gove, and populists everywhere.
“Give Stupidity A Chance” was released on Tuesday and is well worth a listen.
The Interrupters are an American ska punk band formed in 2011 and Fight the Good Fight is their third album, released in June of last year on Hellcat Records.
The follow-up to 2015’s Say It Out Loud, Fight the Good Fight finds The Interrupters delivering their two-tone-inspired, powerfully melodic, punk-fueled sound with more vitality than ever before. With Armstrong and Alge at the helm, Aimee and the Bivona brothers channeled the raw energy of their lives shows by recording almost entirely to tape. “There’s a certain feeling you get from that process that you can’t really get digitally,” says guitarist Kevin. “There’s no overthinking anything—everyone’s got to be fully present and committed. It was definitely high-pressure, but also really fun.”
The lead single from this album, She’s Kerosene is absolutely fantastic.
I loved The Lego Movie, and if you saw the film I am sure that you remember the theme song, Everything is Awesome. It was one of those songs which, once you’d heard it you couldn’t forget it. I was still humming the tune months after having seen the fil.
There’s a sequel on the way and it has a song that aims to give Everything is Awesome a run for it’s money. It’s called Catchy Song and, if you are susceptible to catchy songs, I suggest you proceed with caution.
The first single I ever bought, way back in 1979 was Milk and Alcohol by Dr. Feelgood.
The song was written in 1978 by Nick Lowe and John Mayo and reportedly retells Lowe’s experience of drinking too many Kahlúa-milk drinks at or after a United States concert by bluesman John Lee Hooker. Ironically, while the song anonymously criticises Hooker (“Main attraction dead on his feet, Black man rhythm with a white boy beat”), it was also inspired by Hooker’s own lyric about “milk, cream and alcohol”.
The song was recorded in 1978 and first appeared on Private Practice which was released in 1978. It was several years after this that my teenage finances were able to stretch to this album.
For me, this song, and this album, remain the high point of the Canvey Island Rockers’ output, the stand-out aspect of which was Lee Brilleux’s remarkably menacing vocals.
Back in 1985 Norwegian band, a-ha, released Take on Me. The song did well in the UK, reaching number 2 in the singles chart, not least due to a very innovative video that combined pencil-sketch animation and live action video.
In 1998, Reel Big Fish recorded a cover of Take on me for the soundtrack of BASEketball. This song can also be found on the Favorite Noise compilation which was released in 2002.
I liked this song so much, that I went out and bought a completely different album.
Not only do I still buy CDs, but I still scrobble them to Last.fm. This means that, at the end of the year I receive an overview of my year in music.
For 2018, this tells me that I have been listening to a lot of ska. The band to which I have spent most time listening is Mustard Plug (no surprises there) but my most played album in 2018 was Honey, I’m Homely! by the Dance Hall Crashers.
This album also provided my most listened to song of 2018, The Truth About Me.
And here it is.
While looking up something else entirely, I was distracted by an interesting link and ended up on the website of Plastic Bertrand. It’s a name that rang a bell — how could it not — and I had to go and check whether my memory of seeing him on Eurovision sometime in the 1980s was accurate.
It turns out it was:
“Amour, Amour” (“Love, Love”) was the Luxembourgish entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1987, performed in French by Belgian singer Plastic Bertrand.
I’ll say this for him. He’s aged well