Saturday, December 17, 2005

High Fidelity

I love a good list, me. Just one more reason why I think I'm really a geeky man trapped in the body of a small, blonde ex-PR girl. So anyway, it being the season and all, I'll *treat* you to my top 20 songs of 2005* (in no particular order) - with FREE bonus facetious commentary:

There She Goes, My Beautiful World by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The boy Cave abandons any kind of restraint and assembles what sounds like 50 guitars, 20 pianos, 63 drumkits and an entire gospel choir to produce riotous epic whose lyrics score way up high on the Cultural References Index. Useful source of throwaway facts about Nabokov, Gauguin, Johnny Thunders et al. Nice work.

New Light Of Tomorrow by Husky Rescue. Finland's answer to Air, only with a beautiful blonde singer and a tall, enigmatic Finnish guy instead of two French blokes. Lovely.

Black Heart by Calexico. Makes some people think about escaping across the border from California to Mexico. Made me cry all the way to Venezuela and back. Probably one of the best broken-heart dirges ever.

Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole by Martha Wainwright. Martha sticks it to her poor old Dad using some fairly unequivocal language, in a song that should have made Alanis Morissette weep with envy into her faux-ironic woolly hat.

The Start Of Something by Voxtrot. Tip-top twee indie-pop, cute blokes, top-notch "I've been dumped" lyrics, fabulous.

Babe, You Turn Me On by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Deploy with caution when making compilation CDs for people you fancy, on the grounds that it a) risks coming across as a bit stalkerish, and b) contains the lines: "the nightingale it sings to you/and it raises up the ante/I put one hand on your round, ripe heart/and the other down your panties". Ooh la la, Mr Cave! Come here and say that! Etc.

My Home Is The Sea by Matt Sweeney & Bonnie "Prince" Billy. This is just a perfect song, and that's all there is to say about it, really.

So Come Back, I Am Waiting by Okkervil River. Epic finale to inexplicably critically-overlooked Black Sheep Boy album, scores top marks for rhyming "bacterium", "magisterial", "abecedarian" and "wisteria" in the space of four lines. Impressive. Also, sinister.

Shanty For The Arethusa by The Decemberists. You may not *think* you need to hear a song about being press-ganged on to a nineteenth-century cargo ship bound from New York to Australia, but actually you do. No, really.

My Own Face Inside The Trees by The Clientele. A wintry walk in the park, followed by tea, toast and honey and this. Mmmmm.

I Turn My Camera On by Spoon. As previously advertised. Ooh yeah.

Is It Any Wonder? by The Shortwave Set. *Like* St Etienne/Stereolab/the Kinks/Robyn Hitchcock (delete as applicable), only And with a Swedish singer with a gorgeous voice. Damn all these tall, beautiful, honey-voiced Scandinavians! Unutterably wonderful.

Too Drunk to Fuck by the Dead Kennedys. Because sometimes you have to listen to comedy early 80s West-Coast agit-punk. Also because I refuse to grow up.

Kiss Off by the Violent Femmes. As above, only replace "comedy early 80s West-Coast agit-punk" with "whiny early 80s New York acoustic post-punk".

Needle In The Hay by Elliott Smith. Miserable smackhead singer-songwritery acoustic guitar stuff par excellence. Alas, poor Elliott. I loved him, Horatio. Still do, in fact.

This Corrosion by Lambchop. Because it's *still* the greatest cover ever. Closely followed by...

Hotel California by The Cat Empire. It's Hotel California! In French! In some sort of reggae style! Makes me grin inanely, and that can't be a bad thing.

Come Hell or High Water by Barry Adamson. In possibly the greatest song ever written, our Barry employs semi-comedy jazz-lounge style to lament being reduced to a quivering mess by a "customary girl in pedestal shoes, no pants and a real tight sweater". If I ever go on Desert Island Discs, I'll be choosing this ten times in a row. You have been warned.

Hrr, that's only 17, but I'm bored now.

* The astute among you may notice that a good many of these date from a lot earlier than 2005. What do you think I am, the NME?


frangelita said...

I love lists too. Is that really more of a boy thing? NB your musical tastes are way too trendy for the likes of me, I think I've only knowingly heard one of the songs and most of the bands are way over my head.

patroclus said...

Oo, they're all highly recommended. I'll see if any have free (legal) mp3 downloads and link them.

patroclus said...

PS I'm not sure about "trendy". A couple of these things lean quite alarmingly towards prog-rock territory. Alt-prog, perhaps. But I just can't resist overblown, baroque lyrics. It's a terrible failing.

longcat said...

nice, combining a few songs i love (elliott smith, violent femmes, dead kennedys) with a load of people i've never heard of, except of course for the shortwave set who i think are better recorded than live and maybe if i see them again i'll like them more...

oops, you know i don't know the dead kennedys version of too drunk to fuck, i know only nouvelle vagues version, being the cute french acoustic band who do covers of punk tunes...


patroclus said...

Yes indeed, I had high hopes of the Nouvelle Vague cover (as written about here, but in the end the original won out. Could be the authentic vomiting noises at the end... Anyway, do seek it out Longcat, it's well worth it if you're in the mood for silly punk stuff.

longcat said...

really enjoying the shortwave set stuff that you can hear from their website... have you got their album? (do they have an album?)


patroclus said...

They do, and I do. It's called The Debt Collection - see here for details.

Oo, Independiente Records (whose office is actually next door to mine, trivia fans) should be paying me!

james henry said...

I introduced La P to the delights of Barry Adamson you know. He beamed proudly.

patroclus said...

Yes, erm, cough, I should really acknowledge my sources, shouldn't I? The boy James did indeed introduce me to the delights of Barry A, and a couple of the other ones into the bargain. And very grateful I am too.