Tag Archives: rock

Links – Local and Global Music

The first of 21 profiles of the acts involved in No Colour Too Strong To Paint (a charity CD raising cash for Edinburgh’s Sick Kids Foundation) is now live on STV Local.  I spoke to singer songwriter David Winpenny,  who told me there doesn’t seem to be that much of a music scene in Haddington, so he spends his days looking for Phish from Marillion.

I also wrote a comment on the viral sensation that is Rebecca Black for IWeTwoThree.

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Filed under Community News, cowgate, Edinburgh, music, noise, pogo, STVLocal

Let’s Get Lyrical #25 – A Song That Tells A Story

Today, Let’s Get Lyrical have been asking, what are your favourite lyrics that tell a story?

As it happens, I sort of collect songs like this.  Unfortunately, very few of them seem to be from the 70s, but I’d like to mention a few.

Frinstance, who could fail to love The Drunken Driver by Ferlin Husky?  It tells the tale of a man who RUNS OVER HIS OWN CHILDREN in a drunken episode, and it’s all Ferlin can do not to cry as he recounts the story.  Unfortunately, this was recorded all the way back in 1954.

I also love Our Last Summer by ABBA – or I did until I saw Mamma Mia, at any rate.  I found it hard to reconcile my crush on Colin Firth with his antics in that particular montage – he seemed to be doing his best to destroy the affection I’d had for the track since I was nine.  Anyway, I like it because it encapsulates a story of summer romance without getting either mawkish or bitter.  But I can’t write about that one, cause it came out in 1980.

In 1996, Peggy Scott-Adams released Bill, an anguished tale about a woman finding out that her husband is gay – “I was ready for Mary, Susan, Helen and Jane… When all the time it was Bill who was sleeping with my man.” It gets worse too – Bill is god uncle to their son!  It’s like an episode of Jerry Springer in song format.

The following year, a superhero ska band called the Aquabats wrote an altogether more lighthearted ditty, Captain Hampton and the Midget Pirates.  This follows the adventures of young Jim, who goes to sea to fight the fierce Midget Pirates of Willygoat, who are heading towards the Sandwich Isles to pillage the giant Ham Farm.  “And unlike normal midgets, who are bright and clever and fun to be around, these Midget Pirates with their beady little eyes and sharp teeth bore down on us like fierce sharks in a feeding frenzy of blood!” Everything you could want from a pirate adventure and more.

Oh, and then there’s The Rake’s Song, by The Decemberists, which tells the story of a rake who marries too young and kills his children so he can get his life back.  A murder ballad for 2009 – I love it.  And don’t even get me started on Charlemagne: By The Sword and the Cross, a concept album released only last year in which Christopher Lee tells the entire history of Charlemagne in the form of a symphonic metal opera.  This includes immortal rhymes like “he has taken offense / and its too late to make amends!” and is entirely amazing.

But wait!  I know a seventies song that tells a story!  It’s not a particularly happy one, but even so…
“I remember every little thing as if it happened only yesterday…  Parking by the lake, and there was not another car in sight.  I never had a girl looking any better than you did, and all the kids at school were wishing they were me that night!

Our bodies were so close and tight – it never felt so good, it never felt so right.  We were glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife, and I felt like I had to hold on tight!”

“Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night,” Patti said throatily.

“I can see paradise, by the dashboard light!” Marvin replied.

“Ain’t no doubt about it, we were doubly blessed. ‘Cause we were barely seventeen and we were barely dressed,” Patti would tell her friends, years later.  “Ain’t no doubt about it, baby got to go and shout it!  Ain’t no doubt about it, we were doubly blessed.  ‘Cause we were barely seventeen and we were barely dressed.”

Encouraged by this response, Marvin ventured, “baby doncha hear my heart?  You got it drowning out the radio!  I’ve been waiting so long for you to come along and have some fun.  And I gotta let you know, no you’re never gonna regret it – so open up your eyes, I got a big surprise, it’ll feel all right, I wanna make your motor run!”

“You got to do what you can,” Patti agreed, “let Mother Nature do the rest.  Ain’t no doubt about it we were doubly blessed.  ‘Cause we were barely seventeen and we were barely-“

“We’re gonna go all the way tonight,” he interrupted, “we’re gonna go all the way tonight, tonight!  We’re gonna go all the way tonight we’re gonna go all the way tonight’s the night…”

At this point they were interrupted by a radio broadcast, discussing an important baseball game.

“OK, here we go,” the announcer began.  “We got a real pressure cooker going here.  Two down, nobody on, no score, bottom of the ninth.  There’s the windup, and there it is, a line shot up the middle – look at him go!  This boy can really fly!

He’s rounding first and really turning it on now, he’s not letting up at all, he’s gonna try for second; the ball is bobbled out in center, and here comes the throw – and what a throw! He’s gonna slide in head first, here he comes, he’s out! No, wait, safe – safe at second base, this kid really makes things happen out there.

Batter steps up to the plate, here’s the pitch-he’s going, and what a jump he’s got, he’s trying for third, here’s the throw, it’s in the dirt-safe at third! Holy cow, stolen base! He’s taking a pretty big lead out there, almost daring him to try and pick him off. The pitcher glances over, winds up, and it’s bunted, bunted down the third base line, the suicide squeeze is on! Here he comes. squeeze play, it’s gonna be close! Here’s the throw… Here’s the play at the plate… Holy cow, I think he’s gonna make it!”

“Stop right there!” Patti squeaked all of a sudden, “I gotta know right now!  Before we go any further!  Do you love me?  Will you love me forever?  Do you need me?  Will you never leave me?  Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?  Will you take me away, will you make me your wife?”

When Marvin failed to respond, she said again, more urgently this time, “do you love me!?  Will you love me forever!?  Do you need me?  Will you never leave me?  Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?  Will you take me away , will you make me your wife?!  I gotta know RIGHT NOW, before we go any further, do you love me?  Will you love me forever!?”

Marvin thought about it for a while, but was reluctant to answer.

“Let me sleep on it,” he suggested at last, “baby, baby let me sleep on it?  Let me sleep on it and, I’ll give you an answer in the morning.”

This was not enough, though.

“I gotta know right now,” Patti insisted, “do you love me?  Will you love me forever?”

Marvin remained reticent.

“What’s it gonna be boy?” she asked again.  “Come on!  I can wait all night.  What’s it gonna be boy?  Yes, or no?”

This hectoring was overwhelming, but she could see it working, so she continued, “what’s it gonna be boy? YES, OR, NO??”

“Let me sleep on it?” he tried again.

“Will you love me forever?”

“Let me sleep on it?”

“Will you love me forever?!”

And at that point, Marvin snapped.

“I couldn’t take it any longer,” he was to explain to his mates down the pub in years to come, “Lord I was crazed, and then the feeling came upon me like a tidal wave – I started swearing to my god and on my mother’s grave that I would love her to the end of time.  I swore that I would love her to the end of time!”

So now they’re praying for the end of time to hurry up and arrive.

“‘Cause if I gotta spend another minute with you, I don’t think that I can really survive,” Patti has been heard to scream, as Marvin shouts,

“I’ll never break my promise or forget my vow, but God only knows what I can do right now!  I’m praying for the end of time, it’s all that I can do!  Praying for the end of time, so I can end my time with you!”

This of course was long ago, and it was far away, and it was so much better than it is today.  Still, at least they aren’t another divorce statistic…


Filed under adolescence, antics, kerrang, letsgetlyrical, noise

Let’s Get Lyrical #20 – Bob Dylan

Today, Let’s Get Lyrical have been asking Twitter for its favourite Bob Dylan lyrics. Unfortunately this is eighties week around here, and the eighties were not the best decade for Monsieur Zimmerman. Take this sensitive ditty from 1988’s universally panned Down In The Groove album, The Ugliest Girl In The World.

Well the woman that I love she got a hook in her nose

An actual hook?  That might not be a woman, Bob.  You’re describing something more commonly associated with fish, there.  Have you been fishing lately?

Her eyebrows meet, she wears second hand clothes

There’s nothing wrong with using charity shops, Bob.  You may be a bazillionaire, but not all of us have written Blood On The Tracks or whatever.

She speaks with a stutter and she walks with a hop
I don’t know why I love her but I just can’t stop.

Literally NONE of the reasons you have listed are ones that mean you can’t love her.  What you’ve said is she is poor, has a nose piercing, and may have additional support needs.  That doesn’t mean she can’t be funny, intelligent, or fun to be around.  Seriously dude, what’s with the Andy Gray routine?

You know I love her yeah I love her
I’m in love with the ugliest girl in the world.

Have you seen ALL the girls in the world, Bob Dylan?  No you haven’t.  So shut up.

If I ever lose her I will go insane
I go half crazy when she calls my name

That’s a fairly normal reaction to being in love with someone.  Why should her physical appearance affect that?  If you fancy someone then you fancy them.  You probably haven’t noticed, Bob, but people in relationships are not always slim, well plucked and stylish.  Yet somehow these munters manage to find love.

When she says ‘ ba-ba ba-ba baby I love you

Oh yeah, that’s classy, take the piss out of her stutter as well as her looks.

There ain’t nothing in the world that I wouldn’t do.
You know I love her yeah I love her
I’m in love in the ugliest girl in the world.

This doesn’t sound like love to me.  Why are you questioning it this much?  Why are you ripping her to pieces in a recording studio?  Surely if you loved her you would want to protect her from arseholes that stigmatise people for being different.

The woman that I love she got two flat feet
Her knees knocks together walking down the street

That sounds like a total hassle for her, what a shame.  Just as well she has such a supportive partner.

She cracks her knuckles and she snores in bed
She ain’t much to look at but like I said:
You know I love her Yeah I love her
I’m in love with the ugliest girl in the world

Not only is she unattractive and unwell, she has some annoying habits.  Which I will now immortalise in song format.  Cause that’s the kind of boyfriend I am.

I don’t mean to say she got nothing going

What?  Surely that’s impossible!  You’ve just described in detail what a moose she is and in my book, that’s all that counts.

She got a weird sense of humor that is all her own

She must do, if she’s still going out with you.

When I got low she sets me on my feet

And presumably you do the same for her?  Maybe using your songwriting talent to tell the world how wonderful she is?

Got a five inch smile but her breath is sweet.

Really?  That’s the best you can come up with?  You love her because she brushes her teeth?  Who the hell have you been going out with in the past?!

You know I love her Yeah I love her
I’m in love with the ugliest girl in the world.

Mm, yes, if you say so.  Then he finishes by repeating verse one, to remind us how ugly and impoverished she is.

I don’t know if this is meant to be tongue in cheek, or zany and fun, or what.  The internet doesn’t seem to have a lot of info on the matter either.  But at least it provides us with a grim and terrible warning – even Bob Dylan gets it wrong sometimes.

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Let’s Get Lyrical #18 – Def Leppard

A journey back to the eighties wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of hair metal, and who better to turn to than Def Leppard?  I’m sure there isn’t anything too embarrassingly risqué in the lyrics of Pour Some Sugar On Me

Step inside, walk this way
You and me babe, Hey, hey!

So far, so bad with rhyme..

Love is like a bomb, baby, c’mon get it on

Hopefully without the same amount of shrapnel

Livin’ like a lover with a radar phone

Woah there!  What’s a radar phone?  Sounds futuristic!  Or at least, it might have done in an early episode of Buck Rogers

Lookin’ like a tramp, like a video vamp

Is this him or her?  And is it good or bad?  The answer to both of these is ‘yes’.

Demolition woman, can I be your man?

Apparently there’s an ‘adult film’ called Demolition Woman.  According to the IMDB synopsis, “In the year 20014, the ozone has gone so completely haywire that men can no longer reproduce. So Demolition Woman Isis transports herself back to the year 1994 where she collects some virile sperm samples, in the form of surfer dudes Pete and Bob. She brings them into the future as breeding stock, but they will meet opposition, and danger, from a group of power mad, men hating feminists.”  Doesn’t that sound like a fantastic piece of cinema?

Razzle ‘n’ a dazzle ‘n’ a flash a little light
Television lover, baby, go all night

Well as long as there’s no vajazzling going on.

Sometime, anytime, sugar me sweet
Little miss ah innocent sugar me, yeah

I don’t think that means anything, really.

C’mon, take a bottle, shake it up

You can tell these guys are rock stars – that’s just madness!  What if it all fizzes up all over your hand?!

Break the bubble, break it up

… is that the same thing as bursting someone’s bubble?  I didn’t think it was that kind of song.

Pour some sugar on me

We could assume this to be a literal request to take that bag of tate and lyle out of the kitchen cupboard and pour it on the man…

Ooh, in the name of love

… But this implies that perhaps it is some sort of metaphor, perhaps referring to sweet sweet kisses.

Pour some sugar on me
C’mon fire me up

Maybe they’re practicing for an episode of Come Dine With Me where they’re planning on spinning hot sugar into an elaborate dessert basket?

Pour your sugar on me
Oh, I can’t get enough

I would caution you on that score, Leppards.  Type 2 Diabetes is man made, and this is the type of behaviour that can lead to it.

I’m hot, sticky sweet
From my head to my feet yeah

Well yes,that’ll happen if you submerge yourself in sugar I suppose.  Let that be a lesson to you.  It’ll be a bugger to clean up, too.  Still, it’s interesting to know that sugar has insulating properties.

Listen! red light, yellow light, green-a-light go!

You’ve chosen the wrong sense, there.  For those ones to work you want sight, not hearing.

Crazy little woman in a one man show

Surely that would be a one-woman show?  But I suppose that doesn’t scan.  Which is of utmost concern to Def Leppard…

Mirror queen, mannequin, rhythm of love
Sweet dream, saccharine, loosen up

I think here they’ve just taken a load of words that loosely rhyme and hoped for the best, really.

You gotta squeeze a little, squeeze a little
Tease a little more

OK, that sounds a bit rude.  But I’m sure there’s a perfectly innocent explanation.

Easy operator come a knockin’ on my door
Sometime, anytime, sugar me sweet
Little Miss Innocent sugar me, yeah

Yeah, that doesn’t make a huge amount of sense either.  I assume they’re on a massive sugar high at this point and just saying anything that comes into their heads.
[guitar solo]

You got the peaches, I got the cream

That’s definitely rude.

Sweet to taste, saccharine

Two ways of describing the same thing, there

‘Cos I’m hot, say what, sticky sweet
From my head, my head, to my feet

I like the rhyming of ‘hot’ and ‘say what’ there.  This is poetry right here.

Do you take sugar? one lump or two?

No, thank you.  This song has opened my eyes as to what can happen if you become too reliant on sugar, and I don’t want to be that guy.

If you have been affected by the issues raised by Def Leppard in Pour Some Sugar On Me, help can be found here.


Filed under letsgetlyrical, music, noise