onsdag 30. mai 2012

Fine Young Cannibals - Johnny Come Home

When bassist David Steele and guitarist Andy Cox decided to form a new outfit after The Beat disbanded, they spent a long time looking for the right singer. When they finally decided upon Roland Gift after listening to more than 500 cassettes, they struck gold. With an almost otherworldly voice he helped make the 1985 debut single by Fine Young Cannibals an adventure. The ska-influenced, very dance-friendly pop song "Johnny Come Home" is just like fireworks, shooting off the ground like a rocket and staying in the air for quite some time, gaining momentum and intensity. The video is also fantastic. All you see is the band playing and evidently having a really good time. It's especially fun to watch the legwork of Cox and Steele. These boys are working!

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Bronski Beat - Why?

So Bronski Beat's debut single "Smalltown Boy" is the band's best song, but second single "Why?" isn't far beyond. A fabulous, electronic disco tune featuring Jimmy Somerville's trademark falsetto voice and a driving beat that pumps and pumps, it's a masterpiece for dancefloors everywhere. The song is from 1984 and both it and "Smalltown Boy" appeared on debut album The Age Of Consent that will be re-released in a deluxe edition on July 2nd.

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Saint Etienne - Tonight

Words And Music By Saint Etienne is the new album by these electronic popsters from London. The trio featuring Sarah Cracknell, Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs has never tried to hide their love for good pop music, and the new album is a tribute to their roots, how it all started and their love for music in general. First single "Tonight" is a perfect blend of pop and disco and thus highly representative for the album as a whole. Never one of my favourite bands, Saint Etienne has still recorded some really good songs in their time. To me though, Words And Music is their best album by far. Hooray!

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tirsdag 29. mai 2012

XTC - Grass

"Grass" was the first single off XTC's 1986 album Skylarking, produced by Todd Rundgren. It's a brilliant piece of trippy, slightly psychedelic pop music that has aged very well. A piece of trivia for you: The B-side of the "Grass" single was non-album track "Dear God" that was picked up by American radio DJ's and thus released as a single in its own right, making it the band's biggest hit.

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The Mavericks - Dance The Night Away

The Mavericks started out as a country band, but after a few records the Cuban roots of lead singer Raul Malo started to emerge. "Dance The Night Away" is from the band's fifth album, 1998's Trampoline, and is a condensed latin party that makes you wanna dance your socks off. Funny video too.

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The Waterboys - And A Bang On The Ear

"And A Bang On The Ear" is one of the key tracks from The Waterboys' amazing Fisherman's Blues album, released in 1988. The recording sessions went on for two years, and the band recorded around 100 songs. Only 13 ended up on the original album, but the album Too Close To Heaven (released in 2002) featured another ten, and a Collector's Edition of Fisherman's Blues released in 2006 had 14 more songs on it. Of all these, "And A Bang On The Ear" is my favourite, a seven and a half minute country stomp through Mike Scott's relationships, not necessarily autobiographical. A fantastic song!

If you want to see a complete list of all the songs recorded, go here.


mandag 28. mai 2012

Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms

Some songs are so beautiful it almost hurts. Dire Straits' "Brothers In Arms", the title track to their 1985 monster hit album, is such a song, largely due to Mark Knopfler's otherworldly guitar-playing. Here's the edited single version which is two minutes shorter than the full album version, but it's still almost five minutes of musical beauty.

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The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows

The Beatles' 1966 album Revolver is time and again regarded as the best album in rock history when these are rated in various magazines and polls. For good reason, as it is one of the most exciting and groundbreaking albums in rock history. It also represented a giant leap from its predecessor Rubber Soul, released just eight months earlier. One of the most significant songs on Revolver is the closing track "Tomorrow Never Knows", and instead of trying to say something meaningful about it, I'd rather refer to the excellent Wikipedia text. Read that and please enjoy the song, which is nothing short of stunning.


The Rubinoos - I Think We're Alone Now

"I Think We're Alone Now" was originally a hit for Tommy James & The Shondells in 1967 when it reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song, written by one Ritchie Cordell, has been covered by loads of artists, and some, like Tiffany and Girls Aloud, have had big hits with it. My favourite version is by American band The Rubinoos. It was the lead single off their eponymous debut album in 1977, and reached number 45 in the US. And what a melody it has! No wonder it's been a hit so many times.


Cliff Richard And The Shadows - In The Country

Cliff Richard doesn't exactly ooze rock'n'roll, but he's a fine singer, responsible for scores of hits, some of them quite good. "In The Country" with backing band The Shadows is one of my favourites, a fabulous and dare I say, jolly, summer tune, mysteriously released in wintry December of 1966. And will you look at all the screaming girls in the clip! Cliff owned the crowd, and I guess still does.

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søndag 27. mai 2012

Maj Britt Andersen - Vise for gærne jinter

The works of poet, novelist, singer/songwriter and journalist Alf Prøysen (1914-1970) are among the most important Norwegian national treasures. His songs are absolutely timeless. One of his very best is called "Vise for gærne jinter" (Ballad for crazy girls), a song that speaks volumes of summer, in this case strawberries, boys and memories. It's a perfect little song, and Maj Britt Andersen is just the right person to sing it, so much so that she has made it one of her signature numbers. She has recorded it at least twice, and this version is from her 2004 album Dørstokken heme, consisting exclusively of Prøysen's songs.


Eurovision Song Contest Special - the 2 best songs

Last night we spent a good three hours watching the ridiculous but highly entertaining spectacle that is the Eurovision Song Contest, this year held in Baku, Azerbaijan, and lo and behold, the best song actually won - by miles. So congratulations to Loreen representing Sweden with the song "Euphoria", a trance number that I would normally hate but with a melody to kill for. I was never in doubt that this song had what it took.

Loreen - "Euphoria"

My other favourite in yesterday's competition was very different from the winner. Estonia's Ott Lepland sang "Kuula", a big and pompous ballad, with a voice that is scary good. It carries far and wide, and the song with Estonian lyrics ("Kuula" means "listen") is really quite beautiful and ended up as number six among the 26 songs that were competing. Not bad at all for a guy that was mostly occupied with actually singing, in stark contrast to most of the competition. Congratulations, Ott!

Ott Lepland - "Kuula"

fredag 25. mai 2012

Sirkus Eliassen & Ben Kinx - Æ vil bare dans (akustisk versjon)

Woohoo! Norwegian hit artists Sirkus Eliassen have made an acoustic version of their monster hit "Æ vil bare dans" (I just wanna dance), inspired by Walk Off The Earth's cover of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know". In this case that means three people playing one guitar, and singing, laughing and having a good time, even incorporating "Somebody..." towards the end. Great fun!

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HIT ALERT! Kylie Minogue - Timebomb

Wow, I'll say... Kylig Minogue's brand new single "Time Bomb" is really good, a great dance track with an irresistable melody, and a proper London video, shot mainly in Soho. Fabulous!

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torsdag 24. mai 2012

Frank & Nancy Sinatra - Somethin' Stupid

Here's one of the greatest duets of all time, "Somethin' Stupid" in the 1967 hit version recorded by Frank and daughter Nancy Sinatra. It was originally written by C.Carson Parks and recorded with his wife Gaile Foote as Carson And Gaile in 1966, but the Sinatra version is far superior. It's also a lot better than the Robbie Williams/Nicole Kidman version, although I see no reason to ridicule that as it's far better than it's given credit for. Still, the Sinatra version is untouchable.


Bruce Springsteen - Rocky Ground

Here's the brand new Bruce Springsteen video, set to the sound of "Rocky Ground", one of the more hopeful an optimistic songs on his latest album, Wrecking Ball. It even features a short rap segment, courtesy of one Michelle Moore, and I really like the gospel-meets-hip hop arrangement. Great song!

Watch and listen