Thursday, 26 June 2014

Those weird musical guilty pleasure moments

I heard two songs today (which I'll reveal in a moment) – two songs that I shouldn't really like because they just don't fit my usual taste at all, and because I've never liked anything else by the bands concerned. But each one contains something which, for some completely inexplicable reason, I'm a bit of a sucker for. My first weakness is a good old “Whooo!” - you know, when someone whoops (can also be a “Whahoo!” as in Blur's 'Song 2' or a "Whoo-ooh!" like in Gwen Stefani's 'The Sweet Escape').

So today I heard 'Spiralling' by Keane. Now, every time I hear anything by Keane I'm taken back to several years ago, working on Sundays in my tiny village library where I was allowed to play the radio. Actually, not just allowed to play it but actively requested to play it as it was part of a whole, new 'informal library experience' reserved for Sunday openings, along with a miniature coffee machine and a horrible purple sweatshirt I was supposed to wear (but didn't).  Anyway, I used to tune it in to Virgin, which was the most likely station to play something I could actually tolerate hearing at the time. Now, whenever I hear White Stripes 'Seven Nation Army', 'Hey Ya! 'by Outkast, several tracks by Stereophonics, Muse and the Strokes, and 'Bed Shaped' by Keane I'm mentally transported back to the musty little library room with its heavy bookshelves and peeling paint.   Keane became one of the 'library days' bands....I didn't like them but they were of the time and in that context were just alright - helped the day to pass. Anyway, I heard the much later single, 'Spiralling', today and I was surprised at how un-Keane-like it sounds to my ears. In actual fact, I confess I quite like it.   But the bit that really does it for me, and which I could hear over and over again on a loop, is those “Whooo!”s in it.  Why?  What does it all mean?   I don't understand, but I want more.

The other track that I used to hear in my library days and heard again today - probably because it's now being used on an advert -  was 'Sing' by Travis. I am not into Travis. I should not be into a song like 'Sing'. No!  But, it's that banjo... and, oh, this is my other incomprehensible weakness, the plinky plunky plucking banjo.  Now if Fran Healy could have just dropped a couple of triumphant, ecstatic sounding “Whooo!”s into that song as well I would be in a very strange parallel world of music I don't really like, and yet I really do. Does that make sense?






13 comments:

  1. Yes, of course it makes sense - we've all been there and we all have things to confess. However, Keane and Travis? Don't you think there are limits? Ha! Just kidding. What would a guilty pleasure be if it didn't make you feel guilty? Now, 'Duelling Banjos' really is very good. 'Yer got a purty fa-ace'. Arrgg!

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    1. Thanks for your understanding, SB! It was very hard to 'fess up to anything concerning Keane and Travis I have to say, and my cheeks are still pink, but I reckoned I wasn't the only one to have such strange perversions....

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  2. Squeal lil' Piggie ;o)

    Keane and Travis fall into that category where I don't actually feel physically sick when I hear them on the radio but I don't find the experience enjoyable either... so well done for confessing!

    Don't you find there are tons of tracks out there that you find objectionable "except for that guitar sound right THERE" or "The bit where the trumpets come in is awesome but I hate the rest"? I think for me the first time that became a real thing in my consciousness was back in the 80's, a The The track called 'Uncertain Smile'. The The were the darlings of some of the music press at the time but I always found them a bit "so what?" until I heard that Jools Holland piano solo (which goes on for about half the track's length in the extended version). I still have it in my iTunes library and pretty much everytime it starts up I forward scroll to where the piano takes centre stage.

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  3. Come to think of it, kind of Jazzy, you probably hate it ;o)

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    1. Well you've hit the nail on the head and reassured me - that's it, there are lots of those tracks which are objectionable apart from one little element of them (I thought it was just me!) which shows how certain things can just work in their own right. It can be just a few notes, just one vocal inflection, an intro or an ending, or whatever, which makes you yearn for more of it but feel confused about the song as a whole.
      With the ones I mention above I'm even more confused because I like more about them than I don't like, which should not be the case!

      I do like The The as it goes... (especially the artwork!)

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  4. Such a great scene...in a awful story. Deliverance is one of the worst portrayals of rural Southerners in popular culture and it comes from Southerners. It comes out of a debate, during the 60's/early 70's, about how The South should proceed in the world...should we urbanize, industrialize...or as some people might have seen it :cough: become grasping, greedy,soulless pigs obsessed with material gain....having no culture...uh hmmm. :)

    See: Tom Wolfe's - Last American Hero for a taste...and an excellent read.

    Funny thing is...the kid in the brogans nails our friend from Atlanta to the floor boards on the banjo. I leave it to you dear blog author to decide...would you rather go through life as a wizard with a banjo or having access to the latest camping gear from a national sporting goods chain store?

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    1. It's a film I love for its drama and desperation, but I appreciate that the whole rural Southern portrayal is something else - and I value your opinion as someone who's there! Our rural county inhabtiants get some bad treatment in films too (and in the media) - Cornwall, Somerset, Norfolk and Suffolk, from where I write this, spring to mind... frequently ridiculed and seen as 'backward' and incestuous (some local graffiti describes my own village as being full of 'inbreds'). I know it's on a much smaller and less extreme scale - but I can see the parallels!

      I'll have to check out the Tom Wolfe - thank you.

      I don't think anyone in Deliverance escapes from coming across like an idiot, *except* for the banjo kid :-)

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    2. You must live in a good part of the country then. :)

      Deliverance is peculiar because it's not from outsiders but an expression of a conflict between Southerners. In Mobile Alabama there's Government St...canopied with live oaks, lined with beautiful French Country and Victorian homes, etc...St. Charles in New Orleans...same thing. In Jackson we have St. Street...it too was once lined with big gorgeous late Victorian homes but during this period, the powers in Jackson were determined to turn the city into a Metropolis (what a joke)...so down came the beautiful old homes and up went these hideous pebble splattered and beige or Lego, 70's office buildings...the horror!

      I think we'd have to say the conflict was a draw....I should write about this on my own slab.

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    3. That would be very interesting, Erik - please do!

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  5. I thought Travis were good, I like disco, I like Abba, Cilla had some good ones...etc etc and I.m not ashamed to admit

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    1. That's great Old Pa - not to feel ashamed (or guilty!) I can think of Abba and Cilla songs that I like too - but there's something about the way I usually feel about Keane and Travis music that made this admission seem stranger! I just don't like anything about them normally at all, but the individual songs got in there. Quite odd how it works sometimes...

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  6. Songs heard out of context, or covered by another artist, can sometimes catch you unawares too. I liked bits of Michael Jackson's 'Off the Wall' at the time of its release, but could never stand the mawkish 'She's Out of My Life'. I was at an Elvis Costello gig in the early 1980s and he performed an unexpected cover of the song that completely bowled me over and made me look at it in a completely different light. Wish I could find a bootleg to see if it was as good as it is in my memory.

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    1. Yes that's so true. It's funny how music can just work or not work dependent on various factors which can be really subtle and quite hard to put your finger on sometimes. Lovely when it happens the way round that you describe, i.e. liking a song you didn't expect to when covered by another artist, rather than when you really like a song and then hear it totally ruined by someone! Hope you manage to track down the EC version somewhere!

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