Kidney Bingos by Wire
Album: A Bell Is a Cup Until It Is Struck
Absolutely my favourite Wire song, though I haven’t heard anything from Pink Flag yet. It’s just a great pop song, even if the words don’t make any sense. To wit: “Money spines, paper lung/Kidney bingos, organ fun” Is it about organ donation, or is it just free association? Who cares — the guitars are bright and spangly, and the outro is the stuff of legend.
Watch it now, with eyes closed if you’re a sensitive vegetarian.
Smile on You by Yello
Album: You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess
This album is full of Latin-tinged jungle beats, and has the classic hit “I Love You”. Way way ahead of its time. Perfect listening for late at night.
I have a very clear memory of my high school friend Chad Smith lip-synching a lyric from this song: “Snoopy Splendour, Random Toxy think I don’t know where to go./My reaction if I see them is just ‘o ho ho’.”
Where are you, Chad?
The State I Am In by Belle and Sebastian
Before they ransacked the soul catalogue, Belle and Sebastian were writing engaging songs with lyrics as clever as an entire album from the Smiths. How to select just one brilliant example from this early tune? Can’t be done, so here are two:
“My brother had confessed he was gay / It took the heat off me for a while. / He stood up with a sailor friend / And made it known upon my sister’s wedding day”
“And so I gave myself to God. / There was a pregnant pause before he said ‘Okay’.”
Can’t Find My Way Home by Electronic
Album: Twisted Tenderness
Electronic had all the ingredients to become my favourite band, but never quite was. My main problem was that there was too much Bernard and not enough Johnny. Seems the equation didn’t change for this album. This song has a good sound, but we already have a New Order, and they’re good at that. What we need is a new Smiths. Certainly not this soul groove. Take this electronic heart and give it twelve strings.
Tears from the Compound Eye by Boards of Canada
Album: The Campfire Headphase
Love the Boards, and this album has some really beautiful moments. Sad to say, I don’t find myself returning to it. I’d hoped it would be a grower, but it was alas not to be. Take this track, for example. It has all the elements I love about BoC, but here the tempo is soporific. Is it a IDM/Chill hybrid?
Perhaps I’m a victim of inflated expectations. I got a hold of the Boards just after Geogaddi, bought everything they’d ever done, and listened to it all at once. If the last album hadn’t been as good as the first, I wouldn’t have known it because to me it was all just music from a great new band I’d discovered. Then with The Campfire Headphase, I could sit back and compare it to the other albums because it was new. I was surprised to find that fans had said the same thing about Geogaddi that I was saying about TCH. ‘I like your old stuff better than your new stuff’ is a cliché, and maybe it’s more me than the album.