Music: best derivatives and best angry songs

Some best ofs in my current favourite lists.

Best derivatives

While most of the music on my favourites list are original compositions, here are some cover versions and songs that sample others that I currently like a lot:

Something For Kate — Born To Run — I almost like this more than Springsteen’s original.

P Diddy with Jimmy Page — Come With Me — samples Led Zep’s Kashmir. Not the sort of creation I’d normally like, but I do.

The Gaslight Anthem — Baba O’Riley — this is really quite good. Incidentally, I read over the weekend that Meha Baba also inspired Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry Be Happy — a far more annoying song.

Spiderbait — Black Betty — in particular the iTunes Originals recording, which rocks harder and longer than the album version.

Best angry songs

Some angry songs from my list:

Area 7 — Second Class Citizen — angry yoof.

Lily Allen — F$%# You — apparently about George W Bush

The Tenants — You Shit Me To Tears

Faith No More’s Epic is a bit of a grumpy song, rather than an angry song. I seem to recall The Datsuns’ MF From Hell would go well here.

What others are out there?

Another old obscure music video clip: Jellyfish “New Mistake” (1993) – and a new one

An obscure music video from 1993, twenty years ago. I caught this video on Rage one night, and got into the band Jellyfish from there.

I’m not even sure quite why I like it. The quirky music video (it was never clear enough on VHS, but it is here — all the band’s shots are obviously filmed backwards), the Queen-like harmonies, the wierdo lyrics. Dunno, but I was listening again to the album (“Spilt Milk”) again last week, and I still like it.

(I can see I’ve mentioned this song a couple of times before)

I didn’t know another song on the album also got a video: The Ghost At Number One. Sadly I don’t think that song is as catchy, and I guess neither did the public… after this album (their second) the band split-up.

No, here’s a better (new) recommendation: an excellent song for anybody who has stood in Bunnings and felt a little inept… Billy Bragg’s new one, “Handyman Blues”.

Obscure songs: JC001: Never Again

20 odd years ago, when I was into music videos (and television in general), I used to regularly record (yes, on VHS) a few hours of Rage on a Friday and/or Saturday night, and watch it the next day.

I’d categorise each song as a 1, 2 or 3. 1s I would copy onto another tape for keeping — a kind of Rage mix-tape. 2s I would watch once. 3s I would spin through.

One much-loved but long-forgotten song that I’ve just encountered is JC001′s “Never Again”.

(Once again WordPress is playing up. If it decides again to remove the embedded clip, it’s here.)

Apart from the good anti-racism, pro-mixed-race message (something I can relate to), the fast-paced lyrics made it ripe for parody in our family: “I intend to defend my blender ’til the end!”

The song has been hailed in some circles as “One of the best, most underrated uk hip hop singles ever.”

And it also apparently samples The Specials, so you’ve gotta like that.

JC001′s real name is Jonathan Pandy, and he’s still around apparently, for instance on Twitter. I wonder if he still has the crazy eyes.

My retro iPod

I just realised my iPod is nearly nine years old. That’s an age in the world of computers and electronics… does that make it a retro item?

My iPod

It’s a third-generation iPod, back from before they had silly features like apps, movie playback, and colour screens… And yes, it’s still going strong, though admittedly most of its use is at home in its cradle, playing music into the stereo.

And yeah, the ear phones aren’t in such good shape, which is why I’m not using them currently.

Quick random thoughts

The Herald Sun paywall launched in March, and offered free 2-month passes. Any word on what’s happened now those have run out?

Strange dream: Woke up with the most enormous sideburns. Struggled to get them removed before having to go to work.

Another dream: Was invited to a very elaborate dinner party at Alan Kohler’s place, which in the dream was in Carnegie around the corner from where I used to live.

Another dream: Woke up to find the kids had re-arranged their bedroom. TARDIS-like, they’d managed to fit furniture into the room that in real life wouldn’t fit in there.

QR-codes in emails now? Really? What use would this be apart from on printouts? And shouldn’t we be discouraging printouts?

I felt like I was being a bandwagon jumper for buying a Beastie Boys the week after Adam Yauch passed-away. I even looked around and found something else I wanted to buy, to try and diffuse the judgement of the JB Hifi checkout person. Oh dear. In retrospect it’s a little like slipping a dirty magazine in between a bunch of nerd mags at the newsagent.

Perhaps the preface for everything on Twitter (indeed everything online) should be: “You may choose to disagree, but my hypothesis is this:”

Shiny discs

CDs recently turned 30 years old.

I first got a CD player in 1988, when they fell below $200 for the first time. It was a CDC brand player (made by Teac), for which I trekked out to KMart at Box Hill. It worked for fifteen years, until 2003 — though its replacement didn’t last that long.

The first CD I bought back in ’88? Abbey Road.

I don’t recall the subsequent early purchases, but I know the rest of The Beatles’ albums and a lot of The Who was in there. In musical terms, I had very narrow interests back then.

I actually still buy CDs, which (mostly) don’t have any DRM hassles, and for older stuff are cheaper than iTunes. I’m also not super-confident my iTunes collection will be intact in another 20 years.

Do you still buy CDs? And why?

This topic came up on social media and in real life recently: do you still buy CDs, and why?

I do. I buy some stuff on iTunes and Bigpond Music (which sells MP3s), and buy some stuff (particularly older material) on CD.

Why? Because I prefer the softer, warmer, fuller sound of CDs to the harsh sound of MP3s.

Nah….

Actually three main reasons:

  • A lot of older material out there is substantially cheaper on CD. You can often find classic albums for $10 or less; the same would cost you around $16 or more on iTunes
  • I don’t mind having the physical media, including the booklet… although admittedly this is causing me some storage issues in my livingroom
  • I have CDs going back to when I first bought a CD player in 1988. And they still work fine. Will all of my iTunes downloads still be intact in another 24 years? Dunno. I’m not sure I trust it that much.

Perhaps the rarest CD I have is the out-of-print Doug Anthony Allstars album Icon, originally released in 1990. I notice it’s now available on iTunes. If it didn’t hold sentimental value (and if Paypal hadn’t decided to refuse service to me — that’s another story), that’d be one to sell on eBay, I reckon.

What have the rest of you done? Banished all CDs and gone purely digital? Or do you still buy them? Or have you gone really retro and are growing your stock of LPs, 8-track tapes and wax cylinders?

Sights of Old Melbourne Town – as seen in music videos

Dragon: Are You Old Enough (1978) — around Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, including the now-gone behaviour of riding the running board on a tram, and a Silvertop taxi back when they really did have a silver top.

John Paul Young: Yesterday’s Hero (1975) — around Swanston Street

Paul Kelly: Leaps and Bounds — mostly the Nylex sign, of course

Everyone knows this one… AC/DC: It’s A Long Way To The Top (1975) — Swanston Street again

More recent… The Living End: All Town Torn Down (1998) — various spots, including Citylink and Parliament station

What others are out there?

Update lunchtime

Suggested by Scott: Skyhooks — This is my City (1976) (sorry, can’t embed)

And of course I should have thought of this obvious one: The Whitlams — Melbourne (1997):