Oh Aggie, your beating heart was a carriage made of gold How the arithmetic of this guitar melts your heart is beyond me And when I say beyond me, I mean beyond me Love ya? I barely know you, it goes to show Who really knows what love is? The branches, the breeze, the roiling seas None of it seems worth mentioning Though I’m in the process of figuring it out Even if it’s elementary A scrapyard angel, wings of brass Ash, a river called trash And speaking of lifelike, this is what life’s like You thread the needle, then the needle runs dry You thread the needle, then the needle runs dry “Inward Crackle,” says the fink to himself Oh well, I wasn’t taught how to Go off like a, go off like a, go off like a, go off like a Go off like a hydrogen bomb But I do radiate a certain glow It flutters and fades, a Ferris wheel on the run from the snow You have to look at it from all angles Says the cubist judge from cubist jail The sky glows, the heat is unbearable Parrot weather My decision is final, a crazy game I traded in moonlight for the morning dew I know dusk when I see one I know rust when I see it You come out swinging, but you go down swinging too You pay good money for a million dollar view Flipping the pages of Chatelaine The rude empiricism of every troubled loser Quote, unquote, unquote A moment alone please A moment alone please A moment alone please With this, with this With this rhapsody With this rhapsody Vital information from where I’m standing Low-born Madonna With her typewriters in the rain Clacking their misfortunes, speech, speech A figure of light’s trapped inside your kimono Absent friends, where’d you go? And while we’re on the subject of psychotic passwords Honing in on nothing Everywhere Rome goes Everybody wants her Ah fuck, I feel like a discovery someone once saw On a clear day Dump him
A friend and I are both similarly shameless man boys, and are equally shameless enough in our arrested emotional and intellectual development to get together once every week to watch old wrestling PPV events from the early 00s, 90s, 80s and – if we’re feeling especially fruity and devil may care in our appreciation of video quality – even the 1970s. After each event – some amazing; some unintentionally hilarious; many, many, many absolutely fucking awful – we look back at the evening’s entertainment, give each match a star rating, hand out our individual awards. And read out the Death List. The Death List is the number of wrestlers and personalities we’d witnessed perform that night at an event forty, thirty. twenty or even just ten years ago who were now no longer with us.
It’s unquestionably a morbid joke, one that never allows us to forget the insanely short expected lifespan of professional wrestlers, particularly those from the steroids n’ cocaine heydays of the so called Golden Era, from the 80s to early 90s. Despite our flippancy, it’s not a completely disrespectful exercise, it’s rarely less than depressing to note how many great talents were lost to us early by being sucked into such a thoughtless and treacherous business. It never allows us to forget that people are killing themselves and being killed just in order to provide us with our shits and giggles. Considering that I’ve only been writing these lists since 2007, and in an era when musicians’ and pop artists’ lifespan is considerably longer than your average professional wrestler, it’s not a trope I’d ever imagined repeating for my Necessary Evil end of year countdown.
They came number one hundred and twelfth in 2016?! Sorry, I’ve just made myself feel a little ill by reminding myself of how many fucking albums I used to include on this dumb year end list that nobody reads. I did one hundred and seventeen albums in total that year, in one of the greatest years for music of the last two decades at least, so The Joys were unfortunately near the bottom of the pile with easily their weakest album. Dead bottom was Damian Lazarus who – and you’ll like this – actually slagged me off on Twitter because of the review!! I mean, fuck me, I know these days I am The Most Trusted Voice in Music™, but back then I think I had about 300 views in total across the whole year!! I had only just started my current Twitter account and had nine followers!! Damian Lazarus, you absolute fucking muppet.
I’m allowed to still have Kings of Leon, right? You people will still consent to this? This is still OK, yeah? Nobody’s feeling mistreated in any way? I don’t want this to be one of those things where I was almost sure you were OK to me playing with my gross old man testicles while you watched holding back tears.
Remember that Simply Red song Holding Back the Tears? Well that’s what it was about. Mick Hucknall was so ahead of his time. He was trying to teach us, why did we refuse to learn? What’s that? It was actually called Holding Back the Years?? Well, shucks… Ah well, I’ve written it now.
I’ve done well, haven’t I? I’ve, like, mostly irradiated all the bullshit white guy rock that was honestly the entirety of all music I consumed before the age of about 19. I like to think that my end of year lists, while being a no way near exhaustive list of new music, is at least a forward thinking and progressive exercise in highlighting new and exciting progressions in style and presentation and in many different (and often new) genres. What’s your favourite Turmeric Trancotone album of 2021? Gotta be #26, right?
Firstly, let’s just fuck the room’s elephant in the ass and admit that there is really no deep logical point in this reissue. ‘Gold Against the Soul’ may have been released on June 21st, but that release came in 1993, and I don’t think there is a wider habit among the music industry for rereleasing albums on their 27th anniversary. This is a legitimate and gorgeously packaged celebration, yes, but the intentions of its release are simply financial- the band knows that they still have a pathetic, rabid and obsessive fanbase, who will jump at the chance to buy a lavishly packaged and expanded edition of one of the band’s less well regarded albums. Yes, including me. But let’s just stop and look at the optics here- here are the most viewed pages on the Necessary Evil blog this year:
(*fuck, I am so old. Like, properly, well-adjusted and responsible adults were born after this album was released. Your bossat work was born after ‘Gold Against the Soul’ was released! Your weird uncle Freddy’s girlfriend was born after this album was released, and she’s the oldest girlfriend he’s has since his 1998 divorce!)
This can mean only one thing: time to pander to all those pathetic Manics fans again!
Today we embark on strictly a scouting mission. My profile is, yes, fucking mindblowingly good, but it’s merely an unfinished husk at the moment and unlikely to truly emotionally manipulate any woman into sending me pictures of their boobs. That is, after all, all this online ‘Zero Hour Dating’ is really about. Today, we’re just looking at the options, seeing what kind of bear bating meat market the crust of the Earth has split open to reveal. I’m not physically rating these people- and you’re certainly not seeing pictures, you disgusting leches- everyone is beautiful, and not everyone possesses the psychological wherewithal to paint half their face blue. We’re all about people’s personal bio. And in that case it really doesn’t turn out that everyone is beautiful at all. In fact, many people are freaking munters.
So, into the depths we dive, I open up Bumble and…
Phew, that last entry was a bit of a mess, wasn’t it? Barely mentioned the (excellent) song and just flew off into TMI land. It won’t be the last time that happens, I’ll often have something to get off my chest that I feel can’t wait until December, but I always feel that there has to be some overarching ‘point’ to each entry and this series is literally the only outlet I have for that. At least until I get around to starting ‘Sing of the Thrill’ [TITLE TO BE CONFIRMED], my long promised/threatened King of the Hill episode by episode retrospective that’s currently the second most eagerly anticipated literary operation behind George RRRRRR Martin’s ‘No, No, No, This is What Was Supposed to Happen!’. To make up for Entry #4, this time around I’m actually just going to talk about one of the greatest songs ever for a thousand words or so, all tangents and flights of fancy will be kept to an absolute minimum, and if anything I’ll be undersharing, yeah? We cool? We cool.
This post contains a lot of information cribbed from Simon Reynolds’s fantastic Pitchfork article from last year. I might call him a ‘contributor’, but the fact is that he’s very likely to sue me for royalties once the money starts rolling in.
You might not believe this- considering it sounds so much like a slogan that would have been scrawled over the shirt of an awkward looking Sean Moore in 1991*- but the Manic Street Preachers haven’t actually released an album (or even song) called ‘resistance is futile’ before!
(*some classic Manic Street Preachers t-shirt slogans from the early 90s:
You’re the Spitting Image of Your Father When You Make That Face!
Mao That’s What Zedong Music!
Rick and Morty Reference That I Honestly Believe Makes Me Smarter Than You! Seriously, What The Fuck Is Up With That Shit?! It Makes Me Want To Hate the Show Because Its Fans Are Such Cunts!
USSR! Fuck Yeah!
OK, we’re done here…)
‘Resistance is Futile’ is absolutely a treading water, ticking boxes, Manic Street Preachers album. And that’s absolutely fine, not just because the absolute riproaring success of ‘Futurology‘ means the band are allowed to put their feet up for an album or two (you Millennials don’t appreciate how much doing something decent really takes it out of you at a certain age), but also because the lack of talking points means it’s given me a chance to finally rate all the Manics albums!!
I’ve explained on this blog before how music journalism is absolute bollocks. A person’s response to music is a primal and unconscious reaction that simply can’t be described in words. Because of this paradox 99% of music reviews are the writer vainly attempting to explain why he or she likes or hates a song and twisting themselves into utter bollocks. You like a song because it sparks an unnamed fuse in your belly and twists your stomach in a knot*. You like a song because it reminds you of a time you were happier. You like a song because it reminds you of someone you love. You like a song because it soundtracked the sex scene in Trainspotting. You like a song because you really want to fuck the singer. You like a song because you did fuck the singer. All music journalism assumes an objective truth that can never be, and supposes there is any use in a larger knowledge of context. Just because you’ve religiously listened to all of Avril Lavigne’s records in the past doesn’t make your opinion on Hello Kitty any more valid. No matter the circumstances, no matter the knowledge, no matter the context, you can never force yourself to either like or hate a song. These things are primeval and undefinable.
(*Evidently, reactions to music are primarily based in the digestive organs)
Music journalism could never hope to describe- or even comprehend- that dizzy and nauseous feeling you get when you fall in love with a song. This series isn’t a ‘review’ of the greatest songs ever, it’s simply aiming to be a practically collated list of all the songs that electrify your innards.