My Life in Albums (part 2 97-06)

You want an intro? You got that in part one! Let’s get down to the dirty, sticky and dangerously unhygienic business:

1997

This was an important year for me, this was when shit got real. Yeah, Labour won the election, which I was aware I was supposed to celebrate but not yet conscious enough to know exactly why, just that ‘our team won*. Princess Diana died, inspiring a nationwide reaction that even 13 year old Alex Palmer recognised as being a bit fucking much**. All that was meaningless background noise though, as most importantly 1997 was the year that I became really switched on to new music. Before this point, most of the albums I’ve listed would have been discovered by me later and posthumously lusted after in the kind of nostalgic necrophilia that I would later grow to despise. Yeah, sorry if you’ve already imagined me as an incredibly cool seven year old bopping his head to Soon by My Bloody Valentine. From this point on, these important albums in my life and personal development were pretty much all discovered as contemporaries. Seriously though, ‘It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah’ was the first CD that I ever owned. Yeah. I’m that cool/weird.

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“Dad, this is why you’re only allowed to see me one weekend every other month…”

Continue reading “My Life in Albums (part 2 97-06)”

Nah Nah Nah, Na-Nah Nah, Na-na-na-nah (Ethan Frome)

‘Masterpiece of Catastrophic Love’?

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I forgot how to read quite a long time ago.

I mean, sure, I’m not illiterate, per se: I can both read and write more than a hundred words. I can even read words like ‘perpendicular’ and ‘nidificate’ and ‘clitoris’, words that I’ve long forgotten the meaning of. If pushed, I could even read a word like ‘kernostrumaphile’, which I just made up but you just know means something filthy, don’t you?

I can read the first two and perhaps the last two paragraphs of a match report, but only if my team won. I can read entire top 100 lists of things I barely acknowledge the existence of (‘The Top 100 Ways You Can Just TELL Someone’s From Chorlton!!!!!!!!!’), but all I really do is glance at the name next to the number then quickly click onto the next page, only occasionally pausing to garner the writer’s exact reason for seriously suggesting that  Bradley Wright-Philips was the seventh best James Bond, before realising how little I care before the end of the first sentence. I read news headlines, and wait to see how John Oliver tells me how to react to them. I look at my Twitter feed, but as I absentmindedly scroll down my feed looking for any updates on the next Let’s Eat Grandma album very rarely actually read it, unless there’s a rather enticing photo of an octopus playing Dark Souls 2 that I’m keen to place in the correct context.

OK, so I’m overexaggerating slightly: if you read this blog you will often be delighted- some would say sexually enticed- by my frequent and ingenious referrals to clever articles and smarty pants think pieces, because quoting clever people is way easier than being clever yourself (or so I’m told. You might want to quote that last line in your next blog post). I do actually read quite a lot, compared to, say, a walrus or a Christian (who read one freaking book, which, despite claims to the contrary, really isn’t that good at all. Christians aren’t much better either*), but all I read is non-fiction. I can only bring myself to move my eyes across words and translate the seemingly abstract shapes into coherent images in my mind if I’m satisfied that I’m learning something. And not just ‘something’: I’ll likely tune out of a book if it’s been longer than three or four paragraphs without a good healthy factpie that I can serve up at my next dinner party.

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Eugh, see that green under my eyes? What is that? Cancer?

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Stats Off To You, Sir 2017

The Only Reason I Do This Fucking List

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Yaaaay!! A statistical breakdown of 2017’s albums!! Suddenly, all those wasted evenings desperately bashing out 1000 words of utter shite on Muna or something finally comes to fruition!! I get to do a mathematical breakdown of the findings!! Kinda get tired reading more than 100 words but enjoy looking at pretty pictures? Yeah, me too…

This post is just for you!!

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(number 3)

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8 LCD Soundsystem: american dream

LCD Go Down Cistern

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…is what I’d call this piece if the album was rubbish. Honestly, I’ve been waiting for ages to use that pun.

Down the toilet, see? Like crap. Because the album’s crap. Utter faecal matter.

Unfortunately, LCD are yet to afford me an opportunity to use it, and I’m really starting to think they might not ever. They are an irritatingly consistent band.

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12 The Magnetic Fields: 50 Song Memoir

Stephin Merrit’s Life, Ranked

(Wait, is it with an ‘i’?? I have been misspelling him my all life…)

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The best Magnetic Fields albums always come with a good, solid gimmick, don’t they?

We all know (and love. If you don’t love it we can never be friends. Or even sexual partners. Unless you have, like, really nice tits) ’69 Love Songs’, but there was also the brilliant ‘i’ (where every song began with said letter); the less brilliant ‘Distortion’ (where every song was layered with Jesus and Mary Chain levels of interference); ‘Love Gas from the Digestive Tract’ (which featured Stephin Merrit burping after every line); ‘Hank and Peggy’ (in which all 259 tracks were based on a separate ‘King of the Hill’ episode, which was a brilliant way of honouring one of the most underrated TV shows of all time which I’m totally going to steal!); and ‘Fabio’s Groove Ride’ (the tale of Fabio killing a goose while on a rollercoaster. No, I will never stop referencing that incident! It happened on this very day in 1999, have some fucking respect).

[I started this ‘review’ yesterday, so it’s now exactly 19 years and one day since it happened]

’50 Song Memoir’ is what it says on the tin, with each of it songs referring to a different year in Merrit’s life. Yes, there’s 50 songs, because Stephin Merrit always prefers to go absolutely gall bladder out when he’s got a gimmick he really likes.

It’s not as good as ’69 Love Songs’, because of course it isn’t as good as the best album ever with a number in its title, but it’s still an astonishingly strong collection. The highs are no way near the heights of ’69…’,

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but a far greater percentage of its songs are worthwhile: there are no piss-taking throwaways like Punk Love or Experimental Music Love and far less contrived arch jokes such as Love is Like Jazz. I might even argue that there are more great songs on ’50…’ than they are on ’69…’, but there’s nothing here anywhere near the sheer majesty of Busby Berkeley Dreams or The Book of Love or All My Little Words or The Death of Ferdinand de Saussure or I Don’t Want to Get Over You or I Shatter or…

[continues for several minutes]

I once had the brilliant idea of, instead of attempting a full Necessary Evil 2017 countdown of albums that I’ve barely lived with for three or four months, why not just have a top 50 of the songs on ’50 Song Memoir’, going into detail on all the topics and emotions brought up!? Pretty awesome, yeah?!

Unfortunately, I got that brilliant idea after I’d already started this stupid fucking list. I mean, I’m still going to do it, it just won’t be as good. Hope you’re all fine with that.

Continue reading “12 The Magnetic Fields: 50 Song Memoir”