Saturday, May 17, 2008

Only Ones

Dearest Friends, I'm back! I hope you didn't forget about me during my absence. Sigh, it has been ages...

So, where have I been? To New York and back, yes, but elsewhere as well. To my pasts (plural intended) and back. And to those of my parents. And back to my Mother's present. And to her future.

It could have all gone so badly, but it didn't. In fact, it went quite well. It wasn't easy at times, but, yes, all went quite well. Largely because my three wishes were granted: compassion, calm, and a night out or two. Actually, compassion and calm get most of the credit.

But there's much to digest. And I've only just started.

But enough about me, and onto some music! I (belatedly) draw your attention to Contrast Podcast episode 111, for which the theme was Number Ones. Now the intention was to get folks to submit their favourite chart-topping songs, which many did. However, as is usual and wonderful about CP, some contributed songs somehow related to the number one. Like Dearest JC, who gave us a song about wee. You can download the podcast here, and this is what you'd be getting:

(00:00) Althea and Donna - Uptown top ranking
Tim from The face of today
(04:44) Little Peggy March - I will follow him
ZB from So the wind won’t blow it all away
(07:43) The Chemical Brothers - Block rockin’ beats
Chris from
(14:14) Herman’s Hermits - Mrs Brown you’ve got a lovely daughter
Natalie from Mini-obs
(17:38) Joan Jett - I love rock and roll
FiL from Pogoagogo
(23:29) Kanye West - Stronger
Bob from Gimme Tinnitus
(29:38) Julie London - One for my baby
Greer from A Sweet Unrest
(35:17) Billy Bragg - She’s leaving home
(39:12) The Wannadies - Piss on you
JC from The Vinyl Villain
(42:47) Jimmy Cross - I want my baby back
Mark from Cinema Du Lyon
(46:33) The Motors - Dancing the night away
Dirk from Sexy Loser
(52:32) Pearl Jam - Once
Brian Stoos
(57:03) Foo Fighters - The Pretender
James from Appetite For Distraction
(01:02:37) José González -Remain
Eiron from The S+7 Method

Now usually I'm pretty loose with my approach to the Contrast Podcast theme, but this week I decided to restrict myself to picking a number one from the American Billboard Top 100 charts. Why? Well, because the US is where I spent my adolescence and young adulthood, and I didn't want to get all esoteric and pick some alternative chart to plunder. Besides, I felt up for a challenge. Though the pickings were slim, I was delighted and proud to put forth Joan Jett as my submission.

I briefly considered picking from the WLIR Screamer of the Week archives. 92.7 WLIR was the radio station that pretty much defined my musical tastes as a callow youth. I spent many hours with it, finger on the "pause" button of my cassette deck as I waited to pounce and record choice tunes. It was something of an oddity; a commercial outfit based in suburban Long Island, its tagline was "New Music First" and it delivered it by the bucketload. New Order, The Jam, B-52s, Love & Rockets, Dead Kennedys, Ramones, The Beat, Billy Bragg, TheSmiths, The Cure, Orange Juice, and sooo much more. It was literally a spring of lifewater for me. And every week you got to vote for the best new song of the week - the Screamer. Though the station has had a storied, twisty history since I was a listener (including a three-month format change to "jazz/chill") WLIR continues to broadcast today on 107.5 FM. But anyway, this is what you might have gotten this week instead of Joan:

Comsat Angels - Will You Stay Tonight? (buy here, but only if you have $100 and a record player)
This is just lovely pop. Very much of its era, and a departure from the Sheffield combo's early post-punkness, but still simply lovely. Screamer on 3 September, 1983

Ministry - All Day (buy here)
Though Al Jourgensen cringes in disgust these days at the memory of Ministry's synth beginnings, I loved and still do love the cool, stark, vaguely glam-goth aura of the early stuff. Mind you, I like the bone-crushing, industrial incarnation as well. Screamer on 1 September, 1984.

I also considered submitting my favourite number one from the UK Top 40 chart. And you may be surprised by what it is. The song isn't my favourite chart-topper for musical reasons, but mainly because of its context. The track was released on 24 December, 1990, when Sir Cliff "Bloody Flippin' Heck" Richard was at number one with his dreadful caterwaul of a song, "Saviour's Day." The timing was cunning; the week after Christmas is traditionally the slowest selling month for singles in the UK, which allowed the disciplined hordes of Iron Maiden fans to rush out with their pocket money and propel "Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter" straight into number one on 30 December, 1990. Who says there's no justice??

Iron Maiden - Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter (buy here)

And finally, for one fleeting moment I gave thought to submitting Olivia Newton John's "(Let's Get) Physical." As I've admitted and previously, a pubescent FiL had the hots something baaad for this songstress back in 1981. Be thankful the moment was just fleeting. Yes, yes, I know I posted it before, but I'm going to do so again, if only for the memory of my younger self.

Olivia Newton John - Physical (buy here)

These days I far prefer the working-over that The Revolting Cocks (Al "Ministry" Jourgensen's side project) gave the song in 1989. Originally it was going to be a pure cover, but after threats from Olivia's lawyers, they reinterpreted it. Imagine that, the RevCo boys cowering before ONJ. Who'da thunk it?? Again, I've posted this before, but in case you missed it:

Revolting Cocks - (Let's Get) Physical (buy here)

And finally, since we're talking about RevCo and covers, I simply adore their skanky cover of Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" So I'm going to post it and the accompanying skeeeery, skeezy video right here. Just 'cos I love you all.

It's good to be back!!

Revolting Cocks - Do Ya Think I'm Sexy? (buy here)