Throughout 2021, OUTSIDELEFT's Week in Music delivered an idiosyncratic array of opinions and comments on the records that reached us, and mattered to us and some that really didn't matter to us at all. Way too many titles to list here. Instead, throughout this week a totally randomized smattering of what we called Singles reviews. A mere 50 fab tunes revisited and reordered, from A-Z by song title!
SOME OF OUR BEST FRIENDS ARE SONGS
50 Singles from 2021: Cherry-Half
Cherry Flavoured Stomach Ache
There's a much-revered musician (I'm sure he'd hate that term), from a place just outside Bristol that starts with a P.
His name is Geoff and, when he isn't releasing deliberately difficult music that distances himself as far as he can from his Mercury award-winning debut, he's slagging off the LA-based band Haim, either in interviews or on social media. Yes, Haim, as you know, the three sisters who write and perform classy pop tunes that have brilliantly biting lyrics, as shown on their last album (the award-winning and respected Women In Music 3). Yes, that Haim! who can pull off this splendid theme to forthcoming Netflix drama without breaking a sweat. Unlike Geoff who's still struggling with his difficult personal and is still writing spiteful and sexist tweets. Geoff really is a bit of twat!
After the unlikely break-out success of their last epic, John L, here’s another prog spectacular, a bit calmer this time. Apparently influenced by the Mahavishnu Orchestra, there’s also an element of Van Der Graff Generator in the confident key changes and sax noodles. I’m frightened to think I sort of enjoy them.
(Whats Your Rupture)
Rehearsal Room Rock. It’s my new genre. Triple R. There will be American radio stations and a dedicated online media platform called The Three Rs dot com. Consisting of perfectly able rock musicians who rehearse until whatever the original joy of whatever it was that they were trying to do has dissipated into their temporary friendship. Here we have the New York branch adding some semi-spoken, semi-arch hipster snootyness aimed at ordinary folks just Trying To Get By in the digital world, laid on top of bass guitar drums and the odd spot effect that doesn’t quite carry us over the WTF threshold. It’s as if Funkadelic never existed. Make it louder. Be brave. Break the miserable hold of mediocrity, release the demos, take off the masks, gurn seriously, allow the mistakes. All good advice.
Here's a tip. If your single opens with lines as clankingly wrong as
'You Take Bad News/Like You're Shooting Up Heroin' it's probably not best to make one of those 'lyric videos.
This may be the only time that I'll ever be anti-Vaccine.
This is a single from FF’s last ‘Anti-album’ Shore released last year, and, as a package with the video, could be an out-take from Watership Down, The Movie. It’s lovely, if you like the smell of a clothes conditioner on freshly laundered long pants as worn beneath rustic jeans by a poacher who has recently been tamed by a sassy schoolmarm from the big city. Pants is English for what you wear beneath your trousers, cousin.
(Big Legal Mess Records)
Tired of a life played out, fallen apart, and there's a sense of all to blame. Sad tears of a wasted life, this is what happens at the end of the road, with no more road, no money, no fuel, and no-one cares but you.
Fools Gold / Liquidator
I'm not much of a late 80s person, but with this cover of the Stone Roses' Fools Gold, Earl Natty has probably done enough to secure a glorious future on the alt-wedding live band circuit. You'll hear the essence of that. Of far more interest to me personally is the version of Harry Js Liquidator, available here for the first time. Earl Natty on the ska train. What you have here is a world class version, amped up, distorted everything, of a world class tune. Harry J is where I came in and I would encourage you to hear Even For Second Generation Suedeheads, It's Been A Long Shift - which might be an alternate universe companion piece to this. As Earl Natty say of the Fools Gold/Liquidator release, "total roughneck version." Total brilliance I hasten to add. I don't think I could love a record more if I tried.
Excuse my French, which is of course somewhere off the piss-poor scale, so, Leyla McCella is no less than astonishing right? The Haitian American cellist plays with Our Native Daughters and is on the New Orleans scene - probably getting to practice French and is renowned for her 2014 LP Vari-Colored Songs - a tribute to Langston Hughes featuring his poems, traditional Haitian folk songs and some of Leyla's own tunes. Fort Dimanche is beautiful, sparse and a must listen. I feel enriched just for listening to it 25 times this morning. Try this too (https://leylamccalla.com/video/leyla-mccalla-too-blue/)
Rufus Wainwright / Amsterdam Sinfonietta
This Gay Messiah, a great one, sounds like a major or minor chord elegy for leaving or staying. One or the other or a bit of the other and not the one thing. Gorgeous and laconically swinging, with less of the histrionics than the Rufus pretenders. You know who they are. Rufus has always, always been a superior writer and so lyrical, "He will then be reborn, From 1970's porn, Wearing tubesocks with style, And such an innocent smile." My favorite lyric to mention porn since Ron & Nancy's Blow My Horn. "I won't practice what I learnt from porn, until you say you move me like John Zorn..." Look out Ron & Nancy, John Hinckley to be released next year, Jodie Foster just won't listen. Still. Gay Messiah, pure joy to hear really. You know that Wainwright's daughter, is Leonard Cohen's granddaughter. So much showbiz. (Read all about Rufus in Outisdeleft contributor, Lake's great bio of the man, There Will Be Rainbows)
Half A Double man
Some. Unnecessary. Stops. Stops. Occasionally. Can. Be. Hooks. But. Not. In. This. Case. As it happens, all you misogynist twats who criticised guitarist Jenn Wasner’s guitar skills ten years ago, the guitar is the best thing about this track. So. There.
Main Photo: Haim Youtube screengrab
Some Of Our Best Friends Are Songs 2021 All-Chaise
Some Of Our Best Friends Are Songs 2021 Cherry-Half
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