I found today’s choice knocking around in a cupboard; “Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars” by Fat Boy Slim.
In my mind Fat Boy Slim was the first super star DJ; making his music by re-using and mixing other works whilst adding a bit of his own music. For the few years around this album he was a massive success and also produced numerous re-mixes for others. The template for those that followed like Calvin Harris.
This album is a good example with it containing lots of collaborations. The two with Marcy Gray and really great; an interesting combination of the big beat sound and her raspy vocals. Essentially the album has that compulsive beat that you can’t help but get drawn in by; particularly when driving as it helps the miles whiz past.
Hearing this album reminded me of the great video that was shot for the single “Weapon of Choice”. It had the actor Christopher Walken dancing and flying around a hotel lobby. I think it was successful at the MTV awards.
Yesterday I spend a bit of time in the kitchen at home cooking dinner which provides a perfect opportunity to listen to something off the internet. I chose “101” by Depeche Mode.
What has been fascinating doing this blog is the experiences I’ve had when revisiting old albums. The albums have roughly fallen into one of these groups:
Some I have had no love for; just grown out of them
Some I can’t even remember why I bought them
Some have been a pleasant memory
Some I have decided need playing more often
Some have been OMG, why did I stop playing this
Safe to say this album falls into the last category. I had seriously forgotten how much I loved this album.
The album has a bit of history because I originally borrowed this from a friend and taped it. It was round about the end of university and he was going travelling around the world and left me to “mind” his CD collection and player. At the time I didn’t have a CD player and it was great getting this piece of modern technology for free. He had pretty much the complete Depeche Mode back catalogue on CD but this is the album that really struck me.
Up until that point I had still considered Depeche Mode as the clean cut guys from Essex playing their electro pop tunes on Top of The Pops; the Vince Clarke era. With the departure of Vince things changed and I suppose this album and tour was a result of that change.
Live albums can never capture the feeling of seeing a band live but sometimes they do provide a good insight into a band’s back catalogue. I think this is why I found this album so appealing. It is a whopping 20 tracks with only a couple from those early pop days; this lets it capture the dark lyrics and themes that Depeche Mode had. Or “miserable” as my wife describes Depeche Mode !!
Well winter has definitely arrived now. It was very cold out running today to “Showbiz” by Muse.
I say it was chilly today but it was really freezing, about 2 centigrade. I was going to go out first thing but the thermometer read -1 in the morning and I could see it looked icy on the footpath. I like running out in these temperatures because it’s quite invigorating with the cold air on your face so wasn’t bothered by the low temperature. But I’m always worried that I’ll slip on the ice so today I ran down near the river over country paths that weren’t slippery. However still I made a mistake and was a bit underdressed being a bit cold when out of the sun.
Unbelievably when I finished my run I found out I had set a PB for that route. Can’t believe it really as I felt I took it easy on the outward leg and only pushed a bit on the return. Still had some energy let in the tank when I got home.
Today’s music choice was an interesting one. This is the debut album from Muse but I’ve never listened to it before. Unbelievable really as I’ve got all the other Muse albums but never this one. I got it via a friend of my son who lent us his copy. Their band play lots of Muse covers although they still don’t have a singer. I keep telling him that there have been great bass players as front men in rock bands:
Geddy Lee from Rush
Lemmy from Motorhead
Roger Waters from Pink Floyd
None of these guys are great singers but all do have a good presence as a front man.
This week leading up to Christmas has been a bit mad. Tonight running I had “Touch” by Eurythmics.
Christmas has thrown up lots of nights out and concerts at school that has disrupted my usual running routine. Don’t get me wrong I love Christmas but it can get a bit mad. Now I don’t know what other runners are like but going out regular is important to me. If I miss out on a mid-week run it just feels like I’m cheating. Strange really because it’s not like I’m in training for the Olympics.
Normally it’s a squeeze fitting my running around work and travelling but it’s worth it. I usually go for a run every other day, having a rest day in the middle. But this week I did something I’ve never done and went running two days in a row. On the second day it felt great, the running just flowed. I’ve always avoided running everyday thinking that my legs would fall apart but maybe my old body can manage it.
I suppose I should say a few words about the album. It’s so well produced and sounds fantastic. They were quite unique with their sound at the time. My favourite track has to be “Who’s that girl”, the vocals are pretty good. It’s got a great opening track with “Here Comes the Rain Again”.
In my last post I said I would be covering something from the past this weekend; probably some old cassette or vinyl from Spotify. I lied; in fact I went for a début album of a more recent artist; “Torches” by Foster the People.
The main reason for the change was I wanted something to new to listen when out running this morning. It was pretty cold and needed something a bit different to the normal running tunes.
I saw this band at the Reading Festival this summer. I’d never seen them before this and had only heard their big hit “Pumped Up Kicks”. They performed pretty well but they did have the “golden timeslot”; that time when the sun is starting to set in the early evening. I always think that time is always great at an open air festival. The other fact about their performance was that they refused permission for the BBC to show in on the telly; they thought the performance wasn’t good enough quality.
Well what about the album? It was alright; couldn’t really place any of the songs back to when I saw them live. The actual album is my son’s because this is a bit too pop for me normally.
Well today is Friday and nearly the end of a very busy week; hence my lack of posts. Something of a rarely played album this morning in the car “Gran Turismo” by The Cardigans.
In my mind this was the released during the most successful period for The Cardigans. For example like many others I’ve never bought any of their other albums. From my memory “My Favourite Game” is probably quite recognisable; it certainly got a lot of air play at the time. Other tracks that catch my ear; “Hanging Around” where I like the opening guitar section.
After the album the band had a break and when they returned it was with more of a country music style. I guess these things combined so they never return to the success they had at the height of this album release.
Hopefully I’ll have some more time over the weekend to post something else; probably an album way back from the past revisited via Spotify.
Another album originally from the cassette era tonight; “Around the World in a Day” by Prince.
What can I say about Prince that has not already been said by much better placed music commentators than me? Not much. Looking over his entire back catalogue the guy is a music genius. This album came at the rise of his Parsley Park power surrounded by his The Revolution band. I say his band but on the sleeve notes of this album it states he played most of the instruments as well.
This was hot on the heels of Purple Rain. So what is interesting about this album was it was released without a single; the first single (“Raspberry Beret”) coming about month after it was released. A good indication of the power the “Purple One” had over the record label at the time. Everything went pear shaped in later years with Prince describing himself as a slave to the label.
The tracks themselves are pretty varied from the commercial pop of “Raspberry Beret” to the rambling “Temptation” containing a vocal monologue in the middle. But I find all them have the catchy hook of Prince in them. However what I love more about this album is the artwork. The cassette version had a full wrap around sleeve picture.
The artwork contains all the band members which are easy to spot. It also contains mini-pictures for each of the tracks. Some are obvious like “The Ladder” going through the middle, but some are harder to find like “Tambourine”.