All entries for Friday 01 October 2004

October 01, 2004

Top Ten Albums (Part 3)

(What's The Story) Morning Glory?
Seven: Mid-nineties Britain was brilliant. Classic British comedy such as Only Fools And Horses was still going, England sang Three Lions as Euro 96 colourfully reached a tearful climax and Oasis revived the pure rock 'n' roll tradition of the Beatles. After their intensely rockable debut Definitely Maybe, WTSMG became the standard bearer for nineties Britpop. Packed full of anthems, including the classy trio of 'Don't Look Back In Anger', 'Wonderwall' and 'Champagne Supernova', Noel Gallagher's melodies sweep listeners away. The stylish 'Cast No Shadow' and the light-hearted 'She's Electric' give this album pure consistency.

And who said Oasis weren't innovators? This is the only album in this top ten to have not one but two tracks without a title. Imagine that. Two untitled tracks. Unthinkable before Oasis. In truth, much of Oasis' game was borrowed, but borrowed from the best, and had that refreshingly British Britpop feel about it. This album is not only great for what it is but also for what it represented. If only Britpop lived forever.

Eight: The only non-British album on this list, though REM's Automatic for The People arguably should be here, the American rock act provided the type of album that defined its genre. The lyrics and moods on this album range from irresistibly catchy pop/rock such as 'Here Comes Your Man' to surreal madness like 'Debaser.' When this range is brought together, we get the ultimate Pixies song, 'Wave Of Mutilation,' a singularily captivating tribute to driving a car into the ocean. Francis Black takes a break from changing his name to move into new lyrical territory with his slightly barbed environmental masterpiece 'Monkey Gone To Heaven.' Mixed in with references to religion, dementia and plain noise, Doolittle is both pure rock fun and set apart from the crowd.

Nine: Refer to the above for tribute to Britpop. Parklife's title track was perhaps the Britpop anthem, closely trailed by Live Forever. The lyrics better Oasis and no listener can ever forget the numerous classic lines on this CD but giving examples would involve reciting the whole of 'Parklife.' That's not to say the album is a one trick pony with Girls & Boys, End Of A Century and Tracy Jacks also embodying the Britpop ideal, while songs such as 'This Is A Low' show us the arty side of Blur. Damon Albarn sprinkles his social commentary about but, in short, "It's got nothing to do with your vorsprungdurchtechnik, you know."

Different Class
Ten: Different Class is essentially about two things – Jarvis Cocker's love life and working class dissatifaction set to spiky, instantly catchy melodies. When the two are combined, we get the hilarious 'Common People,' another Britpop classic, about a rich girl slumming in down with our narrator. "I took her to a supermarket, I don't know why but I had to start it somewhere." 'Disco 2000' and 'Sorted for Es and Wizz' espouse quality while 'Misshapes' should go down as the best working-class protest song since The Clash. "Mis-shapes, mistakes, misfits, we'd like to go to town but we can't risk it/Oh 'cause they just want to keep us out/You could end up with a smash in the mouth just for standing out

Top Ten Albums (Part 2)

OK Computer

Four: There is absolutely no point trying to read into Thom Yorke’s usually impenetrable lyrics. The music talks. Jonny Greenwood’s often screeching, desperate guitar and Yorke’s sweet and vulnerable yet disdaining voice turn Radiohead’s third effort into a classic. With more textures than your average patchwork quilt, OK Computer retains its guitar rock feel and enjoys singalong moments like “her Hitler hairdo is making me feel ill” on the anthemic Karma Police. Paranoid Android is a varied, desperate lament, demanding “come on, rain down on me.”

The Smiths
*Meat Is Murder*
Five: The pseudo-polished production of the Smiths’ second album serves to illustrate the soul-filled beauty of Morrissey’s voice. Marr’s guitar is up to his brilliantly high standards leaving many listeners questioning whether it was even possible to compose and play the intro to ‘How Soon Is Now?,’ the sweeping near-seven minute epic jammed into the middle of the cd release of the album, with its classic lyric “there’s a club if you’d like to go, you could meet somebody who really loves you, so you go and you stand on your own and you leave on your own and you go home and you cry and you want to die.” .

The song fits in nicely after the melancholy ‘That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore’ which is Morrissey’s stinging riposte to the pesky journalists who suggested his self-pitying lyrics are simulated – “Time’s tide will smother you/And I will too/When you laugh about people who feel so very lonely/Their only desire is to die.” Touching. But, as always, while the misery isn’t fake, there’s much more to the Smiths. Rusholme Ruffians and Nowhere Fast are somewhat rockable with lyrical gems not far away like “And when I’m lying in my bed I think about life/And I think about death/And neither one particularly appeals to me.” Every song, from the rejection in ‘What She Said’ to the over-the-top ‘Barbarism Begins At Home,’ tells a story. The title track is also rather excessive and, in a rare failure, fails to get its point across. Nevertheless, Meat Is Murder sees the Smiths raw and unvarnished and exposes their talent magnificently.

Joy Divison
*Unknown Pleasures*
Six: Joy Division started off as an average punk band named Warsaw, then were castigated for alleged Nazi sympathies. Those pesky journalists again. Unknown Pleasures showed they had developed into something special. The music from Hook, Morris and Sumner lurches from a terrifying feel of impending catastrophe to edgy rocky lines, often underscored by the forbidding keyboard. Melodies turn to silence. Rhythms turn to noise. Coupled with Ian Curtis’ despairing lyrics – “where will it end?” repeated over and over for instance – Unknown Pleasures can be truly scary at times. This was how music could be special. Dark. Twenty-four years later the Darkness came and gave music a bad name.

Maybe Ian Curtis had a vision of the future when he committed sucide at the tender age of 24. In fact, his death is attributed to a growing frustration with fans turning up to his gigs to watch his epileptic fits rather than his brilliant performances. “I’ve been waiting for a guide to come and take me by the hand,” as the opening track, Disorder, says. Curtis offers a sample of his agony in the insightful ‘She’s Lost Control.’

October 2004

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Who Am I?

I am a 23-year-old Economics, Politics and International Studies student at the University of Warwick, born and bred in Sunderbans, where I studied at Mount Hermon for several months.


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