The well of inspiration has run dry but a post is needed, so it's time to resort to some Standard Blog Filler. Please indulge me, therefore, as I list my current top five songs, and write a little comment about each one. Nothing funny, nothing satirical. Just a tired, slightly annoyed man's musical preferences on a Friday evening. Enjoy it, if you dare.
No Wow - The Kills
This song - indeed this whole album - makes me smile. So little music genuinely rocks, but "No Wow" does, albeit in a fairly restrained manner . What is being restrained, however, is a pretty furious-sounding guitar, while Alison Mosshart lays down some equally menacing vocals. Soon, the Kills' other member, Jamie Hince, joins Mosshart in telling us, repeatedly, "There ain't no wow, now", and I, for one, believe them.
Every Day I Love You Less and Less - Kaiser Chiefs
The Chiefs are a touch more flippant on the subject of love, their lyrical approach tending towards the direct and silly ("Everyday I love you less and less/I can't believe once you and me did sex"). You can dance to it (if you can dance - I can't); more importantly, you can sing to it. There's plenty of "ooh-oh" and "na-na-na-na" moments, and the lyrics are so simple that anybody can follow the bouncing ball.
Christmas Steps - Mogwai
Mogwai's finest ten minutes. A simple guitar line develops into a beautiful, understated "calm-before-the storm" section, which is dramatically undercut about four minutes in by an insistent bass that threatens to overwhelm the guitars. In response, the latter become louder and louder, faster and faster, and finally, the tension breaks and some incredibly satisfying hell breaks loose. Calm, however, is eventually restored. A violin floats in, allowing us to bask in its serenity, possibly while fanning ourselves with a magazine, saying things like "Oh, Mogwai, darling!" before lighting a triumphant cigarette with our burning foreheads. That's how it is at my place, anyway.
God's Away On Business - Tom Waits
If there's a better soundtrack to my general misanthropy than Tom Waits' Blood Money album, I am yet to hear it. "God's Away On Business" is one of the more jaunty tunes featured, and Tom gives it his all, employing his gruff, death metal vocal style while various horns and stringed things oompa and whine in the background. The song is even more effective if, while it's playing, you look at the album's front cover, where Mr Waits is depicted emerging from some sort of crimson mist, brandishing a deck of cards, and a facial expression suggesting nothing less than satanic possession or a severe case of hemmerhoids.
The Call of Ktulu - Metallica
The Lovecraftian title may have dated badly, but there's nothing dated about this instrumental from Ride the Lightning. Apart from its epic structure, that is. And the repetitive, precision riffing of James Hetfield. And the fretboard-molesting guitar solos. But it's still a great bit of thrash, and does what so few metal bands could do then or since: create a complex, yet genuinely engaging piece of instrumental music that is actually formally and thematically contiguous. In fact, if I had to choose one mid-eighties thrash metal instrumental named for a pulp horror story, this would be it, hands down.