Best tunes of 2001: #24 Gorillaz “Clint Eastwood”

In or about a month ago, I posted some other words on Gorillaz and one of the few other songs of theirs that I liked, “On melancholy hill” (#13 on my Best of 2010 list). In that same post, I made mention of this track, which also happened to be my first taste of what the virtual hip hop fusion band led by Blur frontman Damon Albarn was going to be offering.

“Clint Eastwood” was the first single released off Gorillaz’s self-titled, debut album. The name of the song appears nowhere in its lyrics, nor does it seem at first glance, relevant to its themes. I recently learned, though, that it was so named due to the similarity of the song’s melody to that of the theme song for the film, “The good, the bad, and the ugly”. I never picked up on that myself but now that I know it’s there, it changes things a bit for me, and I can’t seem to un-hear it. I always used to feel that the drum machine rhythm and keyboard line, as well as the synthesized strings, evoked the image of a travelling midway circus, a dark and haunted one, at that. I loved Albarn’s sung, ear worm chorus and its interplay with Del the Funky Homosapien’s rapped verses. The whole thing had an eerie but laidback groove that you didn’t want to try too hard to escape, no matter how unsettling it was.

The song will always remind me of one of the few social evenings my wife and I enjoyed shortly after relocating from Toronto to Ottawa. I had met a couple of people at the new call centre job I had started at the end of August, found myself wandering down for coffee at the same time as them during breaks, and by October, Candace, Jeff, and I were making plans to go out for drinks with our respective boyfriends and girlfriends. The six of us met at the Blue Cactus down in the Byward Market on a Saturday night and we had a blast. Even to this day, my wife Victoria looks back fondly on that evening and marvels at how easily we hit it off. The group of us would go out a few more times together after that but save for a particularly fun New Year’s gathering at our place, we never really replicated the magic of that night.

And at some point during the evening, “Clint Eastwood” was played in the Blue Cactus and even as deeply engaged in hilarious conversation as we were, my subconscious recognized the track and my head started bopping. I think it was Candace who noticed and asked who it was that was playing. I explained and we all sat back and soaked in the song for a few moments before continuing with the laughter. It wasn’t the first time I had heard the song, but perhaps the first time from someone else’s speakers and in a whole other environment and I saw it in a whole other light.

But enough blathering. Enjoy the tune.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2001 list, click here.

Vinyl love: Of Monsters And Men “My head is an animal”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Of Monsters And Men
Album Title: My head is an animal
Year released: 2011 (2012 in North America)
Details: Pink vinyl, 2 x LP, Gatefold

The skinny: The Icelandic indie pop/indie folk sextet scored a smash hit with this, their debut album, mostly on the back of the monstrous single, “Little talks” (see below). Their big sound, based on grand instrumentation and gang vocals, is infectious stuff and album is sold from side to side to side to side.

Standout track: “Little talks”

Best albums of 2017: #4 Waxahatchee “Out in the storm”

I ran into a friend of mine at the O-Train station leaving work back in July, right around the time “Out in the storm” was released. We don’t see each other as often as we used to but when we do, we often share thoughts on the music to which we’ve been listening. I had been on quite an Allison Crutchfield kick at the time so I raved about her debut album, “Tourist in this town” (see album #8 in my “Honourable mentions” post). He then countered, asking what I thought about the new Waxahatchee album, and given that I had only superficially listened to it, boldly proclaimed that I might actually prefer the other sister’s work this time around. Mike being Mike, he just levelled me a withering sneer and told me to listen to it again.

Well, I did. And he was right. Though I still find “Tourist in this town” an excellent debut, “Out in the storm” is a phenomenal album, leaping well ahead of anything else Katie Crutchfield has done under her Waxahatchee moniker.

I got into her music first with her last record, her third, “Ivy Tripp”, which was a poppier affair, happily glorying in her hurt and aimlessness, like it was a badge to be proudly worn. “Out in the storm” is a louder affair than its predecessor. It’s even more emotional, honest, and no holds barred, like she realized she wasn’t as okay with her breakup as she thought she was. So like Allison’s, Katie’s is a breakup album but she’s had more time to stew in it and ruminate on it and her lyrics are incredibly pointed and poignant. There’s a lot of hurt on the ten songs but it’s a powerful hurt, not self-pitying or loathing, taking as much of the responsibility for everything that happened as the other party. Her storm is one that we’ve all encountered and found ourselves in at one point in our lives.

And it’s a lot to take in on one listen, which is likely why it didn’t grab me as quickly as her other work. (It’s not an excuse, Mike, you were right.) And it’s also why I recommend listening to it a few times before passing your own judgement. You can start with my three picks for you below.


“Sparks fly”: A heavy wash of synths and an acoustic guitar strum at the outset suggest something dainty and delicate but Crutchfield comes in with her vocals, wiping all that away and you realize that ‘dainty’ is not what you wanted anyway. “See myself clearly for the first time since I met you on a foggy night. A disaster, dignified.”

“Recite remorse”: Feels like a song that Sinéad O’Connor might have sung on her first or second albums, vocals at the forefront of music hiding behind a curtain of stars in the sky. “Felt the sun on my face. It just felt like a rerun holding everything in place.”

“Silver”: Yes, I like the rockers on the album too. This one, from which the album draws its name, stops short of droning but certainly has that edge. “The kiss on my lips starts to feel unfamiliar. A part of me rots. My skin all turns silver.” Beautifully rendered.


If you missed album number five on this Top Five list, check it out here. Otherwise, stay tuned for the next installment next Friday.