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Randomness Tunes

“Sit down”

“I’ll sing myself to sleep
A song from the darkest hour”

It’s been a few weeks now since I’ve posted to these pages. And this is not like the last time I took a break from posting back in July, when I decided I needed a break and took a planned vacation. No, this break wasn’t planned at all. It just happened. The words weren’t coming so I didn’t force them.

Much like 2020, the year 2021 has been a hard one for me and I’m sure it’s been the same for many of you. It’s not just the pandemic though, there’s a lot of things, just as there always seem to be, but now they are exacerbated by our collective current situation. Thankfully, music has been a blessing through all of this. That’s the truth. And the blogging about music through all of this has also been a gift, but at the same time, it’s also been a hefty weight. And in stepping back from it for the second time this year, I’ve asked myself a number of times if I should continue on or simply pack it in.

“If I hadn’t seen such riches
I could live with being poor”

The answer came to me while spinning vinyl on the eve of my birthday this past weekend and one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite bands came up. Singing along to these words, as I have so many times, I decided that there’s no way I should pack this in. There’s still so much music to write about, and gush over, and over and over, if necessary. But I also decided that I don’t want to continue on in the same way. I don’t want this to be a weight. I don’t want to be posting words just because I feel obliged to do so.

So instead, I am going to post words when it feels right to do so. The posts may come less on a rigid schedule and less frequently, but hopefully, they will be even more worthy of your time and attention. I have a couple pieces in the pipe that should see the light of day soon but in the meantime, let’s have another listen to this great number that topped my list of tunes for 1991.

Yeah, sing it with me…

“Those who feel the breath of sadness
Sit down next to me
Those who find they’re touched by madness
Sit down next to me
Those who find themselves ridiculous
Sit down next to me”

Categories
Tunes

Best tunes of 2002: #1 Doves “There goes the fear”

<< #2

If you’ve been following along, you would note that Dove’s “There goes the fear” marks the third appearance* on this list of my favourite tunes of 2002, all songs from the band’s sophomore album, “The last broadcast”. So yeah, if I ever get around to counting down my favourite albums from that year, I don’t think anyone will be surprised to see this album atop the list. I haven’t been at all secretive of my love for this band and this album. In fact, I have definitely mentioned that the discovery of this very album pulled me out of a rut that I had somehow fallen into with music and it got me back on the road to discovery and exploration.

On an album full of near perfection for me, “There goes the fear” stands out, loud and clear, and is without a doubt, my favourite track by the band. Indeed, when I counted down my top five favourites by Doves just over a year ago, this near seven minutes of heaven came in at number one there too. The track was released as the album’s first single and was deleted on the very same day, a stunt which might have cost the band plenty of sales, but it doesn’t sound like they regret it any. The trio of Jimi Goodwin and the Williams brothers, Andy and Jez, continue to perform this track live with regularity and with the same passion that you would hope would be there when listening to the studio-recorded version at home. Of course, it riffs on the band’s preferred theme of living life bravely and fully, without regrets and fear.

“Think of me when you’re coming down
But don’t look back when leaving town”

It starts like a wound up music box, topsy and turvy, and slightly off kilter, followed by a slow build in speed and thrust. It’s got a racing bass line, and a thumping heart beat, though easy enough through the first verse. Once it hits its chorus, the song erupts in victory, heart-skipping drum beat flourishes, and guitar explosions. Jimi Goodwin croons his way through, being gentle and soothing and urging, letting the music build with excitement and energy.

And you can feel it all: eyes closed, body humming, everything a blur, light trails and lasers, cars racing into the night, fireworks exploding, a million gleeful souls expounding everything, knowing full well they have to live fully in this moment, pure life, anywhere and everywhere.

Amen.

*”Caught by the river” appeared at number seventeen and “Pounding” more recently appeared at number five.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2002 list, click here.

Categories
Tunes

Best tunes of 2002: #5 Doves “Pounding”

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I almost don’t want to share that this song has already appeared on these pages when I counted down my top five Doves tunes back in January 2019. If you go back to read that post, it might spoil the appearance of another song further up this list. However, it’s true, “Pounding” was definitely part of my list of five favourites when I counted those down. At the time of writing that, we didn’t know for sure what this reunion would bring and whether there was any new material forthcoming. Of course, with the benefit of hindsight, we now know that the reunion shows that were only just announced were a huge success and so were the reissues of their first three records and then, 2020 saw them release their first new album in more than a decade, which wound up atop my favourite albums list for the year.

“The last broadcast” is still likely my favourite album by Doves. I wrote about my discovery of it and the group that performed it when I wrote about “Caught by the River” (which appeared at #17) for this very same series. It was Doves’ second album and landed right at the top of UK’s album charts upon release, was a hit with consumers and critics alike, garnering them their second Mercury prize nomination. It is a gorgeous album, calling to mind the hey day of Manchester acid house, as well as the dream pop movement of the same period. It is textured and danceable stuff, perfect for both zoning out and jumping around like crazed animal in a field of likeminded festival goers.

“Pounding” was the second single to be released from the album and as I’ve said before, it really lives up to its name. Many of Dove’s songs are built, layer upon layer, through the course of their duration and this one is no different, which is quite an accomplishment given that its starting point feels high up in stratosphere. Andy Williams’ drumming is inescapable, hammering down at a torrid pace on his snares and toms and you swear you can feel and hear sparkling confetti exploding from them with each hit. The guitars and bass lines race along with the rhythm and effects are thrown in to emulate the sounds of cars roaring past. This is very effective in making you forget yourself when played on your car stereo and your foot on the gas pedal seems to get heavier and heavier. Then, when you think the song can’t get any more uplifting, Jez Williams takes over at the bridge and just wails away at his guitar strings, a jangly explosion that feels ripped from The Edge’s playbook.

“Pounding” is just an injection of pure joy. It’s a track for picking you up when you’re down. A push in the right direction. A word of encouragement to enjoy your life, not to waste this chance we’ve been given.

“Seize the time
Cause it’s now or never, baby“

Beautiful.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2002 list, click here.