I know it's a touch early, but I am unlikely to buy any more music this year and am unlikely to be bowled over by the usual competitors for Christmas Number One. Feel free to pick this up as a baton, so long as you link back to me and let me know about it.
Favourite New Album of The Year
Employment – Kaiser Chiefs
To be honest, I haven’t bought or listened to many new albums this year, but this was a very good one. Could have been improved by being an eight track album as opposed to the twelve – there were at least four really duff tracks which we could well have lived without.
The music is like a refined version of late seventies punk, with, deliciously simple hooks and riffs, but the mixing is refined. Most of it is high-octane with very funky use of some synths which sound like a lovely old Juno (in a good way).
They write about all kinds of daft stuff with relentless attention to rhythm and rhyme, but the daftness is intelligently done, in so far that they never actually annoy you and very often amuse. And they put the word pneumothorax in there, how cool is that?
By far the best newish album I bought this year was The Final Straw by Snow Patrol, but that was realeased last year and I am merely slow on the uptake. Every time I listen to it, I am baffled that I seem to be the only person on Earth who feels this is one of The Great Albums, the like of Automatic for the People, Led Zeppelin IV or Electric Ladyland. It rocks, I tell you! It’s bloody brilliant!
Favourite Album You Bought This Year
Astral Weeks – Van Morrison
Sigh. To say that I have fallen in love with the music of Van Morrison this year is not the cliché it sounds. I love the man’s voice, I love his way with words, the music effects me. It has been like having an entirely uncomplicated love affair in the comfort of my own home.
I suppose you know something is really good when you can't really put any of it into words. I made several attempts at this but I can't really describe his music or say what he writes about or anything. Anyone who has ears needs to possess this album.
Any other synasthesiacs out there who 'feel' music really need to acquaint themselves with Van Morrison . It is, in moments, better than Rodrigo. In the unlikely event that such person reads this, they will know what I mean. My apologies to everyone else.
Favourite New Song
Bloody Mother Fucking Arsehole – Martha Wainwright
I must say I am extremely taken by Martha Wainwright’s voice and would probably buy an album of her singing nursery rhymes. I cannot say, on the strength of this one song (the album is on my wish-list), that I respect her as a talented lyricist – it’s stream of consciousness stuff and far more passion than substance, but the magic is all in the delivery.
Marmite Boy, friend of the stars and all round lucky sod, actually kissed her! With tongues! Well, perhaps I exaggerate a tad.
Best-Loved Song For This Year
According to my computer, I have listened to All Along The Watchtower by the Jimi Hendrix Experinece more than any other single song this year. I don’t know whether this is anything to be ashamed of. I was really rather surprised that it happened to be this song.
All Along The Watcher Tower is a terribly exciting piece of music which demonstrates the genius of Mr Hendrix and Co in just four minutes. It is a bit like aural caffeine really, I guess that's how I've come to listen to it so often.
I was slightly embarrassed that All Along The Watchtower by Bob Dylan was number three – I have obviously had a bit of an obsession with that song in general. I did download All Along The Watchtower by Paul Wellar but it was extremely dull.
Most Hated Song For This Year.
I helped Hal set up an iPod for his little girl, which required downloading McFly and Busted onto my iTunes. I haven’t worked out how to obliterate the stuff from my computer and if I am complacent, I am occasionally subjected to one of these tracks for the short period before I am able to act on it. McFly’s Broccoli is probably not the worst offender, but perhaps typical of the genre.
The opening verse goes as follows
Everything was going just the way I planned
The broccoli was done!
She doesn’t know I’m a virgin in the kitchen
Cause it’s normally my mum!
But then she called me
And that’s when
She said to me [this line is sung with some passion – his heart is breaking]
She wasn’t coming round for tea
Now I have a clean mind but naturally realise this is full of blatantly genital and indeed oedipal references, coming round for tea being a euphemism for The Sexual Act, but I can’t for the life of me work out what the broccoli symbolises. Clearly it is a symbol – it is hardly a commonplace constituent of any romantic meal and it would never be prepared before the guest arrived. But broccoli? What is that?!
Basically it’s filthy muck and if I had a daughter I would ritually burn any McFly albums I found tucked under her bed, forcing her instead to listen to something wholesome, those nice Manic Street Preachers for example, or maybe The Cure. Something you can dance to.