The glassy A-list, ideal for falling into a swoon and staring blankly out the window, vaguely wondering what you’re going to do later. Or tomorrow. Or next year. Or not. Featuring a fair bit of freakery, a few pithy little ditties, and instrumental bits that go on a bit and might cause inattentive listeners to glaze over. Which is fine. Glaze all you like. Staring out the window is no test.
Aphex Twin – Windowlicker
Richard D James is the business, is he not? We begin with the insecticidal detail of his Windowlicker. Because we must.
Gentle Giant – In A Glass House
Is this deep, or is it head-dunning double-dutch pretension? Gentle Giant were a difficult-to-love band, but now and then their theme (in this case the familiar ethics of stone-throwing in glass houses, but mashed up with Alice falling through the looking glass and some police station two-way mirror surveillance) was perfectly matched by their weird stop-start-cut-and-shuffle composition technique. With, on this track, added shatter at the end.
Samaris – Góða Tungl
Or good moon, as us non-Icelanders would say. An invitation to the moon to silver the sky and gleam on the windows below. What windows? Oh, we’re all windows to the good moon, each and every one of us a window to be seen through. But the good moon is tired, tired of reading all those earthling windows down below. Or something.
Erykah Badu – Window Seat
Erykah says she wants the window seat. She’s got her shoulders hunched, she’s down the end of the bench, staring out, getting out, getting gone. But really she’s seeking some attention. Cake and eat it? Hey c’mon! What’s it take? You gotta get nekkid to get seen now? You gotta get shot?
Sonny Boy Williamson – One Way Out
The one-way-out in question is the bedroom window. Out and down the back wall, round the midden and off across the fields a bit sharpish. Hubby’s out front, come home early. Oh, Sonny Boy – ain’t you never gonna to learn?
Arthur Russell – You Have Did The Right Thing When You Put That Skylight In
After an hour or two of jiggy down the baths and up the disco, Arthur liked to repair to a recording studio and groove all night on his cello. A beautiful man doing beautiful things to a beautiful instrument – although, what with the flanging and echoplexing, not necessarily in that order.
Annette Hanshaw – Tip Toe Through The Tulips With Me
Annette is demure but she’s no wallflower. She’s draping her cut-on-the-cross flapper’s satin sheath and long rope of pearls all over that window, hoping a certain gentleman looks up. Then what? Depends how dainty with the feet the gent is. Come the dawn and we could be looking at the wanton destruction of daddy’s prize flower bed. The mad fools. Mad, I tell you.
Roni Size / Reprazent – Watching Windows
Size counts. He calibrates. Ten to the power of ten to the half crotchet. There was a time, down Bristol way, when, if you needed to speed up, you slipped on some Roni, and if you wanted to slow down you flipped to Massive Attack. Or Portishead. Gears didn’t come into it. Roni and Squarepusher were right up the twitchy end of things, but still dementedly funky.
The Rays – Silhouettes On The Shade
A classic Shakespearean tale of mistaken identity, passion played out in masque, and the two-backed-beast as a shadow puppet. Oh yes, that complex a drama. The Rays make snappy work of it, though.
Múm – Sing Me Out The Window
Múm are probably not called Mum. Maybe Moom. Maybe Mohm. Maybe even Meum, like a cat. Like Samaris, they come from Iceland, where windows are fragile membranes between the snug and the elementally vulcan. Stand there, in the window, lit by the single task lamp on your one bare table, and stare out at all that snow damping the pale screes of ash. Pluck from your plate a single exhumed herring…
Bessie Smith – Ticket Agent, Ease Your Window Down
Bar-room joanna, weeping violin, and po’ bless-her Bessie, whose man done gone done her wrong. Yup, that’s the blues, the rich brown, honey yellow and creeper-deeper-green blues.
Moodymann – Freeki Muthafucka
Moodymann rolls up his sleeves and gets down to engineering some well sick footwork, not to mention hipwork, shoulderwork, and roiling headfuckwork. Is this freeki or what?
PJ Harvey – The Slow Drug
Polly is off her face. Polly is coming down. Polly is in love. Polly has doubts. Polly is driving through the night. Polly is waking up. Polly is falling. Lucky Polly. Poor Polly.
Aphex Twin – Polygon Window
Symmetrical window. Richard D James is the business, is he not? We end with the insecticidal detail of his Polygon Window. Why? Because we must.
The Jukebox B-List Playlist:
The B-list for folks who’d prefer their windows less freeki and more jukeboxi. In alphabetical order (apart from the slow fade end).
Joan Armatrading – Woncha Come On Home
Dean Barlow – Third Window From The Right
The Beautiful South – Window Shopping For Blinds
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Windows
Joe Cocker – She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
The Four Tops – Look Out Your Window
Guillemots – Through The Window Pane
PJ Harvey – Dollar Dollar
The Lightning Seeds – Marvellous
Joni Mitchell– Moon At The Window
Kinoko Teikoku – You Outside My Window
The Temptations – Just My Imagination
Weekend – The View From Her Room
Tony Joe White – Steamy Windows
Neil Young – Helpless
Slowdive – Golden Hair
The X-, Y- and Z-list:
For window-licking completists. Should have been in. Either already zedded, or no YouTube, or restricted YouTube, or I just couldn’t find it online (what with me not being a Spotify guy).
Van Morrison – Cleaning Windows
Van Morrison – Foreign Window
Ann Peebles – I Can't Stand The Rain
Jimi Hendrix – Belly Button Window
John Surman & Howard Moody – Stained glass
Scritti Politti – Window Wide Open
Apologies for not finding a place in which to slot The Cure, Niño Josele, Brian Eno or Jake Thackray tracks, all three with unique soundworlds. They just kinda fell off the window sill.
Guru's Wildcard Pick:
David Bedford - Sad and Lonely Faces (ft. Kevin Ayers)
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: Pleasure and pane: songs about windows. The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
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