As I sit down after a very long day that comes at the end of a very long month – a month in which I have had to do my fair share of begging, pleading and cajoling – I can’t help but smile at a wonderful selection of songs vying for my attention.
To begin, Franz Ferdinand would quite like us to dance the Lobster Quadrille. I can’t say I’ve ever been the band’s biggest fan, but it’s a brilliant song from a wonderful album. Almost Alice was an anthology of songs inspired by Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, a film I really enjoyed due to it fitting into my love of the very nice subgenre of quasi-Victorian magical-steampunk (yes, I’m making that a thing). The album leans heavily towards alternative rock and darker pop acts (Avril Lavigne – inevitably – puts in an appearance, with one of her better post-2006 songs) and includes an asafarae of mine from my Grauniad days, the delightful ‘In Transit’ by Mark Hoppus and Pete Wentz, two of the best bassists on the alternative scene. But enough about my special interests…
Next to demand my attention is Lady Gaga, who is promising me a Bad Romance. Once again, not an artist I’m overly-fond of, but a truly excellent pop performer and a song that stands out for this theme. Many love songs that fit this theme are about pleading, whereas Bad Romance is a much more confident, forthright piece.
Leaning towards something a bit more jaded now, Arctic Monkeys are breathing down my neck asking Why’d You Always Call Me When You’re High? I don’t know, Alex, I really don’t. And if you don’t mind, I need to deal with the equally-insistent Undertones, who are telling me You’ve Got My Number (Why Don’t You Use It?). A good call for a week when the guru’s name is angryirishpunk, really.
Still with the insistent and somewhat-miffed, Angel Haz has some questions she’d like to ask about sexism in the rap scene, and she’s asking them on her reinterpretation of Lupe Fiasco’s Bitch Bad. Fiasco’s version was also about sexism on the scene, and the two are so different they might as well be different songs, but there’s something about Haz’s version that feels very fitting to this week’s theme.
Turning our attention to the mournful for a bit, Richard and Linda Thompson are moping on their own in the corner, wanting to know Has He Got A Friend For Me?, Jackie Levin is around here somewhere, pleading for a lover not to leave him on his own as Another Man In An Old Arcade. Meanwhile, Alabama 3 are out on the back porch, staring into space and smoking a rollie while wondering How Can I Protect You? The Mock Turtles, meanwhile, have run out into the street – slightly tipsy – imploring the heavens to make Kathy Come Home. I knew this house party was a bad idea…
Louis Armstrong has jumped up on a table and is singing Jeepers Creepers. That’s it, next time we’re all going to his house. Bruce Springsteen is also being pretty rowdy, he’s agitatedly demanding that his lover Talk To Me. James Blake and RZA are clearly up to something shady, they’ve cornered some poor rube and are asking him to Take A Fall For Me. It’s probably time for one more song to bring the party to a close, and who better to lead us out than Bob Dylan? Take a deep breath, enjoy the lovely Baby Let Me Follow You Down, and let the night come to an end.
The Not Afraid to Ask A-List Playlist:
Franz Ferdinand - Lobster Quadrille
Lady Gaga – Bad Romance
Arctic Monkeys - Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?
The Undertones - You've Got My Number (Why Don't You Use It?)
Angel Haze - Bitch Bad
Richard & Linda Thompson – Has He Got A Friend For Me?
Jackie Leven – Another Man In The Old Arcade
Alabama 3 – How Can I Protect You?
The Mock Turtles - Kathy Come Home
Louis Armstrong – Jeepers Creepers
Bruce Springsteen – Talk To Me
James Blake ft RZA – Take A Fall For Me
Bob Dylan – Baby Let Me Follow You Down
The Beseeching B-List:
Willie Nelson - Can I Sleep In Your Arms
Mekons - Where Were You?
Johnny Cash – Spiritual
The Cryin' Shames - Please Stay
Judy Clay & William Bell - Private Number
The Twilight Singers - Teenage Wristband
Cadaver Club - Penny Dreadful
Splodgenessabounds - Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps
The Four Tops – Baby I Need Your Loving
Ray Charles and Bonnie Raitt – Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?
Mindy Smith – Train Song
A Tribe Called Quest – Can I Kick It?
Ex-Cathedra – Give Me Tomorrow
(NB. Cadaver Club only on Soundcloud - click on link above).
Guru's Wildcard Pick:
Partly thanks to reader EnglishOutlaw’s pun after closing time, my choice is is Weezer with Say It Ain’t So, a song myself and a few of the guys frequently throw into our jam sessions. There’s also a rather wonderful mash-up of it with another Weezer song, Beverly Hills, made by Neil Cicierega and called Say It Ain’t SoCal.
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: Any requests? Songs about asking, begging or pleading. The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
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Fancy a turn behind the pumps at The Song Bar? Care to choose a playlist from songs nominated and write something about it? Then feel free to contact The Song Bar here, or try the usual email address.