By Olive Butler
“We had thousands of nominations this week! They’re saying I got more nominations than any other guru in the history of the Song Bar! Big, beautiful nominations! Bigger and more beautiful than any other guru ever got – isn’t that something? Hundreds of thousands of nominations that stretched all the way back to the Washington Memorial! And you know what? Once I’d sorted through those many millions of nominations (which only took thirty minutes, incidentally, because I can read faster than any other guru too), my own wildcard turned out to be the most popular pick of all! And that’s because I have the highest IQ of any guru ever! They’re saying I have a higher IQ than the guy who invented the Mensa test! So you might wanna skip the A-List and B-List and head straight to the wildcard! No, it’s not The Drifters’ Mexican Divorce, but it’s definitely a better song than Obama would have chosen...” – as told to Olive Butler.
The Not ‘Alf Amazing A-List Playlist:
Badfinger – Matted Spam
AltraEgo’s inspired nomination opens this week’s A-List, a track from an era when ‘spam’ simply meant congealed pink stuff in a dark blue tin - not that any appears, matted or otherwise, in the lyrics.
Robert Plant – Messin’ With The Mekon
There were several noms and donds for Big Log, but it was Abahachi who suggested the equally valid B-side which I just happen to prefer.
Of Montreal – Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games
Earworm alert! Thanks to Uncleben for introducing me to this band. A quick Google tells me that their songs are characterised by oblique, impenetrable and highly incongruous titles – not to mention the occasional delightful pun such as ‘Vegan In Furs’.
Throbbing Gristle – 20 Jazz Funk Greats
The title track of the eponymous album, nominated by MussoliniHeadkick. It just made the grade by virtue of half a dozen whispered words which rescue the track from (forbidden) instrumental status, but the brilliant title is so thoroughly and wittily misleading that it demands a place on the A-list.
Scott Walker – Manhattan
No, not the Rodgers & Hart classic recorded by Ella Fitzgerald. In fact the lyrics have no discernible connection to Manhattan at all. Nominated by attwilightlarks.
The Beach Boys – Do You Like Worms?
No doubt Mike ‘Don’t Fuck With The Formula’ Love would have preferred this track to be called Do You Like Cars? or Do You Like Surf? Listen out for the bar room piano playing the Heroes and Villains motif. Nominated by IsabelleForshaw. (Incidentally, how about a Beach Boys compilation album called ‘Loveless’ featuring songs Brian Wilson wrote with anyone but Mike Love?)
Burning Spear – Joe Frazier
As pejepeine conceded in his nomination, the same song has a different, more apposite title on the album, but, as you can see from the 7” label shown in the YouTube clip, it was definitely released as a single under the title ‘Joe Frazier’ and therefore it is eligible.
Thee More Shallows – A History of Sport Fishing
Shoegazer nominated this dreamy indie ballad. Although the title could arguably be construed as a metaphor for the song’s subject matter, I’m going to rule it eligible since the title sets up an expectation of a musical version of the Izaak Walton book, yet no fish, no rods, nor any other angling paraphernalia get a look in.
The American Analog Set – Punk As Fuck
ToffeeBoy’s nom is not the slightest bit punk (so don’t get too excited, Carpgate!). If anything I’d re-name this song ‘Cute as Fuck’ - but then it wouldn’t be eligible for this week’s topic.
Silver Jews – Ballad of Reverend War Character
Another band I didn’t know before Chris7572’s nomination. This one has a bit of an Adam Green vibe which appealed enormously.
Tom Lehrer – I Hold Your Hand In Mine
A deliciously subversive lyrical conceit which, to my mind, would have greatly improved Lennon & McCartney’s similarly-titled hit. Thanks to Suzi for the nom.
Joe Henry – Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation
As swawilg’s nomination pithily observed, “No he doesn’t.” A gorgeous track from an album I was previously unaware of, this is my discovery of the week.
I truly wish I could have selected a 30-track A-list, so kudos to all who nominated.
The Bet-You-Can’t-Work-It-Out B-List Playlist:
Half Man Half Biscuit – Paintball’s Coming Home
Morrissey - Suedehead
Stereolab – Margerine Rock
Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet With Butterfly Wings
Steely Dan - Pretzel Logic
The Monkees - Tapioca Tundra
West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band – Our Drummer Always Plays In The Nude
Prefab Sprout – Lions In My Own Garden (Exit Someone)
Cabaret Voltaire – James Brown
Primitive Radio Gods - Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand
Brian Eno – Third Uncle
English Dogs – Psycho Killer
Guru’s Wildcard Picks:
Gary Moore – Parisienne Walkways
The lyrics include a reference to ‘Parisienne days’, but no actual ‘Parisienne walkways’. Here’s a blistering live version from 1993:
Meanwhile, Joy Division and Russ Abbott fans alike will have been disappointed by this:
Another amusing example of shared song titles can be found on the spoof Bowie fan site which was responsible, a few years back, for the ‘Bowie: Object’ hoax where they claimed to have a leaked extract from the book Bowie had been commissioned to write. Click on the sheet music to enlarge the images.
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: Get on the wrong foot: songs with misleading or incongruous titles. The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
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