Categories
Hip Hop Pop Song of the Day

Song of the Day (The Chain): Malcolm McLaren and The World’s Famous Supreme Team – Buffalo Gals

Day 37. Public Image is fairly transparently about John Lydon’s feelings towards his former manager Malcolm McLaren. Todays link in the chain is this relationship.

Buffalo Gals is Malcolm McLaren’s appropriation of the then nascent sound of Hip Hop, which he’d been exposed to in New York while seeking a support act for a Bow Wow Wow show. It’s fairly basic stuff. Scratching & sampling over a very simple (but effective) drum machine beat. Sounds so basic now but was a pretty big deal at the time.

In absence of lyrics, heres Malcolm McLaren himself explaining the song:

Buffalo Gals was recorded with the World’s Famous Supreme Team and Zulu singers backing them up with the words ‘she’s looking like a hobo.’ The performance by the Supreme Team may require some explaining, but suffice to say they are DJs from New York City who have developed a technique using record players like instruments, replacing the power chord of the guitar with the needle of a gramophone, moving it manually backwards and forwards across the surface of a record. We call it scratching.

Malcolm McLaren, Duck Rock liner notes

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Indie Rock Pop

beabadoobee – Care

TikTok Bedroom Pop/Indie Rock sensation beebadoobee is walking a particularly fine line, artistically. She seems to be garnering a massive following among her fellow Gen-Z-ers despite much of her music, visuals & lyrics being aimed squarely at the nostalgia for the ’90’s. She has a single called I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus.

Care is Bedroom Pop with a hard, Indie Rock edge. With it’s Stompbox abusing chorus, you could imagine it appearing on either NME or Kerrang! best of 1999 giveaway CD’s, despite that being the year before beabadoobee was even born. The lowkey Pop verses bring to mind Version 2.0 era Garbage, tracks like Push It or I Think I’m Paranoid. It’s actually a thrilling slice of Power Pop which could survive just as well on the radio as it could in an Indie/Rock themed nightclub.

The video is a mashup of various ’90’s (mainly) retrophilia tropes. Grungy ripped jumpers, CRT TV’s blurring & wobbling, emulated VHS decay, grainy film, reel to reel tape machines, Polaroids etc. Even things like the camera angles & the way the various clips are edited together screams ’90’s. As a guy approaching 40 I’m actually conflicted about the fetishisation of my own cultural upbringing as a way of selling records. As Pulp famously flashed on screen at the beginning of the Babies video, “A promo video is simply an advertisement for a song.” & this brings up another contradictory confusion: who exactly is this aimed at? Who is beabadoobee’s target audience? Is it me? The middle aged dude who was a teenager in the ’90’s, or her own generation (gen Z)? Are todays young fetishising the ’90’s in a similar way to how my generation fetishised the ’60’s? I have no answers & it’s driving me mad.

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Categories
Art Pop Pop Post Punk Song of the Day

Song of the Day (The Chain): The Boomtown Rats – I Don’t Like Mondays

Day 28. So another really obvious link today. In the movie of Pink Floyd’s The Wall, the lead character, Pink, is played by Boomtown Rats lead singer Bob Geldof. If you watched the video in yesterdays Song of the Day blogpost, you saw him smashing up a hotel room & terrifying a groupie.

I Don’t Like Mondays is a piano-driven Pop song with an incredibly sinister meaning. It’s about Brenda Spencer, a 16 year old girl who shot & killed 2 people & wounded 9 at the Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, on January 29th 1979. When asked why she did it, she responded “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.”

The silicon chip inside her head
Gets switched to overload
And nobody’s gonna go to school today
She’s going to make them stay at home
And daddy doesn’t understand it
He always said she was as good as gold
And he can see no reason
‘Cause there are no reasons
What reason do you need to be sure

Oh, oh, oh tell me why
I don’t like MondaysTell me why
I don’t like MondaysTell me why
I don’t like Mondays
I want to shoot
The whole day down

The Telex machine is kept so clean
As it types to a waiting world
And mother feels so shocked
Father’s world is rocked
And their thoughts turn to their own little girl
Sweet sixteen ain’t that peachy keen
Now, it ain’t so neat to admit defeat
They can see no reasons
‘Cause there are no reasons
What reason do you need oh, woah 

Tell me why
I don’t like Mondays

Tell me why
I don’t like Mondays

Tell me why
I don’t like Mondays
I want to shoot
The whole day down
Down, down
Shoot it all down 

All the playing’s stopped in the playground now
She wants to play with her toys a while
And school’s out early and soon we’ll be learning
And the lesson today is how to die
And then the bullhorn crackles
And the captain tackles
With the problems and the how’s and why’s
And he can see no reasons
‘Cause there are no reasons
What reason do you need to die, die

Oh, oh, oh and the silicon chip inside her head
Gets switched to overload
And nobody’s gonna go to school today
She’s going to make them stay at home
And daddy doesn’t understand it
He always said she was as good as gold
And he can see no reason
‘Cause there are no reasons
What reason do you need to be sure

Tell me why
I don’t like Mondays
Tell me whyI don’t like Mondays
Tell me whyI don’t like, I don’t like, I don’t like Mondays
Tell me why
I don’t like, I don’t like, (tell me why) I don’t like Mondays
Tell me why
I don’t like Mondays
I want to shoot, the whole day down, uh, uh, uh

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Industrial Pop Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (The Chain): David Bowie – I’m Afraid Of Americans (Nine Inch Nails V1 Mix)

Day 24. From songs produced by David Bowie (Lou Reed’s Perfect Day & Mott The Hoople’s All The Young Dudes) for the last two days to a David Bowie song produced by another artist. In this case it’s the V1 mix of I’m Afraid Of American’s, produced by Nine Inch Nail’s polymath Trent Reznor. Although not the original version, this mix surpassed the album version in popularity (partly due to the video, one would assume) & is even included on many ‘best of’ albums.

I’m Afraid Of Americans already shared some major characteristics with Nine Inch Nails. Bowie was, after all, heavily influenced by them in this period. Trent Reznor transforms it into a behemoth of punishing Industrial Noise Rock. Check out the video below.

Johnny’s in America, no tax at the wheel
Ah-ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah-ah
No-one needs anyone, they don’t even just pretend
Ah-ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah
Johnny’s in America

I’m afraid of Americans
I’m afraid of the world
I’m afraid I can’t help it
I’m afraid I can’t
I’m afraid of Americans
I’m afraid of the world
I’m afraid I can’t help it
I’m afraid I can’t
I’m afraid of Americans

Johnny’s in America
Ah-ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah-ah
Johnny wants a brain, Johnny wants to suck on a coke
Johnny wants a woman, Johnny wants to think of a joke
Ah-ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah-ah
Johnny’s in America (ah-ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah-ah)

I’m afraid of Americans
I’m afraid of the world
I’m afraid I can’t help it
I’m afraid I can’t
I’m afraid of Americans
I’m afraid of the world
I’m afraid I can’t help it
I’m afraid I can’t
I’m afraid of Americans

Johnny’s in America, Johnny looks up at the stars
Johnny combs his hair and Johnny wants pussy in cars
Johnny’s in America (ah-ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah-ah)
Johnny’s in America (ah-ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah-ah)

I’m afraid of Americans
I’m afraid of the world
I’m afraid I can’t help it
I’m afraid I can’t
I’m afraid of Americans
I’m afraid of the world
I’m afraid I can’t help it
I’m afraid I can’t
I’m afraid of Americans

God is an American
God is an American
(Ah-ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah-ah)

I’m afraid of Americans
I’m afraid of the world
I’m afraid I can’t help it
I’m afraid I can’t
I’m afraid of Americans
I’m afraid of the world
I’m afraid I can’t help it
I’m afraid I can’t

Yeah I’m afraid of Americans
I’m afraid of the world
I’m afraid I can’t help it
I’m afraid I can’t
I’m afraid of Americans

Johnny’s an American
Johnny’s an American
Johnny’s an American
Johnny’s an American
Johnny’s an American

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Pop Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (The Chain): Lou Reed – Perfect Day

Day 22. Golden Brown was a song which many assume to be about heroin addiction which became a huge commercial success. Lou Reed’s Perfect Day is also a song which many assume to be about heroin addiction which has seen great commercial success.

Perfect Day is a slow, druggy ballad with huge uplifting choruses. It might be just me but I believe I detect a strong note of sarcasm in the chorus.

Just a perfect day
Drink Sangria in the park
And then later
When it gets dark, we go home

Just a perfect day
Feed animals in the zoo
Then later
A movie, too, and then home

Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spent it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on

Just a perfect day
Problems all left alone
Weekenders on our own
It’s such funJust a perfect day
You made me forget myself
I thought I was
Someone else, someone good

Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spent it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on

You’re going to reap just what you sow 
You’re going to reap just what you sow
You’re going to reap just what you sow
You’re going to reap just what you sow

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Electronic Music Pop Song of the Day

Song of the Day (The Chain): Air – Sexy Boy

Day 17. Charlotte Gainsbourg’s album released previously to IRM was produced by another influential & genre shifting artist, the French band, Air. It also seems that Beck is actually following me during this series of Song of the Day as I have just discovered, after selecting this tune, that there is a Beck remix of it too. I’ll stick that at the bottom of this post for completions’ sake.

Sexy Boy was a landmark record in French dance music. A catchy, bouncy mashup of sampled drums, shimmering synths & live guitar. It broke through into the mainstream in a big way & paved the way for other French electronica artists (like Daft Punk, for example) to also achieve commercial success in the UK & US.

Sexy boy
Sexy boy

Sexy boy
Sexy boy

Où sont tes héros
Au corps d’athlète?
Où sont tes idoles
Mal rasés, bien habillés?

Sexy boy
Sexy boy

Dans leurs yeux des dollars
Dans leurs sourires des diamants
Moi aussi, un jour
Je serai beau comme un Dieu

Sexy boy
Sexy boy

Apollon 2000
Zéro défauts, vingt-et-un ans
C’est l’homme idéal
Charme au masculin

Sexy boy
Sexy boy
Sexy boy
Sexy boy
Sexy boy
Sexy boy
Sexy boy
Sexy boy

That Beck remix, you need to check the credits to find Becks name. I guess he maybe wanted to remain anonymous? I’m not sure.

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Indie Rock Pop Song of the Day

Song of the Day (The Chain): Charlotte Gainsbourg – Heaven Can Wait (feat. Beck)

Day 16. Today is Beck’s 50th birthday (as I write this) & yesterdays song, Stick Figures In Love by Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, was produced by him. I wasn’t going to use the same link two days in a row but I didn’t know that today was going to be his 50th birthday. So todays tune is another Beck produced song. Charlotte Gainsbourg’s post-traumatic, death-obsessed 2010 album IRM was not only produced but also written by Beck.

Heaven Can Wait is a duet with Beck, an upbeat psychedelic singalong with dark, contemplative lyrics. It also features an absolutely bizarre video. I enjoy looking through comments on YouTube videos like this. On this video my favourite comment reads “I was watching this then I switched to porn when my mom came in. It was waaay easier to explain”.

She’s sliding, she’s sliding down to the depth of the world
She’s fighting, she’s fighting the urge to make sand out of pearls

Heaven can wait
And hell’s too far ago
Somewhere between
What you need and what you know
And they’re trying to drive that escalator into the ground

She’s hiding, she’s hiding on a battleship of baggage and bones
There’s thunder, there’s lightening in an avalanche of faces you know

Heaven can wait
And hell’s too far ago
Somewhere between
What you need and what you know
And they’re trying to drive that escalator into the ground

You left your credentials in a greyhound station
With a first aid kit and a flashlight
Going to a desert unknown

Heaven can wait
And hell’s too far ago
Somewhere between
What you need and what you know
And they’re trying to drive that escalator into the ground

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