The Great One Word Title Countdown – The Didn’t Quite Make It List #1

Here – Pavement (1990, Matador Records, Taken from ‘Slanted & Enchanted)

Today and tomorrow will celebrate the 11 songs that didn’t quite make it into the Top 100, songs for sole reason that they simply didn’t get enough points. They are songs that are, unlike yesterday’s offerings, at least loved by someone.   Each of the songs listed today, only get one vote and then it was quite low down in the Top 30.  For what its worth I fully expected all five of these to feature much higher up the chart.

The first song is ‘Here’ by Pavement.  Which for the record is one of the best songs on one of the best albums ever made, and had I not opened up this nonsense to all and sundry would have probably been in the Top Ten.  Talking of probably being in the Top Ten, here’s Daft Punk.

Contact – Daft Punk (2013, Columbia Records, Taken from ‘Random Access Memories’)

 ‘Contact’ is incredible, a six minute long techno blast that samples Gene Cernan, who was the last man to walk on the moon.   For those of you who care about this sort of thing, the last sentence spoken by a human on the moon was this genuinely “Let’s get this mother out of here”.  

Talking of mothers and samples and Daft Punk for that matter, here’s Ye.

Stronger – Kanye West (2007, Def Jam Records, Taken from ‘Graduation’)

Ye may not have made the Top 100 but the fact that he scored more points than Pavement, LCD Soundsystem and Daft Punk combined irks me in a way that I can’t explain. 

Mannequin – Wire (1977, Harvest Records, Taken from ‘Pink Flag’)

What I also can’t explain is why it took me so long to fall for the erm, wiry charms of Wire.  Twenty seven years ago, a guy I knew gave me a copy of ‘Pink Flag’ as a present.  I think I may have listened to it two or three times before placing it in a box and forgetting about it.  Six months ago after listening to a Chumbawamba cover version of ‘Mannequin’ I revisited ‘Pink Flag’ and its extraordinarily good.

Finally for today we have Chemical Brothers, again an act I expect to do very well – maybe I chose the wrong song for them, although I’m struggling to think of a better one word song for them that this epic blend of big beats and hip hop

Galvanise – Chemical Brothers (2004, Virgin Records, Taken from ‘Push the Button’)

The Great One Word Title Countdown – The Nil Point List

Paparazzi – Lady Gaga (2009, Interscope Records)

Ever felt unloved?  Ever felt like the world hated you? Ever felt like if someone was asked to make a choice between punching either you or Piers Morgan in the face, that they would choose you? Ever been accused of pooing in your dads slippers, when it was clearly the puppy sitting next to the slippers with a smug grin on its face…..?

Welcome then to the Nil Point List.

The Nil Point List contains all the songs on The Great One Word Title Countdown that didn’t pick up a single point from any of Musical Jury.  Songs that were laughed at, ignored, ridiculed, thrown out with the bath water and then made to shop at Primark until they never darkened our doors ever again. 

Songs, that even now after nine days of assessing the final results, sorting them into tables, checking the votes and then rechecking just be to be absolutely sure that I hadn’t missed anything I still can’t quite understand how no one voted for them because they are all stone cold classics. 

Maybe I accidentally sent the list out in Russian or something.  Who knows?

Until we do, let’s look at five unloved One Word Titles, starting with the tune at the top ‘Paparazzi’ by Lady Gaga.  I’ll be honest there were two reasons why ‘Paparazzi’ was on the list, firstly is because it’s a great record, although it plays second fiddle to ‘Poker Face’ and ‘Bad Romance’ in Gaga classics.  The main reason though is when compiling this list, the episode of The Simpsons where Lisa made Gaga cry was on Channel 4 and it’s hilarious and therefore Gaga had to be included.

Yeah (Crass Mix) – LCD Soundsystem (2004, DFA Records)

 I know. The fact LCD Soundsystem didn’t get a single point in this hugely scientific and groundbreaking contest only confirms that those that did are brilliant songs and that your ears are going to be in for a proper treat over the next few months.  Well that or the Jury don’t have a fucking clue what they are talking about.  I very nearly ripped up the results and cheated when I found this out.

Goldfinger – Ash (1995, Infectious Records)

I mean I really don’t know.  Perhaps the Jury all simultaneously read ‘Gold Digger’ by Kanye West and simply avoided it.  Although that would mean ignoring the fact that a) Gold Digger is two words and that another Kanye West song was also on the list (but – spoiler – didn’t do very well either, although better than Ash did).  Again, I very nearly cheated.

Strasbourg – The Rakes (2004, Mercury Records)

You know that time where you pop a song onto a list because you know that one of the jury loves the song and you are utterly convinced that they at least will give it some points.  Well, they didn’t.

Dreamer – Livin’ Joy (1994, MCA Records)

One of (I think) seven records to reach number one that were on the long list and easily the best of them all.  A personal favourite of both Mrs SWC and Mini SWC and it didn’t get a single point. You may as well go down to local blind school and hide all their sticks you heartless bastards.

The Great One Word Title Countdown  – The How Could You Miss… List

Pro>Gen – The Shamen (1991, One Little Indian Records)

There is, of course, as most of you will know, no pleasing some people.  My personal list of hard to please people includes, my dentist, barristers, Tory Voters, cyclists in the summer, anyone under the age of 19, and now on the end of that list I have added (in green ink) Most of The No Badger Required Musical Jury.

(I’m joking of course, I owe each and every one of them a pint, they are all lovely.)

Because, not content with being asked to participate in the greatest thing to happen to music blogs since, well the last time I tried something like this.  An honour, that, let’s be frank, all of you have rapidly typed onto the bottom of your CVs and highlighted it so that it really stands out.  Some of the musical jury, took it upon themselves to question why a bunch of other songs with one word titles were not in the long list that I had created.

There are since you asked, three reasons for this.

The first reason is that the song title contains more than one word, or brackets or hyphens or something.

Let’s take the song at the top of the page, ‘Pro>Gen’ by The Shamen.  You see that little arrow, that means its not one word.  It’s a separator, so we have two words ‘Pro’ and ‘Gen’.  Of course, the other reason here, is that its ghastly, which brings us nicely onto the second reason.

The second reason is that I don’t like the song or more probably that I liked another song by the same band with a one word title more.  For instance, ‘Regret’ from New Order was shelved for a much better song by New Order (Spoiler!) with a one word title but ‘Everlong’ by Foo Fighters was left off the list because its rubbish. 

Regret – New Order (1993, London Records)

Everlong – Foo Fighters (1997, Roswell Records)

The third reason, was simply, because, for whatever reason, I overlooked it.  Like these three smashers, which on any other given day would have and should have easily made it onto the long list. There were of course, a list of about 60 or 70 others that could have been included.

Birthday – The Sugarcubes (1987, One Little Indian Records)

Hit – The Wannadies (1997, Indolent Records)

Gorecki – Lamb (1996, Fontana Records)

Introducing……The Great One Word Title Countdown #1

I said right back at the start that I wasn’t going to do a countdowns on this blog and I really wasn’t going to.  However, one Sunday whilst idly wandering around the lanes of a small suburb of Torquay, three songs came on in a row.  All those songs had one word titles and, and as I stood and watched a seagull devour a bag of chips that some fool had dropped, an idea slowly crept into place.  An idea that I was going to need some help with.

These were the three songs that came on.  So, as usual we can blame mid nineties indie pop for all my stupid ideas.

Cubik – 808 State (1990, ZTT Records)

Yes – McAlmont & Butler (1996, Hut Records)

Far – Longpigs (1995, London Records)

Later that night I created a playlist.  There was one simple rule – only one song per band was allowed and that song had to have a one word title, no brackets or hyphen or anything else was allowed.  So, this would have been allowed

Magic – Cud (1990, Imaginary Records)

But this wouldn’t have been

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones (1965, RCA Records) – besides, songs with brackets is clearly the next subject for the musical jury to their teeth into.

Remixes of one word titles have also been included, for instance

Buzzin’ (Dylan Rhymes Mix) – Asian Dub Foundation (1997, FFRR Records)

A few days later I formed (with the help of JC) a musical jury, which was, like all good juries, populated by quite a few angry men (I must try and be more inclusive for the next one) and sent them their orders.   By angry, most of them were angry because of what I’d left off the longlist, rather than them being generally angry people.  Saying that I’ve only met two of the jury, the others could have been psychopaths for all I knew.

There were sent a list of 129 songs, all of which have one word titles and they were asked to rank them in from 1 to 30.   I then awarded points for their choices, 30 points for the number one ranked song, 29 for 2nd place and so on and waited for the results to come in.

Major League Music – #10

Colorado Rockies

You Wild Colorado – Johnny Cash (1965, Columbia Records)

I might have mentioned this before, but a friend of mine was once in a band where the singer, a kind of fat ginger Frodo lookalike, changed his surname to Cash in what looked like an attempt to make his bands alt country leaning more authentic.  It didn’t – he still looked a fat version of Ed Sheeran.  He could at the very least sing though. 

Down the Road – Riley and the Restless (2019, Self Released)

 Anyway, I digress, lets talk about the Colorado Rockies.

The Rockies are one of the newest teams in Major League, having been established in 1993.  They are based in Denver and play their home games at the fabulous Coors Field.  For the first seven years or so they were the best supported team in the Major League.  They are not anymore (fickle baseball fans). 

Since their arrival the team have fared ok, but they have never won the World Series.  They came very close in 2007, when they won 21 out of 22 games to qualify and they probably should have won the World Series.  However, there they met the Boston Red Sox (More of them later) who beat them in four straight games. 

The last time they qualified for the post season was 2018 but were beaten in the first play off by the Milwaukee Brewers (more of them later too).  This season, the Rockies have stunk the place out, not quite as bad as the Royals, but getting there, they currently sit bottom of their league.

Musically Denver doesn’t quite have the pedigree that some of the other cities in the US has, but it in the sixties it had a bit of boom, with folk and country becoming huge in the city.  However, the Internet tells me that the greatest and most successful act to have come out of Denver is bizarrely one that by and large formed and lived in Chicago.

Saturday Nite – Earth, Wind & Fire (1976, Columbia Records)

It appears that Philip Bailey, joint singer of the feminist classic ‘Easy Lover’ was born in Denver and he was for a while one of the singers in Earth, Wind & Fire.  This is like me claiming that Black Rebel Motorcycle Club were from Devon, because drummer Nick Jago lived in Torquay until he was 16.   Still….

One of the most influential alternative rock bands from Denver are Neutral Milk Hotel.  Bands such as Arcade Fire, The National and The Decemberists are all massive fans of Jeff Magnum’s lofi psychedelic indie. 

Holland, 1945 – Neutral Milk Hotel (1998, Blue Rose Records)

And this weeks new band plucked from the foxlike ,drooling jaws of the chicken field of obscurity and placed into the relatively safety of the large coop of destiny is Pink Fuzz. A band who according to a local Denver website are all about “Sludgy riffs and ripping guitar solos that sound like the best bits of the Smashing Pumpkins having a fight with the Queen of the Stone Age”.   Hmm, we’ll be the judge of that folks.

Get A Grip – Pink Fuzz (2021, Unknown Label)

Next Week Arizona.

Nearly Perfect Albums – #30

Tarot Sport – Fuck Buttons

The 2012 London Olympics were full of amazing moments, Mo Farah’s eyeballs nearly popping out of his head when he somehow out sprinted two Kenyans to win his second gold medal of the Games for one.  Charlotte Dujardin somehow managing to temporarily turn the majority of the UK population into massive dressage fans for three hours on a Wednesday afternoon for another.  But for me, one moment stood loud and proud on a gold medal sized platform ahead of everything and everyone else – it was the moment my phone buzzed during the Opening Ceremony and I already knew who it was and what is was going to say: –

“Jesus Christ, they’re playing Fuck Buttons on the Olympics”

Because folks, that is exactly what the BBC was doing, and what’s more they played two bloody songs.  Although they ruined it slightly by calling them “F BUTTONS”.

Olympians – Fuck Buttons (2009, ATP Records)

Surf Solar – Fuck Buttons (2009, ATP Records)

‘Olympians’ was an inspired, if not, slightly obvious choice.  I mean it’s pretty much a ‘Chariots of Fire’ for the 21st Century after all (listen to them back to back, and then tell me I’m wrong), but ‘Surf Solar’ is a chugging and menacing piece of experimental techno that probably had those watching in the local Conservative Clubs running for the exits screaming.  Actually that would make it even more bloody amazing.

Both tracks feature on ‘Tarot Sport’ the bands second album, which saw them recruit Andy Weatherall as a producer and the results saw them hammer a massive hole in the middle of the indie/dance/experimental rock Venn Diagram that for so long had just had the words ‘Mogwai’ inside it. 

Because, folks, ‘Tarot Sport’ is an incredible record.  Crammed full of dynamic textured techno and electro breakbeats that sometimes sound like your speakers have a gerbil running round inside them and other times are vast sweeping cinematic pieces that will suddenly bounce back into life.   Take for instance, ‘The Lisbon Maru’ which sounds like something that should be sound tracking some movie that features lots of things being blown up.

The Lisbon Maru – Fuck Buttons (2009, ATP Records)

Or you can have the triumphantly magnificent album closer ‘Flight of the Feathered Serpent’ which to bring us back to the Olympics analogy I started at the top of the page, almost feels like a victory lap for the album.  A track that screams for attention, deserved attention and one that should have followed Mo Farah around that stadium, after he’d popped his eyeballs back in, on that evening in early August 2012.

Flight of the Feathered Serpent – Fuck Buttons (2009, ATP Records)

New Band Friday – #11 Panic Shack

The Ick – Panic Shack (2022, Brace Yourself Records)

When I was 13 I entered into a brief whirlwind romance with a girl in my class. On the ninth day of this relationship I sat in a local park with my arm around her and then walked her home hand in hand.  I may have then gone home and written a soppy letter and gone to bed holding the small cuddly bear she gave me a present with a stupid grin on my face.

On the tenth day as I sat in Maths trying to work out a particularly difficult algebraic sum involving 2x and 4Y when my girlfriend sitting conveniently behind me slipped me note, which told me, quite brutally that it was over. The reason she gave was that I looked at another girl in our class “oddly” in history.  I sat just across from a girl we called Smelly Paula in history, (who by the way didn’t smell, but was so called because she rather splendidly tripped and fell face first into a fresh cow pat on a school field trip in year 7) so I imagine it was her I looked at oddly. 

On day eleven I gave the cuddly bear to the cat to play with and moved on, casually flicking the V’s at loves fickle nature, and definitely not crying. It looks like I got off very lightly.

In the rather wonderful new single from Cardiff’s DIY punks Panic Shack, their singer dumps her boyfriend because he “shushed her in the cinema”. Telling him in no uncertain that “you do not shush me in the cinema”, prior to that she tells him that she was put off by him “putting the milk in first”and that “you do not put the milk in first” as a hail of stop start guitars and clattering drums rampage marvellously around them.

Here’s a couple more tracks that have been lifted from the bands recent ‘Baby Shack’ EP – which is pretty good in a sneery, DIT punk kind of way that revels in rhyming ‘lighter’ with ‘fight ya’. 

I Don’t Really Like It – Panic Shack (2022, Brace Yourself Records)

Jiu Jits You – Panic Shack (2022, Brace Yourself Records)

Great Number Twos of Our Time – #3

Because Sometimes a Number Two is Better than a Number One

Can’t Stand Me Now – The Libertines (2004, Rough Trade Records)

A few weeks ago, The Libertines, co-headlined the ‘Cider and Sausage Festival’ on Plymouth Hoe.  The first festival in Britain that could have been named after a Carry On Film. It seemed to me, to be a bit of a fall from grace from a band that once played to about 40,000 screaming fans in Hyde Park.  Then again back then The Libertines were adored by the press, and Peter Doherty, despite his penchant for drugs, burglary and general hedonism was considered to be one of the finest songwriters of his generation.   The love hate relationship of Pete and Carl hooked thousands of impressionable indie kids in and for a while they were one of the biggest and best bands around.

‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ is a fine example of everything that the band went through.  A track apparently written just after or just before Pete burgled Carl’s flat.  He burgled the flat because he was angry that Carl hadn’t turned up to a guerrilla gig that Pete had planned a day or so before. – I’m aware I’ve massively simplified that whole sorry saga.  It was the second release from the bands second (and best) album.  It reached Number 2 in the charts, the highest position the band ever reached.  They were kept off the summit by garage trio 3 of a Kind and their memorable track ‘Babycakes’.  Which we all remember fondly obviously.

Never Never – The Libertines (2004, Rough Trade Records)

The Never Ending Playlist – #46

What Happened to My Rock and Roll (Punk Song) – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (2001, Virgin Records)

In 2001, The Strokes were the band that everyone was talking about. I mean, they had the looks, the style, the reviews, the haircuts, the tunes and (probably) the record collections to match. Wherever The Strokes hung out, we all wanted to hang out as well, because it was obvious that they knew all the best people.

However, in the corner of those bars, the ones were all the cool people hung out sat, silently, another band, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, who were pretty much the Anti Strokes.  They didn’t necessarily have the looks, their style was black leather jackets, black jeans, their hair resembled William and Jim Reid after they have been dragged backwards through a wind tunnel.  Their tunes were loud obnoxious rock and roll that dripped menacingly with moodiness just because they wanted them to and if Lady Fortune had played her fiddle in their direction, they might have just been more important than The Strokes were.

But she didn’t. 

In 2003, after the release of their second album their drummer (South Devon born Nick Jago) stood silently on stage at the NME awards, whilst collecting an award for Best Video.  He remained there for nine minutes, completely silent, to much derision and career damage.  Some say of course, that during those nine minutes, everything that Jago said was far more relevant than anything that the NME had said for the past 30 years.  Jago quit the band, only to re-join them in 2005, for the bands third album the alt country inspired ‘Howl’. But by then, the cool bars had changed their entry policies and music had moved on.

Spread Your Love – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (2001, Virgin Records)

Generation – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (2003, Virgin Records)

The Never Ending Playlist will be back in a few months.  Why??? Because its never ending of course.

Lost Indie Classics – #9

Freeze The Atlantic – Cable (1997, Infectious Records)

 Likewise, this is a series that is going to temporarily cease for a few weeks, whilst the ‘Big Summer Thing’ gets sorted out.  It will be back, largely because I’ve already written a few of the pieces for this series. 

Anyway, back in 1995, I booked Cable to play a gig in a tiny venue at my University.  The stage consisted of a couple of upturned table tennis tables arranged haphazardly on some wooden blocks.  I paid the sound crew more than I paid the band.  In fact I might have paid the band in pizza and cigarettes.  They packed the place out, largely because Britpop was just about king back then and the indie club nights that the Alternative Society ran were one of the few places where people could listen to music that wasn’t chart and party fodder. 

Of course, back in 1995, the band were just about getting by.  They had a couple of decent tracks which did relatively well in the indie charts, but never really set the world alight.  Although they give out excellent promo items.  I still have, for example, the pink water pistol that was distributed with promo copies of the single ‘Seventy’.  I used said water pistol during the log summer of 1995 to squirt water at lads in tracksuits and Fila Trainers who hung about in Maidstone town centre.  The squirting all being done from the relative safety of Chris’ Datsun Cherry.

Seventy – Cable (1996, Infectious Records)

In 1997, the band released their most well known single ‘Freeze the Atlantic’ and it sunk pretty quickly.  Then about six weeks later, Sprite decided to use it in their new adverting campaign, one which was aimed directly at the snowboarding crowd and suddenly from literally nowhere, Cable were, albeit, briefly quite popular.