Monday, January 18, 2016

The Wooden Finger Five – January 2016

5.Midnight’s Mirror – Mystery Jets

This was one of those tunes where ten seconds in I felt like I had heard it before. More than that, I felt like it was a forgotten favourite. And then the chorus came in, and I’m a sucker for a high voice done right. I didn’t even know the Mystery Jets had a high voice in them. What I’m saying in this song was a comfy, pleasant surprise.

4.Leave Me Alone: album – Hinds

Back when the Spanish quartet Hinds was the duo Deers I loved ‘Bamboo’. God I loved ‘Bamboo’! Nothing else on their first album quite matches up to that, but it’s still pretty good. ‘Garden’ and ‘Castigadas En El Granero’ are probably the best of the rest for me at this stage. And now I can own ‘Bamboo’ on CD if I so wish.

3.Adore – Savages

‘Is it human to adore life?’ is not exactly the sentiment you expect to hear from a dark, goth-like band that calls itself Savages and plays moody, distorted guitar. In the chorus to this track singer Jehnny Beth sort of recalls the Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde. It’s notable as a variation on Savages’ usual sound, and from what we were led to expect for the upcoming album based on the two tracks (‘The Answer’ and ‘T.I.W.Y.G’) that preceded it.

2.Crying In Public – Chairlift

From the lyrics in the first verse I wasn’t sure if this song’s narrator was someone who never cries (‘take all my defenses’), or was perhaps trying to make their partner cry (‘what kind of monster have I been today?’). Reading the lyrics again, I think both of those things could be intended. Then the second verse seemed to veer off on unrelated topics (‘from the birds at my feet / to the breakdancing boys / and their boomboxes’ beat, beat, beat’). It’s quite nice though, and the chorus will stay with you. We all know someone who’s been there, if not our selves.

1.Blackstar: album – David Bowie

I don’t have too much to say directly about David Bowie’s latest, and – as it sadly turns out – final album, as whatever meaning it has, not much of it has been revealed to me at this point. (It seems I’m not alone here – see this recent New Yorker article about Bowie’s ‘beautiful meaningless’). I do want to share these thoughts about it though.

With the release of ‘Blackstar’ and ‘The Next Day’ a couple of years ago, it seemed as if Bowie had put semi-retirement behind him, and was embarking on the next phase of his career. A bit of what I read about the album prior to listening to it talked about the new directions that it suggested. As the big new release I was listening to it for the third time, and was about halfway through the first, title track when the news popped up on the website I was reading: David Bowie had died. How weird! There is a good chance I’ll never have a moment like that again …

Who knew, hey? Bowie’s new album didn’t exactly sound like his ‘last will and testament’. I suppose now I can see some signs, in that the album has only seven tracks and four of those had already been released, potentially indicating that the album was shorter than it would have been if Bowie had been in full health. Then again, maybe it wouldn’t … maybe Bowie intended it to be only that long …

Now I think about it though, it seems somewhat appropriate that Bowie’s final album felt like it was looking forward to the next stage. His music often felt like and referred to what was coming next. Also, life doesn’t always end neatly so much as it is interrupted, like the people walking through the market square in ‘Five Years’ catching the news that the end has come.

David Bowie will be most remembered by me for his incredible run of albums in the 1970s: The Man Who Sold The World, Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Young Americans, Station to Station, Low, ‘Heroes’, Lodger, and Scary Monsters. Those were ten great albums, and contained many great songs. But his past two albums were pretty good as well. It’s a shame that we also won’t have more albums like them.

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