Saturday, November 17, 2007


1. Two songs that somebody should cover.


This is the original piano demo featured on the From Brussels With Love compilation. More or less his first release, on 7" in 1980, recorded on a 4-track - at one point you can hear the backing tracks being played in his headphones as he's singing. A beautiful sci-fi piano ballad, not unlike a hybrid of Paul McCartney and Gary Numan, or what would be playing in a dive bar in Blade Runner.

Here's the video for the later version, which adds a dimension of Kafkan/Orwellian totalitarian noir.


This is a prime example of what the Germans call an Ohrwurm - ear worm. It is a ludicrous and hypnotic track and I would recommend not listening to it prior to certain events like funeral attending, speech giving or boyfriend breaking up with, unless in a moment demanding resolute composure and solemnity you want to be subjected to the insidious refrain in your mind RA RA RASPEWTEEN LOVER OF THE RUSSIAN QUEEN, IT WAS A SHAME HOW HE CARRIED ON.

When in the Book of Romans, Paul asks 'Why do I do the thing which I hate?' it is possible he means, why do I get that goddamn fucking song in my head all the time?

Boney M was a a product of German disco svengali Frank Farian, whose penchant for black music led him to write and sing all the parts to Do You Wanna Bump?, and then subsequently to hire a team of black singers to act as the group. Farian is also, it turns out, the dark genius behind Milli Vanilli. 'Rasputin' takes its musical core from a Turkish folk song and in long-winded, sensationalist detail spells out the infamous biography of the Russian mystic.

Note in the video that when the song changes from the intro to the first verse, the male singer magically changes into Rasputin, in his amazing beardedness.

Making 'Rasputin' in fact the secret origin of Beardo Disco.

2. Two really good unlikely cover versions by geeky white people singing 80s R&B

A. DUMP - '1999'.

A wistful cover of the Prince classic by a side project from the dude from Yo La Tengo that specializes in Prince covers - see their album, "That Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice". Would work well in a gechoppt und geschrewt context.


A cover of the erotic Terence Trent D'Arby ballad, which in its razor-sharp sensitivity has an almost gothic tone to it. Really fucking good and sexy, lots of breathing vocal whispering, and a beautiful horn section at the end.

3. Two recent songs that sound like they are old, but as a matter of fact they are not.


Neither of these albums is really worth listening to as a whole. But these two tracks should be listened to by you.

Both of the albums succumb to some of the lamer tendencies of pastiche. The Lewis Taylor record is overwrought with Rundgrenisms, as if every song really has to have about five songs worth of musical ideas crammed into it. But the opening track, Listen Here, has a pretty great psychedelically smooth opening and remains the disc's most accomplished effort.


Map of Africa, despite its elite hipster pedigree, as it is comprised of DJ Harvey and some dude from ARE Weapons I think, and represents their testament to cheesy, trippy boogie rock, aka kind of like ZZ Top or Steppenwolf or something. Unlike Taylor, who worked too hard on his 21st century Rundgren resurrection, MoA sounds like it was recorded in a day, a fact which makes the record as endearing as it is ultimately kind of disposable. There are some jams on it, like 'Gonna Ride', which is a good song to put on your stereo when you're like, brushing your teeth in the morning or getting ready for guests to come over.

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