Denise: Today, re-decorating the west wing at Carrick, with brush-and-roll music to keep us going. Electric Light Orchestra: On The Third Day ; Eldorado ; Face The Music ; A New World Record ; Out The Blue ; Discovery – and, just to be sure we’d covered all bases, a triple compilation album packed to the rafters with great music from their studio albums of ELO’s first 25 years!
ELO – Eldorado
ELO – Discovery
ELO – A New World Record
ELO – Out Of The Blue
ELO – Face The Music
ELO – On The Third Day
Jonathan: A dreich, dreich Saturday. Turnarounds done at Carrick and Askernish. Administration done. Team effort! I’m now sorting out problems with printers, and Denise is ironing the bedding. Outside the day is grey and misty, wet and full of pesky flies. So let’s summon up music to get work done by!
Manic Street Preachers: Rewind The Film
Elton John: Duets
The Divine Comedy: Regeneration
Fleetwood Mac : Greatest Hits
Jonathan: I do miss The Word magazine! For me – and I suspect many others, of my generation especially – it helped re-ignite the love of music, the hunger for diversity and originality. The magazine’s cover CD was an eagerly awaited invitation to audition new music, new artists, some of which I’ve gone on to support by buying albums. One such is Nerina Pallot, whose song Idaho was featured on The Word CD about ten years ago. I love this song – it’s such a powerful expression of the hope one feels in breaking free of a broken, or at least dysfunctional life, and starting over somewhere else, where you feel you’ll be understood better, and have the opportunities to discover yourself – and discover others. About five years ago I was listening to this song when there was a knock on the door: customers wanting to buy lemon curd … and they were from Idaho!
Idaho was never released as a single, but Damascus – also on her album Fires – was. Even those with no interest in Christianity will probably understand the common thread here: re-awakening, transformation, hope of redemption … But these are not religious songs, they are just about what it means to be human. For this song is not about finding anything, it’s a wail of despair and resignation at the failure to find anything at all on the road to Damascus.
At her best, Nerina Pallot is really a great song-writer, and a wonderful singer and performer too. But she’s not comfortable with fame and touring, and doesn’t produce hits to order. It’s difficult for her to fill an album with songs all of the quality of Damascus, Idaho and Sophia, and I’ve noticed I tend to switch off (sometimes literally) before the last few songs of the album. I’ll probably not buy another of her albums, but I’m glad to have got to know this one, and glad that there ever was such a thing as The Word magazine!
Jonathan: It was just a month or two ago I came across, in our local ‘thrift shop’ (Uist parlance – elsewhere in UK it would be known as a charity shop), the album Absolution by Muse, recorded in the 2003. Wow, I thought, how come I missed them? I don’t get the band’s ‘influences’ as described in Wikipedia: more Keane, Coldplay, Radiohead and REM I would say, but then I’ve only got two albums. The other – Black Holes & Revelations (2006) – I bought just a couple of days ago on ebay, used but in perfect condition, costing scarcely more than the postage. I’d done my research: this album is rated very highly, not just in terms of Muse’s output, but generally. Well, amongst rock fans like me, anyway: I imagine Beyoncé and her fans dance to quite a different Muse!
Jonathan: Like so many others across the world, right now, I’m revisiting Bowie’s music. The first album of his I bought (as opposed to listened to or borrowed) was Pinups. Now I’m going to risk the indignation of Bowie fans worldwide by stating that in my honest and humble opinion, this is his most ‘accessible’ album. If that praise seems uncharitably faint, then let me say that it is also one his very best, and it is one of the best rock’n’roll albums of all time. Okay it’s an album of covers, but his interpretations are original, and as irresistable as his own compositions. This album is the authoratative assertion that a cover can be better than the original. My own favourite is Sorrow, though the others are all a close joint second! Bowie himself said that this album was one of his favourites. By the way, the female on the cover is Twiggy: I’ve only just now twigged (sorry!) that her androgenous appearance was the counterpart of Bowie’s own ambiguousness.