These Are Commercial Crusades

My week of protest songs finishes with a double header. First up, Ian Brown and his 2007 single Illegal Attacks, a blistering tirade against the US and British invasion of Iraq set to a hip hop beat and sweeping strings. The Stone Roses had form in lyrical revolution- Bye Bye Badman referenced the Paris ’68 events, Elizabeth My Dear fantasised about the death of Elizabeth II and they often mentioned politics in interviews during their ’89-90 heyday. That’s Sinead O’Connor on backing vocals.

At the other end of the scale from Mr Brown in terms of vocal ability and formation dancing is Beyonce. During last year’s Superbowl she ruffled feathers by turning up with her dancers dressed as Black Panthers.

Co-written by Kendrick Lamar Freedom, from last year’s Lemonade album (an album shot through with protest), is this slice of righteous psychedelic soul led by wheezy organ, shouting loud that Black Lives Matter.

Freedom

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Home Again (Again)

Back home again- I’ve barely been at home for the last three weeks have I? I’m sure those of you who don’t have long summer holidays don’t want to hear about the beautiful rolling hills of the Dordogne, the sandy coloured French villages, the point at which the Dordogne and Vezere rivers converge, engravings made on cave walls by our ancestors 25, 000 years ago that take the breath away, the fine wines of the Bergerac and Saumur, long sun drenched evenings, the daily sunshine and 34 degree heat. So I won’t go on about it. If it’s any consolation I can offer this advice- don’t  get a ferry back across the Channel from Caen to Portsmouth that lands at 10 pm and then leaves you having to drive up to Manchester round not one, not two but three sets of roadwork diversions and gets you back in at 3 am.

Long summer drives through France on the other hand are a joy. The roads are great, traffic is minimal, the scenery wonderful. We have occasional differences about what should soundtrack the journeys. This year’s tune that all of us agreed on was this recent smash from Beyonce, full of ire and anger, led by calypso strings and some intense drums. It borrows liberally from Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs too.

Hold Up

If you haven’t heard it the album Lemonade is full of great tracks. Genuinely.

Meanwhile In The Real Pop Music World

I had a conversation with a colleague at my works Christmas do who didn’t know who Joe Strummer was (‘oh yeah’ he said when I told him Joe was in The Clash, ‘they did that song I Bought The Law didn’t they?’, I think I did an actual facepalm). I looked at my 2014 List as I was typing it and thought ‘is this deliberately obtuse?’ So today I’m doing music from the real world in 2014.

Hideaway by Keisza is ace, with that massive early 90s bass drop and one take video.

You’d have to have a heart of stone not to find something about Pharrell’s smash Happy not to like. Except that you may have heard it once too often by now.

And here’s yet another class Beyonce tune (shame about the silly Jay Z rap in the middle which adds nothing and actually detracts from the song). This came out at the tail end of 2013 but I’ve heard it repeatedly this year and always enjoy it.

Freakum Dress

Drumming my fingers near the keyboard it occurred to me that following Joe Strummer’s Cholo Vest yesterday we could have a week of posts of songs with items of clothing in the title. For no particular reason. Feel free to make suggestions. I did think of The Charlatans song White Shirt but George posted that recently at Jim McLean’s Rabbit (I think) and he doesn’t like it when people do posts of songs he has posted recently.

Everyone needs some Beyonce in their life- her stuff is frequently both poppy and hard edged, innovative with mass appeal. And she’s fierce. Fiercely fierce. This 2006 song, Freakum Dress, is catchy as flu and is about having that one killer dress (‘every woman got one’, short and backless is an option but I’m sure there are others) and what that does to the wearer and the viewer.

Moving Further Away

A humdinger of a Weatherall remix that appeared on a very pricey Horrors vinyl box set from 2012 for Thursday. The drum machine wheezes away, a bleepy arpeggio repeats and builds, and the Farris chorus part comes in and out. Hypnotic.

Moving Further Away (Andrew Weatherall remix)

I  would pay good money for a Weatherall remix of Beyonce.

Sifting

This is Sifters record shop, in Burnage, south Manchester, known far and wide due to Noel Gallagher immortalising Mr Sifter in Oasis’s early single Shakermaker . I grew up not far from here and have been visiting Sifters on and off since early 80s. It’s the kind of place you can rummage for an hour and come out with seven records having spent less than twenty quid. A fair few years ago, six or seven maybe, I took the kids to Fog Lane Park  (another of my childhood/teenage haunts). I then took them over the road to Sifters and to pacify them while I had at least ten minutes sifting I put them in front of the 12″ rack and told them to choose one each. Whether through luck or judgement both chose acceptably- I.T. settled on The Fall’s cover of R Dean Taylor’s There’s A Ghost In My House- must have been the sleeve- and daughter E.T., only two-ish, wanted Madonna’s Into The Groove. Neither cost more than £1.95. Amongst other things, I bought this damn fine piece of twenty-first century pop…

Crazy In Love

I haven’t been to Sifters for years, choosing King Bee in Chorlton for my out of town second hand record shopping these days. It’s closer (and, whisper it, better). But I miss my trips to Sifters. Is it still there, anyone know? May have to take a drive that way soon.