Nothing Is Quick In The Desert

Yesterday mistakes were made here at Bagging Area. The Various Artists post on the Junior Boys Own Collection should have appeared today but due to an administrative error was published yesterday alongside the Orbital post. An inquiry has been carried out which has gone all the way to the very top of this organisation. Rest assured, action has been taken and heads have rolled.

As a result of the erroneous publishing of two posts simultaneously (and being out last night) this is a brief post. Public Enemy are celebrating thirty years in the rap game and have made their new album Nothing Is Quick In The Desert available as a free download. Off you go.

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Push The Sky Away/Harder Than You Think

Right then, time for action, time for change, time to see what is going on. Today is the day. By this tomorrow we should know what we face. The way I see it there are three potential outcomes of this general election.

1. A victory for a socialist Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn. If I am to believe my Twitter timeline this is a completely plausible outcome, but I fear it is unlikely.

2. A hung parliament. Seeing as there can’t be any parties out there who would prop up a minority government led by a politically damaged Theresa May, I’m guessing this would result in a progressive alliance of Labour, SNP, PC, possibly some Lib Dems, and the Greens. I am happy with this as an outcome.

3. A Tory government, a cabinet of barbarians, who will hold power for the next five years, driving us off the cliff face and into some sort of post-EU, post human rights, right-wing elective dictatorship where the poor are left to fend for themselves and Britain becomes a Poundshop, Daily Mail outpost off the coast of northern Europe.

I’m not looking forward to this.

In 2013 Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds released an album called Push The Sky Away, the first without long term cohort Mick Harvey. It has a warmth that singles it out in Nick Cave’s back catalogue and on this beautiful closing song, a most un-Bad Seeds sound, an almost post-club sound with some optimistic, life affirming lyrics…

‘I was riding
The sun was rising from the fields

You’ve got to keep on pushing and keep on pushing
Pushing the sky away

And some people say that it’s just rock and roll
Oh but it gets down right into your soul

You’ve got to keep on pushing and keep on pushing
Pushing the sky away’

Push The Sky Away

It’s a thing of beauty, even if you’re not much of a Nick Cave fan. But it’s not a song to take to the barricades or the polling station. This is though, Chuck D and Flavor Flav telling it how it is…

Harder than You Think

Beauty’s Where You Find It

There are plenty of Madonna singles I’ll make a case for, from Into The Groove to Ray Of Light and several in between. I even like American Pie. In 1990 she released two singles that are as good as anything she did, splicing pop with house to stay a step ahead of the rest, and pushing pop music into new places. Vogue is a smart pop song, a dance, a homage to 1920s and 1930s style and Hollywood legend, a light shining on the gay club scene, and a celebration of the dancefloor. The rap section is totally memorable and the rhythm can only have come from producer Shep Pettibone’s exposure to house music in Europe.

Vogue

Justify My Love was a step further, calculated to cause offence and controversy. Co-written by Lenny Kravitz, drums borrowed from Public Enemy (and Clyde Stubblefield originally), it sets off like a train and Madonna’s breathy vocals make it clear there’s only one thing on her mind. The video features the full range of button pushers for the TV censors- scenes of a sexual nature, cross-dressing, BDSM and nudity, all par for the course for Madonna in 1990. The Sex book (with Vanilla Ice of all people) was just around the corner. Justify My Love is a great single in its own right though, a chuggy dance pop monster. The video was banned by MTV (obvs) and to watch it you’d have to buy it on VHS. Until Youtube was invented.

Justify My Love

 

Revolutionary Generation

I’m going to see The Stone Roses in a football stadium today. Reports from the first three nights have ranged from ‘great’ to ‘a religious experience’. Nothing if not enthusiastic, Roses fans. The support acts today are The Courtneeners (no interest from me I’m afraid, generic northern rock band) and Public Enemy (lots of interest from me, groundbreaking hip hop band who remain untouched in their field). Fear Of A Black Planet, their 1990 album, is a must own record from 911 Is A Joke to Can’t Do Nuttin’ For Ya Man, Brother’s Gonna Work it Out and Fight The Power. And this one, which samples Musical Youth and Parliament…

Revolutionary Generation

1989 Another Summer, Sound Of The Funky Drummer

Here’s today’s post which didn’t publish this morning for some unknown reason.

The ultimate extension of Keith LeBlanc’s 1983 Malcolm X record was this, the motherlode of righteous hip hop, the pinnacle of Public Enemy’s career, the greatest protest record of them all- Fight The Power. One record pulling together the history of the civil rights movement, the upsurge in interest in Malcolm X, Spike Lee’s film making, The Bomb Squad’s screaming, pummeling production and Chuck D’s angriest, most on-point lyrics (the verse that goes ‘Elvis was a hero to most but he never meant shit to me, straight out racist that sucker was simple and plain, motherfuck him and John Wayne, people get ready ‘cos I’m black and I’m proud, I’m hyped and I’m amped, most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps’ is as good as it gets). Again not on the hard drive but do you want the full seven minute version of the video? Yeah, boyeee!

 

Harder Than You Think

There’s all this top sport all over the place at the moment and then the mp3 player shuffled up this on the way home from work on Friday, just as I was at the traffic lights near home. The World Cup and the Tour de France will be poorer for those injuries to poor old Neymar (definitely out) and poor old Mark Cavendish (probably out).

Public Enemy’s Harder Than You Think was a single from their 20th anniversary album How Do You Sell Soul To A Soulless People Who Lost Their Soul? and proved that Chuck D and co had not lost their edge. It is lit up by a Shirley Bassey horn sample and is probably best known over here as the song that soundtracked the paralympic games two summers ago. This Futurecast remix adds a massive, punishing breakbeat.

Harder Than You Think (Futurecast Remix)

Most Of My Heroes Don’t Appear On No Stamps

I’ve been having a bit of a Public Enemy revival, partly sparked off by Drew’s 1988 rap week and the band’s appearance at Glastonbury last weekend. I’ve even got E.T. going around using the phrase ‘Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t believe the hype’, which pleases me no end.

While the media was looking at all the fuss over at the main stage Chuck D turned in a blinding set of Public Enemy songs, including the evergreen ’88 classic…

I keep going back to this, from 1989. Their best moment? Maybe…

I don’t know if Elvis was racist but it’s a magnificent line- the whole verse is untouchably great. Chuck and I were in agreement for many years about most of our heroes not appearing on no stamps- until the Royal Mail released that series of classic British album covers a few years back, which included London Calling, Power Corruption And Lies and Screamadelica. Damnthe Royal Mail- they took that piece of righteous anger away from me.

Bring The Noise