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April 1st, 2009


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08:50 am - Rock'n'roll
Today seems like as good a day as any to post about a subject on which I post remarkably little: rock music. I post very little because I know very little. This is not one of my specialist subjects; if anything, it represents a considerable gap in my pop cultural knowledge, no pun intended.

Most of what I do know comes from listening to The Arrow, one of a small number of rock channels available to us on digital radio. I thought there were only two - The Arrow and Planet Rock - but a slightly fuller search reveals Rock Radio is a wannabe-national network with an affiliate here in the North-East. The venerable magazine Kerrang! has its own station as well, come to think of it.

There may well be scads of other stations available as audio channels on digital television, plus plenty of channels available over the Internet, of course, but in practice I don't go out and think "oh, I feel like listening to some rock music" - it's more likely to be the case that it's something on in the background on a night shift at work, with The Arrow being a fairly uncontroversial middle ground default option that we'd frequently listen to overnight back at the power station. (It was also a station that we could receive reasonably clearly, which was a rarer commodity than you might imagine. I can't immediately conclude whether being in the middle of tonnes of metal and industry would have been a help or a hindrance in this regard.)

Accordingly, here are thirteen songs that get played on The Arrow every once in a while, that I have worked out that I like. Now I know people can get almost territorial about their music, or about their music genres, so I'm not going to claim that these are classic songs, or even that these necessarily are rock music. (I'm not even sure that these are necessarily my favourite songs - for instance, I need to think about songs on a CD Meg kindly made for me, and whether they count as rock or not.) However, The Arrow played 'em, and I liked 'em. In no particular order:
  • Van Halen, "Jump" reminds me of this classic Flash movie about old arcade games. The big guitar solo is a highlight of both song and movie. The song's video can't be nearly as much to my taste as this.
  • Supertramp, "Dreamer" often had a line or two of the chorus sung at the power station. An in-joke about steam turbines then followed. Even without that, it's still pleasantly ethereal.
  • Meat Loaf, "Dead Ringer for Love" may strike the balance between grandiosity and tolerability best among ver Loaf's fairly ridiculous canon. For the longest time I thought the song concerned a dancing kangaroo, too. Sadly not.
  • Red Hot Chilli Peppers, "The Zephyr Song" has rather fewer laughs to it than the others, but also some lovely vocal harmonies. Can't work out why it's about a zephyr and not a zither, though.
  • REM, "Man On The Moon" is probably the only one of these to have featured in a gayparee lyric quiz. This scores tonnes of points for its subject matter and its sense of fun.
  • Doobie Brothers, "Listen to the Music" - now I'm sure I was first introduced to this song by some sort of dance remix in, probably, the early '90s, and I'd love to hear that again if ever I could find it. The original is cute in its way, though.
  • Queen, "Bohemian Rhapsody", inevitably, again taking great benefit from its associations with a memorable film scene. It's fun to improvise lyrics to, very badly, as well.
  • Foo Fighters, "Learn to Fly" is probably the best rock song I can think of to listen to on a transatlantic flight. I did this on several occasions when Meg and I were long-distance.
  • Europe, "The Final Countdown" has a spectacular and very silly guitar section. I think this caught the imagination, at the time, of lots of very young people when it first came out, and I am no exception.
  • The Who, "You Better You Bet" sounds like it ought to be by Meat Loaf to me, but in a good way. Maybe Meat Loaf on a very good day.
  • Focus, "Sylvia" is a rare instrumental that got played on The Arrow and provided a really lovely change of pace. Given that The Arrow has no DJs announcing the songs and we can't get to the web site, finding out what this song actually was presented a real challenge.
  • Ram Jam, "Black Betty" is politically very incorrect, I suspect, but I heard it first as an instrumental used for a chart countdown. (Some of you may know where.) Considering that I regard myself as liking guitars less than many, there are quite a few songs on here because of their guitar parts.
  • The J. Gelis Band, (Angel in a) "Centerfold" is just plain silly fun for its singalong na-na-na line, plus has a self-indulgent false finish. One! More! Time!
I think I've demonstrated why I don't post about rock music very much.
Current Mood: tiredtired

(24 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:April 1st, 2009 02:24 pm (UTC)
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The nice thing about the radio is that it doesn't need dimes. Work probably do need a performance licence for it, though.
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From:bateleur
Date:April 1st, 2009 08:58 am (UTC)

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The J. Gelis Band, (Angel in a) "Centerfold" is just plain silly fun for its singalong na-na-na line

I like that too. Very catchy!
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:April 1st, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
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Sometimes a post can be foolish without actually trying to fool anyone.
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From:addedentry
Date:April 1st, 2009 09:04 am (UTC)
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Good for you for daring to post on a topic full of snark traps. I hate most of those songs; I secretly like most of them too (-:

I'm particularly grateful for the chance to point you at (or remind you of) "Zero Wing Rhapsody", which should provoke the famous jiggery_pokery laugh.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:April 1st, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)

Ob. Icon

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Oh, good call! Hadn't seen that for years.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:April 1st, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
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I approve of your icon!
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:April 1st, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, meant to add to this last night. Other songs I have liked reasonably recently which aren't played on The Arrow:

The Feeling, "I Thought It Was Over" would probably fit well onto the list above but it's a bit modern. Admittedly it gets a leg-up because of a great performance by the signer on 4Music Signs The Hits.

Gorillaz, "Gorillaz on my Mind" has a really catchy chorus. I'm not sure I've actually heard the full song (and I suspect I've only heard a remix, at that) but I do like what I've heard on a TV listings show.

I don't have a great deal of time for Lily Allen usually, but "The Fear" has some much nicer noises than the rest of her work. Ditto Girls Aloud, but Iain once made the point that the chorus to "The Promise" sounds like the theme tune to Blankety Blank (which it sort of does) and the song became much less annoying.

There was a list of five other songs I meant to mention, but I can't remember the fifth for the life of me. There may be another comment when I remember it.

Oh, and three other hideously cheesy songs that have parts which make me smile: Something Got Me Started has a lovely bit of detuned piano, which you don't get too often, That One With The Bagpipes with a lyric that goes a bit like "You're the voice of understanding" (but that isn't it, otherwise I'd have been able to search to find out what it was), and, er, You Can't Hurry Love.
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From:sarakay312
Date:April 1st, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
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While I do have the most random ipod in the world as it plays anything from country to some metal, I think you two need to be introduced. You definitely need to meet my Chris' music collection. I think you'd possibly find it interesting or you'd think less of us. I'm not sure which.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:April 1st, 2009 08:45 pm (UTC)
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See, part of the reason why I don't write about rock music is that it's not even the sort of modern music I tend to like much. I tend to like TV and game music, which frequently crosses over into miscellaneous electronic bleepy dance-y bollocks, as I understand the official name to be. For instance, in early 2006, I was listening to the music from Katamari Damacy four posts in a row, which is a lot closer to the mark. I'd do the "random shuffle of your .mp3 player" game, but at a guess possibly 20% or 25% of my tunes have English-language lyrics.

But, yes, hurrah for meeting and music!
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From:veronikamg
Date:April 1st, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC)
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Ha ha ha, The Final Countdown! Ha ha ha!!! I'm NOT making fun of your taste in music, because I like that song a lot too, but that is something you can nevar evar admit if you live in Norway. Especially not if you tend to socialize with people who concider themselves intelligent. 20 years ago this song was the anthem of young guys with long mullets, who wore stonewashed denim, striped hoodies and/or shell-suits, and rode around in old battered Granadas with the windows down (which is exactly the image most of Norway still has of people in the town where I live). Lucky(?) for me I mainly socialize with people who are not intelligent, :P so I don't have to pretend I only like interesting, intellectual stuff all the time.

Drats, now you made me want to go and post an embarrasing post in my own LJ. What better day for it that Fools' Day, eh?
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:April 1st, 2009 08:52 pm (UTC)
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*whistles innocently*

By any chance, do you live in Thørnaby? People would fit right in here, twenty years on... :-)
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From:veronikamg
Date:April 1st, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC)
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Thørnaby? I'm afraid I had never heard of the place until now. And I'm pretty sure that's not in Norway. :/ Sweden perhaps.
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From:undyingking
Date:April 2nd, 2009 11:24 am (UTC)
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It's in the UK. But in the part of the UK that is (supposedly) quite ethnically / culturally similar to Norway.
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From:veronikamg
Date:April 2nd, 2009 12:28 pm (UTC)
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But spelled with "ø"??
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From:undyingking
Date:April 2nd, 2009 01:07 pm (UTC)
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That was jiggery_pokery joking. The UK town is called just Thornaby, so "Thørnaby" meant "a Norwegian version of Thornaby".

(At least, that's my interpretation, but maybe jiggery_pokery will now say that I'm quite wrong ;-)
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From:veronikamg
Date:April 2nd, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
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I'm so ignorant that I had never heard of Thornaby before either. Now I'm curious. Can any place really be as epically embarrasing as my home town? x)

Also, majorly creepy user icon you've got. Reminds me of those articles about Egypt my friend used to read.
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From:undyingking
Date:April 3rd, 2009 07:53 am (UTC)
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I'm British, and I have only ever heard of Thornaby in the context of jiggery_pokery -- it is pretty small and obscure really ;-)

My user icon is a photo from a performance of the opera "Un Ballo in Maschera" on Lake Constance in 1999 -- the small figures are people, so you can imagine how big the sksleton was. I didn't attend, but I really liked the picture...
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From:ringbark
Date:April 1st, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC)
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Not surprisingly, there is a decent intersection between those songs and some I rate highly.

For two points: Which of these songs was the first song ever played on Vanuatu's first FM rock station?

For ten points: Which of these songs saved my life? Why?
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:April 1st, 2009 08:59 pm (UTC)
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Ooh, that surprises me; I regarded you as a man of taste and distinction...

2) See, if I had to guess without the clue that it was one of the above, I might have guessed at Robbie Williams' "Millennium", played at 00:00 Vanuatu time at the very start of 2000 or the very start of 2001. That would be logical. However, with the clue that it's one of the above, I'd have thought that the short-odds favourite would have to be Bo Rhap. Not, perhaps, the most imaginitive choice, but an extremely justifiable one.

10) There was a news story a little while ago about how the song "Stayin' Alive" might help save people's lives by virtue of its tempo being something like 100 bpm (maybe 104 bpm?) which is considered to be the ideal tempo at which to give pulmonary resuscitation, or whatever its official name is - the compression part of the kiss of life. Was one of the above songs used in the same way upon you, perhaps? I would rather have my heart pounded to the tempo of "Dreamer" than to the tempo of "Dead Ringer for Love", for instance, so that's the one I'd go for.
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From:ringbark
Date:April 2nd, 2009 05:33 am (UTC)
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You score nul points. Would you, or anyone else, like to have another try before I reveal the answers and the reasons?
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From:gayparee
Date:April 2nd, 2009 11:35 pm (UTC)
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Incorrect! I present to you Exhibit A:

"You've got the kind of lips that do more than drink." "You've got the kind of mind that does less than think."

It's very important not to be embarrassed by your musical taste. I know that Adge Cutler & The Wurzels are musical geniuses. Their lack of appreciation by the rest of the world doesn't alter that fact.

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