Friday, 22 June 2012

This Week's Top 5 Songs XVIII

Paloma Faith - Freedom

Opening this week's Top 5 Songs post with my newest discovery. I'd been aware of Paloma since her arrival on the scene but I hadn't really noticed her properly until listening to the UK chart show two weeks ago and hearing Picking Up The Pieces. Last weekend, free from exams, I remembered and checked the song out again on YouTube. The video held my attention to the very end...and the way I feel toward it and the song itself is: while it's not completely original, the mix of influences just completely clicks with me. Me and Paloma are on the same musical wavelength. I love pretty much all of the songs on the second album and it was not easy choosing just one: Freedom for sure has a hit potential. Will check out the debut album soon but I'm very impressed so far.

Blondie - Atomic

Earlier this week, after a long day, I decided to rewatch the 2006 Blondie documentary, and realised all over again how much I adore Debbie Harry. While Kate Bush is the ultimate female artist for me, Debbie is the ultimate ultracool female star. Forget about Madonna. This woman did it first and she did it better. (I still have a lot of respect for Madonna though and like a lot of her songs.) Blondie might have better songs than Atomic but I've always had a soft spot for this one. A perfect mix of punk-alternative rock stuff and disco/dance music, an anthemic melody plus the cool, dark tones of the way Debbie sings the title words. Hot and cool at the same time.

Fun fact: the first time I heard Atomic was at a record store around the time one of their best of's came out and before Debbie started singing I actually thought it was a new Franz Ferdinand song. So young, so cute. :) Oh well, when it comes to Blondie I'm the Maria generation...

Kate Bush - Hello Earth

Well, I was shortening my sundress the other day and after I listened to Paloma's album a few times I craved change but would only listen to someone good, and female: Kate was an obvious choice. While deep at manual work I was in the right mood for Hounds of Love, ready to actually listen. It felt like the perfect opportunity to listen to The Ninth Wave, the side two of the album, in its entirety. Hello Earth, the penultimate song of the album finds the heroine of the Ninth Wave close to death, recounting the events that brought her alone into a storm at sea. The beauty of the melodic, harmonic and production choices is indescribable by words. You have to feel this song, down in the marrow of your bones.

Iggy Pop - Shakin' All Over

I listened to Iggy's version of this early 60's oldie quite a few times this week thanks to Pushing Ahead of the Dame's recent blog entry. Apparently Bowie, as part of Tin Machine, covered this song live as well...a fact I either forgot or never was aware of. Well, I can't help myself but Iggy's '99 version (available on his Avenue B album) is my favourite. Sexy, ballsy but sung from a point of view of an old lizard. I prefer that to the youthfulness of the original. Yep, I'm weird.

David Bowie - Hang on to Yourself (Bowie at the Beeb, 1972 version)

Listened to the Bowie at the Beeb live album after a while the other night and realised a lot of my favourite Ziggy-era songs performed at these BBC sessions are my live favourites, and in some cases I even prefer them to the studio versions. There are two versions of Hang featured on this album but I managed to find the right audio so you know which one I'm taking about here.

This version ROCKS. HARD. I don't think Ronno ever played this song better than here. Actually the whole band is just tight. That's the way I like it, baby. No solo wanking, short, bitey. Fuck yeah.

P.S. UK-ers: there's this programme on tonight at BBC Four. Ziggy, the album, turned 40 earlier this month, so this docu could be an interesting celebration...

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