62. ‘Apple of My Eye’ by Ed Harcourt (2002)

 

Ed Harcourt: working the requisite sideburns, like all good troubadours should.

As some of his fellow men in this countdown (Rufus, Fyfe, R Kelly) can attest, romanticism and postmodernism make for strange bedfellows. To have one’s Keatsian impulses continually tempered by one’s own damned, inescapable self-awareness, in a world where a declaration of love is just as likely to trigger a cringe or an ironic riposte as it is a swoon. ‘Settle down, Keats’, the object of your affection may say derisively, as she rolls her eyes and hits the ‘send’ button on her iPhone. (Do iPhones have send buttons?)

But Harcourt, again like Rufus and (on a good day) Fyfe, excels at playing out this dilemma to the sounds of lushly orchestrated, multi-instrumented pieces of transcendent music. Because while words of love can easily be mocked by some cynical bastard somewhere, it’s much harder to argue against the sound of trumpets and violins and a few well-placed handclaps. Music will never lose its purity. And those high-notes Harcourt hits in the choruses of Apple of My Eye are as pure as they come.

Bonus points: ‘Here Be Monsters’ is one of my favourite winter albums. In that, I listen to it a lot in winter. It’s the musical equivalent of drinking mulled wine by a log fire, with an Old English Sheepdog at your feet. Also, another excellent, funny video:

 

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