Archive for flamboyant

54. ‘Hard Times’ by Patrick Wolf (2009)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on July 15, 2010 by G.K. Reid

Another fortuitous ranking, seeing as Patrick – like Sleater-Kinney before him – here lambasts the media and the mediocre in no uncertain terms.  Whereas Sleater-Kinney go for the full-scale, caustic takedown, though, Patrick errs on the side of positivity.  Still young enough to not have his idealism soured completely, he fashions his frustrations into an invigorating call to arms, adamantly intoning about ‘resolution/revolution’ like they’re real, reachable dreams to dream.  Any accusations of hippy-shit naivete are offset, however, by the ardent emphasis he places upon the need to ‘work’ for it (as opposed to, say, just imagining it, like some overly lionised, self-satisfied Scousers would have it).

It helps that Patrick is a performer who can really sell this shit and whip a crowd into a life-affirming frenzy. What doesn’t help so much is when he’s allowed anywhere near the internet, and his clearly sincere ambitions ‘to give people Disneyland’ become somewhat undermined when he gets all petulant and throws his toys out the pram because it’s turned out that not many people are interested. Which, I admit, is kind of a shame, because the boy knows how to write a song, work a stage and – perhaps most crucially – wear ridiculous clothes; I too would be a little baffled as to what the hell else it is that people want.

Bonus points: Aside from Toxic, possibly the best strings in the countdown.

**The video to Hard Times is kind of awful, even moreso in a post-Jedward world, so below instead is the joyful video to The Magic Position (a song that was once in this list but eventually dropped out for entirely arbitrary reasons).**

69. ‘You Needed More’ by The Sleepy Jackson (2006)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 20, 2010 by G.K. Reid

He’s only about to get MORE like Adam Ant.

(1) The intro. That’s the sound of being gently awoken on a beautiful spring morning when, once you fully wake up, you’re vaguely skeptical about how the season is gonna play out.
(2) The vocals. From the first ‘I’, it’s an odd but beguiling sound.
(3) The lyrics. The logical summation in the first two lines of the emotional dilemma of being in love with someone but it not being enough for them (I had everything I wanted/But you wanted more…) is one hell of a hook.
(4) The backing vocals and guitars. The song takes on a delicious thrust as they combine to gently power the song forward and add to its melodic intricacies.
(5) The chorus. ‘If your father was like anything you talked about, he would not be proud of you’ Adds another dimension to the song. The person he’s in love with is a liar, rejecting all the available love open to them in favour of the comfort of ‘hard-done-by’ bullshit.

But it’s possible I’m interpreting that from a purely personal point of view.

Regardless, this remains a gorgeous song, and only ever seems more rewarding the more you listen to it.

Bonus points: Luke Steele has possibly the WACKIEST face I’ve ever seen. And his voice is fated to be described as “distinctive” in press releases forevermore.


75. ‘Take Your Mama’ by Scissor Sisters (2004)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 12, 2010 by G.K. Reid

Not big in America.

I think it’s largely the novelty of the subject matter of this song that contributes to its greatness. A tale of exposing a gay boy’s mum to a swinging, champagne-fuelled homo lifestyle, in order to reassure her that there’s no need to worry about him? Brilliant!

I found the Elton Johnniness of the whole endeavour a little offputting at first. Not because I’ve particularly got anything against Elton, just that it sounded so incongruous and old-fashioned at the time. Luckily, the Scissor Sisters persisted and won me over. They are definitely A. GOOD. THING. Though they could really do with writing some good songs again. (Don’t think they have since I Don’t Feel Like Dancing, last time I checked).

Bonus points: I love the second verse (‘It’s a struggle, living like a good boy oughta’…) which nicely counterbalances the frolicsome antics of the rest.

79. ‘Wow’ by Kylie Minogue (2008)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 12, 2010 by G.K. Reid

‘Get me into the shade’

Upon first hearing this song, I thought it was almost aggressively camp, and so cynically squared at Kylie’s G.A.Y. market as to be unbearable.  Admittedly, this was in a gay bar in Manchester, where they played the song four times in the space of 45 minutes. It wasn’t until I got some distance from it and it popped up unexpectedly on the radio many months later that I realised its towering brilliance. It may be camper than Christmas, but that’s one of the marks of its greatness; it’s unashamedly so. In a decade where pop has grown more sophisticated and, with it, more self-consciously hip, it was refreshing to hear such a cool-eschewing, hook-laden, flat-out pop song. And it’s fitting that it’s Kylie who delivers it, as she’s perhaps the most perfect vessel for such contraptions that there’s ever been (and it was also she who, with Can’t Get You Out of My Head, helped usher pop into the future).

Bonus points: That the simple echo of a word in the chorus (in this case, ‘rush’) should be so thrilling is one of those unshakeable mysteries of pop music.