Friday, May 26, 2006


Friday music rant!

Thanks again to everyone who posted well wishes yesterday. We had a lovely evening out, ate way too much and to be honest when we got home we vegetated for a bit before going to bed... sleep. My body could definitely cope better with rich food and alcohol 9 years ago, or maybe I'm just out of practice.

Martha spent the remainder of the evening playing Everybody's Golf on her PSP, so after a quick surf I sat down to properly read the CD inserts from the new Pet Shop Boys album, "Fundamental". Martha's already defeated the object of my post about it from a few days ago - she admitted she's listened to "some" of the album, but skipped a lot of tracks having only listened to them part way through. Is it just me or does that defeat the object of listening to music, especially if it's something new?

Anyway, I'm still loving "Fundamental" and also the Limited CD "Fundamentalism" (Ann, if you're serious about buying it, I suggest you get the Limited Edition, it's worth the few extra £'s). It's also got me thinking about a post I did waaaaaaay back in the infancy of my blog about New Order's last album "Waiting For the Sirens Call".

When I heard "...Sirens Call" for the first time I hated it - I was so disappointed. I really like New Order and a bit like PSB's, their songs from their heyday of the 80's and early 90's are probably what most people think of - "Blue Monday", "True Faith", "Fine Time" and "World in Motion" (argh, just kidding!), but their later albums have some equally brilliant tracks. They went off the rails a bit with the album "Get Ready" in my humble opinion, but even still it had some fabulous songs on it. "...Sirens Call" was hailed as a mighty comeback as good as their album "Technique" which is truly an amazing record - one of the few albums I can listen to from start to finish without skipping a track - so expectations for the new album were high.

It took me six FULL listens to truly appreciate "...Sirens Call". I told myself that I had to persevere with it, and not "do a Martha" and skip mid-track, but fully immerse myself into the album. Angryrobot did a fine job of describing how he does this in this article. With me and "...Sirens Call" there was this sudden moment of clarity, of being transported back to a time when New Order were undeniably at the pinnacle of their career, and it just all made sense. I'm not going to pretend that "...Sirens Call" is as good as "Technique", but for me it is certainly snapping at it's heels. It's extremely hard to explain this process, but by understanding the bands former greatness and transposing that understanding to their new material, adjusted my mentality towards the music.

It's with this in mind that I'm listening to "Fundamental" and the process seems to be working. The fact that I never actually disliked "Fundamental" from its first listen is a head start I suppose, but as I said a few days ago, it didn't seem to hang together terribly well. I still stand by that comment, but it's gradually coming together. I refuse to skip tracks even though I have solid favourites that I could listen to on repeat without any qualms at all. I want to give the songs I don't enjoy so much a fair crack of the whip, and by God, if it takes me 6, 8 or 10 listens to "get it" that's what I'm going to do. Angryrobot is right. You have to find the "listening angle", roll and rotate the songs in your head like a jigsaw puzzle until they fit. If you don't listen to the songs you'll never even stand a chance of understanding it.

Hear my proclamation! It's not piracy that's killing music, it's the flaming "skip" button! Grrr!

Also, for those interested in New Order, here's a related link which hopefully will prove interesting in the coming weeks/months courtesy of the Angryrobot.

Glad that you had a good time.
There are a few albums of mine that have taken a few listens to to "get" and once I've done it I love the album.

Unfortunately all too often I hit the 'skip' button. I find I'm worse if I've got other things to do and want instant gratification - a quick hit of the artist I want to listen to at that time. I find I only really listen to albums fully when I'm on the train or a plane and I'm forced to relax. I'm glad I'm not the only music philistine!!
I'm glad you had a good time. It's nice to have a little time alone with your honey now and then.
My Utopia - Me too, it's so nice to have some time away from Audrey from time to time...sure we love her to bits, but sometimes you just need to preserve your sanity!

Ann - Skipping is fine if you want to get to a track you really want to hear, but skipping on the first listen of a song? Just seems a bit weird to me - it'd be like watching a movie on DVD that you'd never seen before and fast forwarding it.

OGO - Indeed it is. I'm sure you appreciate that as much as we do.
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