Monthly Archives: June 2010

#4 – German Music

I felt that after such an abysmal performance in the football I would try and cheer myself up somehow. I figured a little light xenophobia and negative stereotyping would do the trick just fine, so here it is. Just before I do start generalising I want to do three things: well done Germany, you completely outplayed us in every way; England – what the hell?! I have seen League 1 teams defend better than that; and finally, Sepp, if you’re reading this, goal-line technology. Anyway, here goes…

German music. Not very good, is it?

While that should be enough, I’ll try and justify such a (frankly outrageous) statement. The impression we get of German music in the UK is that it’s stuck in the 80’s/90’s and they sing about red balloons and efficiency and other such (relatively meaningless) things. So, in the spirit of all things anti-German I thought I’d ignore the Berlin Techno scene, the quality dance music and Kraftwerk. Here are three examples of why music from the UK is better than music from Germany.

Alphaville – Forever Young

Okay, this is a bit of a cult classic (it’s in Napoleon Dynamite, don’t you know) but it’s a pretty terrible song. And it fits pretty nicely into the 80’s generalisation. Actually, I think it was written in 1979, but accuracy clearly isn’t the point of this post right now.

Silbermond – An Dich

This song is like something by Avril Lavigne, in German. If you have a look at some images of the band they’ve marketed themselves at that angst-y 13 year old girl market, with dark clothes, heavy makeup, etc, etc. For a band that have been pretty active in the ‘noughties’ (I hate that expression, but it’ll have to do) they sound horrendously 90’s. The gist I’m getting at is that they’re not very good.

Die Toten Hosen – Ich Bin Die Sehnsucht In Dir

Die Toten Hosen (also known as DTH) have been going since the early 80’s and they call themselves punk. If they were really punk they’d have got together in ’82, been signed in ’83, learned to play their instruments in ’84, had a low selling album or two in the next couple of years and been part of the legacy of punk by ’87. Instead they’re still making music. It’s like Green Day calling themselves punk. You can’t be Punk after a 30 year career making insane amounts of money. It’s simply not Punk.

There you go. Three examples of why, in spite of having been schooled in the football, England is better than Germany! 😀


Filed under Music

#3 – Ska

Blogs all over the web were lighting up over the latest Diplo creation that came out at the beginning of the month. The Major Lazer/La Roux mixtape was, I think we can conclude, a bit of a limp fish. Only really two or three songs on it were worth the hype, although that may still be a bit generous… I think the idea is good though. As a bit of a fan of Island music, anything that makes a song a little more summery is generally going to get at least a listen from me. So let’s consider Reggae’s big brother. Ska music is something that most people would often consider the territory of 14 year old kids with long hair who like running into each other at gigs, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s been around longer than Reggae and has played a part in both the Island and British music scenes since the early ’60’s. The constant upbeat, trumpets, organs, and generally dancey feel make it one of the most expressive and fun genres to listen to. It is impossible to keep your feet still when it’s on.

Here are a few examples of how Ska has developed, from the first wave of Jazz and Blues influenced songs, through to the second wave that took the British Mod culture by storm, better known as 2 Tone. This progressed to the punk tinged third wave that was popular in the ’90’s in the States and that a lot of people would probably associate with Ska these days. Finally I’m throwing in a gem that I can’t stop listening to. For me summer started when I found this tune in February!

Lord Tanamo – I’m In The Mood For Ska

The Coventry Automatic – Little Bitch

Goldfinger – Walking In The Dark

Major Lazer – Keep It Goin’ Louder (Ska Mix)

Leave a comment

Filed under Music

#2 – Reggae Remixes

While at work the other day I heard possibly one of the best reggae reworks of a song ever. One of my favourite ever artists has been taken and made into a super chilled song that could well define my summer. It’s part of a rare bootlegged 7″ and tracking down an mp3 of it has been as tough as getting a gorilla to tango. But, scroll on down and you’ll find it. Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On? has been reworked by Truths and Rights and the results are awesome. The B-side of the single is a rework of Edwin Starr’s classic War by The Buzz and that is also way good, but sadly the guy who gave me Marvin Gaye wasn’t able to hook me up with that one. With a little bit of work I’m sure you’ll be able to find it though 🙂

Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On? (Truths & Rights Remix)

While we’re on the subject of all things good reggae, how about some other bits and bobs. A slightly older track but a quality remix nonetheless is from the Chant Down Babylon album of Bob Marley collaborations. It’s more of a group of famous fans who have taken some of his popular songs and ‘duetted’ with the late singer. My highlight of this is MC Lyte’s rap over the top of Jammin’, although Lauryn Hill’s take on Turn Your Lights Down Low deserves an honourable shout-out.

Bob Marley – Turn Your Lights Down Low Feat. Lauryn Hill

Bob Marley – Jammin’ Feat. MC Lyte

Just to finish off here’s another song that’s been ‘reggae-ified’. It’s different but worth a listen, if only because more often than not when Mark Ronson decides to do something, it works.

Miike Snow – Animal (Mark Ronson Remix)

Leave a comment

Filed under Music

#1 – A Bit Of Rap

While wasting some time on the internet the other day (house-hunting online just got boring) I came across some pretty cool bits and bobs. The Wu-Tang Meets Indie Culture album came out about 5 years ago now but some of the tracks sounds as good now as they did then. The song Preservation with Aesop Rock and Del the Funky Homosapien fits in really well with the souly, rootsy kind of rap that I’ve been listening to quite a lot at the moment. K’naan, Zion I, The Roots, Amp Live (one half of Zion I) and Aloe Blacc are all in my recent plays. They all seem to be looking for obscure soul samples that they can fit into new beats and talk about their issues over the top of. I think it all works pretty well.

Wu-Tang Clan – Preservation Feat. Aesop Rock and Del The Funky Homosapien

K’naan – Take A Minute

Leave a comment

Filed under Music