ALPHABETICAL CD MARATHON: H

The H section of my physical music collection consists of albums by only three artists – Calvin Harris, The Hives and The Happy Mondays.

I was never a huge fan of The Happy Mondays seeing them as the least sincere and musically talented component of the short-lived Manchester music scene – I was busy listening to The Stone Roses, The Charlatans, James and The Inspiral Carpets while others bought their badly sung singles and fuelled their drug habits.

I felt drawn to buying their Greatest Hits as some kind of historic marker in much the same way I would buy a James Brown or Rush collection. I can appreciate some of their tunes in retrospect e.g. ‘Step On’, ‘W.F.L.’ and ‘Hallelujah’ while I detest their version of ‘Stayin’ Alive’. I remember being a passenger in a friend’s car on the A55 in North Wales and listening to a tape he had recorded of all the different remixes of ‘Hallelujah’; the sun was shining for once and it was almost enough for me to believe that there was a God. Almost. Hallelujah indeed.

The Hives were at one point, as one of their album titles would suggest, my new favourite band. They felt like my own independent discovery for once rather than a word of mouth recommendation from a friend, but it was more likely good marketing by the music stores I frequented in my quest for new sounds.

‘Hate to say I told you so’, ‘Untutored Youth’, ‘Two-timing Touch and Broken Bones’, ‘Walk Idiot Walk’ and almost all of Tyrannosaurus Hives are my favourites by this energetic five piece garage rock band who I was surprised to find hark from Sweden. I remember in the same period getting into The Cardigans in a big way so perhaps there was some subliminal Swedish connection.

I got into Calvin Harris after being drawn in by his very popular single ‘The Girls’ and the crazy disco spectacle-based marketing that followed. I loved the album I Created Disco, the title track and ‘This is the Industry’ and ‘Electro Man’. This debut album had a cool retro and indie disco feel to it – if such a thing as ‘indie disco’ can exist.

I was disappointed with Ready For The Weekend because it was less tongue in cheek and more commercial sounding, although I loved the trance vibe of ‘Flashback’ (reminding me somewhat of Paul Oakenfold), ‘Stars Come Out’ (which sounds a bit like ‘Cookies’ by Jack Knife Lee from the Human Traffic soundtrack, but has great ‘pure’ retro ping-pong synth notes) and what is probably going to be his best song/collaboration of all time in the form of ‘Dance Wiv Me’. I don’t know how massively popular this track would be in this household (Siggy always wants to play it at least twice when she hears it) if it didn’t feature the talented geezer rapper Dizzee Rascal, but Harris made a wise choice.

I went digital for Calvin Harris’s next album so won’t comment here, apart from saying that his collaborations with the wonderful Rihanna are almost as good as ‘Dance Wiv Me’. When I get around to ‘R’ in this marathon there will be a strange absence of anything by Rihanna – this is because Siggy has her albums not me. Doesn’t stop me listening to them though and bless her she did okay in Hasbro’s woeful Battleship film, but that’s another story…

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