Orbit came to my attention as a producer and remixer for the likes of All Saints and Madonna. If it wasn’t for him I doubt “Pure Shores” or “Frozen” would have been the hits they were. Pieces in a Modern Style is a collection of electronic versions of classical music and as a complete Philistine in this area I find that it is very good background music but not particularly noteworthy. It’s the only I have of his on CD, although I do have a couple of things of his on MP3. I’m a big fan of his, just not that big a fan of this particular CD.
I have three Offspring CD’s when I should really have four. Quite why Ixnay On The Hombre didn’t make it into my collection is a bit of a mystery. Smash, their third studio album, but my first, came out while I was still milking my time at university and so I’ve had a few proper moshy bops to “Come Out and Play”. I love “Bad Habit” especially when I’m driving, and especially when I can sing along and mean it – the lyric ‘Something’s odd, feel like I’m God, you stupid dumb-shit god-damn motherfucker!’ is exhilarating. I also enjoy most of the other tracks with equal measure.
Americana contains their monster hit “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)” and a few other less punk more accessible tracks such as “Why don’t you get a job?”. They didn’t lose their US punk DNA entirely with this album but after the success of “Pretty Fly” I think they veered off from their original direction. A similar thing happened to Green Day where they went ‘rock’, whereas I think the Offspring went ‘skater’ like OPM.
Splinter still has some hard tracks on it but again they’ve tried to do a mass appeal single with “Hit That” and tracks like “The Worst Hangover Ever” and “When You’re in Prison” are the sort of drivel I would expect to hear on a Bloodhound Gang album.
Sinead O’Connor can do no wrong in my opinion. Her debut The Lion and the Cobra is close to perfection. Her voice is awesome when she goes for it and beautifully soulful when she reins it in for the quiet moments of the album. The whole album is a delight and it would be an injustice to single out individual tracks – if you have never heard it I implore to please do so immediately.
The second album I do not want what I haven’t got had a hard act to follow and is perhaps blighted by the presence of the over-played, Prince penned “Nothing Compares 2 U” – a song I originally owned on cassingle. I think it is a testament to her voice that parts of the song still send shivers down my spine and it is a trillion times better than Prince’s version or the original album track by The Family. “Feel so Different” is somewhat of a carry-over from the first album, “I am stretched on your grave” is great with its percussion loop – I had a poster of her wearing a red dress eyes closed stretched across a grave overgrown with green ivy on my wall as a student (along with all the Carter posters), “three babies” has a lovely delicate vocal as does “last day of our acquaintance” which builds to an awesome finish. “The Emperor’s New Clothes” used to be my favourite but sounds a bit dated now and I’ve changed allegiance to “You Cause as Much Sorrow”.
Am I Not Your Girl? came as a bit of a shock. It was a collection of, mostly big band sounding, cover versions and flies in the face of the originality of the previous albums. The obvious highlight is the oddly almost chorus-less “Don’t cry for me Argentina” and her good cover of “House of the Rising Sun” is sadly absent. I don’t think it’s a great album despite my penchant for cover versions and it having some great vocals on it.
Conversely Collaborations is splendid. Here we have seventeen tracks that O’Conner did with various great acts such as Massive Attack, Bomb the Bass, U2, Peter Gabriel and Moby. My favourite is currently “Wake up and make love with me” performed with the Blockheads.
I’m probably going to catch up on some of her other albums and I’m especially intrigued by her most recent one and nice to see her on the new Band Aid video even if the song is a crock of crap.
Ocean Colour Scene
I have five Ocean Colour Scene CD’s but North Atlantic Drift and On The Leyline are not a patch on the first three and I’m not going to say anything about them. They’re background listening at best with only a couple of really good tracks between the pair of them.
Moseley Shoals started the ball rolling for me. I read about their celebrity endorsement from fellow O-men Oasis and they made a couple of impressive appearances on shows such as TFI Friday, so I bought the album expecting good things and I was not disappointed. It’s a great album – another one of those albums which is essential listening. If I was forced at gunpoint to single out one track I would suggest “The day we caught the train” but the first three tracks are all equally as good.
Marchin’ Already is almost a continuation of the sound of the first album although not quite as compelling. There’s some great indie guitar, well written lyrics and a confident laid back vibe to most of the tracks – they’re like the Dire Straits of the 90s mod scene.
One for the Modern is the cut-off point in terms of real power from the band. “Profit in Peace” is a good protest song, “I am the news” reminds me a tinsy bit of “I am the city” by ABBA but is nice a rocky and “July” exemplifies their style which I think people may have got a bit bored of given that although it’s more original it’s less energetic than Oasis.
The biggest lump in my ‘O’ section is Oasis and some might say (excuse the pun) that they deserve a post all of their own, but that ain’t gonna happen – it would totally misrepresent their importance to me musically.
Unlike ocean Colour Scene I actually like a lot of the albums at the tail end of Oasis’s career. Dig Out Your Soul is particularly good with its more hippy vibe, and there’s some good stuff on Don’t Believe The Truth. I particularly like Heathen Chemistry apart from “Songbird” which is one of the most awful songs ever written. “Stop Crying Your Heart Out”, “The Hindu Times” and “Little By Little” are simply brilliant.
I’m not so entranced with the album before that – Standing on the Shoulder of Giants although I do like “Go let it out” and “Sunday Morning Call”. Most of the time I prefer the ones with Noel’s vocals rather than Liam’s as I have always though that Liam was the one standing on the shoulders of a giant.
I don’t get overly upset if there are obvious ‘steals’ from Lennon and McCartney. They did good stuff and so it’s nice to hear it repeated in modern tunes. It’s not like some artists who rely on samples from successful tunes to sell their product – I’m particularly thinking of that rapper who (ab)used Daft Punk’s “Harder, Faster, Stronger” recently. Talking of The Beatles I really like “I am the walrus” on the collection The Masterplan along with “half the world away” and “it’s good to be free”.
I like the much maligned Be Here Now just as much as (What’s the story) Morning Glory? although I do think some of the tracks go on way too long. I love “Magic Pie”, “My Big Mouth” and “Stand By Me” and the Beatle-esque “All Around The World”.
I guess Morning Glory saw Oasis at the height of their superpowers and while I like all the tracks I can take it or leave it with the obvious exceptions of (hugely over-played) “Wonderwall”, “Don’t Look Back In Anger” (my fave) and “Some Might Say”. Listening to “Wonderwall” reminded me of a pub in North Wales in which you could often expect a sing-a-long when the jukebox played the track. It was sometimes magical (depending on how much alcohol had been consumed) and the only shame was that some of the punters would definitely maybe go on to cause fights in other pubs (which were not next door to the police station) by the end of the night.
Definitely Maybe is where it all began and there’s a lot more original sounding stuff on the album than there is on Morning Glory. There’s some great singles and album tracks on there, but again they do tend to drag on and the production is a bit crap.
As for the Blur vs. Oasis thing – I thought it was ridiculous and I liked both bands – maybe leaning towards Blur as they seemed a little better behaved and I remember being quite happy hearing Simon Mayo (?) announce that ‘Roll With It” was number two in the Top 40 meaning “Country House” was number one. Blur owe a lot to the Small Faces and Oasis to the Beatles – so they’re both as guilty as each other in terms of ripping off old sounds. However one thing is obvious and that is Noel and Damon’s talent.