Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I wrote a post the other night but I lost it in a blackout. How preposterous. Anyway, then.

Simone Cristicchi - Ombrellino

I don't think I've done a very good job selling this man to my minuscule audience, but I've got this post and a full-length review going up on Stylus next week, and I will do so eventually. The title means "umbrellas", you know. I'm absolutely fascinated by the art of pastiche, and Simone simply does this brilliantly; he does swing, rap, gorgeous balladry, samba on his album, well that is to say he approximates them and does them in a way that's different to what you would expect and seems utterly unique. On this song, the reference points are probably the more psychedelic end of 1960s pop in the guitar solo and the crowd-chanted chorus, and the more pure pop end of the same decade in the melody. I'm specifically thinking of what The Monkees would sound like if they'd come out in the 1990s (no, I don't mean it sounds like Supergrass either). It's not quite the best song on the album, but it's certainly the most infectious, immediate good-time pop song on there, which makes it more appropriate than my current favourite which is a folksy half-ballad thing. I've said before that I love the sound of Italian being sung, but I don't seem to like a lot of Italian pop (last year I only really liked three things: Gabry Ponte, Luca Dirisio, Paolo Meneguzzi; all three had quality singles), and I find the Italian chart a curiosity; Blue are the biggest thing ever there, and they like Jentina. And The Servant! Which is kind of bizarre. The language barrier will preclude this ever crossing over, much as it did with the amazing Caparezza LP from last year, but you owe it to yourself to investigate deeper; the man's a unique talent.

Reflex - Tantsy

You would already know that "Tantsy" means "Dance", and if you didn't, you should pay attention to more Ruslana. English-speaking artists don't generally call their songs "Dance", now, do they? Except Shaznay Lewis, and look what happened to her. You'd already know that my tolerance for squeaky Slavonic vocalising is extraordinarily high, and what would otherwise be irritating to right-thinking listeners - here, some fantastic whistling - is the star attraction in my head. But aside from all that, it's a pretty thumping, rapid-fire and exceedingly dated (in a good way) little Eurodance stormer with a section that threatens to turn into a rap near the end, but mercifully doesn't, it just blasts on with striking effiency and only a slight dip in relentlessness. And whistling! Genius.

West End Girls - Domino Dancing

This has been knocking around on my wishlist for a while, and it popped up last night, after Popjustice went on about it. But here it is downloadable! There aren't enough Pet Shop Boys covers, I can think of artists who've done "West End Girls" (East 17) and "Jealousy" (Dubstar), but that's about all, unless you count that dreadful tribute album that came out a while back (Momus doing "So Hard", put it away, please). So the promise of a duo who do nothing but cover their songs is a fantastic idea. And where better to start than one of their most unfairly maligned creations? What I always loved about "Domino Dancing" was how it seemed to predict exactly what video game soundtracks would sound like in the very late 80s and early 90s. Yes, I go on about this an awful lot, but bear with me. So, by sounding like that very same subgenre of music, this seems like a perfectly natural progression, almost a direct descendent sonically, while being a faithful melodic representation. All the distinct touches have evolved into a slightly knowing, but likeably twitchy Swede-pop cover. It's amazing how much a different voice changes Neil Tennant's lyrics at time, here these girls don't sound old enough to know what the song was ostensibly about, but the slightly lost, wary feeling of the original remains even amongst the carefree punchy backdrop. No doubt, the Swedes cut to the melodic heart of whatever they do and make it work.


At 11:18 PM, Blogger Brittle said...

The PSB cover isn't terrible, but it seems like a weird move. The original was meant in the first place to be a kind of pastiche of Expose -- hence the Lewis Martinez production -- so it feels a little ass-backwards that it should now get covered by female voices, and female voices without that (stereotype alert!) Latin sass at that. Ass-backwardness can sometimes be great, but this is only okay.

And I've been trying, trying real hard to get into Simone Cristicchi...

At 11:53 AM, Blogger ShariVari said...

I love that Reflex song. Is it a new one? It doesn't appear to be on any of the albums i have.

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Edward O said...

BL, not everyone's going to come with me on this wild goose chase, I know. ShariVari; it's from this year, but not that new. It was hovering around the Russian and Ukrainian charts when I did the Russian top 10 a month or two ago.

At 11:48 PM, Blogger Brittle said...

1. We still love you for trying with Simone C, though. 2. You got me thinking about PSB covers. 3. Don't think we've forgotten your promise to tell us about Pay TV and Ms. Poole.

At 12:10 AM, Blogger Edward O said...

Yes, indeed, will say something later. If I lose power in the middle of typing it I will go mad.

Another PSB cover: Splendid doing "You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You're Drunk".

At 4:54 AM, Blogger popgoescanberra said...

Don't forget ABBA did "Dance" albeit with "While the music still goes on" in brackets after that. "Oh my love it makes me sad/why did things turn out so bad..."

At 11:59 PM, Blogger daavid said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 12:06 AM, Blogger daavid said...

I like the WestEndGirls cover but their voices sound a little too high-pitched for my taste, which is exactly muy problem with tatu. I absolutely loved their pics though, they capture the essence of the PSB.

BTW another PSB cover (and probably my favorite) is "Rent" by Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. I haven't heard it in a long time but I remember it was completely loud and manic (yet still very melodic). Suede also did a semi-cover of it (Neil Tennant did the vocals) which I also liked. I think it appeared as B-side.

11:59 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home