The Patch

April 20, 2007

Friday 20th April – Such a Little Thing…

Filed under: Music & Film — Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 2:51 pm

Such a Little Thing 

As Morrissey so wonderfully expressed, the little things can make a big difference.  And that certainly holds true when it comes to music.  Those little touches and moments that can last but merely a second, and without which a song would sound just as valid and hold together just as well, but would lack that glorious factor that made it so very special.  This can be some unprecedented little extravagance of whatever instruments are on display, some great vocal flourish, some beautifully placed word or unexpected extra oral excretion.  They tend to not stick in the mind when first listened to, and may seem to not matter, but after repeated listening you keep on wondering why certain songs never seem to bore you.  And it’s those little things that keep you coming back.  Some examples! 

My Life Story – Sparkle 

A fantastically joyful force of a song, but would merely be in the top 100 songs ever rather than firmly fixed in the top 10 without the use of pizzicato in the last verse.  Those little plucks make all the difference and become what you long to hear each time you listen to it. 

My Life Story – Strumpet 

Them again, because Shillingford’s brilliant at this.  Those double drum hits between verses gave this song an extra oomph that turns it into something magical.  Those who’ve heard the original on The Golden Mile album without this added extra will realise just how lacking the song is without them. 

My Life Story – The Penthouse in the Basement 

Ooh, it gets you this song does.  So much.  And what makes it oh so very, very special is that the trailing saxophone at the end.  It could have just done its little solo, said thank you very much and went off home knowing it’d done a grand day’s work, but no, it just keeps going and sounding so triumphant. 

The Clash – Complete Control 

Joe Strummer shouting at the top of voice ‘you’re my guitar hero!’ is one of music’s magic moments, and raises this tune above 95% of the The Clash’s other work.   

The Smiths – How Soon Is Now? 

I LOVE this song.  Lots.  Too much in fact.  Or not enough.  I don’t know.  But one thing I do know is that I probably would not love it ever so if it wasn’t for the whistling.  Morrissey’s got some fine lips and they make all the difference when it comes to arguing why this song is so fantastic. 

The Smiths – A Rush and a Push and the Land is Ours 

The way Morrissey rolls his ‘r’s just adds an extra aggression that transforms the meaning of this song.

Morrissey – Speedway

The chainsaw!  The chainsaw!

Sonic Youth – Teenage Riot

That moment of silence from the drums before rock music’s greatest ever riff kicks in for the second time.  Like the eye of the storm.  Lets you gain that extra second of breath whenever spacking out to this tune on a very high volume.

The Beach Boys – God Only Knows

Innocuous on first listen, the use of those humble bells on this masterpiece is why Brian Wilson is one of the greatest composers to have ever lived.

Neutral Milk Hotel – Two Headed Boy 

The whole thing is essentially one of these moments.  Stripped down to just a guitar and a voice, the decision to keep it so simple makes it so special. 

The National – Baby, We’ll Be Fine  

Who’d have thought a mandolin being strummed persistently all the way through without changing pitch could be so effective in making this one of the most atmospheric, brilliantly claustrophobic songs ever recorded?  Them, that’s who! (not actually heard in the live version linked to above, though it does have very impressive percussion)

Echo and the Bunnymen – The Killing Moon 

You know the bit.

Record of the Week

Seeing as it has been nice and sunny, I have been in the mood for nice happy pop tunes that laze the day away.  There are few better examples of this than Don’t Falter by Mint Royale, with vocals from the lovely Lauren Laverne.  It shall increase your day’s enjoyment ten fold if you listen to it.

This came close to being Record of the Week.  So close.


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