Saturday, June 25, 2011

YouTube Discoveries #2

Here are three more. I think I'll do this semi-regularly.

'Must I Paint You a Picture?' by Billy Bragg: Not a discovery but a rediscovery. I was into Billy Bragg for the same reason everyone else was, for the politics. No one ever says that it's Billy Bragg's love songs they love and they don't care for the politics. Turns out it was those gooey sentimental pieces I found myself singing more than the strident paeans to revolution, but that's not my fault... Anyway, it's the love songs that stand up all these years later - this one in particular is gorgeous from start to finish. But here's a secret: the two aren't so different from each other. Lamenting the loss of a love, Bragg wails out in his most heartfelt normal-guy voice, 'oh we used to be so brave'. And hits a note that any teenage revolutionary in love with another teenage revolutionary instinctively feels: that love and revolutionary zeal both arise from the same desires and feelings, that both are felt with the same depth of passion and us-against-the-world romanticism. And then I saw it: the love songs are Bragg at his most revolutionary.

'Ponta de lança Africano' by Jorge Ben: I might well have heard this song, with its thumping cross-cultural Brazilian/African/American groove and its irresistable singalong chanting, before. It's certainly familiar. Or it might just be that it taps into a very specific corner ofd universal consciousness and exploits it. I find it tough to imagine anyone on this planet, regardless of country, culture or education, who couldn't connect to this song and feel it on a deeper level. It's truly transcendent stuff, and even though I can't understand a word they're saying, I feel as if I understand everything I need to.

'Yelverton Hill' by the Inbreds: I actually knew Mike O'Neill personally when we were younger. The Inbreds are my closest ever 'brush with fame', and it's fame only in the most relative of senses. Despite this, though, I never really bothered to listen to the Inbreds, content to appreciate them for their cool indie cred and nmoteworthy instrumentation, 'proud' as if I had anything at all to do with them above and beyond fleetingly knowing the singer/bassist. And that's just as well, I think, because time has been kind: looking back, it doesn't matter that there's no guitar or thatit's defiantly lo-fi. What matters is that it's a classic pop tune that the Beatles themselves, in an alternate universe, might have been shaking their moptops to. And it's way cooler than the White Stripes.

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