Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Karaoke adventure continues….

Yep. You can certainly find some unusual tunes in Karaoke boxes in Japan. Suddenly overwhelmed by the need to sing along to Glider by MBV after wandering the streets of Naha drinking cans of StrongZero Double Lemon 8% clad only in shorts and size thirteen flip-flops? You certainly can, in fact its just one of four good time party options from singalong classic Loveless available. I searched in vain for something by Belbury Poly or the Caretaker but alas Japan has yet to get its act together Ghost-Karaoke-box-wise. So perhaps inevitably I had no choice but to abreact my inner Disco-Queen with this.

And should you need to practice along at home.

You can imagine the kind of justice I meted out to those sustained high notes. I have to say that “Gloria” is one of my favourite songs of all time and lyrically it’s quite simply “the tits”. My voice broke with emotion on the “why isn’t anybody calling?” bit, easily the equal of The Smith’s “If you’re so funny..." sequence in “I know it’s over” and as for the whole, desperate, hyper-condensed narrative of …

Gloria, how's it gonna go down
Will you meet him on the main line
Or will you catch him on the rebound
Will you marry for the money
Take a lover in the afternoon
Feel your innocence slippin'away
Don't believe it's comin' back soon

In fact, when it comes to lyrics it’s often the case that the best lyrics are in the most commercial tunes. Singer-songwriters can get a bit self-important, can’t they, a bit desperate to impress with flashy wordsmithery. Springsteen circa “Born to run” (though “The River” is magnificent), Nick Cave, Elvis Costello, vast purple tracts of Dylan. Thompson and Cohen are of course peerless, Zevon, Thomas and Morrisey mixed, ABBA more miss than hit (ah but when they hit!) Lennon and McCartney dismal. I feel, lucky blogreader that I shall present you with a series of videoposts of songs that I think have good lyrics. I should warn you that the elliptical, the allusive, will feature but little. I like straightforward stuff that pithily and pointedly captures something truthful about the human heart and worst of all, I also like the singer as storyteller, especially if it’s all a bit social-realist! I have a shamefully deep streak of sentimentality.

Expect some truly awful music over the next few days, then.


Anonymous said...

ehy what do you think about the original version?

Rossikovskiy said...

I always thought the Bee Gees wrote great lyrics - deceptive in their simple profundity:

How deep is your love
How deep is your love
I really need to learn
'Cause we're living in a world of fools
Breakin’ us down
When they all should let us be
We belong to you and me

That Barry Gibb is a really estimable fellow.

I've always thought Dylan and Costello was music for people who don't like music, but I'll warn the obsessives in advance that I'm not going to argue the point as I don't give a sufficient toss to want to.

Seb said...

I accept your karaoke challenge, sir, and await your arrival in Tokyo this June.

And good lyrics in some ways run counter to a good karaoke performance. Cohen is a guaranteed buzzkill, for example. Utterly daft shit that gets by on theatricality alone is perfect. You ain't done it right until you've done G'n'R or Iron Maiden.

But sometimes that doesn't work either. The Happy Mondays are bloody impossible.