Friday 31 December 2021

My Top Twenty-One of 2021: #1

1. James McMurtry - The Horses and the Hounds

My favourite album of 2021 comes from the son of novelist Larry McMurtry, the man who penned The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment and even the screenplay for Brokeback Mountain. Although James went in a different direction creatively than his pop, he's obviously picked up much from his old man. The Horses and the Hounds reads like a collection of expertly crafted short stories, packed with the best kind of lyrical detail, showing not telling, and leaving the listener to fill in the gaps.

I heard you switched coasts, moved in with your sister
I doubt you'd have called it familial bliss
We met up in Brooklyn before it went hipster
You carried your keys in your fist

There's more going on in the above lines (from album opener Canola Fields) than most songwriters manage in a whole song. Subtle characterisation, wit, threat, social commentary, imagery... this guy is a master. 

As with the Felice Brothers, James McMurtry is an artist who has existed on the periphery of my vision until now. I've got a couple of his records in my collection, but I obviously haven't devoted enough time to them to pick up the finer details of his craft. He's been in the game since the late 80s (Ricky Ross recently commented that a young McMurtry supported Deacon Blue on their first US tour), but he's clearly a fine wine... ever improving with age. (McMurtry would have made that metaphor work better, without the clunky explanation, but I'm nowhere near the writer he is.) He's also settled into the grumpy old man role well, with songs like Ft. Walton Wake-Up Call (that's the one with the "I keep losing my glasses" hook, as featured here earlier) and What's The Matter, Now? which feels like an uncomfortably autobiographical phone conversation between McMurtry and his long-suffering wife, but could well just be fiction. Both are very funny tunes, improved further by his rapper-worthy rhyming skills.  

Made the exit and turned up Ponce
And I’ll be damned if I know what she wants
But we gotta get something to eat
Majestic Diner’s our best chance
Pork chop and eggs oughta save the romance
It’s maybe a mile up the street

My daddy told me, if you got any sense
Better feed the woman... many years hence,
I know what he meant and I got me a plan
But I can’t read the menu ‘cause damn 
I keep losing my glasses . . .

The song I've chosen today is a much more serious affair though - devastatingly so. There's menace, foreboding and genuine tragedy in this tune. No wonder Stephen King calls McMurtry, "the truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation."

He was more than just a decent man
Best friend I ever had
When you’re shooting at a coffee can
A thirty eight don’t kick that bad

Thursday 30 December 2021

My Top Twenty-One of 2021: #2

2. The Felice Brothers - From Dreams To Dust

All hail my new favourite band! I've only been tangentially aware of the Felice Brothers until now, but their latest record made me a true believer and set me on a journey through their impressive back catalogue that looks set to keep me delighted for a long time to come.

Ian & James Felice write Americana with a very individual voice. As with tomorrow's Number One record, the lyrical detail here is what impresses me most and keeps me digging further, although this is often more stream of consciousness than storytelling. But their ideas are unique, highly engaging and often bring a smile to my face, from the wide-ranging goals of their To-Do List...

Wash all the pots and linens
Find a psychoanalyst
Go the bank and deposit checks
Sweep up the shattered dish

Return everything that I've borrowed
Change all the bloody gauze
Buy a spinach colored dinner jacket
Defy all natural laws

Ooh oh oh, cancel better homes and gardens
Ooh oh oh, admire gothic arches their reverence for the forgotten Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, Inferno...

We were Seventeen
Hoping for better things
Like worms waiting for wings
And high school rings

Fight Club was sold out
We went to see Inferno instead
You said, "I never even heard of it
But I liked Karate Kid"

Who's that riding on the banks of the Rio Grande?
Jean Claude Van Damme

They write their own eulogy on Be At Rest...

Mister Felice, six foot tall
One hundred and forty-eight pounds
Soft teeth, sleep deprived, below average student

Owner of two ill-fitting suits
Wearer of hand me downs
Often lukewarm, and withdrawn
Bathrobe often loosely tied

Be at rest my friend
Be at rest

...and manage to rhyme Francis of Assissi with AC/DC on the epic album closer, We Shall Live Again

But perhaps best of all is the opening track, the Felice Brothers' vision of the apocalypse. It sounds like REM playing Steely Dan, or like Jazz On The Autobahn...

It won't look like those old frescoes, man, I don't think so
There will be no angels with swords, man, I don't think so
No jubilant beings in the sky above, man, I don't think so
And it won't look like those old movies neither

There will be no drag racing through the bombed out streets neither
No shareholders will be orbiting the earth, man, neither
It will be hard to recognize each other through our oxygen masks
The successful sons of businessmen will set their desks on fire
While 5-star generals of the free world weep in the oil choked tide

Wednesday 29 December 2021

My Top Twenty-One of 2021: #3

3. John Grant - Boy From Michigan

For most of the year, I had John Grant's latest album down for Number One on this countdown. He took that slot in 2015 and 2013, and would have done so in 2010 had I not discovered Queen of Denmark too late in the day. Only his last record, 2018's Love Is Magic, failed to secure the championship, and even then it placed at a very respectable #4. This is a much better album than LIM though, and in any other year it would have walked away with the title. The fact that I found two records even better than John Grant this year says something about the high standard of music I've discovered in 2021. But more on them tomorrow.

Boy From Michigan shows the two sides of Grant's character very well. It's very much a record of two halves, and for some that might prove divisive. One half is bittersweet balladeering, and here Grant excels with material that recalls the heights of his revered solo debut. Best of the bunch remains County Fair, a nostalgic recreation of childhood highs and lows, like pages torn from his adolescent diary... it's definitely one of the best songs I've heard all year.

The other half is the one some might struggle with. Quirky and camp 80s electronica, with lyrics that recall Sparks at top of their arched eyebrow game. Of those tracks, Rhetorical Figure is the one that appeals most to the English teacher in me. Although even I had to look up "epizeuxis".

Tuesday 28 December 2021

My Top Twenty-One of 2021: #4

4. Eric Church - Heart / Soul

I wrote about the first song I heard from this album waaaay back in January.

Then in October, after living with the two albums above throughout the summer, I wrote about them a whole lot more.

I think I've probably said everything I have to, except that I feel like I've been listening to Eric Church all year, and I have no desire to quit any time soon.

The two tracks featured in the posts above both came from Heart. So here's one from the Soul disc...

Monday 27 December 2021

My Top Twenty-One of 2021: #5

Stirring Southern soul into his potent Americana stew, Todd Snider tackles Trump's resignation, the effect of plastic pollution on the world's oceans and hypocritical, amoral religious figureheads. Plus a great, low key John Prine tribute song

This record is funky, it's funny, it's a laid back wonder. And it's been on my playlist since March... with no sign of tiring. Handsome John would be proud...

Saturday 25 December 2021

Christmas All Over Again

I was just going to post my favourite Christmas song again by the Handsome Family, but the other day I heard this old one from Tom Petty and one verse in particular made me chuckle.

Long distance relatives
Haven't seen 'em in a long, long time,
Yeah, I kind of missed 'em
I just don't wanna kiss 'em, no
And it's Christmas all over again, yeah, again

Thank you for sticking with this blog over the past 12 months, for reading and commenting and playing along with my silly quizzes. You kept me going through the dark days and helped me find a light at the end of the tunnel.

Here's wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a much better 2022. 

Friday 24 December 2021

My Top Twenty-One of 2021: #6

6. Aimee Mann - Queens of The Summer Hotel

The most recently-released album in this countdown, but Aimee is always guaranteed a place in my year end round up. I think there's some kind of concept going on here, but I haven't yet allowed myself to dig deep enough. Instead, I'm just letting this record wash over me - it feels like some kind of high society New York movie musical from 50+ years ago as scored by Burt Bacharach and Paul Simon. (Even the song where she's shooting speed in Mexico sounds sophisticated and nostalgic.)

You can click on other reviews that will give you a more in-depth explanation than that, but for me this is just classic Aimee. Lush orchestration (the album is built around piano and strings, nary a guitar in earshot), lyrics that wouldn't be out of place in a Raymond Carver or Truman Capote short story, and... of course... that voice. I will forever melt at the sound of that voice. 

I want to find out what it's all about, but I also want to just enjoy it for what it is, and savour the mystery.

Thursday 23 December 2021

My Top Twenty-One of 2021: #7

7. The Wallflowers - Exit Wounds

Last year was the first time Bob Dylan ever made one of my Best Of round-ups. This year, it's his son's turn. I've always been rather dismissive of Jakub Dylan, lumping him in with Sean Lennon and Lisa Marie Presley, but it turns out I've misjudged him. Turns out he should have been put in a category with Teddy Thompson and Lukas Nelson, stars worthy of their musical legacy, stepping out of the shadows cast by their famous folks and forging their own paths.

Exit Wounds is an excellent record, that proves Dylan Jr. has a voice all his own (and persuaded me to dig deeper into the Wallflowers back catalogue). Tunes that rock and hook, lyrics that reveal themselves over time with intriguing and witty detail. (I should really start writing these reviews at Number One and work backwards... can you tell that after having already written 15, I'm starting to run out of superlatives? At this rate, my Number One album will get "It's ace. Go buy it.")

Jakub Dylan has such a strong and distinct identity here, it's easy to never even give his dad a second thought.  

Wednesday 22 December 2021

My Top Twenty-One of 2021: #8

Happy birthday, Dad... 92 today. In your younger days, you had a bit of a Hamish Hawk hairstyle. I remember my sister used to tell you you looked like David Bowie. But I'm sure she only did it to wind you up, because you never liked that new-fangled pop music, did you?

Sam started defending Ed Sheeran the other day. "You only like music from the 1970s, daddy." I'm already a fossil. The doctor just gave me some ibuprofen gel for my bad leg. If I'm still here when I'm 92, I'll be a head in a jar. But your generation, dad, you were made of tougher stuff.

8. Hamish Hawk - Heavy Elevator

Another one I've written about before, and one that appears to have gone down very well with many of my friends across the blogosphere. Put Scott Walker, Jarvis Cocker, Neil Hannon and that bloke we don't like to talk about anymore* into a blender and this is the resultant smoothie... a charmingly literate lyricist with a knack for a big tune and some precision one liners. Add a sprinkle of Jot Division and garnish with a little Robert Smith. Delicious.

And this... this is the best song Morrissey* hasn't written (but wishes he did) in 25 years.

And I call out... isn't this living?

Tuesday 21 December 2021

My Top Twenty-One of 2021: #9

It shouldn't work like this. You shouldn't be able to go away for 40 years and then come back with a record as strong as anything you released in your prime.

Much has been written about why the Abba revival works, yet I still feel unqualified to comment. When I was a teenager, first getting into record buying, Abba were already a thing of the past, and were seen by many as uncool relics of the 70s. And yet, Elvis Costello, one of the first artists I truly became obsessed with as a collector, admitted to stealing their pop hooks for his biggest hit, Oliver's Army. 40 years later, on the verge of the Abba reunion, the Manic Street Preachers (never afraid to pilfer a good hook themselves) released what may yet come to be seen as their Abba tribute album.  

Is it just nostalgia, in a world dying to relive the pleasures of simpler times? Comfort food for the old folk, battered by a year of misery? Maybe. But this album could so easily have been a let down. And yet... it's not. The tunes are as good as they ever were, and the lyrics retain those quirky autobiographical details that always separated this band from other pop hit-makers.

40 years ago, they sang...

I was sick and tired of everything
When I called you last night from Glasgow

This year, they returned with...

I can remember when you left Kilkenny
And you told me: I'll return next year

Whereas Super Trouper chronicled a band sick of fame, ready for break up, When You Danced With Me shows us a group who've been away long enough to miss the good times, and forgive the bad. They still have faith in each other, so we should still have faith in them. Even those of us who once thought ourselves too cool for Abba. Now we can see the error of our ways...

Monday 20 December 2021

My Top Twenty-One of 2021: #10

10. Sam Fender - 17 Going Under

I've written previously of my conversion into the church of Sam Fender, from how I was initially suspicious of the hype and Springsteen comparisons but won over by the authenticity of his voice - both singing voice and writing voice.

Beyond that, there's not much more to say, except that after living with this album (and its excellent predecessor, Hypersonic Missiles) for a couple of months now, I'm convinced that Fender is the most authentic and exciting new voice in British guitar rock since Frank Turner.

He even managed to get Stephen Graham to play his dad in the video below... 'nuff said.

Sunday 19 December 2021

Snapshots #220: A Twelve Days Of Christmas Top... erm, Twelve

Here's a member of the Partridge Family. Yesterday, we had Steve Coogan, aka Alan Partridge. I couldn't find a song with Partridge in the title, which almost derailed this quiz. And then I settled on the perfect solution...

12. Alias Harry & Jones.

Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby Jr. and David Robert Jones.

David Bowie & Bing Crosby - Little Drummer Boy

Twelve drummers drumming...

11. Hayley's boy in Leningrad, as was (mostly).

Hayley's boy was Crispian Mills, the lead singer of Kula Shaker.

Leningrad is now known as St Petersburg.

Crispian St Peters - The Pied Piper

Eleven pipers piping...

10. This would be a royal scandal!

Imagine if Prince George was Harry's son!?!

George Harrison - My Sweet Lord

Check out the new video above, starring Mark Hammill, John Hamm and Weird Al Yankovich, among others. A lot of money was spent on it. I have no idea why.

Ten lords a'leaping...

9. No kilts.


KT Oslin - 80s Ladies

Nine ladies dancing...

8. Bernard Shakey.

When he directs movies, Bernard Shakey is the pseudonym he uses. Honestly. Google it!

Neil Young - A Man Needs A Maid

Eight maids a'milking...

7. Maiden on the Prosecco.

Iron Maiden and some fizzy wine.

Iron & Wine - Swans & The Swimming

Seven swans a'swimming...

6. Express, Trust, Park.

The National Express. The National Trust. The National Park.

Six geese a'laying...

5. This is your one main sin.

"One main sin" is an anagram.

Nina Simone - Plain Gold Ring

Five gold rings!

4. Candymen (and women).

Shame on you if you didn't get this one.

(Or maybe shame on you if you did?)

Sweet People - And The Birds Were Singing (Et les oiseaux chantaient)

Can you believe that that got to Number 4 in the charts? In 1980!?

Four calling birds...

3. Shout a Smurf!


Rufus Thomas - The Funky Chicken

Three French hens...

(I think the French are quite funky. Don't you?)

2. Nothing to be scared of.

"Ridicule is nothing to be scared of," sang Adam, in Prince Charming.

Which gives me the opportunity to slip this in...

Anyway. Where was I?

Prince - When Doves Cry

(That wasn't actually a picture of Prince. But it was a Prince Christmas tree bauble. You can buy them on eBay. Or you might prefer to save your money.)

Two turtle doves...

1. Number One.

And because I couldn't find a song with a partridge in the title, I settled instead for this gentleman.

Andy Partridge.

Andy Partridge in a pear tree.

Here's a seasonal song from the man in question.

And, to close, the very best version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, from Father Jack himself, Frank Kelly...

Saturday Snapshots will return.

Just not next Saturday...

Saturday 18 December 2021

Saturday Snapshots #220

And so we arrive at the final Saturday Snapshots of 2021. Because I really don't see anyone getting up on Christmas Day to log onto this blog. You've all got far better things to do. Maybe I'll post one a little later in the day on January 1st to help you all with your hangovers.

Anyway, no clues this week... except to tell you that one of the answers below isn't a song. But it's still the perfect answer!

What connects the following...?

12. Alias Harry & Jones.

11. Hayley's boy in Leningrad, as was (mostly).

10. This would be a royal scandal!

9. No kilts.

8. Bernard Shakey.

7. Maiden on the Prosecco.

6. Express, Trust, Park.

5. This is your one main sin.

4. Candymen (and women).

3. Shout a Smurf!

2. Nothing to be scared of.

1. Number One.

Answers tomorrow morning: no bluff!

(Because that's Steve Coogan at the top of the page, so... erm... Coogan's Bluff? I'll get my coat.)

Friday 17 December 2021

Grumpy Old Men At Christmas

Actually, they're not really that old... they just like old sounds and sounding old.

Tom Smith & Andy Burrows have already cropped up on My Top Twenty-One of 2021, but did you know (do you care?) that they first collaborated ten years ago on a Christmas album, of all things?

I've been listening to it a lot in the Yuletide run-up, and I thought I'd recommend it as an alternative to the "same old songs" if you're already sick of them.

My favourite track, it goes without saying, is the one that references a famous Christmas song from New Jersey. Not that Bruce wrote it, or recorded the original version, but it's still hard for me to accept that the opening line on every single recording isn't "It's all cold down along the beach".

Smith & Burrows, being grumpy young men, take umbrage with the fact that we shouldn't really be singing "Santa Claus is coming to town" in the UK, since we're more likely to call the dude in red by another name. Then again guys, if you're avoiding the Americanisms, maybe you should have called your song "This Isn't New Jersey". Just saying.

Either way, it's a belter. And I don't think Bruce would object, since it's obviously done with love and respect. I mean, listen to that piano...

And we argue
As the snow seals us in for the night
You say 'Santa Claus is coming'
But I don't care what the song says
That's never gonna sound quite right

And this ain't New Jersey
Father Christmas is coming to town
You throw your drink in my face
Throw that look in my direction
And the radio plays on and on

Thursday 16 December 2021

My Top Twenty-One of 2021: #11

That an album of Willie Nelson singing Frank Sinatra covers (and not even the first time he's done that!) should feature so highly in my year end countdown speaks volumes about where I am right now, and how the world has treated us all.

Alyson talks of nostalgia in her latest post, defining it as:

“the pleasure and sadness that is caused by remembering something from the past and wishing that you could experience it again.”

I'm sure we've all taken refuge in a little nostalgia this year, and that may well explain why I ended up playing and streaming this album so much. The music of Frank Sinatra reminds me of both my childhood (he was always my dad's favourite) and my 20s (when I went through a big Sinatra phase around the time of his duets albums). I came to Willie much later in life, but his croaky old voice has become a great comfort in these dark times. 

Whatever gets you through the night, it's all right.

Wednesday 15 December 2021

My Top Twenty-One of 2021: #12

My nephew's eldest daughter woke up in the same hospital I'm working in last week, having been spiked in a nightclub. She's in her early 20s, studying to be a nurse at university. She was lucky in some ways because she felt the prick of the needle and ran straight to one of the bouncers who was able to help her to a back room before she passed up.

She's back home now and the police are investigating, but they're not looking for a young man. There were only women around on the dancefloor when she was spiked, and the main suspect is a girl wearing a green dress who left the club soon after. 

This is all new to me. I've heard of drink spiking, of course, but someone stabbing you with a needle? It seems robbery is the motive these days as much, if not more so, than sexual assault... but that doesn't make it any better. J has to wait six weeks now for the results of blood tests to make sure she hasn't contracted anything from the attack. The police advised her to go on social media and report what had happened, to alert as many people as possible to the fact that this kind of thing is going on. I thought I'd do the same. If there are any young women in your family, or acquaintance, please make them aware that this kind of thing is going on.

As if the world isn't screwed up enough right now...

12. Andrew Howie - Pale White Branches

Reminiscent of both Prefab Sprout and the Pearlfishers, the latest album from Scottish music teacher Andrew Howie is a serious work of art.

I've already sung the praises of the long lost 80s bromance of Broompark Drive, but there's much more to enjoy on this record. Every song tells a haunting tale, packed with the kind of observational detail that Craig Finn (see yesterday) would be proud of. 

And then comes Madeleine, a song guaranteed to bring a lump to your throat, with a riff to die for. 

Madeline was chasing rainbows in the car
In the back seat baby tiger tucked beneath her arm
Looking behind-ways and sideways
Queasiness swimming round her head
From the front seat, Daddy
Turns around and says,
Darling look straight ahead

By the time the Bee Gees earworm hits, you'll be reaching for a hanky.

Why wasn't my music teacher this cool?

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Conversations With Ben #21: Christmas Accidents

Ben sends a picture of the top of his Christmas tree.

Rol: Does he cast his own purple glow or have you created that?

Ben: Did it by making sure the blue lights on the tree hit red tinsel.

Fire hazard.

Tinsel and Christmas tree lights? LEDs a fire hazard?

If tinsel gets hot, it'll go up like a supernova.

It won't by these lights.

I was amused tonight by the computer in Louise's brain hitting a glitch. She's had me spend most of my weekend putting up Christmas lights outside the house. Tonight she realised that when the curtains are closed she can't see them. So she's wasting electricity, which she hates. But... pretty Christmas lights. 

Wasting electricity... pretty lights...

Wasting... pretty...

It was like "open the bomb bay doors, Hal"...

I'm supposed to put Christ lights outside this coming weekend. I don't see the point. I like inside decorations. Not outside.

I don't see the point in any of it. 

You could get transparent curtains.

Or blinds.

But then the clowns would be able to look in.

They haven't been a thing in a few years.

They'll always be a thing in Louise's head.

You should hire a clown to stand out in your garden.

She hates me enough already

Sounds healthy.

Ben sends a photo of a large bump on his head.

Ben: Running is dangerous.

Rol: Head injury. A&E now.

Nah. I'm all good.

I put some frozen peas on it and had some Ibuprofen.

And I can't tell if you're joking.

I work in a hospital now.

Still can't tell if you're joking, but I just rang 111.

They don't sound super concerned. So I've got a call back from a clinician.

Not sure whether you're just trying to spook me or not.

Not intentionally. Louise always gets super worried about head injuries though. Better to be safe...

Tell me you ran into a lamppost.

Yeah. Kids were on the path so I ran on the grass to get around them and hit my head on a sign hanging off a lamppost.

Did anyone film it on their phone?

Nah. The kids were too busy riding microscooters. Apparently they're a thing again?

Spoken with my GP now too. Don't feel they need to see me. Just keep an eye.

You can thank me later for saving you from permanent brain damage.

I reckon I can afford to lose a few braincells.

Rol replies...

Are you?

Rol replies...

Maybe I do have concussion. That made me audibly chuckle.

Still not saying LOL, so you appear safe from brain damage.

Isn't it exclusively people over 40 who use that term now?

And Facey B huns?

I don't even want to know what they are.

Those women who spend all day on FB and end every post with "thx Hun XX".

Presumably sending lots of messages to Attila and his people.

Haha. That was well funni. Thx hunni xx.

Had my booster yesterday and feel like crap today. Currently waiting to see Father Christmas in the drizzle at the Kirklees Light Railway Santa Express.

Bragging much?

I had to book months ago. Sam and Louise are at home.

So you've got your anorak on and your trainspotting guide?

I can get my booster from Monday.

Working out whether to try and see if I can do a walk in or wait for my appointment.

There were loads of walk ins when I went for mine. Might be less capacity where you are thouh8=%#@!

Yeah, think I might just go tomorrow on lunch.

There's a walk in close by.

While writing that last message I walked into a low fence post, fell over and landed on another post and seriously hurt my leg.

Oh shit.

You all good?

Two massive bruises. One on my shin, one on my thigh. Hurt pride from the stupidity of walking and texting, which I never do.

Oh man, that sucks. Well, you're working in a hospital now. Get someone to check you over tomorrow.

Up there with your recent lamppost encounter.

I'd say yours is worse.

Walking upstairs really hurts now!

I think a positive thing is to realise that the injury hasn't made you wonder if you'd be able to call in sick tomorrow. Still enjoying the new job?

Yeah. Very much.

The first Christmas not there is an eye opener to how overly stressful that place is compared to other work places.

How's the shin and thigh today?

Still hurts but not as bad as yesterday. Can at least walk up and down stairs now, if rather slowly.

At your age, I'm unsure whether that's to do with the injury or not.

Also, are you now at the age where we say you "had a fall" rather than "fell over"?

Yes. I had a fall. That has already been made quite clear to me.

Haha! If a few people are saying it, then it must be true.

Louise was not very sympathetic, considering I did it while walking and texting you.

I'll return the present I bought you and get you a handrail for the bathtub for Christmas.

Can I have one of those winches that lower you into the bath?

Might just be easier to get a walk in bath.

But then the water will go everywhere.

They have these things where you walk in, the door seals and you sit on a chair and it fills up around you. Did you not watch daytime TV and ads when you were a student?

When I was a student, I was also working a full time job in the evenings so I didn't have much time to lounge around on my arse.

Maybe if you'd not overworked yourself to please business owners instead of taking care of yourself, you wouldn't be "having a fall" at your age.

Monday 13 December 2021

My Top Twenty-One of 2021: #13

Sad farewells to Mike Nesmith and Steve Bronski last week... December always robs us of a few more heroes, doesn't it?

Here's two classics...

But marking these sad departures can't stop the year end countdown train, which today pulls into Station #13, and some old favourites here at Top Ten Towers...

#13 The Hold Steady - Open Door Policy

While I miss the more literary and considered aspect of Craig Finn's solo output, the reformed Hold Steady have yet to put a foot wrong. Time away has obviously recharged their batteries and this is the second strong LP they've produced since patching themselves back together.

Still an acquired taste (like most of the bands on this countdown, I guess), Open Door Policy managed to rock as loud as their earlier efforts whilst continuing to allow Finn to tell his spiky tales of confused and disenfranchised Midwest losers. As always with Finn's lyrics, the devil is in the details...

St. Catherine's was a nightmare
You know they took away my headphones
Sure they let you keep your handset
But the courtyard is a dead zone
And the nurse that they assigned me had Eruption as her ring tone
Blasting out through built in speakers like it's bug spray
Buzzing like a hornet halfway blown

Sunday 12 December 2021

Snapshots #219: A Top Ten Sarah / Sara Songs

I did look for a picture of Sarah Jessica Parker holding a camera. That would have been timely with the whole Sex & The City revival going on right now, Unfortunately I couldn't one. Also, SJP annoys the hell out of me. Unlike the divine Sarah Paulson, an actress who elevates any film or show she appears in. 

So it's Ms. Paulson who introduces our Top Ten Sarah Songs. Take it away...

10. Oft welcomed, a comet flowed.

"Oft welcomed, a" and "a comet flowed" are both anagram...

Fleetwood Mac - Sarah 

9. Connected to celebrity's thigh.

The star's hip bone would be connected to the celebrity's thigh bone...

Starship - Sara

8. Headwear that can't be plaited.

You can't plait fog, can you?

Foghat - Sarah Lee

7. Found in the lobby and nowhere else.

"lobby and" was an anagram...

Bob Dylan - Sara

6. Murder via heavenly bodies.

Sun kills moon! (That's Mr. Mark Kozelek there. Don't mess with him.)

Sun Kil Moon - Sarah Lawrence College Song

5. Maternal agony.


Ray LaMontagne - Sarah

4. Jim Morrison claimed to be one.

He claimed to be a Lizard King. And the King of the Lizards was...

T-Rex - Sarah Crazy Child

3. Hipster friend quits card game.

My hipster friend is Ben. If he quits a card game, he folds.

Ben Folds - Zak & Sara

2. Axe murderess needs to eat more pies.

Lizzie Borden needs to put on a bit of weight.

Thin Lizzy - Sarah

(Strong stomachs or sick bags required for that video.)

1. Linked to the Church and the Quakers.

Church Hall + Quaker Oats.

Hall & Oates - Sara Smile

Smile, Sarah - there'll be more Snapshots next Saturday...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...