Category: music

100 for 2000 – #74. The Hold Steady – Boys And Girls In America

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2007 – #4. The Hold Steady – Boys And Girls In America

Just this weekend I was listening to an interview with the band Spoon, taking questions from NPR listeners, when there was a slightly dorky question. ‘Do you still believe in rock ‘n’ roll?’ But you have to ask yourself this when one approaches the Hold Steady. On Boys And Girls In America, they served up meat and potatos rock ‘n’ roll, with all the classic moves, classic sounds and amazingly, some new classic songs.

I’d heard about this band for a while but never investigated further. People compared them to the Replacements, and as much as I love the Mats, bands who love the Mats are usually emo dross. But this album, which was so American, won over the UK press. So, not a note heard, I took a punt and bought the album at the now non-existent Fopp in Westbourne Park.

And woo! What a rush. Anthems. Guitar solos. Springsteen piano. KISS riffs. And this spastic, gruff voiced beat poet in Craig Finn up front. What the hell was this? There wasn’t anything truly new on here, but it had been so long since a band sounded like this. And these guys hit it with such fury it’s tough to deny.

The more I listen to Craig Finn, whether in interviews or songs, the more I like the guy. We have some life beats in common – a teenage love of hardcore and the hardcore scene, loving beautiful but wrecked women, a romantic attachment to rock music that is all out of proportion to reality, that troubling but constant relationship with God. If you believe that rock is something that can save you, then I’m looking at Craig Finn more than anyone else these days to save me.

So the songs. Stuck Between Stations was the first one I heard, and still one of my favourites. A drunken, blurred dream of the poet John Berryman and the devil, talking on Washington Avenue Bridge in 1972, moments before Berryman threw himself off, ending his life. It’s got it all in one song. Boys, girls, life, death, poetry, the city, alcohol, loneliness and music. That’s pretty much all the essential elements of rock and roll right there.

And those themes recur and recur and Finn takes stock of his time and place in history. It goes from celebratory (Massive Nights – why was this not a radio anthem?) to intense and pitiful character studies (You Can Make Him Like You). Through it all, the energy never waivers, the intensity never drops.

This record broke the band out of the indie scene. I really think they could make it into the mainstream. A couple of the songs on here could have been big hits. More than anything though, they are now a big band for me. It’s amazing to think how long I waited for this band to come along.

100 for 2000 – #73. Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worse Nightmare

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2007 – #3. Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worse Nightmare

One year after they broke all records and changed the face of British music, blah blah blah, Arctic Monkeys released Favourite Worse Nightmare in no time. It’s faster, it’s tougher, more cynical and even more brilliant than their debut.

I came late to their first record (by a few months but that’s a lifetime for this band!) so by the time I was catching up, a new song hit the radio – Brainstorm. (Oh yeah there was the non album single Leave Before the Lights Come On was the best thing they did up to that point). Brianstorm was something new – heavy, but groovy. Kind of a surf guitar influence. And lyrically a bit more oblique. The kitchen sink poet from Sheffield was moving on. It was like Dylan abandoning protest music.

It’s not about teenagers anymore. As Alex Turner said in an interview, he had now seen the world thanks to touring, and that informed his writing. His stories were coming from all over. Brianstorm is about a Japanese scenester (in a t-shirt and tie combination). Cheating husbands (The Bad Thing), TV celebrities (Teddy Picker), aging princesses (Fluorescent Adolescent) and street thugs (Balaclava) all play arole in this world, where people have it hard and are acting crazy.

Musically, these guys are on fire. The stop/starts, the arrangements, the riffs – it all harkens back to 80s hardcore and underground stuff. I wonder if these guys have heard the jagged songs of bands like Minutemen? There is honestly very few bands I can think of that can play this hard and fast and accurately. And the few that do – they aren’t blessed with a songwriter that has the power of Alex Turner.

As we can see in hindsight that the band abandoned this sound as soon as the record was done, this could be their masterpiece. Turning away from teenaged (and somewhat naive) concerns of their first album, they throw everything they’ve learnt into this. Teddy Picker is a great example. Named after those arcade parlour crane machines, it compares TV celebrity to that random selection device. Throw in riff that reversed back on itself a few time, and huge sing-along bit, a scattered and impossible to sing outro and fuck it, why  not, a Duran Duran lift as well. At 2:43, it’s everything great about this band.

Even the over familiar has things to hide. The big hit – Fluorescent Adolescent – is full of details. Notice how the arrangement of the chorus changed every time (the second time is, essentially, backwards). And the great line – is that a mecca dobber or a betting pencil? Took me ages to discover a mecca dobber is that stamping thing used at bingo, and the whole thing is a penis comment.

All the tight, taut, frustrated songs are once again, balanced out by a couple of lighter moments. The Only Ones Who Know hinted at Turner’s next move. But here, it remains a gorgeous, lonely ballad about two young strangers having nothing but eachother. Finally, 505, still a set ender, and for these cynical, mechanical misfits, it’s surprisingly direct and tender.

I’ve said it before, but Arctic Monkeys take the place in my heart once held by Uncle Tupelo. The shut-up-and-play-better attitude. The social commentary of young, broken, hero-less men. Both bands have such dedicated fanbases and can never hope to live up to the hype. But there is always a kind of kid (mostly boy) that needs this music. Not like. Needs. And as the years go on, the music will speak for itself.

100 for 2000 – #72. Wilco – Sky Blue Sky

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2007 – #2. Wilco – Nonesuch

Wilco were one of my favourite bands of the 90s. Those high school and just after years. My beaten up copies of Summerteeth and Being There went with me just about everywhere. Through them I discovered a world of American music. In 2001, with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, they became a different band. They had the same emotional intensity, but a very different sound. So it was with extreme pleasure that Sky Blue Sky came along. It doesn’t sound like their 90s stuff exactly, but it harkens back to that simplicity – and takes it somewhere new.

I played this album to death. It’s so warm and engaging. This is exactly the kind of stuff I like, and that most of my friends can’t stand. Dudes singing in tight harmonies, guitars strummed and not riffing, someone in the band might have a beard. I remember that first listen, walking home through Notting Hill, hearing those excellent songs, and how easily that meal went down.

Which is slightly odd because Wilco has always been a band that challenged me. And they didn’t do it with this record.

(Have you heard my You Am I/Wilco, best friend/lover theorem? Well, I have two favourite bands. Australian band You Am I and Wilco, and for very different reasons.

You Am I strike me close to the bone, as if they sing with my voice and about my thoughts. I can go years between albums and pick straight up where we left of. There’s no new language to learn, we speak the same one. In short, You Am I are like a best friend.

Wilco however, challenge me. I had never heard such drones and noise til I heard Misunderstood. Or an album as sprawling and wonderous as Being There. The thick sunshine pop of Summerteeth. A man named Woody Guthrie. Those amazing lyrics. So Wilco is like a lover, someone you are scarmbling to keep up with, that you want to impress, and improve yourself for. Someone who makes you want to be better than yourself.

I spend a lot of time thinking about music.)

Lead Wilcan Jeff Tweedy said, about this record, that he wanted to write songs that his wife would actually like. And in that, it reminds me of something Beck said about Bob Dylan‘s Nashville Skyline. What’s happening here is a a bunch of guys who can do almost anything they want sonically, just kicking out a couple of tunes.

The tunes are some of Tweedy‘s best. Either Way, You Are My Face, Please Be Patient With Me (later used so well in the movie Ghost Town), What Light – the acoustic guitar was back in Wilco‘s arsenal. But there’s plenty of fireworks too. The guitar theatrics of Impossible Germany and Walken make them live staples for years and years to come. I know Tara’s favourite is On And On And On, a song for Tweedy’s father after the death of his mother.

For me though, my favourite is Sky Blue Sky. It has that lazy Grateful Dead-ish shuffle, and an amazing lyric. So happy to leave what was my home. I line that resonated, of course. But later that year after I had a nasty car accident – I survived/that’s good enough for now. Thirteen years and how ever many songs later, they still pull one out that goes straight into the top 5 Wilco songs.

I didn’t love Wilco (the album) as much as this one. And the last time I saw them live, they drifted into indulgence. I shouldn’t doubt. They’ve proven me wrong before. But this love affair that started in 1995…can it survive into the next decade?

100 for 2000 – #71. The Shins – Wincing the Night Away

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2007 – #1. The Shins – Wincing the Night Away
(Sub Pop)

The ShinsWincing the Night Away. I feel like that’s all I have to say to explain how important this album is to me. Because I have such strong feelings about this record. This mix of anxiety, excitement, love, sadness, sense of self, poetry, transcendence and so much more. And when I mix those feelings into a soup and try to describe them, all I can say is the ShinsWincing the Night Away. This was my album of 2007.

I listened to this album a hell of a lot. The film clip for these songs in my head is London. Just walking around. If you walk along Kensington High Street near Royal Albert Hall, it’s an open sky. And the opening notes of Sleeping Lessons, at dusk, sounded like someone turning the stars on in the northern sky, one by one. This album got me through the winter and carried me through several years, a hell of a lot of Shins gigs and even last June, in New York, where I was lucky again, and saw them play with a new line-up.

Something about the open-ness of the lyrics that allows one to fall into their music completely. Well, it happens to me at least. It’s like a new pair of shoes that you put on immediately, and then wear all the time. The two bittersweet songs directly about girls – Girl Sailor and Turn On Me – shades of every girl I’ve ever known are hidden in those songs.

After Chutes Too Narrow, and album I loved so much, I was cautious about this new one. What if it wasn’t as good? But if anything, it’s better. And the weirder tracks that initially seemed cold and alien to me, and now amongst my favourites. Four years later, my favourite track is Red Rabbits, one of my least favourites to begin with. It will change again in six months I’m sure.

I loved this band all out of proportion. They are my band of the 00s. Their impact on me goes beyond quenching my musical thirsts. It’s wrapped up on how I live my life. As age continues to call, and blind passion fades, I wonder if I’ll ever feel this way about a band again. I hope I do.

I have danced to this record. I have moped to this record. I have loved to this record. I have been heartbroken with this record. I have lived a wonderful four years, with this record. And having said all that, any critical assessment on the music will just fall flat. I can’t be critical with this. I have chosen a side and that side is the Shins. So you can find that stuff elsewhere. The record got great reviews. I’m sure they wont be tough to find.

Tuesday Tunes: The Hot Rats – (You’ve Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)

The Hot Rats - Turn Ons

Covers albums. Troubling things. But at least the Hot Rats have mentioned David Bowie‘s great Pin-Ups album as a reference. And for those just joining us, the Hot Rats are Gaz and Danny from 90s/00s superstars Supergrass.

Although they’ve not said it, we are assuming this is the natural extension of the Diamond Hoo Ha Men, the fictional duo that these two formed after bassplayer Mick was injured a couple of years back. Supergrass could use some time away, but these music nuts could not sit still. This is how we imagine it anyway.

So the Hot Rats (named after a Zappa record we guess) have recorded an album of covers. And, as is expected, they barely come close to any song from the last 20 years.

Amongst their excellent choices are Squeeze‘s Up the Junction, Elvis Costello‘s Pump It Up, Velvet Underground‘s I Can’t Stand It, and some Beatles, Bowie and more.

Looking deeper there’s some interesting song selections as well. The free track offered at Stereogum (one of our fave sites) is a cover of the Beatsie Boy‘s (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!), in a glam rock vein. If this is like the album, we imagine this album to be a lot of fun (but have limited shelf life).

What really raises our eyebrows however, is the inclusion of the Sex Pistol‘s spittingly bitter attack that is EMI. Having joined the Pistols as another band to be dropped by the classic label, one wonders how much the Hot Rats put of themselves in that track.

The Hot Rats album, Turn On, comes out on the 19th Jan in the US, and the 25th Jan in the UK. Not finding a release date anywhere else at the moment.

The Hot Rats – You Gotta Fight For Your Right To Party! (from Stereogum)

Official site –

100 for 2000 – #70. Paul Simon – Surprise

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2006 – #10. Paul Simon – Surprise
(Warner Brothers)

Funny how one can fall in love with an artist. Surprise came at the perfect time. I had been working my way through Paul Simon‘s entire life. And by the time I caught up, there was an excellent new chapter.

Of course, everyone knows Simon And Garfunkel. But it was in 2004 that I picked up the Complete Studio Recordings, all of Paul Simon‘s excellent solo albums on WB. Not that I knew how excellent they all were just yet. So I started at the beginning – 1972’s self titled debut – and worked my way up, falling in love with all his songs on the way. For my money, the four albums he made before Graceland are the best work he’s ever done.

I learnt the songs on guitar. I bought a badly written biography. I read anything I could on the internet and I downloaded live shows and bought live albums. This may have been the last time I really fell for one of those artists whose career spans decades. So it was with some excitement when he announced a new album.

So, I know how this shit works. For forgotten legends. No one cares for the new album. Publications like Rolling Stone and Billboard (with their misjudged sense of hero worship) would rave, but most of the world are not going to buy the newest Paul Simon album, because they hadn’t bought one in 20 years. It wasn’t even something I could share with anyone. I’m honestly struggling to think if I’ve ever had a conversation about this album with another living soul.

The album, Surprise, is brilliant. It’s his best since Hearts And Bones (ie. better than Graceland). There are some very simple reasons for this. One is Brian Eno, who produced the record but brought so much to the sound that he gets the occasional co-write. The other is the lack of love songs, which made his last album so bland. In an interview, Simon said something like no one wants to hear a man my age sing about sex. So he found something new.

Musically this record is Paul Simon in the 00s. There’s some buzzy guitar and studio effects (but in that organic Eno kind of way). The world music sounds are gone (although some of the rhythms remain), and it is far from just a man and his guitar. In fact, I think there may be more electric guitar on this album than any solo or S&G record he’s ever been on.

Amazingly, Simon sounds like he’s having fun and not taking himself too seriously. It’s best shown on Outrageous, the song that did the round of talk shows when this album came out. A great rhythm, a great song, and a silly lyric about not wanting to turn into a grumpy old man yet he has to dye his hair.

With the self-imposed no love songs rule, Simon returns to some of his other strengths. The story of the young bride who runs away on Another Galaxy is one of Simon‘s best. Father & Daughter is so sweet it became a minor hit in several countries. Then there’s How Can You Live In the Northwest, Simon‘s best political song, where he questions the questions, and if they are the right ones. There’s plenty more.

So yes, when this album I dived right in. And I loved every note. This is not a Sydney album, a Europe album or a London album. This is a Paul Simon album, and Paul and I stretch back 20 years. He’s an old friend who, no matter how much time is passed, we pick straight up from where we last left off.

100 for 2000 – #69. The Killers – Sam’s Town

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2006 – #9. The Killer’s – Sam’s Town

Hype bands. What do you do with them? The Killers got so huge so quickly, and on face value, sounding like 50 other bands. All those big early songs had been beaten through my brain at various clubs and bars. I avoided this band like the plague. Look, before this album, I thought this band was British, if I cared at all. Then came Sam’s Town who turned it all around (if only for a bit).

There’s a one word reason for this – Springsteen. The hype around this record was that it’s their Springsteen record (something Arcade Fire were also touting). So, I figured this will be good for a laugh. But that first single. When You Were Young, was all manner of awesome. That 80s keyboard was gone. Some really tough guitar. And then there’s that awesome, uplifting, almost gospel release that Springsteen mines so well. I loved the anthemic but absolutely nonsense lyrics. And the film clip – the sweaty, Peckinpah-esque film clip – all pointed to a different band from the NME hyped days.

I got my hands on a copy of the album. Amber and Pete really liked it, and it was yet another radio staple here in the UK. Bones, with it’s Tim Burton film clip, followed. In fact, that era of the Killers had quite an influence on Lazy Susan, especially in a dress sense. I was liking Brandon Flowers more in interviews, and a Live At Abbey Road session where they covered Dire Strait‘s Romeo And Juliet was fantastic. I was starting to like this band quite a bit.

Then came Read My Mind. This song just blew me out of the water. It had that Springsteen thing – the uplifting, escapism thing. But they return to more familiar musical ground – it’s a slow buzzing rock song with a bit more of a dance-y 80s beat. And it’s buried under such great imagery – main streets, two star towns, etc. And that Eno keyboard drone! So great.

Not to read too much into it, but gee I loved this song. It is the 4th most played song on my iPod. And yeah, having gotten out of Sydney, I could connect with this song. The open road of infinite possibilities. And the hook – Flowers asks, seductively, if you can read his mind. It’s about making a connection. Finding someone who gets you in this sea of madness.

Oh, and the film clip is very cool.

There are other highlights on this album – Sam’s Town, Reasons Unknown, The River Is Wild. But the last few years have not been kind. The pompousness of the sound has dated. But the handful of well written songs live. Sadly, the Killers moved back to the dance-y electronica (which they actually do well). Their last record had some great songs but more duds. I loved the ambition of this album, and I wish they said more. I was wanting the new anthemic band for a generation (and luckily I only had to wait one more year to discover them).

Read My Mind and those other songs I loved still get to me. My little flirtation with the Killers is probably over, and this record is generally regarded as their worse. Oh well. Maybe someone else in the sea of madness agrees with me and I will find them one day.

Bands: There’s an app for that

The Grateful Dead App

As innovative as the iPhone is/was, it’s the world of Apps that really make it special. It’s taken computing power back to being practical, and for the first time in a long time, not about the internet. As people launch more and more apps, it’s no surprise to find many bands launching their own iPhone apps.

So why are so many of them so shit?

Trawling around, we’re finding dozens of them. But the great thing about the App world is functionality, and many of these band’s apps are glorified webpages.

Calendars, News, About pages…what’s the point. When you have the internet on your phone? The worse are band apps that have Galleries. Galleries! This isn’t a mid 90s CD-Rom. Did you forget the screensaver?

Which is actually the point of this article. Too many of these apps feel like mid 90s CD-Rom programs. A bit of music, maybe a game, some photos, the lyrics… which may well be fine. But this is an app, something you keep on your phone. Not a CD-Rom that is there when you feel like listening to that record.

And why do we need band applications at all? Want to listen to music? There are lots of ways of doing that on the phone. Spotify‘s subscription will cost you less than buying all those band apps. And then there’s growth. We love a lot of music. But are we going to have to get every one of those band’s apps on our phones? If they start offering exclusives of some sort, we might have to. Or more likely, we’ll give up being a super fan because it’s too hard. We will be excluded.

So, we’re yet to be convinced by any band’s app. We’re struggling to see the point. And unless someone has a great idea, we will see it die alongside the mid 90s CD-Rom.

For the record – the band apps I’m looking at for this article are Wilco, REM, Belle And Sebastian, Pearl Jam, Grateful Dead, Pink, 311, Alice In Chains, Death Cab For Cutie, and more. If there is a good one we may have missed.

100 for 2000 – #68. The Fratellis – Costello Music

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2006 – #8. The Fratellis – Costello Music

This was another album all over the radio that first winter. You’d see billboards for Costello Music. They’d be on TV performing their songs. And yeah, there were a lot of bands around as well, but I thought the Fratellis was better than all of them.

The thing about this album is it’s fast. Like really fast. It reminds me of the first Supergrass album, where the tempos barely let up. Lyrically, there was something cool going on as well. It’s a very Scottish thing – pretty images, quiet girls, hints of danger. And there was like, 6 singles from this album.

This is another type of record that I need every so often. The ridiculously energetic, fun album. It’s also so British and so exciting. Walking around Soho with these songs on the iPod, I couldn’t help but be excited about being in Britain.

And the songs. Really big hooks. Baby Fratelli and Chelsea Daggerwere about as anthemic as you can get, but still filled with weird details for those who cared to look. Then there’s Whistle For the Choir, a gorgeous, quieter moment. But it’s about the rockers. FlatheadFor the GirlHenrietta… most bands would kill for just one of these choruses.

It’s a pretty easy album to like, if you like this sort of thing. I’m not going to do a big sell here. It’s like that other Scottish “fr” band, Franz Ferdinand. I like what these guys do. From their guitars, to their artwork, to the silly rock showboating thing of having all their surnames being ‘Fratelli’, and heck, even the singer’s Marc Bolan hairdo.

The follow up wasn’t as good, but I’m eagerly awaiting what comes next.

100 for 2000 – #67. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2006 – #7. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

I was working at EMI Australia when this album came out, and they were already set to be the biggest band in the world. My natural instinct led me away from Arctic Monkeys. All the most horrible people I knew loved them. Fuckhead scenesters. So, when Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not came out, I got my promo copy, barely gave it a listen, and moved on.

Then they toured, and someone gave me a ticket to the show. I’m 100% sure I was going with a friend. Who that friend was I don’t remember – pipe up if it was you (I’m sorry I forget things). Anyway, I knew very few of the songs, but never, ever has the Enmore Theatre sounded better. In my mind, I heard the Buzzcocks, I heard the Replacements, I heard Black Flag, I heard Elvis Costello, I heard Billy Bragg. Whether these extremely young lads from Sheffield had heard of any of these artists was unknown to me.

So before I left Australia, I ripped the album onto the iPod, and got on a plane. That winter, end of ’06 leading into ’07, was owned by the Arctic Monkeys. It was like what I heard about the days of Oasis. It seemed like they had 6 songs on high rotation at the same time. All those brilliant singles, throw in Mardy Bum and the non album single Leave Before the Lights Come On.

So it seems silly I didn’t fall for these guys earlier. And it’s because I underestimated Alex Turner. I couldn’t imagine what a 20 year old could possibly tell me. As it turns out, quite a lot. Especially in London that first year, going out a lot, meeting a whole new level of bullshit scenesters, Turner and the Monkeys were the all important anchor to reality. Their working class, no bullshit attitude was a much needed elixir.

I keep coming back to bands like this. Is it my working class background? Or my desire to live a quiet, proud life. The thing Tony Soprano talks about all the time, the dignified male silence. But I’m always drawn to bands that shut up, roll their sleeves up and just do the work. It’s the DIY ethic – I’m sure I was one of thousands of people who looked at Uncle Tupelo and thought, that could be me.  The same kids looked at the ugly, scruffy, uncool guys in Arctic Monkeys and thought the same.

The musicianship is red hot. The riffs, the stop/starts, the speed… I’d like to see any other band that has appeared on the cover of the NME in this decade pull off one of these songs. And the arrangements are always fascinating – the guitar interplay that levels Television at their best. The sound is thick, it’s choking, and it’s intense.

But it comes down the the songs. Lyrics that everyone quotes – from aging rockers to young politicians. And having met quite a few could-be-big bands, to see a band so actively wanting to insult their audience was captivating. It’s like climbing a mountain, then spitting.

Perhaps Vampires Is A Bit Strong But… is a point perfect attack on those scenesters that leech off them now but will forget them tomorrow. But better still is Fake Tales Of San Francisco – a healthy fuck you to bands who care more about their name producers, their US tour dates, their image and drugs than songs. Ending with the anthemic, heroic rally cry of:

Get off the bandwagon!
Put down the handbook!

The live music scene is a heady scene, full of bullshit. Turner captures the darkness, and the magic. Fights with bouncers, girls who never talk to you, the darkened corners of the dancefloors. How did 20 year olds pull this off so magnificently.

Apart from those big singles, there are two songs that people talk about, list in magazines and get a great reaction live. For me, they are the two real masterpieces on this record, and this decade in music.

Mardy Bum – the lightest thing on here, and one of the very few songs in the career to flirt with real affection. But it’s the detail that paints these people as real. They miss buses, they laugh and joke around. And the line everyone talks about – remember cuddles in the kitchen – that is placed in the perfect part of the song. Every radio station in the UK playlisted this song anyway, even though it was never a single. You watch, as the years go by, this will be to Turner like ‘Yesterday‘ is to McCartney.

And finally, damningly – A Certain Romance. Musically, it’s extraordinary. From the opening teeth gnashing guitar thrashing, it slides into a sweet groove until it hits it’s reggae lite beat, and then goes for several more ups and downs before it ends. It’s the 00s Good Vibrations. And it’s Turner’s best lyric too. A damning dissection of small minded thuggery, of idiots, of people who like songs just so their’s new ringtones. As good a bullshit detection alarm as anything Dylan did in the 60s. And just when you think this us vs them anthem could go nowhere more, then comes that mindblowing last verse. Our narrator looks over at his friends, who do all the same things, and he regrets that he can’t seem to hate them in the same way. What a way to end a song, and an album.

Turner takes all his own accusations apart, and calls himself the hypocrite. It’s a contradiction in my life too. I general leave whenever people play the ‘remember when’ game, but I put up with it with my friends. I can’t get mad at them. They argue about stupid things, they should know better than to like basshunter, or support Howard… and you just can’t get angry in the same way.

This album made plenty of best of the decade lists, and I completely agree. A major work. I’ve evoked the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Dylan in this review. And for the 00s, they were the solution for all three of those artists. And most importantly, they were popular. They got to people who normally don’t have their lives changed by music. I’m there with them, hype be damned. And thank god, they actually got even cooler as the years went on.