Because there ain't no party like a Scranton party (or in the case of my own geographical origin - Harrisburg), this week I'm talking about the Guardian's list of party music. There will be no Abba or shit like that here - this isn't a hen night at a dodgy pub. Rock on. All summaries are those of The Guardian, not my own. Sadly.
The B-52's: Love Shack
"A seemingly effortless meld of Don Was’s slick big-band production, Fred Schneider’s fairground bark, the piping harmonies of Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson and the dirty blues guitar of Keith Strickland, Love Shack gave the B-52’s their first mainstream hit more than a decade into their career. Inspired by the cabin in Athens, Georgia, where the band wrote their early songs, it was a tribute to original guitarist Ricky Wilson who died of Aids-related illnesses in 1985."
Next was going to be the Beastie Boys' "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party)", but it seems YouTube does not think I can watch ANY version of this video. At all. Oh well, you know what this sounds like anyway, right?
David Bowie: Let's Dance
"Few people know more about making people dance than Nile Rodgers. As the guitarist in Chic, he helped write and produce some of the best songs of the disco era, including Everybody Dance, Le Freak and Good Times. No surprise then that when David Bowie asked Rodgers to produce his second album of the 80s, it resulted in a dancefloor gem. The clipped bass, rhythmic guitar chops and rising chants that telegraph the chorus work in any setting, from wedding discos to fashionable east London bars."
Johnny Cash: Cocaine Blues
"If you believe that violent and amoral lyrics were invented by rockers or rappers, this stunning proto-gangsta stomp will be a shock to your system. TJ “Red” Arnall’s 1947 western swing standard is the testimony of Willy Lee, who, high on coke and whiskey, shoots his woman and fails to escape justice. Cash’s Folsom Prison concert version is legendary, but The Man in Black is outdone by one Billy Hughes, whose 1947version is utterly remorseless."
Depeche Mode: Just Can't Get Enough
"No matter how inventive the rearrangement, how annoying the charity cover version or how ubiquitous its appearance in advertising makes it, there’s no escaping the pure pop thrill of new-wave veterans Depeche Mode’s naive, breakthrough single, the final contribution from early songwriter Vince Clarke (before leaving to form Yazoo and later Erasure) and an anthem in British gay clubs ever since."
Ian Dury and the Blockheads: Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
"Chas Jankel’s musical nous and Ian Dury’s wordsmithery combine to perfection on this blast of brilliant nonsense that sold nearly a million on its initial release. The music is a thick funk gumbo (largely down to Norman Watt-Roy’s heavy, busy bassline) as Dury rhymes the likes of “Borneo” with “Bordeaux”, “Eskimo” with “Arapaho” and “Milan” with “Yucatan” before breaking into the gloriously nutty chorus. Davey Payne’s double saxophone break is manic; the Blockheads never hit these heights again."
Flight of the Conchords: Think About It (What is Wrong With the World Today)
"In which the peerless Kiwi “digi-folk” duo pay homage to a certain strain of “protest song” – the vague, directionless, apolitical soul ballad exemplified by Buffalo Springfield, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, the Stylistics and any number of acid jazz copyists. As FOTC describe an inner-city dystopia where kids are “killing each other with knives and forks” and “getting diseases from monkeys” over the chords from Marvin Gaye’s Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology), it’s clear that they’re actually rather good blue-eyed soul crooners."
House of Pain: Jump Around
"Irish-American rappers House of Pain always played second fiddle to west-coast contemporaries Cypress Hill, who never fashioned anything as great as Jump Around. From the fanfare that launched a thousand cannabis habits to the squeal that ushers in every jump (sampled from Prince’s Gett Off), it united college halls and rock clubs long after they sank into insignificance."
The Libertines: Can't Stand Me Now
"From a poetic point of view, the release of Can’t Stand Me Now could not have been more perfect. From an intra-band harmony perspective, it couldn’t have been worse. Released just as Pete Doherty and Carl Barât’s tumultuous relationship was beginning to finally fall apart due to Doherty’s drug habit, you can hear the spite in the love me/hate me lyrics. A No 2 hit at the time, it remains the most famous mission statement from the London could-have-beens."
"Brooklyn-based duo MGMT emerged in 2007 with an intoxicating blend of squelching electro-funk, wiggy progisms and 70s pop-rock sensibilities. Produced by Flaming Lips associate Dave Fridmann, Kids remains their signature tune; its mix of gurgling synths, pounding drum machines and make-believe lyrics overcoming hints of hipster irony to rock harder than a Shoreditch warehouse party. Much to the band’s chargrin, the track was recently appropriated by French premier Nicolas Sarkozy for use at political rallies."
Pulp: Sorted for E's and Wizz (if you want to know more about Pulp, come and ask - I'm an expert)
"The ultimate after-the-Britpop-party anthem, as Jarvis Cocker and co steal the melody of Leo Sayer’s Moonlighting and define the dark side of drugs, festivals and coming down. The Mirror got itself in a tizz about the single sleeve that explained how to make a drug wrap, but if they’d listened they would have heard one of the most despairing of all drug anthems, with its pensive acknowledgment that communal highs are always followed by private lows."
Jackie Wilson: Your Love
"Originally unable to nail the vocal track, Wilson was instructed by producer Carl Davis to “jump and go along with the percussion”. It worked a treat. In perhaps the most joyous two and a half minutes ever committed to tape, Wilson – backed by members of the Funk Brothers – builds Higher and Higher up into a crescendo of gospel-inspired ecstasy, capturing the optimism and seemingly endless possibilities of new-found love."
And just for fun...
Cameo: Word Up