A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

[MUSIC] Pet Shop Boys, “Single-Bilingual”

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The Pet Shop Boys’ 1996 song “Single-Bilingual” was not as big a hit as their iconic global singles of the 1980s. Perhaps it was because this song, like the rest of their album Bilingual, was a shift from their previous European-styled electronica, incorporating Latin rhythms. This is a shame, because this song and others are among the group’s slyest.

The songs of the Pet Shop Boys, like those of all great songwriters, can say many things. See “Single-Bilingual”. Listening to the peppy song, Neil Tennant singing in the voice of a self-styled cosmopolitan businessman who claims to be the master of his world, there is humour. As Wayne Studer points out, this man is not all he thinks he is. He’s just a cog in the machine.

They call this a community
I like to think of it as home
Arriving at the airport
I am going it alone
Ordering a boarding pass
Travelling in business class
This is the name of the game
I’m single, bilingual
Single, bilingual

I find myself wondering, too, if this song fits on the soundtrack for Brexit. From a pretended cosmopolitanism down to an actual solitude?

Written by Randy McDonald

June 22, 2017 at 11:59 pm

[MUSIC] Sia feat. Labrinth, “To Be Human”

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I went with a friend to catch Wonder Woman yesterday, and I left impressed. This film caught my attention, with excellent plotting and filming and a star-making turn from Gal Gadot. I can easily believe it capable of supporting the future DC cinematic universe, though I hope it will not have to do so alone.

The song that played over the closing credit was Sia and Labrinth‘s “To Be Human”. This song, all about the limits to love that we know in our world, was a good choice.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 8, 2017 at 11:56 pm

[MUSIC] Robert Miles, “Children”

The CD single of Robert Miles’ “Children” is one of the first singles I had ever bought, on (I think) one of my family’s shopping daytrips to the mainland, to Moncton. There we could buy canned pop, or French-language books, or CD singles.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 11, 2017 at 11:57 pm

[MUSIC] Annie Lennox, Diva

A Eurythmics fan group on Facebook just reminded me that today, the 6th of April, is the 25th anniversary of the release of Annie Lennox’s solo debut, Diva.

Wow.

Much of the video album, directed by long-time collaborator Sophie Muller who was also responsible for the exquisite 1986 Savage video album, is viewable here. I blogged about one track from Diva, “Little Bird”, back in 2008. A lot of the tracks–“Why?”, “Walking on Broken Glass”, “Legend in my Living Room”, all of them really–deserve extended commentaries of their own.

What can I say about Diva but that this album is one of the highlights of the career of an artist who has been hugely influential in my life? Without seeing “No More I Love Yous” on MuchMusic back in 1995, I can imagine that I might have gone into the sciences rather than the arts. Lennox’s music has been a constant throughout my life, with its art and its poise and its personality. My life is much the better for having had it.

Thanks, Annie.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 6, 2017 at 10:57 pm

[MUSIC] Grimes, “Kill V. Maim”

The Grimes song “Kill V. Maim” is one I’ve been playing a lot this week, with its video set partly in Toronto’s abandoned Lower Bay Station and a threateningly manic song with a chorus–“Are you going to the party?/Are you going to the show?”–inspired by Godfather‘s Al Pacino and by Harley Quinn.

Grimes, a.k.a. Claire Boucher, appears on the latest episode of the “Song Exploder” podcast, a must-listen for music fans who want to hear their fave artists talk about how they created their own songs. In it, Grimes breaks down her thrashing Art Angels cut “Kill V. Maim,” revealing the impetus of it was a friend who doubted her ability to be musically aggressive.

“He kept doing these cute little plucky things, and I was like ‘No, no, let’s make a hard song.’ He was like ‘No, no, you make cute music.’ I was so horrified,” Grimes recalls. “So I went home after that sort of wanting to prove that I could make something that’s going to be really aggressive that I would want to play during an action sequence in a movie.”

After that, she set out to make something that could soundtrack the trailer for a fictional crossover of The Godfather and Twilight. Add in a lot of kick drums, some cleverly buried samples of cheering crowds, and what Grimes calls a “scary, demon chorus” inspired by Harley Quinn, and you have “Kill V. Maim,” which she reveals is “probably my favorite song I’ve ever made.”

Written by Randy McDonald

March 2, 2017 at 11:53 pm

[MUSIC] Blondie, “Fun”

Blondie’s new single “Fun” came out on the 1st of this month, but Towleroad noted yesterday that their outer space-themed video had come out just then.

I really like it. This song is one of the things, incidentally, that made me decide to buy tickets for Blondie’s show this July here in Toronto. (Garbage will be touring with them, too!)

Written by Randy McDonald

February 16, 2017 at 11:34 pm

[MUSIC] Roxette, “The Look”

Roxette’s 1988 song “The Look”, the Swedish group’s breakout song, is something I’ll always have fond memories of. Is it a very 1980s song, full of synth riffs and guitar? Are the lyrics somewhat simple?

1-2-3-4
Walkin’ like a man
Hitting like a hammer
She’s a juvenile scam
Never was a quitter
Tasted like a raindrop
She’s got the look

Yes. It doesn’t matter. Their Look Sharp! is one of the first albums I ever bought–on cassette, even!–and this song, like so many of their other songs, is fun. We could even see Roxette in its historical context, as the first Swedish musical group of international stature to appear after ABBA, hinting at the era of Swedish pop dominance to come. Why not enjoy the music?

Written by Randy McDonald

February 9, 2017 at 11:59 pm