Party Shuffle Friday

The partygoers a couple of weeks ago were sniggering behind my back when they left. It seems that it wasn't Peter Gabriel leaving Genesis that triggered the self-referential name of their next album, but Steve Hackett (thanks to me old mate Larry for pointing it out to me). Man, my memory is surely going. I could have sworn I was right, but Larry and wikipedia have shown me the error of my ways. This week, undeterred, I'm going for broke...

Shoo-Bee-Doo, by Madonna, from Like a Virgin. Well known song from Madonna's second album from the early 80s, at least if you know the album, since I don't think it was released as a single. A slow tempo song, starting off with mostly just Madonna's voice, and then a slow beat.

On My Own, by Schnauss, Ulrich, form A Strangely Isolated Place. A recent addition to my collection this one. Schnauss is German and produces multi-layered electronica/trance. An insistent drum-driven beat, with soaring synths and almost wordless voices. The drum beat drifts away in the end and the track becomes more introspective and personal. Magic.

Never Make Me Cry, by Fleetwood Mac, from Tusk. Not one of their best known tracks, from a very Lindsey Buckingham-influenced album. I don't listen to the album much, so I found it hard to remember this song. It's quiet with (I'm guessing) Christine McVie singing that she'll not cry if you go, but of course she will.

Mary's Beheading, by Armstrong, Craig, from Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Craig Armstrong is just brilliant, no matter what he does, but he's amazing at soundtracks. This is from the soundtrack to a movie I haven't seen yet, but the music is just evocative of a scene shot in slo-mo with only the music being heard. Choral voices; ethereal, plaintive strings; suddenly cut off.

Open Your Heart, by Human League, from Greatest Hits. Back to the 80s and Phil Oakley's voice with Human League. It was released as a single. It's about opening up no matter what others say — you'll still triumph over them.

Papa Don't Preach, by Madonna, from True Blue. Madonna again; the famous single that had everyone wondering if it were based on a true personal story. Nope, by this, her third album, Madonna knew how to work her brand with the media. Great song (and a pretty good video), even after all these years.

The Debutante's Ball, by Harpers Bizarre, from Feelin' Groovy: The Best of Harpers Bizarre. It's the joker in the pack this Friday. Harper's Bizarre were a multi-voice male group (they used session musicians for the music) from the very late 60s. They're best known for a cover of Paul Simon's Feelin' Groovy. Nice enough track, a bit like a song from a musical. Hey, someone just hit the skip button...

Hey, Headmaster, by Pet Shop Boys, from Further listening 1992-1994. Absolutely brilliant B side from PSBs (the A side was Can You Forgive Her). It's one of those tracks I can listen to several times over at once. Neil is asking a headmaster what he's going to do now the boys are becoming more modern (they've "cut their hair short to look cool") and leaving him behind in the past. Despite the beat, a wistful, perhaps melancholy song. Neil Tennant tells this story of getting into a black cab in London and the cabbie saying, hey, you're one of the Pet Shop Boys, aren't you? To which Neil says, yes, expecting a "West End Girls is great" comment, but instead the cabbie then informs him Hey, Headmaster was his favorite song.

Guilty Ones, by Blue Sky Black Death, from A Heap Of Broken Images. Short guitar instrumental with another snatch of monologue from the film Primer.

Love Train, by Johnson, Holly, from Blast. This is the first album for Johnson after he left Frankie Goes to Hollywood. The album is a sheer pop delight, no track more so than this one. Brilliant train-like beat, Johnson joyfully wailing about "stoke it up, riding the Love Train." Oh, the fun of double entendres. I just love the first two lines: "You're a work of art / You're the Trevi Fountain". A fantastic end to this party.

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