Day 29 – a song you want played at your funeral

I am not happy with this prompt, because thinking of what song I want played at my funeral is the sort of thing I do when I’m very depressed. But The Books’ vocals always remind me of Simon and Garfunkel, and the final track from their 2005 album Lost and Safe, “Twelve Fold Chain”, is one of the few songs about death which I find comforting.

Day 28 – a song from your childhood

I absolutely loved it when my parents put their tape of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water on in the car: it always makes me think of driving down the coast.

“The Boxer” was my favourite song at the time, for the way the sound and arrangement slowly build. It also contains my favourite personal mondegreen: I can’t hear it without thinking about that horse on Seventh Avenue.

Day 27 – a song you wish you could play/sing

Tom Waits’ “Johnsburg, Illinois” was another candidate for a song I wish I had written. I can play it, and even sing it: but I wish I could play it and sing it like Tom does.

Day 26 – a song that is an earworm

The theme from a 70s film I’ve never seen, the chorus of Bobby Womack’s “Across 110th Street” is the kind of groove that you don’t care how much of an earworm it is.

The earworm is a metaphor with some interesting assumptions—the self as an independent realm which is invaded or parasitised by a form of musical automatism. A less uptight psychology of music might see indwelling tunes as part of an internal ecology—the sonobiome, if you will—in which all sounds, “musical” or otherwise, are eternally recycled and regenerated.

Day 25 – a song with utterly mysterious lyrics

Wire are the only band I’ve doubled up on, my obsession with them having flared up in the last month. I might have nominated “Outdoor Miner” in this category, although its lyrics—a sort of pastoral which combines leaf-eating insect larvae, shepherding and sleep—are a model of clarity compared to “Kidney Bingos”. Wire songs, especially from their 80s albums, occasionally reveal a gay subtext of a particularly British kind (“drag my canal / you saucy old salt”, “kneeling for pleasure”), like an avant-garde counterpoint to Morrissey, but the “organ fun” in ‘Kidney Bingos’ seems to be of another, and much more disquieting, order. A perfect pop setting for an impenetrable concrete poem.

Money spines, paper lung, kidney bingos, organ fun.

Day 24 – your favourite song this time last year

Checking thisismyjam from June 2014 brings up “Nemesis” by Shriekback: the alien antihero from 2000AD, a ridiculously artsy/silly/fabulous video like an episode of The Mighty Boosh, a massive chorus which successfully rhymes the word ‘parthenogenesis’. It’s got it all!

I am still unduly exercised that you can’t buy Big Night Music or Oil and Gold on iTunes.

Day 23 – a song you want played at your wedding

I don’t really expect to have a wedding in future, but the Sneaker Pimps version of “How Do”, the song sung by Britt Ekland from the original Wicker Man as she dances in the nick and torments poor Sergeant Howie, would be pretty good: