I’m due back in Glasgow at some point today and will get the blog back to some sort of normality in due course..
Just a reminder that this series has been a pastiche of the NOW albums which, since their inception in 1983 have been, for want of a better word, a shit listen, bought in the main by folk who don’t explore much beyond the mainstream fodder.
The words used to describe each of the songs have been lifted from the particular individual ICA in question. There’s a multitude of contributors, but I’ve decided against highlighting who wrote what…..I like to see this, and indeed the entire output of T(n)VV as a collective.
NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL AN ICA….(v)
Daft Punk is Playing At My House – LCD Soundsystem (Track 1 from ICA#9)
I’ve gone for Soulwax Mix simply because of the bit where it goes ‘DOWNTOWN’
This was LCD Soundsystem’s most successful song, earning a Grammy nod and reaching No. 29 on the UK charts. It’s not hard to see why. Murphy always knew how to start a party, from the opening “OW! OW!” to the smashing hi-hats to cowbells and even reminding us that he had moved the furniture to the garage. A belter of a record.
Electricity – OMD (Track 2 from ICA#151)
The first single by OMD and less polished that the later re-recorded and better-known versions for DinDisc.
The story goes that following a successful debut gig at Eric’s in Liverpool, at which they supported Joy Division, the duo sent off a tape of their demo to Tony Wilson in the hope of having it released on Factory. The boss wasn’t that keen on it, but his wife, Lindsay Reade, thought Electricity sounded good and so he decided to release it on a one-off basis with it becoming just the third piece of vinyl to be issued by the label, with 5,000 copies pressed up. It received a fair bit of critical praise and although it didn’t chart, set the duo up for a multi-album deal and the initial steps along the road to fame and fortune. How different might have the Factory story turned out if OMD had been offered and signed a long-term deal with the label…..
The Hellcat Spanged Shalala – Arctic Monkeys (Track 3 from ICA#193)
After ‘Humbug’ the band abandoned trying to be a South Yorkshire version of the Queens of the Stone Age and returned to making beautifully wistful guitar pop and it suited them down to the ground – and you know what – I think right now, ‘Suck It and See’ is my favourite of their albums, is it their best – not sure – but I personally don’t think that they have ever sounded as confident and as sparkling as they do in this song. It’s marvellous.
I Wanna Be Sedated – The Ramones (Track 4 from ICA#185)
“I Wanna Be Sedated” was described by the author Brian J. Bowe as one of the band’s “most classic” pieces of music. After a show in London, Joey told manager Linda Stein: “Put me in a wheelchair and get me on a plane before I go insane”. This quote would be the chorus to “I Wanna Be Sedated”, whose lyrics invoke the stress which the band was under during touring. It is the most downloaded song from the catalog by The Ramones.
Party Fears Two – Associates (Track 5 from ICA#141)
The 45 that delivered on Billy’s dreams and ambitions. Their best known few minutes and among their finest. Enough has been written before about, both on this blog and elsewhere. Just enjoy the full majesty of the 12” version with its fabulous drawn-out ending.
Who The Fuck? – PJ Harvey (Track 6 from ICA#63)
Now we’re talking! PJ’s angry. Someone’s pissed her off and she can’t wait to tell us. Coming across like a demented Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, WTF? kicks like an angry mule, a fuzztoned, vocally distorted, brilliant mess of a record.
It’s a sloppy, stroppy, brilliantly sweary track. If you took ten wasps in a jar and stuck them in a food blender with the short-lived RRRRRiot Grrrrrrl movement, it would sound something like this.
Pump It Up – Elvis Costello & The Attractions (Track 7 from ICA#136)
I observed that, while I wasn’t that fond of Costello’s genre exercises and anemic later-career albums, I rated his early LPs so highly that “I don’t think I could narrow down a 10 song ICA from just his recordings with the Attractions.” It was Brian who responded: “Nobody has had the guts to do that so far.”
Of course Brian’s right. I once made a playlist for my daughter of ‘essential’ EC songs and there were almost 100 on it.
No, there’s absolutely no way to have a 10-song Elvis Costello ICA. So, what the hell — with no discussion of the songs at all here’s an ICA of the TEN BEST songs by Elvis Costello and the Attractions.
Echo Beach – Martha & The Muffins (Track 8 from ICA#27)
I nearly didn’t put Echo Beach on this compilation. After all, you already know it, you’ve probably got it, and if you want to hear it, you can just hang around any supermarket with an in-store radio station and it’ll turn up soon enough. But it’s here anyway, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because inevitably nothing else on “Metro Music” really comes close. I was going to use the follow-up single Saigon, but the write-up came down to “it’s pretty good, but it’s not Echo Beach”, so what’s a diligent compiler to do? More importantly, if we’re going to pretend that this could be a proper vinyl album, then let’s face it: there’s no way on Earth that you’d ever do a Martha And The Muffins compilation and NOT put Echo Beach on it. Apart from anything else, it’s just too damn good. So good, in fact, it was very nearly a career killer.
Man In The Corner Shop – The Jam (Track 9 from ICA#52)
There’s something intrinsically sad about this mid-paced number which I’ve always thought is a hidden gem of a song.
I’ve never thought its central message was that everyone is born equal; nor do I think Paul Weller thinks that to be the case and so his tongue is very much in his cheek when he sings those particular lines. The sadness come from the fact that neither of the factory worker or shop owner are happy with their lot and both believe the grass on the other side is a much more favourable shade of green. Even sadder isturning your thoughts to what was likely to have happened to the protagonists in real life over the subsequent 2-3 years….a factory closure and redundancy for the blue-collar worker and the end of the family business for the shop owner as the supermarkets take over? Most likely…..and and as for the factory owner….well, he was never really ever any better off than the other two….maybe just a little bit richer in financial terms. In other words, the central message of Man In The Corner Shop is really quite simple……………………….
There Is No Ending – Arab Strap (Track 10 from ICA#14)
The closing track on the closing album. After dozens of songs that dealt with teenage and 20-something angst here’s one that celebrates love lasting forever until you grow old.
For a band that had to face up to so many accusations of being latent miserablists this is an extraordinary way to sign off and it captures Aidan Moffat for what I think he is – romantic at heart. For the most part in the Arab Strap canon he’s been a sad and depressed romantic all too often seeking solace in the comfort of the bottle or from the drugs cabinet but now at last he’s happy and looking forward to the future and he wants the world to know it.
A joyous and wonderful anthem to finish things off.
4 thoughts on “NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL AN ICA (v)”
Nice! Party Fears Two is one of the best singles *ever* IMHO, and of course sneaky to put Echo Beach on the same compo!
“This Is the Ice Age” is the best Martha and The Muffins album – the 1st 3 tracks are da business!
Now 5 is a winner.
I’m hoping this NOW series will return…it is a really great read and listen.