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iPod Random 5-track Experiment Vol. 7

October 18th, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

The iPod Shuffle function is very useful in bringing to the listener’s notice songs that have bypassed them. Of course, there is always the temptation when being confronted with a song one is not in the mood for to skip subsequent tracks, thereby compromising the arbitrary purpose of the random shuffle. And sometimes iPod comes up with a fantastic sequence, as it did this morning, compelling me to violate my no-weekend-posting rule to resurrect the iPod Random 5-track Experiment series, which last ran in March.

Nick Heyward – Whistle Down The Wind.mp3
Alas, poor Nick Heyward. He was just too clean cut, too cute and too saddled with a insurance salesman’s name to be respected. When the barely pubescent girls put up their Nick Heyward posters from Smash Hits, the deal was sealed: Heyward would not, could not be taken seriously by the cogniscenti. It’s a pity. Haircut 100’s pop was better than it has been given credit for, and Heyward’s 1983 North Of A Miracle debut solo album is at least in part quite excellent. The album’s first three singles, including Whistle Down The Wind, made the UK Top 20, but none made the Top 10. Perhaps the catchy Blue Hat For A Blue Day is the better remembered song, but Whistle is the better song. The chorus is just lush and lovely, and much more mature than his age at the time, 22, might suggest. Heyward made some fine music in the 1990s as well. Check out the gorgeous Not The Man You Used To Be.

Bruce Springsteen – Hungry Heart (live).mp3
This version is from the box set of Broooce live recordings released in 1986. It captures the energetic bonhommie between headliner, band and audiences beautifully. You don’t need to see video footage to know that everybody is having a just great time. Springsteen lets the audience take the lead with the first verse and chorus. A minute in, Bruce roars some sound of approval and repeats what the crowd just sang. More than Born To Run, I think Hungry Heart is the quintessential Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band song.

Herman’s Hermits – No Milk Today.mp3
I posted this before on the Teen Dreams mix, but can’t understand how No Milk Today failed to be included in the Perfect Pop series (which came to an abrupt end when I misplaced my shortlist of yet-tobe featured songs). Written by Grahame Gouldman, later of 10cc, the song was a massive hit in Germany, but did not perform as well as other Herman’s Hermit hits in the US, where the group in 1965 ““ the year before No Milk Today ““ outsold the Beatles. The arrangement is deceptively complex, featuring an orchestra and excellent use of bells.

Blondie – X-Offender.mp3
I posted this before in the 1970s Time Travel series. Few moments in pop music are sexier than Debbie Harry’s spoken intro. Oh, but the ’70s were an innocent age, when acts like Blondie were ordered not to feature the word “sex” in the title of a song which very much is about just that (a prostitute’s sexual attraction, possibly reciprocated, to the cop who bust her). Having said that, I think X-Offender is a better title than the original Sex Offender. Originally released in 1976, X-Offender didn’t attract wide notice until the following year. And soon after Blondie broke really big with Denis.

Weezer – Island In The Sun.mp3
I tend to make my own cellphone ringtones. At one point, Island In The Sun was the personalised ringtone alerting me to calls from Any Major Wife. I don’t think I am exaggerating when I note that my wife loves to phone. So I’d get lots of calls signalled by Island In The Sun. That kind of thing can spoil a song, especially when the “hep hep” causes interruptions in the midst of intensive concentration (as my prose here might suggest, my bids at intensive concentration are largely unsuccessful). I changed AMW’s ringtone just before the ringtone ruined the song for me. Happily, I still love this impossibly happy tune ““ which may or may not be about drug addiction. Weezer weren’t going to include it on their 2001 Green Album; it was included only at producer Ric Ocasek’s insistence. As it happens, it was released as a single, promoted with a great Spike Jonze video (actually, there were two videos), and became Weezer’s biggest hit.

  1. dickvandyke
    October 18th, 2008 at 17:02 | #1

    Hi mate.Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog. The writing, research and subject choice is top notch.Tis remiss of me not to comment before (or at least for some time).Thanks again. It’s much appreciated.

  2. Uncle E
    October 18th, 2008 at 18:03 | #2

    Nick was great for a while yes, and I’m in total agreement that H-100 deserved a better fate. I had both albums on casette, and if you take the best from each the whole ads up to one of the best albums of the 80’s.Thanks for the reminder.

  3. the blueeyeddevil
    October 18th, 2008 at 21:56 | #3

    love the Nick H. he has a son called january Man that is one of my faves. Keep up the good work.

  4. Barely Awake In Frog Pajamas
    October 19th, 2008 at 13:59 | #4

    I don’t think most of Nick Heyward’s albums were released here in the States, but I did get a promo of his album Kite (’95? ’96?) which was rather good as I recall.

  5. Lizzle-ba-Dizzle
    October 20th, 2008 at 03:24 | #5

    Hm, I’m never sure about this whole “shuffle” thing. It IS useful in reminding me of songs I may have overlooked, and it gets me out of the habit of listening to the same favourites over and over. BUT. . . sometimes I just want to listen to an entire album start to finish, and the availability of the shuffle function makes me feel a bit guilty about this. Oh well. Another great post – good stuff! :))

  6. My hmphs
    October 21st, 2008 at 19:11 | #6

    Nick Heyward’s The Apple Bed is one of my favorite CDs. I didn’t care too much for Haircut 100, but Heyward’s solo work is top notch. New blog post? Solo artists who were better than their former bands? Hmmm….

  7. Simon
    October 22nd, 2008 at 08:16 | #7

    I absolutely love Nick H’s first album – North Of A Miracle, which Whistle Down The Wind is on. It’s beautiful, all big arrangements and nifty little pop tunes and overflowing with the excitement of a young songwriter recording in Abbey Road with Geoff Emerick who worked on so many great records, especially those by The Beatles and McCartney..

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