>’That’s just talking over music son’

>The title of this blog is my Dad’s articulate and well reasoned opinion on ‘that rap music’. Now before you get angry and start castigating me for covering rap music again I am doing no such thing. Inspired by Big Daddy Frederick I’m taking his description literally and have chosen five brilliant songs of which the chief component is a spoken vocal over music. I have taken artistic licence with small bouts of singing but generally I have stuck to the formula which meant having to overlook such magnificent tracks as Little Acorns by The White Stripes and Popular by Nada Surf. Baz Lurmann did not make the cut on grounds of being shite.

Pow Pow by LCD Sound System

I chose this song as it came on my ipod whilst putting away the shopping this morning (rock and roll) and made me think of this subject for a blog. I long had an irrational dislike of LCD Soundsystem. They seemed to represent the try hard, indie wannabes that infested my favourite places as a student in Leeds and I never have (nor will) see the big fuss about ‘Daft Punk is playing at my house.’ So it was with some surprise that when enjoying the excellent Minnesota radio station The Current I heard a really interesting track and it turned out to be by the very band I’d often derided. Thankfully my stubborn days are over as meander towards my third decade so I can happily embrace the fact that I was wrong. The latest and allegedly final album is well worth a listen but then you are most likely cooler and trendier than I so know that already.

Be Safe by The Cribs

I love and always will love The Cribs. They were introduced to me by my best friend and we would take huge amounts of pleasure from experiencing groups of comedy outfitted scenesters bopping along to their songs totally ignorant of their meaning. It is always a bittersweet feeling when a band you have felt a personal link to becomes hugely successful. Although they have not hit the heights predicted The Cribs have undoubtedly gone up in the world – recording albums in LA and inviting Johnny Marr into the band. The mainstream output has left me cold in much in the same way as recent Kings of Leon songs have failed to resonate with me as Youth and Young Manhood so emphatically did. However it is doubtful that had they not pointedly looked to make an impact across the Atlantic they would have managed to attract Lee Ranald of Sonic Youth to collaborate on this absolute belter of a track. The Jarman brothers are underrated lyricists and this song is packed full of imagery so sharp you can picture it in your mind e.g. ‘Ideas swirl but don’t stick. They appear but then run off like rain on the windshield. One of those rainy day car rides my head implodes, the atmosphere in this car a mirror of my skull. Wet, damp, windows dripping and misted with cold. Walls of grey. Nothing good on the radio. Not a thought in my head.’ Bob Dylan would be proud of that.

The Revolution will not be Televised by Gil Scott-Heron

Here is where it all began. My first awareness of this classic was somewhat ironically a television advert about  Nike basketball. As cool as that advert was as a yank obsessed teen it jars somewhat with the original which is a devastatingly cool and pithy take on the political and cultural whirlwind that was enveloping the globe with the fall out from the changes of the previous decade. It is hard to believe but this song initially featured no backing other than percussion in the form of bongos and conga drums. The right choice was made when it was re-recorded as what I can best describe as audio silk. The man himself has enjoyed an unlikely revival in the past couple of years and a good friend and fellow blogger even saw the great man in concert. You can hear Gil Scott-Heron explaining the meaning behind the song here.
Fire coming out of the monkey’s head by Gorillaz feat. Dennis Hopper
Dennis Hopper is cool as fuck. Whether you feel Gorrilaz are a brilliant, avant-garde art project proving unexpectedly popular or a mawkishly self-indulgent vanity vehicle for Damon Albarn and friends you have to admit that Dennis Hopper reading a fable about primate dominated land facing environmental difficulties is inspired. His sad passing has left behind so many great moments on and off screen, but this might just be my favourite.
Going the Distance by Cake
Two songs always seem to sneak onto mixtapes and play lists I put together. One is the fantastic Teenage Angst by Placebo which seems ever relevant and the other is this ode to tenacity. It is essentially Aesop’s tortoise and hair fable turned into a song yet it works brilliantly. I’m no great fan of Cake’s other material but praise is due for concocting this quite ingenious motivational nugget.