This week's blog might not excite and delight you as much as my usual dazzling array of tantalising tunes. My pre-Mancunian derby nerves has brought out the negative in me so I'm choosing five tracks I loathe by artists I love. I could of course make this easy and choose middling bands who I can take or leave, or dip into the catalogue or once great bands on the slide (yes I mean you Rivers Cuomo). Each track is by an artist released at the peak of their powers which contrasts sharply with the rest of their brilliance.
Bugger I may have set myself a very tough task. Time to get myself a brew and put the thinking cap on.
All Around the World by Oasis
It seems prescient to choose the famous Citeh fans as my first victims. Oasis were the band that made me want to learn guitar. Thankfully they also ensured that all their songs were simple enough for a clumsy teenager to learn and for that I will always be grateful to Noel. My sister and I collected everything they ever released (including imports) and I have spent many a duel with keyboard warriors defending their output. That most certainly extends to Be Here Now which was the victim of absurd revisionism when lazy journalists went from hailing it a masterpiece (which is isn't) to a catastrophe (which again, it isn't) inside of about a year. The album was made at their commercial peak and featured some truly brilliant tracks - Don't Go Away, D'yer Know What I mean? and the Girl in the Dirty Shirt. This abomination though is lazy Beatles parody at its worst - and not even good Beatles (more of that later). Everything about it sounds tired and laboured and one can only presume Noel dusted it off to finish the album asap so he could go and snort some more of his fortune.
Yellow Submarine by The Beatles
The track that killed the dream of the perfect album. If Revolver was a steak it would be lean, moist, juicy, succulent, with one unpleasant knot of fat so frustratingly placed that it threatens to ruin the whole gastronomic experience. Yellow Submarine is that fat. It isn't the worst song ever performed by the band - Hey Jude on repeat is my musical room 101 - but it is undoubtedly the most bewildering insert to an LP tracklisting I have ever known. Maybe Lennon, McCartney and Harrison didn't want to leave themselves with nowhere to go? Maybe Lennon wanted to see what he could get away given the manic adulation they received? Surely anyone else proposing a drug addled, children's nursery rhyme sung by the drummer would be told to forget it? I have no idea, but what I do know is this song is wretched.
Whatz Ya Phone Number? - Tupac Shakur
'Does a bear shit in the woods and wipe his ass with a rabbit?' This track has long threatened to cross the line into 'so bad it's good' territory. I wouldn't suggest for a moment that All Eyez On Me is one of the great albums but it was made by Tupac at his commercial peak; Cali love, I aint mad atcha, Heartz of Men, Life Goes On, and All Bout U are superb singles. The problem with the album - like many of the era - is how hideously bloated it is which allows room for this slice of dire, dire music. The track literally consists of Tupac 'sexy talking' on the phone for five minutes. For a man capable of poetry in his more reflective moments the lyrics are sub-viz and in many ways reflect all that is wrong with misogynistic, production line, commercial rap music.
You were Always on my Mind by Ryan Adams
It would be very hypocritical of me to save the golden boy from criticism so here it is - a Ryan Adams cover which is completely unnecessary and achieves the ignominy of bringing a brilliant album to a close on whimper. The intro is promising, building the expectation that this is going to be great and it just... well isn't. Don't get me wrong, this is a superb song. Elvis brings gravitas in the way that only he could, Pet Shop Boys gave their own unique twist and I even have a soft spot for the Willie Nelson version; so why did Adams decide to tag on his own lukewarm effort? I have no idea and given the amount of chemicals in his blood stream at the time I suspect he couldn't offer an explanation either.
Isn't She Lovely by Stevie Wonder
Praise be that my Dad has no idea about this blog else I suspect I would be in for a dose of his version of the 'hairdryer treatment.' Wonder was a God in my house growing up and rightly so - Innervisions is a contender for my favourite album of all time. However this song does my head in. The sentiment is commendable, the tune is jaunty and enjoyable and it features Stevie's harmonica skills which can never be a bad thing. So why do I loathe it? It goes on, and on, and on, and on, ad infitum. It marks the moment in Songs in the Key of Life where 'less is more' is decisively thrown out the window. Sadly too much of side two is overblown and borderline over-indulgent. Do I need to hear the baby being born? No. Do I need to listen to bath time whilst the same relentlessly upbeat melody drones on? Definitely not. If you try and slog through the entire song your love of Wonder diminishes to such an extent that you would gladly shove that harmonica down his gullet if it would just make him please, please, stop!