This song just fits my mood to a T, and it probably should be alarming that in about a decade, it has never failed to do so. But without its cheerful bitchiness and holiday-spirit cynicism (helpfully every bit as catchy as the actual carols), I probably wouldn’t make it through the day without wanting to tear off my own head and eat it.
The Kinks – Father Christmas
PS: Merry Christmas, everyone! (belated by now, but still)
I don’t think the subject of this post is very popular with the other authors of this blog and, as a public figure, is never anything short of polarising. I’m well aware of her off-the-wall tendencies and rumoured occasional lapses into being a terrible person, and also of the (nutty) rumours that she killed He Who I’m Not Going To Name Here Because This Post Is About Her After All. I’m also aware that this is the woman who, at the age of 12, chose a poem by Sylvia Plath (“Daddy”) to read at an audition for The Mickey Mouse Club. She didn’t get picked, of course.
Courtney Love might not be a good role model or a good person, but honestly, does an artist’s personality always have to be a factor in whether you like their work or not? (Picasso, according to some accounts, behaved like an absolute shit to the women in his life- does that stop anyone from appreciating his art?) Some people claim to be scared by the fact that her early- and best, if you ask me- work frequently sounded so angry, but some of those same people were also fans of The Clash and the Sex Pistols. What’s so unique about Courtney Love’s anger, then? The fact that she’s female? It’s not as if Hole was the only band of that era to give centre stage to an angry woman with a raspy voice and a guitar, but I can’t help the feeling that maybe what scares many people when it comes to Courtney Love circa 1993 is the fact that many of the things she was pissed off about back then, were things a girl could be justifiably pissed off about even now.
Anyway, here are songs to listen to, from Hole’s second and best album, Live Through This, for anyone who is reading and hasn’t heard them before or paid attention (is anyone even reading this blog anymore?):
Hole- Doll Parts
South African rap/rave/all-out mad people whose songs I’m getting weirdly fond of, even though reason tells me I shouldn’t be. It’s so strongly 90s-reminiscent, especially of Aqua (which I loved when I was twelve- helps that Yo-landi Visser’s voice is as high-pitched as Lene Nystrøm’s). Add rap, and crazy visuals and I have a feeling I will be sick of this in about six weeks- but in the meantime, I love it.
Listen to more at their official site– it’s slightly hilarious, if a little sad, that they had to cancel a tour because (of all the reasons) a bandmate went missing.
It’s not exactly a common thing, finding singers who sound as good to me in their late thirties as they did in their early teens. Of course I must freely admit to bias in this case: Charlotte Gainsbourg is one of my favourite actor/singer hybrids (as I have said before, she is fantastic at both- try Jane Eyre for proof of the acting skills, since Antichrist sounds likely to make people queasy). And even if one were to contend that she sounds good because she gets cool collaborators (Serge Gainsbourg= Dad, we need a post on him sometime, Air= fans of Dad, collaborators with Charlotte later in her career), the fact still remains, she sounds amazing. IRM, her latest album (produced by Beck, whom I will always and forever associate with Loser) is no exception to the rule. It’s just that it’s even better than 5:55, less vague in spots, not quite as dreamy- and I strongly recommend listening to the track below, it’s one of the best things I’ve heard in a month and Charlotte’s combination of Brit accent,husk and whisper is as lovely as it ever was. I suspect it’ll probably be one of the best things I hear in 2010, too.
Charlotte Gainsbourg feat. Beck- Heaven Can Wait
I don’t really give a shit about most music in its own right. Most of what I post on here is just things I have been listening to for long enough to know that I absolutely love them, and which I treat like the aural equivalent of a dog’s favourite old bone or chewy toy. And given that the song I’m posting about was first heard at Alexander McQueen’s last fashion show in October and has since been featured on Gossip Girl, it really isn’t news to anyone. But then I am not the NME, so here goes.
I absolutely love Bad Romance. Lady Gaga songs and I have had a bit of a love-hate relationship over the last year and a bit- Just Dance and Beautiful Dirty Rich were fabulous, but Poker Face makes my ears bleed. I’ve always loved her rather distinctive, cyberwhorish getups though- it’s rare to see a female pop star who takes control of her image so effectively (except Madonna) and doesn’t sell sex in the same mindless formulaic way as every other insipid twit. And I can’t help a rather sneaky admiration for the fact that she insists on being addressed as ‘Gaga’, having managed to create a proper alter ego for herself- all this in her early twenties.
In Bad Romance, Lady Gaga manages to tick every one of my boxes. She appeals to my fuckoff side (does anything she wears look like it’d be worn by someone who gives a shit about what other people think? No). She appeals to my pop tart side (insanely, insanely catchy). She appeals, in a MASSIVE way, to my fash-hag side (Alexander McQueen SS10 massive clumpy 1 foot high armadillo shoes! She walks in them!). And the video is beyond awesome. It is the reason I’m not posting an mp3 for this post, since it’s better if you watch rather than just listen. And I bet everyone’s done plenty of listening already.
This is a bit of a cheat post, given that I posted about Paloma Faith ages ago on Nonsense on Stilettos (here), but she finally has an album out – for a month now, and it’s every bit as good as it should be. Though it’s not as bonkers as some of her awesome stage costumes, the songs are more than well worth a listen- I do rather adore her slightly throwback style of singing- to borrow an apt and very cool turn of phrase, it puts me in mind of having the auditory version of cream poured, very slowly, into my ears.
Paloma Faith – Stone Cold Sober
Paloma Faith- New York
EDIT: Turns out I gave in two links pointing to the same song..sorry, and it’s fixed now!
It’s hard to explain why I think the French have a virtual monopoly on producing cool girls, whose coolness and a certain level of fuck-you-but-I-can’t-be-bothered insouciance remains unconfined to any one field of work (musicians, journalists, fashion bloggers, actresses, lawyers- that’s how varied it gets), but it’s really hard not to be in awe of them. And if I tried to post about all of them, it’d take forever- so I’m sticking to two.
Françoise Hardy – Comment te dire adieu
Françoise Hardy (on the bike up there) was someone I discovered via a fashion magazine, following which I went on an mp3 hunt- and found that, quite at odds with the cigar-raspy alto I’d expected, her voice is actually on the softer side of the spectrum..
The other Cool French Girl of this post is actually half Brit, and one of those rather rare things- a singer and actress who is really good at being both (most recent evidence: 5:55 and The Science of Sleep, plus a Best Actress award at Cannes for Antichrist this year).
Charlotte Gainsbourg- Elastique
It’s one of her very early songs, and I rather like the breathiness of her voice- it’s a bit like her mother’s but more natural, somehow.
And here is the video for Elastique…she looks like such a kid here..