Thursday, August 04, 2016

Everybody Up! 16 - It Was A Shame How He Carried On

10. JUDAS PRIEST "Take On The World"

Unfortunately the only JP number I know well is "Breaking The Law", so I'm a bit lost for what to say here, other than noting that this is a very inspiring number with a rolling drum pattern that, when combined with the motivational lyrics about, well, taking on the world, definitely links it to glam as a genre and neatly brings in the sense of youth in revolt that every 'outsider' music genre since jazz has brought to the table.

It also sounds a bit like "Fat Bottomed Girls" by Queen, which unfortunately reminds me that Queen are a bit of a damning exclusion from this set; mind you I bet it costs a packet to licence their stuff, so maybe I won't naysay too loudly on that one.

11. BONEY M. "Rasputin"

Oh, I've been looking forward to this one.  I adore a bit of Boney M., me.  From "Daddy Cool" to "Rivers Of Babylon", it's nothing but a party with the blueprint for Milli Vanilli.

(Ouch - on a side note, I just looked up Boney M. creator Frank Fabian on Wikipedia.  Beholding that photograph is like staring at the Ark Of The Covenant.  I think I've gone insane.  View it at your peril...)

Never has the murder of a controversial Russian faith healer in the early 20th century been so danceable!  It sounds like everyone involved in making this had a huge amount of fun, non-participating "frontpeople" aside, plus it predicts Zangief's ending from "Street Fighter 2" pretty accurately, which will always be welcome. 

It deftly straddles the line between charmingly nonsensical and absolutely berserk, always carrying the whiff of danger without going full-blown "Crazy Horses" - not, of course, that there is anything wrong with "Crazy Horses", as we covered in an earlier entry; it's just that twice in five disks for that level of intensity is quite a stretch for the human brain.

In short, it's just so, so fun on a completely unintellectual level, and there's simply not enough of that about to enjoy these days.

12. GENERATION X "Valley Of The Dolls"

Are you ready?...  Oh, sorry; that was D-Generation X.  I've been watching too much Raw Is War from 1998 lately.  It makes my want to gesture repeatedly to my crotch, let fly with some outrageous innuendo and tell everyone I have two words for them, and then what those two words are.  I've got the former two down but our HR department tell me the latter is a sackable offence, so I'd best get back to the matter in hand.

So: enter Sir Billy Idol, perhaps the most perfect encapsulation of a rock star ever portrayed.  Sneeringly confident but impeccably pretty, full of piss and vinegar but still available and potentially tameable, a renegade you could take home to your mum (well, MY mum, anyway), and full of great tunes.

You cannot seriously sit there and tell me "White Wedding", "Dancing With Myself" and "Rebel Yell" aren't absolute class.  Well, you can, but I wouldn't hear you as I'm not there.  Which is probably for the best, as you'd only be subjected to much ranting if I did hear you.  So count yourself lucky, bub.  Unfortunately this one isn't quite as good as the aforementioned three, but it's still damn good.

And as a fan of Russ Meyer's film-making, it only remains for me to shoehorn in a plug for his magnum opus "Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls" - the one with tits AND a plot, not that there's anything innately wrong with either element in isolation.

13. THE HUMAN LEAGUE "Rock 'n' Roll/Nightclubbing"

Another lesson in how to reference, but not feature, an excommunicated pivotal figure here.  The Human League's version of [redacted]'s 1972 single, as released on their "Holiday '80" EP as part of a medley with the not-yet-too-disgraced Iggy Pop's Berlin gem "Nightclubbing", is very much of their output at the time - driving, icy, flat yet exciting, stark and arresting.

The version of the latter is slightly more disappointing in the sense that it's almost handled with too much respect, and the apple doesn't fall far enough from the tree to make an interesting variation on the original - aside from some of the League's usual soundscape quirks, which aren't themselves that far from Bowie and Visconti's glacial take on the original, this is as close to a straight take as you're going to get.

Perhaps whereas "Rock 'n' Roll" sat so far outside of their scope in terms of instrumentation and execution, they had to have a proper go at bringing it into their space, "Nightclubbing" was more of a direct influence, and needing less work just naturally fell into its usual state.  Either way, it's not bad, and the juxtaposition of the two pieces certainly make for an interesting tonal shift - so probably better not to complain.

14. MAGAZINE "The Light Pours Out Of Me"

Well, this is a good run, isn't it? 

Howard Devoto was the original and best lead singer for the Buzzcocks, but gibbed them off after their first single to start Magazine, a more musically expansive band than the aforementioned (still really very good) combo, and with results like this you'd have to say he made the right choice; straight up punk rock isn't for everyone, after all, which I sometimes struggle to remember.

This is a great track, all told, and you can hear the glam in the shuffle of the drums and the insistence of the guitar riff.  In fact at this stage I am entirely convinced of the strength of early glam's influence on punk and new wave; before you had your Bay City Rollers and Muds and whatnot bringing the image into a more mainstream sphere, you had Bowie and Bolan as outsiders, plus Slade and Mott as hard rockers, and much of their style was carried forward in slightly more brutal fashion by the '76-'79 wave.

So really, this is all point proved on the part of the compilation itself.  And the tracks we've discussed in this entry may well be the best selection to show the wide ranging influence that glam had - we've touched on metal, disco, punk, electronica and new wave this week, and we're unlikely to see that kind of range again soon.  But there's still some real good tracks to come, so why not stay with us on our epic quest, given that it is nearly 80% done?  Seriously - I insist.

Join us next time for some ants.

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