I’ve done a lot of driving lately, both north to see my Dad (who is happily now recovering, and out of Intensive Care), and more recently to a few meetings as I’ve begun to get into the swing of things in my new job. So, a variety of playlists (and 6 Music) have been my soundtrack on some of these long journeys, and they’ve given me ideas.
/Subject /Rules, Cheating
/Playlists /Spotify / /YouTube
/Related /439/You’ll Rebel To Anything /Tuesday Ten/Index
/Assistance /Suggestions/122 /Used Prior/9 /Unique Songs/113 /People Suggesting/42
/Details /Tracks this week/10 /Tracks on Spotify Playlist/10 /Duration/38:56
Hearing Amy Winehouse on one such journey got me thinking about rules, breaking them – and cheating. I could perhaps have split this into two posts, but the narrative ended up suiting one post, and so this covers both songs about rule-breaking, rule breakers, and people who cheat – interestingly the latter being almost entirely about relationships (with one notable exception).
As ever, thanks to the variety of contributors for their suggestions (including one person who really went to town on this subject, with no less than 43 suggestions!). There were quite a few I could have used, too, way more than the ten I settled on. Stats, as is usual these days, are in the box above.
In two weeks’ time, this series turns fifteen years old. More about that next week. In the meantime, you can also read /Talk Show Host/076 with iVardensphere, that was posted last night.
A quick explanation for new readers (hi there!): my Tuesday Ten series has been running since March 2007, and each month features at least ten new songs you should hear – and in between those monthly posts, I feature songs on a variety of subjects, with some of the songs featured coming from suggestion threads on Facebook.
Feel free to get involved with these – the more the merrier, and the breadth of suggestions that I get continues to astound me. Otherwise, as usual, if you’ve got something you want me to hear, something I should be writing about, or even a gig I should be attending, e-mail me or drop me a line on Facebook (details below).
/We Are Shampoo
We all got into trouble during our teens at some point, right? Shampoo summed up many of our younger lives in one fantastic, catchy-as-all-hell single that I was surprised to find only reached number 11 in the charts. Often that trouble with our parents would come from breaking rules that had been set. In this case, not getting home by the time agreed, not having the money to get home, and indeed generally breaking the terms that had been agreed with their parents. It’s a case of trust, right? And many of us broached that pretty damned quickly and took a while to get that trust back…
/Smokin’ In the Boys Room
/Theatre of Pain
Life at school saw many of my peers see just how far they could push, bend and indeed break the rules. Mötley Crüe were clearly thinking similarly as they leaned into what is basically bar-room blues for a fun tale of teenage smoking, giving a finger or two to authority as they outwit the staff to find somewhere to have a crafty fag years before they should. I never smoked at school before I was able to (back in my day, in the mid-90s, we sixth-formers had a smoking area, although I’ll bet that was stopped some time ago now), but we certainly found places to have an illicit cigarette in the local woods when I was, er, young enough. Also, I was today years old when I learned that this song is a cover (the 1973 Brownsville Station take is the original).
/Rules and Regulations
/Release the Stars
The ever-fascinating auteur that is Rufus Wainwright has an interesting take on rules, as this genteel song feels like Wainwright being frustrated at the fact that he is following the rules, unlike the object of his affections. As I see it, seeing someone else who does break the “rules” – even those of nature, by being better, prettier, or suchlike – seems to light a fire in him, that it doesn’t have to be that way, in that he could change and be something, or someone, else.
These Riot Grrrl pioneers and, perhaps, the scenes’ best-known band these days, having reunited for some storming shows just a few years back to universal acclaim, are also looking at someone else who bends the rules. Kathleen Hanna’s snarl gives way to adulation and, perhaps, lust, as she celebrates the cool girl in town – who is seen as a rebel that has style, intelligence and inspires revolution (and thus breaks the patriarchal “rules”). In other words, this song is an anthem to feminist solidarity and remains a bracing, rabble-rousing track that is a refreshing antidote to many other punk songs that are sung by men about women.
/Blossoms and Bicycles
One of the stirring highlights from Jeays’ latest album, released last year, is not quite what it first appears. Initially, it seems to be a song celebrating the rebel in film, rousing his colleagues with the important speech that changes the course of a war. But then comes the devastating chorus, where this is revealed to be the setting for the end of an illicit affair, and as Jeays unfolds more of the detail, there is this awful feeling that this is all-too-real, as his chance finally comes…and he can’t take it.
/The Afghan Whigs
The sizzling, sultry highlight of the Afghan Whigs’ greatest album (yes, feel free to argue, but you’re wrong) was the song Greg Dulli couldn’t sing himself. Instead, he passed the words to Marcy Mays of Scrawl, a fellow Ohio artist and the results were spectacular, as she croons through the violent, ugly demise of a relationship, where boundaries are crossed – and unspoken rules are broken – as every transgression just seems to make things worse, but they for reasons unexplained cannot find a way to separate.
/Call Your Girlfriend
Another in the long line of skyscraping pop bangers by Robyn that have a pitch-dark heart – and something of a counterpoint to Dancing On My Own, interestingly – sees Robyn telling her new partner that they really need to step up and call their (current) girlfriend, even offering detailed advice on what they need to say to break the news gently. Sure, it’s a little awkward, perhaps, but Robyn is the voice of reason, trying to make the best of a fucked-up situation that should, just maybe, have been handled already by this point as cheating has very much happened by this point. I’ve been there (more than once), and I still feel bad about it, even if everything worked out in the end. Needless to say, this song remains brilliant, too.
/You Know I’m No Good
/Back to Black
Amid the endless stories about her life before (and after) she died far too young, it sometimes feels forgotten that some of Amy Winehouse’s songs were extraordinary. The dark, soulful clouds of You Know I’m No Good is a perfect example, as she makes plain what she is, but continues to play with fire with other people aside from her partner, and after all the warnings, when she is finally caught out (thanks to carpet burns, noticed while on holiday!), the only response is a resigned sigh, as if nothing more needs to be said.
/It Wasn’t Me
Shaggy, however, perhaps shouldn’t be relied upon for advice when caught out. As this monster hit song goes, his buddy Rik Rok (delivering most of the vocals) has been caught red-handed by his girlfriend, en flagrante “with the girl next door”. Shaggy thinks about it, and simply suggests denying it all, with the immortal phrase “It wasn’t me”. I mean, that’s the best advice he can give? Now I think about it, perhaps this is where Trump got his inspiration from. Deny everything, gaslight them and make them question their own reality.
Shaggy, mate, you’ve got a lot to answer for.
/The Duckworth Lewis Method
/It’s Just Not Cricket
Finally this week, The Duckworth Lewis Method return to this series with another whimsical, oh-so-English folk-rock song that uses cricket as a springboard for something else. In England, at least, “It’s Just Not Cricket” is a saying for proclaiming something just isn’t fair, or the done thing – or that they have broken the rules. And here, the duo is detailing a number of instances, in history, politics and business in particular, when the playing field really isn’t level. Since the song was written less than a decade ago, it’s probably even less so.