Back to regular /Tuesday Ten postings, then, and this week I’ve moved on to something of an emotional subject: to care or not to care.
/Playlists /Spotify / /YouTube
/Related /358 /Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word /Tuesday Ten/Index
/Assistance /Suggestions/122 /Used Prior/8 /Unique Songs/98 /People Suggesting/59
/Details /Tracks this week/10 /Tracks on Spotify Playlist/10 /Duration/38:19
For the most part, caring in this context is about the health and welfare of the self and others. When I asked about this on the usual suggestion thread, I wasn’t especially sure what I was going to get, indeed whether I’d get anywhere near enough to work with.
As usual, it turns out I need not have worried. Thanks again to all my contributors, and the thought-provoking suggestions supplied (as usual, I didn’t have time to use them all!).
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).
/Faith No More
/We Care A Lot
Considering on how long ago Faith No More first formed, We Care A Lot – originally a single in 1985 (!), but re-recorded a few years later for Introduce Yourself, which is the version here and the one most people know and recognise – pretty much nailed FNM’s core sound immediately. Roddy Bottum’s droning synths, Bill Gould’s down’n’dirty funk basslines, and Mike Bordin’s powerful drumming are all present and correct as they would be through their career, and even Chuck Mosley’s sneering vocal delivery would be continued in a different way, later on, by Mike Patton.
The meaning of the song, though, was very much rooted in events of 1985. It takes aim at the pop-stars who suddenly gave a shit about the third world when they could perform in front of a global audience, ostensibly to raise money for drought-stricken regions (although it has long been debatable as to how much money got through, as this excellent SPIN piece from 2015 details), but for a good many artists it also gave their careers an enormous leg-up. They also imagine the host of other organisations and random products that also “care”: which if you’ve been in the UK in the past month, feels oddly prescient after the frankly bizarre “out of respect” posts from all kinds of organisations following the death of the Queen.
/Baby I Don’t Care
Transvision Vamp’s moment in the spotlight was relatively brief. A group formed from a couple of pop wannabes and some punk old hands, their image was very much centred around the peroxide blonde Wendy James, who delivered exactly the right level of punk sass above the band’s pop-rock to entrance quite a number of fans. Baby I Don’t Care was, it turns out, written by guitarist Nick Sayers about a friend of Wendy James he had a crush on, even if it comes across as Wendy James making it clear that she couldn’t care less about what you think about her. Things I didn’t know: bassist Dave Parsons later joined Bush.
/You Don’t Care About Us
/Without You I’m Nothing
For a band I adored in their earlier years (I saw them live when they had one single out, and quite a number of times after that in the mid-to-late nineties), I’ve featured Placebo relatively rarely in this series. One of their more up-tempo, roof-raising tracks (that leans into post-punk, perhaps, some years before it became a “thing” again), it apparently is about an ex-lover of Brian Molko’s, accusing them of being uncaring and aloof – a somewhat destructive way of dealing with relationships…
/United States of Whatever
For some reason, I was absolutely certain that I’d featured this marvellously sneering track from Liam Lynch before, but a check of my records confirmed that I haven’t, so here it is. Originally from Lynch’s MTV show The Sifl and Olly Show, the video was shot in a day for Top of the Pops (!), as it became an unexpected hit in the UK. Barely ninety seconds of lo-fi punk rock, it is basically Lynch making it clear that he doesn’t give a fuck about anything, and is content to do his own thing (unless Zaphod the alien drops by, which is cool). Lynch has since become a noted maker of alternative music videos.
/I Love It (feat. Charli XCX)
/This Is… Icona Pop
The song that helped Charli XCX along the way to stardom (she wrote it, Icona Pop then recorded it with Charli XCX guesting on the song), Icona Pop deliver it as a mighty, three-minute electropop “FUCK YOU” that became an inescapable song the year it was released, and sold by the truckload both sides of the Atlantic. A kiss-off to an older ex-partner (“You’re from the 70s, but I’m a 90s bitch” suggests the age difference was pretty big), it is entirely a song where the protagonist makes very clear indeed that they are past caring, and have now moved on (and having the time of their lives doing so).
/Things Have Changed
/Wonder Boys OST
Back in October 1963, when The Times They Are a-Changin’, Dylan seemed to get onto tape the hope and desire for change that permeated the time – even if the assassination of JFK just weeks later seemed to herald that change wasn’t going to come quite as fast as people hoped. Nearly four decades later, in 1999, Dylan recorded Things Have Changed for the Wonder Boys soundtrack, and his bitterness at how little has changed, and how bleak the future instead looked, is palpable in this song. It is almost a shrug and a “told you so” (considering press and fans dubbing him a “voice of a generation” in the sixties) as he growls “I used to care, but things have changed“.
That said, as I’ve seen noted elsewhere, this doesn’t half make me think of The Future in feel and style…
/Some Great Reward
From the period where Depeche Mode found their darker side (and then became a globe-straddling behemoth at the end of the 80s) with some extraordinary singles, it is easy to forget that they wrote some really quite great, affecting ballads. Somebody is one of those, a piano-based ballad that sees a surprisingly tender and open plea from Martin Gore: and what could be seen as an extended dating ad. He’s clear over what he wants, but most of all, he just wants somebody who cares. He married (the first time) some years later, in 1989, so whether it worked at the time…?
/Ben Folds Five
/The Battle of Who Could Care Less
/Whatever and Ever Amen
On their much-loved first album, Ben Folds gently mocked the local alternative scene in North Carolina on the marvellous Underground, but it was clearly done with love, noting how such scenes become something of a home for outcasts and those who were different. A few years on, Folds had perhaps less nice things to say about some of that community. The Battle of Who Could Care Less – the first single from the second album – saw Folds railing against the apathy of the young, almost imploring them to take more an interest in the world around them and to make a difference. It’s something that’s still needed to be said now (as Acumen Nation will also point out again shortly from a different angle).
/Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands
Even nearly twenty years since his death aged 34, it still feels difficult listening too closely to many of Smith’s songs, as direct and honest as they often were. I hadn’t listened to Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands for a long time prior to this, and his quiet fury in the song (about an intervention that saw him go into rehab) prickles through every syllable. He just wanted to be left the fuck alone, to make his own mistakes, rather than everyone smothering him in ways that they cared about him. I’ve seen friends head down this route before – sadly mostly with a tragic ending – and it is paralysing: we want to help, and we dearly care, but how can you help someone who clearly doesn’t want it?
/Transmissions From Eville
Judging on Jason Novak’s comments when I finally saw Acumen live at Cold Waves in 2014, and they (of course) played this (“I’m too old to sing this fucking song”), I think maybe he’d tired of Acumen Nation’s most notorious song. Ironically, in the near-decade since, it’s perhaps taken on new meaning, particularly thanks to the hyper-partisanship that the Trump era only supercharged. Gun Lover, then, is Novak’s furious satire of the American Right, who profess to not care about a fucking thing, unless their politicians tell them it’s something to get angry about – but it could also be a takedown of the apathetic younger voters, too, who by not voting skew things to the right.
One more time: “I DON’T FUCKING CARE!”