/Tuesday Ten /527 /An Open Mind

Appropriately, this week’s post took a few days to write, as I procrastinated over what to include, and what to write about.

/Tuesday Ten /527 /An Open Mind

/Subject /Maybe, If, Might
/Playlists /Spotify / /YouTube
/Related /520/Yes /521/No /Tuesday Ten/Index
/Assistance /Suggestions/95 /Used Prior/15 /Unique Songs/79 /People Suggesting/50
/Details /Tracks this week/10 /Tracks on Spotify Playlist/10 /Duration/34:25

Yep, this week is about maybe, indecision, might: where things aren’t clear cut and the songwriters are having trouble settling on one thing. Often, but not always, they involve matters of the heart.

It is, now I look back at the artists involved, a more mainstream-oriented list than I usually do, but that’s the result of what was suggested (and as always, it was a good list, too). Thanks as always to everyone who got involved.

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).

/Carly Rae Jepsen
/Call Me Maybe

We start this week with a monster of a song from the last decade, where Carly Rae Jepsen entered popular discourse with this one song (it has sold 18 million equivalent units since release, 1.5 billion YouTube views, over 1 billion Spotify plays…) that has since been mashed up, memed and re-used and replayed everywhere. This ultra-catchy single sees Jepsen deliberating and obsessing over someone she’s just met, throwing caution to the wind and suggesting that they should call her… maybe? Is it a bad idea, is it a good idea? Sometimes, just go for it.

Even if in the video, things don’t quite work out as planned…

/Bucks Fizz
/Making Your Mind Up
/Bucks Fizz

It was of course Eurovision recently, and the UK entry limped into second-last in the voting this time around. The UK have won the competition on five occasions (most recently in 1997 thanks to Katrina and the Waves), and the time before that was at the Eurovision Song Contest 1981, when Bucks Fizz won just months after being formed to compete – and went on have a successful career subsequently.

The song is one of those almighty earworms, a bit of pop alchemy that works on every level. A song about making a choice around commitment and the future, to stop playing around and staying with one person, that has a fizzing energy to it that so many UK entries to the competition since have lacked. Oh, and a striking costume-change mid-song can’t have hurt.

Ironically, too, a song about indecision turned out to win by just four points, on the final jury vote…

/Live Forever
/Definitely Maybe

A rare featuring of the biggest band from the Britpop era – indeed it’s eleven years since I last featured them – and somehow, I’ve never included their greatest song before. Sung by Liam, but written by Noel, it’s a wistful song about wishing for change, but the protagonist is not entirely sure what to do, or how to do it, to get there. It’s a song full of maybes, full of might bes, as they contemplate their own dull, mundane existence – and is backed up by an elegant musical backing that is full of subtlety in ways that almost everything else by Oasis that followed lacked.

It’s a song, too, I always associate with an old friend who left us too soon. I was working at King’s College Union with much-loved Astoria security crew member Neville Lynch (whose employer also did KCLSU events, hence him working with us) the night he was killed in a motorcycle accident on his way home, and at Collide-a-Scope the following week, this was the song dedicated to him. Nearly twenty-five years on, his memory lives on – and he was naturally mentioned in the flood of stories and memories when the Astoria closed in 2009.

/The Clash
/Should I Stay Or Should I Go
/Combat Rock

Following the sprawling chaos of Sandinista! (a triple (!) album), Combat Rock feels laser-focussed, even if in reality it wasn’t at all. While moments on the album are some of the bands best – and most commercially successful – not all of it works, that’s for sure. One of those that really does, though – and went to number one in the UK a decade later thanks to use in a Levi’s advert – is Should I Stay or Should I Go. A searing track about decision paralysis – iconic from the opening riff to the rampaging chorus – has been attributed to Mick Jones considering his future in both the band and his relationships, but what it actually is about is kinda irrelevant. In short, it’s just a rollicking, great song.

/Alice In Chains
/Your Decision
/Black Gives Way to Blue

The 2009 comeback by Alice In Chains, with new vocalist William DuVall replacing the late Layne Staley, was vastly better than it perhaps had any right to be – and indeed was #1 on /Countdown /2009 /Albums on this site. In many ways, Jerry Cantrell and his bandmates were picking up where they’d left off previously, equally adept at crushing metal numbers as they were at thoughtful ballads, and this song was the best example of the latter that they’d released in years. A delicate, emotional track that is distantly watching someone close potentially making disastrous choices in their life – it could be about Layne, it could be about someone else – but unable to help or intervene, it retains a mighty emotional hit.

/Between Whatifs and Might Have Beens
/For Generations To Come

Spetsnaz were at the forefront of the EBM revival over the past twenty years, their thumping, modern take on the genre providing huge entertainment at their physical live shows – and indeed on record. Interestingly, their lyrics are often a little more thoughtful than the sloganeering that often prevails in EBM tracks, with vocalist Pontus Stålberg seemingly keen on showing a different side. This track is a great example, as he pontificates on what could or might happen, dependent on his choices.

/Dusty Springfield & Pet Shop Boys
/What Have I Done To Deserve This

Even the creation of this song involved indecision – as initially, a long-past fame Dusty Springfield had declined the offer to work with the Pet Shop Boys, but eventually she changed her mind, and the result was an imperious pop song that was another big hit for PSB, and pretty much singlehandedly resurrected Springfield’s career at a stroke. The song sees the protagonist considering their options, as things haven’t quite worked out as planned (“You always wanted a lover / I only wanted a job“) in the money-obsessed eighties, and they don’t quite know what to do next.

/Sanctuary Medicines

Ricardo Capuano – known as Rico in his musical endeavours – was one of those great might-have-beens. He released two great albums in the years around the millenium, the first by EMI/Chrysalis and the second on his own label after he got screwed by said major label (hardly the only artist to suffer this at the time, sadly), and he unexpectedly appeared on Top of the Pops with Gary Numan on Crazier in 2003.

One of his more striking early tracks was Overload, that – like many of his earlier songs – came across like an internal monologue as he wrestled with his own feelings and thoughts. Amid the grubby industrial-rock backing, Rico remains stuck in a fog of indecision as nothing can be determined one way or the other.

Sadly, Rico died last summer, his immense talent lost to us as he chose not to release anything else after Violent Silences in 2004 (I’ve written at length about that album here). In later years he was involved in a youth music project that taught young Glaswegians elements of music production and performance (sadly the programme lost it’s funding in 2019).

/Hüsker Dü
/Indecision Time
/Zen Arcade

Hüsker Dü’s second album was the immense double Zen Arcade, a concept album of youth, growing up and the terrors of doing so (particularly in underprivileged situations) – and one that saw them expand their sound (but still often played at lightspeed). Such as this song, which crams an awful lot into just over two minutes, and is a key song in the narrative of the young man who has run away from an abusive home. At this point, he is twisting and turning, wracked with indecision as he considers whether his escape was worth it, as what he’s run to so far is not turning out to be any better.

/Terry Bush
/Maybe Tomorrow

We close off this week with a much-loved theme song from a show that many of us will have seen in our childhood. An unusual TV show, in retrospect, about an independent (German Shepherd) dog that travels from town to town, helping people that need it, but every time moving on to somewhere else, resisting any attempts at a settled life (that was frequently offered by characters willing to adopt the dog).

As the quite lovely – and still moving, as I found out listening to it again after all these years – theme song notes, though, there is perhaps an idea in the back of the dog’s head that one day, maybe, he’ll settle down and stop moving on. To the end of the show, that idea was resisted.

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