This week, I’m turning my attention to stupidity.
/Subject /Stupid, Idiots
/Playlists /Spotify / /YouTube
/Related /422 /Loser /Tuesday Ten/Index
/Assistance /Suggestions/121 /Used Prior/14 /Unique Songs/99 /People Suggesting/43
/Details /Tracks this week/10 /Tracks on Spotify Playlist/9 /Duration/30:14
That is, people being accused of being stupid, or being idiots, or admitting that they themselves are the problem. As ever, it turns out there’s a lot of it about, and so it was a fun set of suggestions to review, and pick the final ten from. Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions.
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).
The biggest hit single Garbage ever had (#4 in the UK, top 30 in the US) borrowed much from Train in Vain by The Clash, but subverted it to become a sleek, electronically-assisted alt-rock anthem. Here Shirley Manson rages at an ambivalent young woman who squanders opportunities by not listening to any advice. The anger in Manson’s delivery is mirrored by the shocks of drums and slashing guitars that punctuate the latter half of the song (and make for a fantastic live track). Back in the day, this was one of my least favourite songs on this album – I’m happy to admit that in retrospect, I was wrong.
/Do or Die
Boston punks the Dropkick Murphys have a whole lot of songs that could potentially meet this subject, but really, it was only ever going to be Barroom Hero that got picked. It’s about that man in the bar who has an alcohol problem, won’t do anything about it, and gets themselves into stupid situations – i.e. imagined slights that result in fights and injury (to them), and they never learn, and will never change. They’ll be there at the bar when it opens, and they’ll be there when it closes.
/Ike & Tina Turner
/A Fool In Love
/The Soul of Ike & Tina Turner
It’s amazing to think that the first single released by Ike & Tina Turner would be an R&B song – very much of the time, really – where Tina takes the lead vocal in a song that hints at, to put it plainly, a turbulent relationship that may or may not be abusive. The star of the show here is undoubtedly Tina, as her distinctive, giant voice takes centre stage as soon as she opens her mouth – but her career would broadly be controlled by Ike and the record label for the next couple of decades, until she finally filed for divorce in 1976 and the abuse became known in the eighties.
/Young, Stupid And White
It’s remarkable to think that this project involved ex-Sisters and All About Eve guitarist Tim Bricheno – talk about a change. Rather than the goth sounds of his previous acts, this was sample-heavy industrial rock, and their best-known single was a vicious three minutes. Laying into pretty much every young (and white) actor, model or musician that was in the public eye at the time, judging on the video full of impersonators doing – or simulating – questionable acts, it’s perhaps not especially surprising that this video rarely made it onto MTV (indeed I believe it may have been banned). The sheer number of those, er, featured that died young perhaps proves the band’s point.
Not the strongest song on Nothing’s Shocking, but it is perhaps notable for being a rare, overtly political Jane’s song. Amid the hard rock and brassy chaos of the music, Perry Farrell has stern words for the political class, and those that vote for them, that pretty much boils down to: the people in charge are idiots, and those that vote to perpetuate the existing system are idiots too. It’s hard to disagree, especially when the system (in the US) has barely changed in the near-four decades since this was written…
/Mayor of Simpleton
/Oranges & Lemons
Later XTC albums, when they’d retreated to the studio and unexpected success thanks to throwaway side-projects, are full of absolutely fantastic songs. One such song, from 1989’s Oranges & Lemons, is a song that despite the summery melodies and expressions of love, is one bubbling with rage. Andy Partridge has been open about his relatively poor upbringing in the estates of Swindon, and how he dropped out of school to pursue his musical dreams, and this song seems to give voice to the frustrations of someone dismissed in some company because they don’t have a university education, or interest in apparently intellectual themes. In some ways, I know what he means. I’ve never let the fact that I dropped out of Uni define me, instead finding other ways to learn and push forward, but there are some that do use it as a stick to beat with. Not everyone finds their way in life the same way, and Uni doesn’t suit everyone.
/My Own Worst Enemy
/A Place in the Sun
Not gonna lie – the only Lit song I know, and probably the only song I’d expect to hear in rock clubs. But then, when you write one song as good as this? Anyone, this is a song about epic self-destruction, where the protagonist turns into a complete and utter idiot when drunk, locking themselves out, having their partner go elsewhere, and sleeping in their clothes (for starters). The impression, too, is given that this may not be the first time, and it’s certainly not the last, either…
/New Model Army
/Thunder and Consolation
It’s become something of an amusing recurrence within my song suggestion threads, that particular bands come up regularly – as they have so much to say. And New Model Army are one of those bands – and this week, pretty much provided exactly the kind of song I wanted – and it’s another from probably their greatest album, Thunder and Consolation. It’s not about stupid people: far from it. Instead, it’s a song about not telling someone things they don’t want to know, and the protagonist challenges them not to ask about things that in their heart, they already suspect. The truth can be tough.
/Stanford Prison Experiment
/The Gato Hunch
Somehow it had escaped my notice that this rather underappreciated LA hardcore band – one of my favourite acts of the time, and I paid quite a bit of a money at the time for an import copy of The Gato Hunch back then – have unexpectedly joined the reformation train, even though their latest show was postponed this week due to Hurricane Hilary (although the North Hollywood show was still going ahead at the time of writing).
This track – a grinding, rolling, bass-led track that is slower-paced than most hardcore – takes on the hypocrisy of many in “progressive” scenes, seemingly unable to understand nuance and instead making fools of themselves as they get tied in knots by contrasting, unworkable views on politics and social issues.
/Mindless Self Indulgence
/You’ll Rebel to Anything
Rather less progressive is this juvenile, in hindsight, missive from MSI. This has aged really badly, particularly with the use of a number of slurs: one of which generally dropped from use in the USA after this was released, but was still problematic before then. That’s the thing about language, of course, it evolves – and we must evolve with it, as we realise how hurtful some things that could be said are, and we then must change the words we use. It’s not being woke, it’s just being a good human to do so.
Anyway, remember when MSI were fun? This album was pretty much the last time they were, it being stacked with live favourites and dancefloor burners alike. Stupid MF is an electropunk blast that is calling out someone for being utterly, utterly ignorant and stupid, but the joke is rather on the band for being ignorant themselves in their use of language.