There is, perhaps understandably, a desire for many to take things easy right now. Aside from work, what else is there to do? We can’t really go out and socialise, go for a drink, go to a gig, go to the cinema, and so on, so evenings have become pretty sedentary.
/405/No Good Advice
Thus, the Lockdown series continues with songs about being lazy. There are a variety of takes on this here. There are songs about being lazy, others being lazy, and other reasons besides. There were 107 suggestions this week, with seven used before, and 85 unique songs and 44 people suggested songs. As always, thanks to those who suggested songs.
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. 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).
/Wish You Were Here
Incubus began life as a hard-edged funk-metal band, edged into nu-metal (as many bands of the time got swept into the movement, as often happens, whether they wanted to or not), and rather drifted into sun-kissed balladry on later albums. Perhaps it was the California sun. This song straddles the boundary between the two, with Brandon Boyd conjuring up images of lounging in said California sun, on the beach, and very much wishing his lover was there to spend that downtime with him. Having stood on Santa Monica beach even in the December sunshine in 2016, I can see his point.
/Faith No More
Faith No More have always tried to be as contrary as possible, and at least as long as Mike Patton has been part of the band, they’ve taken on unexpected songs as covers, at least partly in spite at times. One such song was their take on the Commodores ballad, apparently played live to start with to piss off their Heavy Metal fans that were expecting War Pigs! What it rather proved instead was how versatile a band FNM were (and still are), and how great a singer Mike Patton is (his range is immense) – and here, they managed to make an easy-listening ode to saying goodbye to a lover, and kicking back and relaxing with no apparent troubles, so oh-so-sleazy and dirty.
Of course, Elastica could be accused of being lazy for their liberal use of elements of their influences’ songs (this song borrows from No More Heroes by The Stranglers, an accusation that was settled out of court, and a few other songs bore more than an uncanny resemblance to the work of Wire), but let us look instead at one of their best-known singles. A downbeat song, that goes on considerably longer than most of the rest of their songs (their best songs were “verse/chorus/verse/chorus/stop”), and the subject of it is a layabout, who can barely be bothered to wake up, never mind get up and do anything. Two months into this lockdown, and I’m sometimes feeling the same myself.
/Earth vs the Wildhearts
The Wildhearts, at their best, were one of the greatest rock bands the UK has produced – it’s just a shame that events conspired against them taking full advantage. Among those brilliant moments that they did produce is this wonderful song that celebrates doing absolutely fuck-all but watching TV, as Ginger works on his “3-D TV Tan”, waiting for something else to happen in his life (but it naturally never does). Watching TV is an easy escape right now, and my wife and I have rather deliberately avoided doing so aside from the evenings, after work, to ensure that it doesn’t distract us when we should be doing other things. But what else is there to do in the evenings?
/Can’t Get Out Of Bed
/Up to Our Hips
Back before they became late-stage Britpop heroes with a fistful of fantastic, swaggering indie anthems, they were a band trying to reinvent themselves post-Baggy with a sharper sound, and the beginnings of that were to be found on Up to our Hips, particularly this wonderfully louche song, that appeared to celebrate the life of leisure (perhaps life on the dole), a life with little responsibility and little attempt to even get up in the morning.
/Not A Job
/Cast of Thousands
Not a band I’ve featured often – only one previous appearance, on /285/Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home – is Elbow, but this song feels appropriately languid, and yes, lazy. A song about a layabout, who is content enough to not work, to lose their partner, apparently, for the life of riley doing the sum total of fuck-all – and more to the point, he’s been dumped because he won’t do anything. The song has a similarly lackadaisical tone, as if Guy Garvey could only just rouse himself from the sofa to sing it (which I’m sure was the point).
/X-Press 2 ft. David Byrne
I remember this song from when it came out – and it was by far the most suggested song this week – as being a really surprising collaboration. What was the art-rock legend David Byrne doing singing on a middle-of-the-road house track? The thing is, it was an affecting, quite lovely song, all told, with a blissed-out David Byrne imagining life being as lazy as possible, in every single way. But it’s the clever video that made everyone remember it, I suspect – where a slob on a sofa tries to be as lazy as possible…by having apparently invented a contraption to do every possible thing for him, so he never has to leave the sofa – except that nothing quite works as it should…
/Lazy White Boy
I’m fairly sure I only saw Nashville Pussy the once live. At the Lost Weekend (that seemingly, half of my friends these days at least either had tickets to attend, or did attend it), where their hard-rock, fiery show got a lot of attention (and was hugely entertaining, too). I can’t say I’ve paid much attention to their output since the albums around that time, but from this song that came out a few years later, they hadn’t really changed their sound much. It’s still sleazy hard rock, with big shouty choruses and cool guitar licks. And a song that in this case is about a lazy-ass white guy, who can’t cook or do anything else, and is content to be a slob – and something of a stereotype, too…
/Stone Temple Pilots
/Wet My Bed
Stone Temple Pilots were a band I picked up on during the grunge boom of the early nineties (I was a teenager back then, and everything was a new discovery), and time has perhaps been kinder to them than some of the other “also-rans” of the time. Core owed a lot to some of the other bands that had come before, but the edgy, doomy darkness to some of their songs should have pointed us toward Scott Weiland‘s substance abuse issues that were later made overt (and indeed, ended up killing him). This strange sketch of a track (with vocals seemingly through some megaphone or filter) depicts a drug user, zoned out and unable or unwilling to move from their bed. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture, and I can’t help but feel this might have been autobiographical.
/I Don’t Have to be Me (’til Monday)
/Waitin’ on Joe
A final track this week comes from singer Steve Azar, who has a song to inspire us when we return to normal times. Here, he’s pulled a fast one with work, taken the Friday off “sick” and given himself a three-day weekend, to kick back and do as little as possible. Stay in bed? Sure. Get out and relax in the sunshine (in a cool car)? Just as good. Back in my younger days, I might have taken the odd spurious day off to just do nothing, but I’ve not even considered doing that in probably the best part of twenty years…
Anyway, if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment with my sofa, to kick back and be lazy.