Not The Real Review 2004: Music

Music Since we've already established that I can't write about music the following is going to be exciting as I present the second in a series of Not The Real Review 2004 ...

Four musical moments from 2004

ITV1 on Saturday night

While BBC One featured Lorraine Kelly helping people who can't sing to sing even worse ITV was doing something even wierder with its Saturday night. Not really paying attention, I turned to the channel to find Kevin Spacey singing. Although in the past the vision of Keyser Soze cracking a tune would have been barmy, his new film and pet project, Beyond The Sea about the life of Bobby Darrin has led to a concert series and appearances on tv like this. Then at the end of the song, ex-Smash Hits write Kate Thornton appears and shares some awkward comments with him. Then it turns out that it's a showcase for the new swing 'talents' of boy band Westlife who then appear and they duet on a version of Fly Me To The Moon. Seeing someone who is classical old Hollywood with four young men who are classic new housing estate was a seminal pop culture moment, saved throughout by the fact that the Lester Burnham was the one with the talent.

Free cds

Every time I look at the contents of by hard drive it continues to be patently obvious that I'm musically lacking all over the place. While it wouldn't be right for me to have music I don't actually like clogging up the place, the is music I love which I simply don't have. The soundtrack of my youth when I was listening to local commercial radio and watching Top of the Pops. And the truth is until recently I thought some had to be Keen and that Franz Ferdinand was simply a historical figure. Listening to Radio Four insessently means I've become pretty insular in my music taste. So my way of following the back catalogue and keeping up with new music has been free cds. You know the sort. I might hate The Mail On Sunday and the arguments it's caused between my parents and I in the past but their free discs have been a great way of filling the gaps -- although their over reliance on drive time is getting annoying. Then there are the offerings of The Guardian and Word Magazine. If it wasn't for these I would never had heard Paul Weller's glorious rendition of All Along The Watchtower or the fabulous Trashcan Sinatras. Every now and then I am given the opportunity to be slightly smug -- when something I've been listening to for months turns up as a new discovery for them. See above.

Nellie McKay

Nellie's achievements have unfortunately been fogged slightly by the ongoing debate about how old she is. Which is a shame because up until then she was quite happily skirting around the adulation of Andrew Lloyd Webber to be treated as a serious and deliriously great new artist. Very few have commented on the format which her album Get Away From Me was delivered in. Eskewing a trend of the past twenty years it appeared as one album across two cds, each carrying roughly half an hour of music. This forces listeners without iPods to take one cd out and put another in, breaking up the album and reproducing the effect of turning a vinyl album over, a breather, an intermission drawing out the anticipation (at least on first listening) of what could possibly be to come. She's also, for the first time in ages, a someone you can truly sing along to without embarassment because of the intelligence of the lyrics. In odd ways she reminds me of Tom Lehrer, for reasons I can't quite put my finger on.

Film Soundtracks

Which is my way of including lots of favourite stuff under one heading allowing me to cop out on having to pick one thing in particular. For some reason everything seems more emotionally charged than in the past -- is it that producers are getting better at this or that they're trying to get away from a Tarantinoesque pastiche of coolness into some more fundamental? For example I keep listening to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (even while I was decorating the tree this Christmas). It balances the funkier tunes of ELO and The Polyphonic Spree with spot music taking the listener on a journey which works perfectly away from the backdrop of the film. The ELO in particular only appeared in the trailer but is the stand out piece here. Lost In Translation does a similar trick but with far more songs the great release at the end with the hidden track -- Bill Murray's rendition of More Than This from the karaoke scene. There's also the moment at the end of Before Sunset when Julie Delpy gives us an acoustic rendition of A Waltz For A Night, a track from her solo album (and just happens to be about the events in Before Sunrise -- tres postmodern) -- it's enfused with the kind of nostalgic reflections I've perpetrated on this very weblog.

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