Sixty for 60: 24. beabadoobee

To celebrate my 60th birthday, I asked my social media friends to nominate a favourite song from 2021 – 60 to commemorate the fact I am 60. Today I have decided to indulge myself and choose a new song from beabadoobee – Last Day On Earth.

I’ve had occasion to write about beabadoobee before, doubtless noticing her wonderfully seductive vampiric qualities, her ability to plunder some of the finer, slightly more obscure aspects of what once was called ‘indie’ music in the late 80s/early 90s. Last time around, I was more than surprised to hear myself listening to what sounded like Felt on the Radio One Breakfast Show; this time around I am more than happy to be reminded of The Sundays (specifically ‘Here’s Where The Story Ends’) whenever Greg James decided to cast a glance in the direction of beabadoobee – albeit with a little of The Stone Roses’ delectable rhythm section (specifically ‘Waterfall’) thrown in. Maybe it’s the Matt Healy connection? I am rather fond of yr Matt Healy. Maybe it’s the context (much as I enjoy Greg James’ slightly forced banter and love of cricket vaguely charming, I can’t say I am a fan of the lukewarm grey lacklustre singer-songwriter uncle rock his programmers like to populate his programme with). Context is everything.

I listen to beabadoobee now, shorn of the context of bleary Monday mornings and sullen children arguing, and once again think that perhaps she’s a little too cutsie, a little too slick, a little too Urban Outfitters for my taste. A little too landfill indie. Perhaps I am simply way too old.

And then I go back and check the lyrics and I am like, yeah. Whatever.

I want to get fucked up at home
Be naked alone
And turn up my phone
Because this song I wrote
Is just so fucking sick

Frankly, I prefer “People I know/Places I go/Make me feel tongue tied” but maybe subtlety is no longer allowed in the TikTok generation. Either way I know I am gonna love this the next time I tune into Radio One with the kids.

How NOT to write about music – 127. Purple Mountains

Purple Mountains

ah, this was the side of pavement i always preferred. with the double darkness lyricism of david berman. i did not get round to listening to the album before david died and now he is dead listening – like much of life – seems futile. most weekends i spend wondering how old my kids need to be before i can die without anyone noticing. most days and evenings are spent dreaming of sleep. lush and orchestrated and opulent and still this music cannot keep the darkness at bay. all his happiness is gone. how many times did he need to tell us before we started believing? i ain’t accusin’, ain’t finger-pointin’. the strings sound beautiful but strings usually do. the intro should last forever. that would solve something surely. yes i do. i too would like to create beauty before i die but i too see the ultimate futility in this. as the man from the guardian writes with tangy irony, “is berman’s relish in his vocal delivery, and the robust instrumentation, his way of telling us that he’s actually doing ok underneath it all? Hopefully. Cries for help have rarely been so clear, self-aware, and funny.” does it matter whether this is david’s finest music or his worst? really? what do you base your assumptions upon? i’d suggest losing yourself in this but where is the point in losing yourself in this. “is the album of the year a suicide note,” asks one cipher. uh, duh. i have no words of false comfort to offer here.

i’m not trying to make sense of anything.

And as much as we might like to seize the reel and hit rewind
Or quicken our pursuit of what we’re guaranteed to find
When the dying’s finally done and the suffering subsides
All the suffering gets done by the ones we leave behind
All the suffering gets done by the ones we leave behind