Monday, June 15, 2015

bus vibes #21 - the wicker man, crowded house

hello there

it struck me as somewhat inappropriate to start reading a book today, look you see, so i went with some vibes as i rode the bus to and from verk. what vibes? well, the intellectual elite of you will more or less have worked out, if not concluded, which ones from the title. which could i suppose, make the rest of this post somewhat redundant, but what the hey, let's go for it.

as i scrolled through my ipod - proper scrolling, as it is a classic, not this "touch" sh!t - up cropped the soundtrack for The Wicker Man. with the passing of Christopher Lee a week or so ago in mind, i thought sure, why not.

what is it, beyond the obvious? i am sure i did a lavish post a few years ago on my smart CD set, but anyway. it's some of the most sexually explicit and aggressive music ever recorded, hidden under the soft charms of pleasing, innocent folk music, is what it is.

us English have a somewhat peculiar relationship with sex, really. we are presented to the world as being all sort of prudish, withdrawn and not really into "that sort of thing", and yet behind closed doors we're, well, you are what you are i suppose.

that's why, i guess, something so primordial carnal in nature as the songs of The Wicker Man, and indeed the film itself of course, causes jaws to drop and Richard O'Sullivan like gasps of "blimey" are uttered as and when they are mentioned or played. which, at the least, has never distracted from the celebrations of the film as a masterpiece. a masterpiece status certainly enhanced by the music; mostly off of a band called Magnet. wow, man. Magnet. that's an epic name for a band, i would imagine a metal band somewhere has used it to that end too.

it's rare for an actor to say or state what their favourite role of all time is. consistently, however, Christopher Lee said that The Wicker Man was the film that he was "the proudest" of. perhaps for his stellar performance, perhaps for the fact that the film itself is so exceptional, or perhaps because of the controversy that follows it to this day. or maybe all three added together, i don't know.

this pictured here is indeed the fancy Blu Ray and DVD set i bought of the film. i believe there is such a thing as 3 disc version of it, complete with the CD of the soundtrack to give you all optical disc experiences of the film. if for some reason you don't have a copy of the movie, that's probably the one to get.

audio highlights of the soundtrack? a tough one, that. the opening, Corn Rigs, is brilliant. it's deceptive, as it leads you to believe you are going to watch, or in this instance listen, to something nice, pleasant and innocent. that goes out of the window very, very quickly indeed with the bawdy, far beyond suggestive lyrics that one gets with, say, The Landlord's Daughter or Gently Johnny. that one song about the reproductive circle of life on the album, the name of which escapes me, is possibly one that you couldn't get away with getting schoolchildren to sign today, but this was all 1973 i think, when you could it would seem.

a snippet? oh, go on then, and a fairly appropriate one, i believe.

no, i am not going to jump all over this "oh, it's a tragedy, it's the worst thing ever" bandwagon that is on the go about the passing of Christopher Lee. yes, it's sad, yes i loved his films. but he was 92, and had quite an extraordinary life. the world needs not i or anyone else getting all carried away and emotional about it; just appreciate the stellar entertainment he (mostly) left us.

later on i quite fancied having a listen to something that was as tranquil as the soundtrack off of The Wicker Man, but also had a mood, vibe and sentiment of tranquillity too. some nice wind down music, thanks, and that would be selections of Crowded House, or if you like Neil Finn's second best band.

i have every intention of listening to Temple Of Low Men, a near note perfect album, one day, but for now going through the hits off of the greatest hits selection that is Recurring Dream was enough.

Crowded House in many respects represent all that is missing from modern music. a great vocalist, a brilliant songwriter and songs laced with harmony, melody, rhythm and thoughtful, professional production values. why such things cannot exist anymore is a mystery.

what's on this greatest hits set. is that a serious question? actually, maybe. as was the case with Split Enz, one simply could select any track off of any Crowded House album and the odds were in your favour that it was above average and quite possibly hit single material. Neil Finn was and is a prolific songwriter, but he never did "filler". at least not that i have discovered so far.

a particular favourite off of this CD is a song that seems only available on greatest hits set from the band, the magnificent Instinct. a snippet? surely, one that's a bit longer than usual.

something of a trend started in the early to mid 1990s where bands would throw one or two new or otherwise previously unreleased tracks onto a "greatest hits" thing, with the new song invariably being the single released to promote the new compilation. i never clocked why. some say it's to give the fans new material on the greatest hits set, i.e. encouragement to buy. if that's the case, though, why also release it as a single? i have a suspicion that including new material was a prerequisite for an album being considered for official chart qualification, but hey ho, what does it matter. it's not like the world is poorer for the presence of an extra song like Instinct.

well, that's that then. if for some reason you've not seen The Wicker Man then you are no doubt pleased to learn that the soundtrack is a splendid as you shall one day find the film. if you've not heard of Crowded House before i am going to assume you were born at some point after 1992 and encourage you to go and give them a listen.

more as and when it happens or, more likely, when i get a chance to get on here.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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