Friday, September 07, 2007

Things that get my goat. Part Two

I bought Paolo Nutini's excellent debut album recently - he's not got a half bad voice, for a weegie. The CD contains ten well-crafted songs, any of which I would be happy to have written myself.

But the last one, Alloway Grove, hides a nasty little secret, which you can see when you rip the disk into itunes or whatever music playing software you favour.* Whereas the other nine songs are pop perfection, ranging in length from two minutes fifty to four minutes nineteen, Alloway Grove comes in at a Genesis-esque fourteen minutes and twelve seconds.**

Now the song isn't really that long. It fades out at about four minutes fifty, into an unnamed acoustic number - quite pretty in a melancholic way - which lasts a well-timed three minutes.***

Then there's silence. The CD's finished, obviously. Except it isn't. Three minutes later, Paolo starts singing again, this time a different version of one of the other great songs on the album, Last Request.

Without even trying too hard, I can think of a couple of other albums that do this. Travis have what is for them a quite upbeat, rocky number after a long period of silence at the end of Slide Show on The Man Who. It's a shame all their other stuff isn't as good, really.

Then there's World Party's album Bang. The last song on that one caught me out a while back. I was listening to it at the farm, quite loud. Then it finished. Before I had time to swap the disc and listen to something else, my father came back from wherever it was he had been, probably out drawing lambs or something. Since the CD player is in the same room as his desk (I hesitate to call it his study, it's more of a family room), I didn't put anything else on, but went through to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee instead. He needed some privacy to make a few phone calls.

Of course, halfway through the first one, Kurt Wallinger starts singing about the first Gulf War ('there ain't no sun at all in Kuwait City') to a Beach Boys kind of theme. And very loud. The embarrassment faded after a while.

There are many other albums that do this, though right now I can't remember which ones they are. I think Joss Stone might be one, but ever since I learnt she was on GWB's ipod, I've had to stop listening to her. Almost had to crush the ipod, too.

But what I can't understand is why they do it. Paolo could sell his album as having twelve tracks on it, not ten - that's value for money that is. Travis could have written an album full of these harder-edged songs instead of hiding it at the back, like a guilty secret no one wants to admit. World Party really ought to know better.

Perhaps they think it's clever, or arty, or alternative. But in truth it's just annoying. Especially when I've got the computer playing music while I'm working. Then every so often it goes totally silent and I'm forced to listen to the sound of distant windmills turning.

So, all you pretentious rock types. Please stop with the arty silences already. Or I'll set my goat on you.

that's an angora sweater it's wearing, by the way


* and let's face it, pretty much anything's better than shitunes.
** that's Peter Gabriel era Genesis, btw, for all you confused Phil Collins fans out there. Think Supper's Ready.
*** a few years back I worked with a bloke who was bass player in a great little band called racer. They had a song called 'three minute song,' which, as its name implies, was exactly three minutes long. That's about the perfect length for a good guitar-driven rock song.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Chaser said...

I don't advice on what software to use from people who own demonoid ungulates.

September 08, 2007 4:53 am  
Anonymous norby said...

I've never been a fan of the hidden song deal either. What's the point? Just tell us the darn thing's on there-it's not like certain people are getting it and others won't be.

September 08, 2007 3:14 pm  
Blogger highlandwriter said...

i remember the first time the rolling stones came out with a cd...that well, didn't have extended mixes per say, but had the ever hidden video that one could only play on a computer. (ahh the joys of early internet.)


yeah, i'm one of those unknowns who befriended you on crimespace. lol!

music is classic rock and chopin. tell your sheep that! (an' btw, the sheepie looks a bit like miss piggie and a cross dressing wilber from charlotte's web.

(ducking now!)


u should see the sheepies over here. baaaaa!!!


cheers!
ew

September 09, 2007 6:22 am  
Blogger JamesO said...

That's no sheep, HW, that's a goat.

And I too remember those cds with extras - usually they made my PC crash and lost me a week's worth of work.

Norby - I found another one yesterday, on the otherwise highly recommended Magic Numbers album and the last song, Try.

Guilty secret, Lisa. I use itunes. But it really, really sucks. Makes random multiple copies of some tunes and just deletes others.

September 10, 2007 2:42 pm  
Blogger Vincent said...

That's never a goat! Unless it's the Rory Bremner of the goat world doing an uncanny impersonation of a sheep.

Of course, I say that with scant knowledge of goats. There may be breeds that look like hamsters for all I know.

But yes, you're absolutely right. If they must do it, make the silence a track on its own so you can skip past it if need be, or just not import into iTunes. That's something else that deserves to be on official goat-gettage lists.

November 19, 2007 4:47 pm  

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