Top 100

#96 Midnite Vultures – Beck (1999)

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Track Listing:-

  1. Sexx Laws
  2. Nicotine and Gravy
  3. Mixed Bizness
  4. Get Real Paid
  5. Hollywood Freaks
  6. Peaches & Cream
  7. Broken Train
  8. Milk & Honey
  9. Beautiful Way
  10. Pressure Zone
  11. Debra

Well, this is some album.

Beck is a rather interesting fella isn’t he? This album is what you would refer to as an immediate record. The album slaps you in the face with its catchy melodies tunes. I really did enjoy listening to it, but I am having difficulty explaining exactly why.

The album encompasses all sorts of different genres including Disco, Funk, Pop, Rock, Hip-Hop, Country, Folk and Psychedelia. When a new track starts you just have no idea what is going to happen next.

The song titles intrigued me; ‘Nicotine and Gravy’ sounds like the title of a song about a chap who lives in Burnley, goes to the chip shop on a Friday, orders chips and gravy and has a cigarette while he’s eating it before heading down to his local pub to have a pint of mild.

‘Sexx Laws’ brings to mind a list of rules by which to ‘get it on’, as well as suggesting that Beck is a tad overzealous when it comes to typing on the keyboard.

My favourite song on the album is ‘Milk & Honey’ which sounds like a latter day Super Furry Animals song; one to appear on ‘Hey Venus!’ or ‘Dark Days/Light Years’. It sounds like a blueprint stolen by the Super Furries in order to make those records, which is no bad thing as Super Furries are one of my favourite bands.

I’m not entirely sure about the Hip-Hop direction taken on ‘Hollywood Freaks’, it does sound a little forced and uninspired and there are plenty of artists that do this a lot better if that’s the kind of thing that you’re into.

Lyrically this album has not pulled any trees from the ground; songs seem to mainly revolve around sex and how he is ‘packing heat’. He tells us in the opening track that “I want to defy the logic of all sex laws”.

Beck also sings about the highlife such as ‘riding on executive planes’, but it isn’t in an irritating way, and it does have a real tongue in cheek feel to it.

Overall, this is a musically ambitious and a confident sounding album. Beck’s vocal range is certainly impressive, especially when he chucks in his alluring falsetto on ‘Debra’, who seems to be someone’s sister that he wants to ‘get with’. He also wants to get with you too by the way and by the sound of it, anything that moves. Bless.

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Requests

Hounds of Love – Kate Bush

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Tracklist:-
1. Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)
2. Hounds Of Love
3. The Big Sky
4. Mother Stands For Comfort
5. Cloudbusting
6. And Dream Of Sheep
7. Under Ice
8. Waking The Witch
9. Watching You Without Me
10. Jig Of Life
11. Hello Earth
12. The Morning Fog

This album was a particularly challenging listen, thanks to Naomi for the request. I had never listened to a Kate Bush album before today and I only knew of one song ‘Hounds Of Love’ of which I had only heard The Futureheads rather excellent cover version, you can listen to their version by searching for it on Youtube, it’s well worth a listen.

So to Kate Bush then, first of all my opinion of Kate Bush before listening to this album is that she is a crazy cat lady, the album cover really did not help with that image, if you by some odd chance you bump into her in the street she’d probably look like this:-

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All joking aside though Kate Bush is an extremely successful artist for whom there is a lot of love, clearly demonstrated by her sold out run of shows last year. It has to be said this album is really rather good.

The album starts with the synth led ‘Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)’ which sounds quintessentially 80s and reminds me a lot of the Pet Shop Boys. A lot of tracks are driven by this style, but other songs have beautiful string arrangements. Some tracks are quite frankly disturbing with the likes of ‘Waking the Witch’ which would give you nightmares for days to come. The startling vocals from the song sounds like some kind of demon. The song for me drove my imagination to think of Bush sitting in a corner with demons flying around her head, constantly haunting and taunting her.

‘Hounds of Love’ is a highlight, I love the way that she says the word “throw”, delivered with such drive and abandon. It managed to knock the Futureheads version out of my head (for a little while anyway).

My favourite tracks on this album though are where Bush sings in a wonderful, understated and intimate way on tracks such as ‘And Dream of Sheep’.  The track is just Bush with her piano, it is a beautifully crafted song where you could really dream of woolly mammals.

The lyrical themes for me seem very striking, there seems to be a lot of fear in Bush’s words in which she creates the impression of a little girl who is very scared. She is scared of the wider world and the dangers that it brings, such as pain and despair. This is delivered sublimely by her emotive vocal style which really grabs your attention.

There is also a song called ‘Jig of Life’ which has a real celtic feel to it with the fiddle playing a upbeat tune. ‘Jig of Life’ is a song that sounds full of hope after the darkness of which preceded it.

I hope some of you will find the time to listen to this album on the back of the review. It is a slow burner and may take a few listens to ‘get’, but please do as you will certainly be rewarded.