Saturday, 19 May 2007

Uncertain Emotions

I was taking a wander through me Hoover (note to self - buy iPod!) last night, trying to find songs that really shake out some life memories and make me sit up straight.

I think there is a record that defines your transition to adulthood. By this, I mean the last of your childhood. There is one moment. It's that time in adolescence. That peak.

You will, at this time, be dealing with your biggest contradictions. You're at your most indestructable AND most vulnerable. Prepared to risk life and limb jumping from garage rooves or attempting death defying stunts on bicycle or motorcyles. Yet the wrong word from the right girl can leave winded and broken.
If you're a male, you reach your sexual peak AND realise you're still a virgin. All this happens at exactly the same time...

Usually, at this precise moment in your development, a song plonks onto the turntable of the jukebox of life and stays with you forever.

Sooo.. you could have caught This Charming Man by The Smiths or The Bitterest Pill by the Jam or Our Lips Our Sealed by the Fun Boy Three or Golden Brown by the Stranglers or Straight to Hell by the Clash... obviously the list is endless.

For me, it was The The's Uncertain Smile. The 12" extended version, not the inferior album cut. (Don't get me wrong, the album Soul Mining is an absolute classic, I just felt let down by the inclusion of the Jools Holland piano version).
This is fabulous song, very long with great deadpan lyrics and a lovely long dreamy sax break. Almost singlehandedly I believe this has made me the urbane Metroheteropsychomorph* that I am today.

Unfortunately my mate Kev was listening to Break my Stride by Matthew Wilder.

Kev still lives with his mum, picks up cigarette butts out of puddles, dries them with his lighter and writes links for local radio DJ's.

So be careful what you listen to pop-pickers. It really counts.

Have a nice weekend!

*Metroheteropsychomorph: Someone who makes up words because they're bored.


Gwen said...

I’m aware that this is going to sound a bit depressing but the song which seemed to sum up impending adulthood was Jack and Diane by John Cougar Mellencamp. Specifically the line “Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone. My student days were, as they should be, spend in a heady whirl of thrills and spills, and after I left to enter the real world I thought “Well that’s it, no more fun but hey, life goes on, just on a slightly more boring level” and this song seemed to sum that up for me. I have to say that I was totally wrong in that assumption and much fun can be and has been had since my student days ended but that’s how it seemed to me to be at the time. I think that the song came out 1982 and I didn’t leave college till 1993. It just had a new impetus for me in 1993. I can’t remember what else I was listening to in 1993. Possibly Nirvana, Pixies and Talking Heads which said nothing at all to me about impending adulthood. Quite the opposite in fact! Today I listened to Frank Sinatra on Parkinson's show on Radio 2. Life certainly does move on apace, and how. Hope you had a good time in Yorkshire.

Five-Centres said...

Interestingly enough, the 7" version is my favourite song of all time. I don't like Jools Holland's piano - I think his honky tonking ruins any song, and I thought I was alone among my peers when I disliked the album version.

But the 7" reminds me of dark evenings, rain pouring down, difficult times as a teenager - everything the song is about. A real classic. Why was it never a hit?

Gwen said...

It's definitely a very melancholy song. It was probably in the wrong place at the wrong time to be a hit. Maybe a bit too sad at a time when happier songs were hits. It's still a classic mind you even if it was never a hit.

Clair said...

Was it really not a hit? I've got the 7", so if it didn't get into the Fab 40, I must have been going through one of my 'buying records to impress phase'. Actually, cancel that - I've just remembered that in the same Virgin records trip, I also bought If This Is It by Huey Lewis and the News. Oops. Still, both fab discs in their own, very different ways.

Gwen said...

I will admit I did go through a Huey Lewis and the New phase too. Fab, but sadly it impressed no one.

Rich said...

For me its The King of Rock n Roll by Prefab Sprout. You don't need the background.

Oh, and I always though that Huey Lewis looked like a self-satisfied turd. A self-satisfied turd who made self-satisfied records.

Ishouldbeworking said...

That's a very very good question. 'Uncertain Smile' comes high on my list too ( I unwisely went to see The The again about ten years ago, but hated it so much I left after four songs, so missed what would doubtlessly have been the 'cimax' of the set).

Ultimately though I would have to go for 'Walk Out To Winter' by Aztec Camera, which came out when I was a student and was reeling between feeling very grown-up indeed, and feeling like a thumb-sucking mess. It reminds me of no longer being able to delude myself about my own careless behaviour with the feelings of someone nice who was fond of me. An awakening of sorts....

Valentine Suicide said...

Just so you know which version, I've (temporarily) posted it here for a quick listen. I've no idea why it wasn't a hit..

I've had a quick revisit of the album tonight, and 'Perfect' is also different from brilliant 12" version I recall..

I was never a huge fan of the King of Rock 'n Roll (the song, not the person) or much of Prefab fan in general and Jack/Diane didn't register for me. Too american in those days...Though quite rousing in it's way.

I'd completely forgotten about Walk Out To Winter - wow! I'm going to ruin it for myself by editing into my Christmas playlist!

Andrew Collins said...

The Jools Holland piano version is by far superior. I don't hold with boogie or woogie as a general rule, but that outro is phenomenal!

Rob said...

I'm with AC. Uncertain Smile is - *sighs wistfully* - just one of the greatest pop records ever made and Jools' piano-thumping is integral to its marvellousness.

Valentine Suicide said...

Heathens! The pair of you should be drummed out of the music criticism arena. With immediate effect.

I intend to join forces with Five Centres and initiate a coup!