Ed Lines (TV on the Radio – Wolf Like Me & Anna Calvi – Wolf Like Me)
This week I’ve picked an original and a cover for your discerning ears. In terms of order I think it makes sense (chronologically at least) to listen to TV on the Radio’s original first, but by listening to them this way round the practically polar difference between the two is more enjoyable.
TV on the Radio’s indie disco classic has a stomping beat and matching pop-punk synth, overlaid with a group vocal that is designed to be shouted along to, arm-in-arm with mates, sloshing alcohol over the floor.
Now switch to Twickenham-born Anna Calvi’s cover. Put your drink down and get out your tissues (not like that). Calvi finds a rawness and intensity in the lyrics, and lets the 70s-stlye distortions of her Fender Tele interludes cry out in response to her verses – almost completely unrecognisable from the original. Calvi’s 2011 eponymously-titled debut album is well worth a listen.
Harry Harland (Pulp – Different Class)
Despite the urge to introduce new music in this section, I thought it wouldn’t do any harm to announce that it’s a 17 year old classic that has been providing my aural satisfaction this week.
Pulp, I feel, have been dealt a slightly rough hand by those who compile the history books. In the great BritPop skirmishes of the mid 90s, it is Oasis and Blur who spring most readily to mind. Yet despite the considerable charms of their releases of the era, in my opinion it is Different Class that has stood the test of time best. Everyone knows Disco 2000 and Common People, two mid-90s anthems that still have the ability to fill a dancefloor with nostalgic drunks singing along to the chorus, but it is the album as a whole that impresses.
Alex Turner of Artic Monkeys gets a lot of plaudits for the ‘realism’ of his lyrics, yet Jarvis Cocker’s are of the same ilk, but so much more entertaining. The undertones of the album, particularly on tracks such as I Spy, are just so wonderfully pervy and seedy. Of course, it helps when whispered lyrics like:
“Cause I’ve been sleeping with your wife for the past sixteen weeks,
smoking your cigarettes,
drinking your brandy,
messing up the bed that you chose together.
And in all that time I just wanted you to come home unexpectedly one afternoon,
and catch us at it in the front room.”
… are being sung by a man who looks like he hangs around bushes in a mac and whips his old boy out at passers-by. It just adds to the ambiance. You really believe the old rascal has.
As a start-to-finish listening experience, Different Class is enormous fun. The tunes are great and the stories amusingly gritty and perverted. It is essentially the sonic equivalent of watching a hilariously budget bit of pornography. And you feel just as dirty for your exposure to it.