Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Hits – Pulp [#588]

Pulp_HitsJarvis Cocker and Sheffield’s finest with an hour and twenty minutes of lyrics illustrating gritty northern GenX premillennial social situations.  How times have changed. Yet Pulp is still powerfully relevant and reflective of youthful experiences.

This is the band’s final (at time of press) Greatest Hits compilation and features all the familiar Pulp tunes. I obtained the album having spent years avoiding Cocker’s band like the plague due to the band’s seemingly undue popularity amongst my peers. However, having reflected on how the band’s music seemed to pop up in film soundtracks that I liked I gave them a go by trying their Greatest Hits album. My opinion remains the same, but whenever I feel a little less northern, I give the album a listen and immediately feel all gritty post-industrial.

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Guitar Legends – Various Artists [#563]

Guitar Legends The guitar. Some would say it is a crucial instrument in modern music. “Without guitar” they might say, “All you have is some bloke singing with drums and a keyboard.” Which is true, but as we have already heard with the likes of Morphine and Matt Howden, the guitar is merely a tool in the production of great music. However, one cannot ignore the guitar completely, especially when presented with a compilation such as today’s album.

This two disc 41 song Capital Gold compilation features some interesting choices. It starts off quite promising with songs by Queen, Derek & the Dominos (guess which song), Rainbow and even Motorhead. But by the mid-way point it drifts into a sort of smokey late eighties blues nightclub (the proper sort where you go to listen to live music and smoke not to get pissed and/or laid) where Skynrd, Frampton, Santana and Lee Hooker have been placed on the bill with later guest appearances by John Lodge & Justin Hayward, Nick Drake and the Shadows.

If, for some reason, you’ve been living in a guitar free world and you’re interested in finding out what can be done with the instrument, I suppose this is a good way to find out.

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Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand [#497]

Franz-FerdinandEvery so often during this music project I come across albums by bands I have heard of but can’t remember for the life of me what their song was that I liked or why I even have them in the collection in the first place.

I could lie and say I had always thought Franz Ferdinand was the geezer what got shot and started World War I. When of course I knew that there is also a popular music troupe with the same name and this is their first album. But until I came to write this entry, I couldn’t remember the name of their popular song.

The album Franz Ferdinand is a mystery to me. It sounds like nearly every popular music  band’s album of the time, a sound I like to call Angry Indie. Similarly, I have no idea what the appeal is for these guys. Unremarkable, carbon copy of other “indie” bands.

Ok, analogy time. It’s like drinking real ale and thinking that you can detect the hard graft, dedication and attention to detail that the independent brewer puts into their craft when all the while you’re drinking  mass produced slops rebranded by a major brewer like Scottish Newcastle.

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Four Lads Who Shook the Wirral – Half Man Half Biscuit [#494]

Four_Lads_Who_Shook_the_Wirral_coverMore grumpy observations of the preposterousness pervading Britain from Nigel Blackwell and pals.

Four Lads Who Shook the Wirral is not an album with many memorable HMHB tracks on but it does come armed with the same bitterly amusing cynicism and acerbic observations of British middle class society as the other HMHB albums.

Surprisingly, despite the amount of HMHB I have, iTunes’ random play algorithm doesn’t seem to favour this album with it rarely appearing in any playlists. Which is a shame as I’d like to get to know it a little better.

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Forever Delayed: Greatest Hits – Manic Street Preachers [#489]

ForeverDelayedNME dubbed this “the album that should not exist”. Bloody hipsters.

I totally wished that the Manics hadn’t been so bloody mainstream or as a youth I’d have so gotten into them. Or so I thought in the nineties, as the “Indie” scene was rapidly pulling the wool over the listening public’s eyes as more and more “indie” bands appeared in mainstream charts, programmes and chat shows.

The Manics were one of those bands that I liked but didn’t want to fully embrace by getting any of their albums. I suppose fear of scorn from my contemporaries added to that, especially as my “indie” mates were all “No mate, the Manics went shit after their lead singer jumped into the Avon Gorge at Clifton”, my goth mates sniggered and said they were too happy and my shoe gazer friends shrugged and gazed depressively into the tips of their brogues whenever I mentioned the band.

Yet nearly every song on this album I like. Yes, I know that’s the purpose of a greatest hits album, but I suppose it is an excellent example of the “if one likes the “best of” then buy it and nothing else approach” as I still like this snap shot of the band’s golden age; Songs so full of hopelessness against a joyful melody. Exactly how Abba are. Artists take note, this works.

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