Word #46

Cover star – Tom Waits

Issue 46

December 2006

Word46 001

Word shuffle

1) P19– the second of three pages by Mark Ellen about the new Beatles’ remix album ‘Love’. “If every square inch of the Beatles catalogue has been burnt into your memory for nearly 40 years, the faintest alteration throws you completely off-kilter. The ‘Love’ album is one continuous soundbed comprised of 30 individual tracks derived from about 40 Beatles compositions, and with added sound effects from many more. Some sections are meticulous segues where the songs have been manacled together by extending the bass and drum pattern of the first – ‘Drive My Car’, for example, dissolves into ‘The Word’ and ‘What You’re Doing’ (McCartney’s favourite moment on the record). ”

2) P124 – a page rounding up some recent music reissues. Graeme Thomson asks, “Who’d have thought, back during the Bill Grundy Wars, that a deluxe edition of ABBA’s ‘Arrival’ would be sitting next to ‘The Clash Singles Box Set’, each demanding our money and reverence? It’s a neatly incongruous comparison. If the very idea of meticulously constructed Europop makes you want to smash up a Volvo, then of course you’ll plump for the sound of the Westway, exhaustively documented on every A-side, B-side and 12 inch from ‘1977’ through to, erm, ‘Sex Mad Roar’. If, on the other hand, you’re one of the silent majority who has always struggled to pinpoint the precise location of the much-touted genius in Jones and Strummer’s earmest, bawling music, ABBA’s 1976 offering may be more your thing. Both contenders have their unsavoury side: Strummer expressed his admiration for rampaging English football hooligans back in the 1980s; ABBA wrote ‘Happy Hawaii’. It is, ultimately, too close to call.”

3) P63 – part of double-spread advert for the Golf GT with TDI Diesel Technology. Prices starting at £17, 995.

4) P24 – Hazel Davis interviews Sue Townsend about ‘Queen Camilla’.

“HD: The Royal Family has been behaving as it has for centuries. Why is it only recently we’ve begun to be appalled by its antics?

ST: I think it began when the Royals invited the world into their private world and made that film. It proved disastrous of course. They broke the taboo and pulled aside the velvet curtain. From then on they were fair game.  And the press have been complicit in keeping their secrets for years and years. Newspaper editors are still keeping some of those secrets.”

5) P109 – Steve Yates reviews ‘Press Play’ by Diddy. “Diddy has enlisted Pharoahe Monch – former Organized Konfusion mainman and one of the most incisive lyricists in hip hop today – as an occasional producer, and, though the promo arrived without individual track details, I think I can spot his contributions. It’s not that Pharoahe’s beats are distinctive, but his intricate, declamatory delivery – which Diddy so brazenly apes on ‘The future’ and ‘Hold Up’ – is. It’s like reading Dan Brown mimicking the prose style of Jonathan Franzen…”

Interesting – Andrew Harrison interviews all of Madness to mark their 30 years in the music business. “When Madness stuttered to an end, Carl (aka Chas Smash) took an A&R job at Go! Discs, trying to control cosmic scousers The Las’s. “It was insane, I was literally paying 40 parking tickets a week. My job was to keep Lee Mavers in check and telling Paul Weller to stop doing those stupid videos.”

The Cool Wall – on which the temperature of pop music was taken at 17:30 on October 26th, 2006. Among those judged were:

Definitely Uncool – Rod Stewart, Annie Lennox, Robbie Williams, Rick Wakeman and George Michael.

Uncool – David Bowie, Phil Collins, Badly Drawn Boy and Madonna.

Cool – Jack White, Joanna Newsom, John Martyn and Mike Skinner.

Subzero – Amy Winehouse, Jarvis Cocker, Tom Waits and Brian Eno.

And speaking of Jarvis, Lynsey Hanley reviews his debut solo LP. “…he seems to have noticed that we went off him, and come to terms with what he is at his core: a pop-loving misanthrope.”

Sean Lennon chooses ‘Music For Airports’ as one of his favourite albums. “Of those ambient noise records, it’s the most musical – he has a really musical sense of his strange sounds. When you’re making electronic music, you’re making sounds which are outside the scale of Western music. I like ‘Another Green World’ too.”

Recently departed Sandy West is remembered by Andy Gill. “After the band (The Runaways) finally called it a day late in 1978, Sandy made a solo single, ‘F-13’ and led her own Sandy West Band for a time, whilst waiting in vain for the oft-mooted Runaways reunion. The girls did, however, get together again in the 90’s to sue (manager) Kim Fowley for financial mismanagement. ‘If I had’t met him’, said West, ‘I would never have had the experience. But he was difficult to work with and he treated us bad. And thanks to him I’m broke!”

Longer article

Tom Waits is interviewed about his career by Mick Brown.