Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Ten Coolest Love Songs

Look, The Distractor is not completely without sentiment. These are the songs that bring out the inner romantic, that make your heart sing (from an admittedly white, middle-class male point of view), and all without a whiff of cheese or a wave of nausea. Perhaps other readers etc.

  1. Maybe I'm Amazed - Paul McCartney. Lord knows the man's written some cloying shit in his time, but he managed this understated masterpiece just before he lost it forever. The sound of someone who's fallen in love despite themselves.
  2. Wake Up And Make Love With Me - Ian Dury. Ode to early morning shagging, a definite highlight of blissful domesticity. Discrete, too - "What happens next is private... it's also very rude."
  3. All My Little Words - The Magnetic Fields. Or it could just as easily be "Absolutely Cuckoo", or for that matter pretty much any one of the songs off the magnificent 99 Love Songs album.
  4. I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever) - Stevie Wonder. Terrific soul anthem that gains added resonance by being the song played at the end of High Fidelity.
  5. Baby You're My Light - Richard Hawley. Simple statement of fact from the underrated Sheffield crooner.
  6. Good Fortune - PJ Harvey. I can't think of a better tune to conjure up images of walking the streets with your head in the clouds, reeling from the thunderbolt.
  7. It Must Be Love - Madness. Pretty much nails the facts of love - "Soon as I wake up every night, every day, I knw that it's you I need to take my blues away." Although, just imagine how horrible it could be in the hands of, say, Celine Dion.
  8. Don't Falter - Mint Royale featuring Lauren Laverne. A sweet little pop-dance gem, and certainly the best record ever made by a presenter of CD:UK.
  9. You Were Right - Badly Drawn Boy. Touching portrait of a relationship, wherein a feckless, music-obsessed dreamer eulogises his practical, loving wife. I can sympathise with that.
  10. In Pursuit Of Happiness - The Divine Comedy. Freewheeling expression of the pure joy of love - being "totally, quite uncontrollably happy", and pleasingly obscure enough to completely baffle all but two people at my wedding.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Ten Coolest Break-Up Records

To counterbalance next week's saccharine-fest, and in honour of a friend who's just done this, here, in no particular order, are ten songs that help mend broken hearts through the healing powers of great music. Pick the one that best applies to you, or better still, suggest your own.

  1. To The End - Blur. Nicely relates a relationship that has run its course in a reflective, matter-of-fact kind of way ("Been drinking far too much, and neither of us means what we say"), to a soothing, cascading tune. Nice bit of French, too.
  2. Last Goodbye - Jeff Buckley. The definitve heartbreak song. Would make the Welsh Rugby squad's back row weep like little girls. Coldplay have made a career out of trying to live up to this.
  3. Nobody's Fault But My Own - Beck. We're in self-flagellating territory now. A great done-you-wrong, I'm-a-twat lyric set to a mesmerising drone.
  4. I Know It's Over - The Smiths. And while we're wallowing, this song from the kings of miserablism starts with the line "Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head", and goes downhill from there.
  5. Song For The Dumped - Ben Folds Five. None-more-bitter tune from the piano-punk trio. How bitter? The chorus goes "Fuck you too, give me my money back you bitch." Yes, quite bitter.
  6. 99 Problems - Jay Z. For "alone-and-fine-about-it" anthems, girls get "Single" by Natasha Bedingfield, blokes get this bit of theraputic mysogyny. Blokes win.
  7. No More Talk - Dubstar. This great little electro-pop band do sweet songs about stalking and pensioner violence, and here they tackle "the serious chat" with typical sensitivity and wit.
  8. Frank Sinatra - In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning. No-one does ballads like Frank, but obviously he isn't the poor sap losing sleep waiting for his girl to call - you are.
  9. I Will Survive - Cake. Brilliantly replaces the original's defiant exuberance with a world-weary, caustic sneer, and then adds some swearing.
  10. Golden Slumbers - The Beatles. Just for the amazing air of finality - the last track on the last Beatles album - and for the last line "And in the end, the love you make is equal to the love you take." That's that then.