Sunday, February 22, 2009


"Amnesiac" by Radiohead is a hard album to love. I know this to be true because I bought a copy as soon as it came out in 2001, played it twice and hated it so much I didn't play it again for seven years.

I fished it out recently, and I just "got it" - totally connected with it on a molecular level  and I can't believe I survived without it for so long. I'm now thinking of buying another five more copies so that I can fill all six slots in my CD auto-changer in the car with it.

I'm particularly insanely in love with "Living in a Glasshouse" which sounds likes someone doing a New Orleans Funeral at Glastonbury. It's the single craziest musical collaboration since Father Abraham agreed to work with The Smurfs, being an attempt to marry the Indie Miserablism of Radiohead with those consummate Jazz-Heads, the Humphrey Lyttleton Band. It's an attempt that is doomed to failure, but what a glorious failure it is. The three loud bumps you hear during the song are (1) everything including the kitchen sink being thrown in (2) the rule-book being thrown away and (3) my mind being blown. 

I don't imagine the majority of Radiohead fans will like it. I don't imagine the majority of Humphrey Lyttleton fans will like it. But if you're a fully-paid-up member of both fan-clubs and you're prepared to give it a chance, it will most likely. Blow. Your World. Apart.

It inspired Mrs Stan and I to give a huge amount of thought to left-field musical collaborations that actually worked out well. Queen and David Bowie  (Under Pressure) ?... Hmmm, so-so. Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder (Ebony and Ivory) ? ... Maybe.  Akon and "Alvin and The Chipmunks" (Lonely) ? ... unfortunately not true.

Any suggestions will be gratefully received.


Anonymous said...

I shoved Nelly Futardo over for this - you are tone deaf pet. Tone deaf.

Helpful Anon

drummerdave said...

I'm generally not that impressed by Radiohead, but (maybe for that reason?) I liked the collaboration with Humph.. trying to think of good examples of 'off the wall' things that worked, I kept coming up with "yeah, well, they're both basically good musicians, so it would work, wouldn't it.."

But the best I can come up with so far in terms of pleasant surprises is Aerosmith and Run DMC, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Shane McGowan and Kirsty McColl...

I'll keep working on it!

Stan said...

Dave - knew your record collection would have a few contenders. Any votes for Paul Gascoigne and Lindisfarne's rendition of "Fog on the Tyne"?

Hi Helpful - delighted to see you comment outside the Magistrate ghetto of the blog. I will admit there is a time and a place for Nelly Furtado. Unfortunately that time and place is (in my opinion) a Primary School Disco...

Kenny said...

With you Dave. Kirsty was sublime.

I might proffer Fiona Apple and Elvis Costello. Two great tastes and one weird result. Weird, but amazing.

drummerdave said...

Elvis Costello gets about a bit, doesn't he? He did an album with Burt Bacharach - and he also helped put together the 'Black and White Night' concert where Roy Orbison was joined by a backing band and singers which included Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther, James Burton, k.d. lang, Jennifer Warnes, and Bonnie Raitt to perform the big O's greatest hits.. the DVD is well worth watching..

And I also realised that I have (at least) 2 great 'collaboration' CDs that I play from time to time - one is B.B. King's 'Deuces Wild' which has duetting with a string of greats including Tracy Chapman (Thrill is Gone) and the other is the Chieftains 'Tears of Stone' which has them doing songs with a series of female artists - the standout for me being 'The Magdalene Laundries' with Joni Mitchell..

That should do for now!

Anonymous said...

Be grateful folk like us actually listen to anything that isnt classical.

Helpful Anon.

Stan said...

Dave : Elvis Costello is indeed a national treasure, which reminds me that Mrs Stan and I went to see him do the occasionally fantastic 'Juliet Letters' with the Brodsky Quartet circa 1993.

Other contenders from my ITunes collection :-

* Pat Matheny and Steve Reich - Electric Counterpoint

* David Byrne & Brian Eno - My Life in the Bush of Ghosts

* Philip Glass + (Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Laurie Anderson, Suzanne Vega, David Byrne (again)) - Songs from Liquid Days

The Grammy award for collaborations makes for interesting reading too

All deeply flawed, but I'm certain that artists need to stretch themselves to destruction sometimes. How else do they know where the limits are ?

Anonymous said...

Well Elvis certainly did that Stan.

Helpful Anon