With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

With Just A Hint Of Mayhem is ten years old! Part 10b (The Singles) February 9, 2019


With Just A Hint Of Mayhem’s birthday celebrations are nearly over. Today is day 10 and it is February 9th which is the official 10th birthday…. WOO HOO, here’s to ten more years! Today you get two top tens in two separate posts this one is my top ten favourite singles and part 10a features my top 10 albums.

Regular readers will know that so far I have shared with you top ten most viewed posts on the blog since it began back in February 2009, the top ten countries that have given With Just A Hint Of Mayhem the most views, rock/ music related books, biographies and autobiographies, my top 10 Bowie songs, my 10 favourite bands of all time, my top ten favourite male artists, the ten greatest gigs that I have been to, my ten favourite music related films and yesterday my top ten favourite female artists.  (Click here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here to view those again). So this is it for the 10th birthday celebrations but there is, I hope, much more to come from With Just A Hint Of Mayhem in the coming months and years, watch this space!

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So here are my top ten favourite singles of all time, ask me next week and the list may change, although almost certainly not the number 1. I did deliberately ignore David Bowie for this list otherwise he might have occupied three or four places. If you are interested my favourite Bowie single at the moment is “Where Are We Now?”

1. No Woman No Cry (Live) – Bob Marley and the Wailers – In my opinion the greatest song and the greatest version. This will be my funeral song, unless of course I turn out to be immortal!
2. Strawberry Letter 23 – Brothers Johnson – The great Shuggie Otis wrote this but the Brothers Johnson made it their own.
3. I Want You Back – Jackson 5 – This is possibly one of the finest pop songs ever committed to vinyl. That opening piano flourish is magical.
4. White Man In The Hammersmith Palais – The Clash – For me this was the Clash’s finest hour both musically and lyrically.
5. Don’t Let Me Down – Beatles Amazing to think that this was just a B Side. It is my go to song to sing at volume when I am very drunk.
6. Do Anything You Wanna Do – Eddie And The Hot Rods – A truly inspirational song which still inspires me even in my advanced years!
7. God Save The Queen- Sex Pistols – Fear and conspiracy kept this from the number one spot in the Queens Silver Jubilee week in 1977. For me this should be the true UK national anthem.
8. Theme From A Summer Place – Percy Faith Orchestra – You might say that this is one of my guilty pleasures, well maybe, but it is a beautiful piece of music. It was also used to great effect in the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘Rose Red’.
9. Mack The Knife – Bobby Darin – I love story songs and this is easily one of the best. The law says that you have to tap your feet and click your fingers to this, right?
10. Into My Arms – Nick Cave – As love songs go this might be quite strange but it is undoubtedly beautiful too. This was also the first dance at my wedding to my wonderful wife Catwoman a.k.a Catherine.

 

 

Skeleton Tree – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds September 11, 2016

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:49 pm
Tags: , , ,

skeleton-tree

The sixteenth album from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds was released on 9th September 2016. One thing that you can say about Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds is that they are never dull or boring, the new album ‘Skeleton Tree’ proves that point. There is much despair, anguish and torment in most of the records eight tracks. All the lyrics on the album are written by Nick Cave and as usual the music was composed in tandem between Cave and Warren Ellis. While none of these lyrics are written in the first person I wonder how much of the lyrical content is drawn from the tragic accident that saw his 15-year-old son die last year. According to most reports though some of these songs may have been recorded before the death of his son.

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The production from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis is clean and fresh and the music is sparse and at times desolate giving a marvellous platform for Nick’s complex lyrics which sometimes step from the depths of complexity to become clear and simple. Opening track “Jesus Alone” hits you like a sonic assault on all of your senses. Cave transcends the rock star mould, he is a true artist. As with many of his songs God gets a few mentions; there is a line in “Jesus Alone” which hits hard and calls out on people to question religion, well in my opinion it does; ‘You believe in God, but you get no special dispensation for this belief now’.

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“Girl In Amber” is one of the most haunting songs of loss that I have heard in many years, I was moved immensely by it. The opening line, ‘Some go and some stay behind’, drags you in to a desperately sad combination of music and lyrics. If this track fails to move you then I suspect that you weren’t listening or you have an ice-cold heart. For me “Anthrocene” contains some of the finest lyrics Nick Cave has ever written. In someone else’s hands this song would come across as a depressing dirge, but backed by the immaculate Bad Seeds Nick Cave turns it into a beautifully crafted song that tears at every one of your emotions. “Anthrocene” will work as a standalone poem too. The word itself is, I think, derived from the Greek for what might be translated as new man.

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The most soulful vocal on the whole album, and the vocals are excellent throughout, is provided on “I Need You”. This is another emotionally wrenching ballad where the lyrics seem almost conjoined with the music. How can you fail to be moved by the simple starkness and darkness of the line “Nothing really matters, nothing really matters when the one you love is gone”? Danish soprano Else Torp provides a haunting vocal on “Distant Sky”. The album’s title track and closing song “Skeleton Tree” feels more hopeful than anything else here. With its closing repeated line “and it’s alright now” left me in a relatively uplifted mood.

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This album is among the most beautiful that I have ever heard. It is one that you should take the time to sit and listen to with no distractions. In my opinion it is a big contender for album of the year and I can see it topping many end of year polls. If you love Nick Cave then you will clearly take this album into your soul. If you are new to Nick Cave or haven’t listened to him and the Bad Seeds much then this isn’t a bad place to start becoming more acquainted with him.

 

 
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