Thursday, December 11, 2008

Watch listen and singalong 2: Better be home soon

I did consider following up Birdhouse in your Soul with some later They Might Be Giants, but decided to go for something different. This song is an absolute gem from Crowded House, a band I came to appreciate ridiculously late in my musical life. It's impossible for me to pick a favourite Crowded house song but this is one that I have some strong memories of. In high school my brother and I used to set the video (that's right the VHS) to record the final three hours of Rage on the weekends. We would then spend a fair portion of Saturday watching the video and fast forwarding through the songs we didn't like, or thought were boring etc. This one always got the fast forward and it seemed to be in the charts for ages, so I've watched it in fast forward a lot and didn't listen to it properly until a lot later. The other Crowded House memory I have is of sitting in Year 10 history class listening to a passionate debate between two classmates on which was the better band - The Cure or Crowded House. It was fairly heated and The Cure fan won out, not by virtue of any well constructed argument but because he was talking the loudest. This was also 1988 which would have been the year this song was released I imagine. I'm not sure what The Cure was releasing in 1988? But I look back now and wish I'd jumped in to support the Crowded House fan. It was only when I got to uni that I began to appreciate the absolute perfect simplicity of Neil Finn's songwriting, his beautiful melodies and harmonies, and what I like to think of as the melancholy contentment that infuses so many of his wonderful ballads. (It's also fun when I get out my Crowded house songbook and play and singalong at the piano. Fun for me anyway, not sure about anyone else!)


djfoobarmatt said...

I remember going to a hair dresser and asking for Neil Finn's haircut from the Together Alone cover art. Haven't seen that clip before but I love the gag with Nick Seymour holding the fan. Crowded House are great for campfire sing-alongs with the guitar (though in this one the chords at the end of the bridge elude me but suspended 2nds and 4ths seem to do the trick). One of the few bands I've seen live but their Brisbane gigs were always at QPAC and were sit-down affairs (although I remember Neil made us chair-dance to "Weather With You" at one concert).

I've recently started the rage tradition with my son but he is a bit young for it so I have to skip most of the hip-hop (though I would probably skip it anyway). Mythtv makes it easy though. His favourite recently is Jackson Jackson "All Alone", I must get a video of him singing it and imitating the singer.

Wendy said...

that's great that you are continuing the tradition of rage down the generations...for some reason i rarely watch music videos in that way anymore...neil finn has always has great hair so i can understand why you would want to look like that...but did it work? experience with hairdressers is that the picture and the final result are rarely in synch...sadly, I can't play the guitar..well apart from three chords...enough for blowin' in the wind and that's the extent of my repertoire. and pianos and campfires don't really go together

djfoobarmatt said...

Maybe you should get a key-tar.

I was also thinking about comparing Crowded House and The Cure. At first I thought they are totally different bands but then I thought how they are similar in that they like to play games and be fun and silly in their music. Also they approach similar emotional subject matter except The Cure is about letting go and trying to recover a certain innocence and purity where as Crowded House lyrics tend to be focussed on the effects of emotional repression in relationships. Perhaps it's like comparing introverts and extroverts.

Wendy said...

I think you could be on to something with the introvert, extrovert thing. I have been wondering what they have in common as well because I think there's something (and I'm saying this from a position of not as much knowledge of The Cure). But they both have a particularly well honed pop sensibility that I think has gone missing from today's popular music. Or maybe I've yet to find anything that I believe compares. Or maybe that's just a sign that I'm getting older!

I've often worried that I've been misguided in that my favourite cure song is Friday I'm in Love - but it seems to fit your description of their music above very well. So maybe it is emblematic of their work. I agree they both like to have fun, but for both it seems to be underlined by a melancholy streak as well.

key-tar - great idea....but it goes on the list of musical instruments I want to buy one day after piano accordion. Yes, definitely piano accordion first.

djfoobarmatt said...

And Jeff Wiggle plays the piano accordion so you've got a great roll model there. If only YouTube was a bit older, I would probably be able to find the clip of a guy playing purple haze on the accordion for red faces complete with lying on the floor and spinning around whilst soloing.

Wendy said...

that was really on red faces??? I would have loved to see that. And Jeff Wiggle - I'm impressed. Not having small children my Wiggle knowledge is probably not all it could be. I shall definitely take a greater interest from now on.