Orbital – Where is it Going?

If the performance of this track from Orbital’s 2012 album Wonky at the 2012 Paralympics opening ceremony doesn’t touch you even in some small way, or give you the chills at least once then please let on: if Where is it Going? + Stephen Hawking + Graeae Theatre Company + Ian Dury’s Spasticus Autisticus isn’t enough, what exactly does it take to move you?

Pulp – Sorted For E’s and Wizz

1995, Glastonbury, Saturday, headlining the main stage, Pulp bring out a new song:

“Sorted for E’s and Wizz” is a phrase a girl that I met in Sheffield once told me… and she went to see The Stone Roses at Spike Island and I said “what do you remember about it?”. And she said “Well there were all these blokes walking around saying “Is everybody sorted for E’s and wizz?”” And that’s all she remembered about it and I thought it was a good phrase.

Drugs! Outrage! Down with this sort of thing, chimed the Daily Mirror, thanks for the publicity, replied Island Records.

Voxtrot – Wrecking Force

God, all those songs about how great life is and how happy the singer is, how in love with everything they are, and yadda yadda yadda life is beautiful, even when its just boiled down to a series of common platitudes, don’t those songs really wear you down?

Or, as Matt Johnson of The The once said, contrasting radio-friendly pop with the supposedly miserable recordings of Nick Drake:

“There was an energy to that music, which is not depressing. I find the music you hear on the commercial radio stations, that is what I call depressing.”

Johnson was talking about Drake’s hippyish second album, Bryter Layter, which is admittedly in a technicolor world compared to its follow-up, Pink Moon, but lyrically it’s still not exactly a gigglefest. But in no way is it a depressing album, though. A bit like The Smiths, in fact, who I’m forever being told are miserable or depressing, a wrongness surely disproved by simply listening to a song like “How Soon is Now?”.

Which brings me to “Wrecking Force”. Odd title for a summer anthem, perhaps, and I’m not very clued up as to its meaning (something about making good or bad choices, not screwing up, being happy or unhappy?), but as it races along, barrels even, it sweeps me up, and there’s not a thing I can do other than just go with it. Which is more or less exactly what a great summer song should do.

The Uglysuit – …And We Became Sunshine

Not in the least bit ugly, if you ask me. Pretty, and sunny, and pretty sunny.

The Uglysuit got together as high school friends, formed a band, had some fun, enjoyed a couple of eponymous releases, gigged a little, before amicably and quietly going their separate ways again. We’re fortunate that they left us “…And We Became Sunshine” before they parted.

In the words of their label:

The Uglysuit’s music is an extended love song to the notion that everything is possible, yet nothing is guaranteed. It’s born of excitement and energy and built on potential and promise. It’s based on the premise that change exists in everything, and where a wide-eyed view of the world doesn’t equal naiveté. It reminds us that we are alive, and that maybe it’s not too late.

Unless they get the band back together (it’s been occasionally mooted) some of that potential and promise will remain forever unrealised, more’s the pity.

Grant-Lee Phillips – Good Morning Happiness

For anyone who has a case of the mondays, here’s Grant-Lee Phillips, several releases into his post-Grant Lee Buffalo, post-post-Shiva Burlesque solo career, and finally writing a song with the word happiness in the title and actually sounding like he means it. His previous stab at it, “Happiness”, from Mighty Joe Moon, has as misleading a title as the 1998 Todd Solondz film of the same name.

Saint Etienne – I’ve Got Your Music

If I’d been recording a clip of myself holding up my favourite music for this fan-sourced video, what would I be holding? Pink Moon? Tindersticks’ second album?

I really have no idea, but probably not Kingmaker’s The Killjoy Was Here EP, which makes a very fleeting appearance around the minute mark. Favourites are shifting sands for me. In a way I envy anyone who can definitively declare anything to be their favourite music now and always, but at the same time isn’t it disappointing to think you’ll never feel that same excitement again?

Dodgy – Staying Out For The Summer

Still a cracking tune. Still a lousy video. This appears to be the 1995 version of the single – straight in at 19 almost 18 years ago to the day, the week after Pulp’s Common People (which I hope we can all agree is a singularly brilliant song) was prevented from going straight in at number one by the mystifyingly popular Robson and Jerome, and their humdrum karaoke rendition of Unchained Melody, a song so easy to package and sell that even Gareth Gates’ 2002 version sold well over a million copies.