The Little Band That Could; swirling, giddying, disorienting, romantic majesty; near made me cry; great; a teensy bit overrated; a national treasure; turning into Henry VIII; too many songs that rely on suspended fourths; big hooky hooks; Manchester’s Bury’s finest; better than black pudding!
That’s what YOU said about Elbow! And now that the Christmas fairy dust has had time to settle, the brussels sprouts are nearly finished up and the trifle is but a distant memory, it’s time to present the final Elbow spillOVER playlist for your edutainment.
I asked for your suggestions and I got more than enough. As a bonus, there were plenty of instructive comments and some enlightening debate which kept me entertained for much of the day on Christmas Eve.
Trawling the long history of the ‘Spill (well, OK – I shoved the word ‘Elbow’ in the search box) I found sporadic references to Elbow starting as early as July 2008 with a blimpy/snadfrod item, which largely concerned the volume at which The Seldom Seen Kid should best be played, followed soon after by a gem of a shoegazer post requesting our nominations for best album by every artiste ever, which, as far as Elbow were concerned generated one vote for Cast Of Thousands and one for The Seldom Seen Kid.
Then, on 9 September 2008, DarceysDad posted his celebration of Elbow’s Mercury Prize victory – a post which is well worth a revisit:
On 4 January 2009 came the announcement that Seldom Seen Kid had won the far more significant 2008 ‘Spill Album of the Year award and this was followed by snadfrod’s effusive review of Elbow’s 2009 gig at the Bridgwater Hall, Manchester accompanied by the Hallé Orchestra:
What I was really searching for (and didn’t find) was a post which I’m sure I haven’t imagined from an unknown ‘Spiller suggesting that Elbow might be the Band That All Spillers Like Or At Least No One In These Parts Actively Dislikes. Whether Elbow represent this much sought after Eldorado (or should I say Elbow-dorado?) [No. Ed.] (‘Spilldorado?) [Still, no. Ed.] or not, it was perhaps significant that there wasn’t a serious buke to be heard – perhaps (in time-honoured ‘Spill fashion) Those About To Buke kept their collective heads below the parapet. My hope is that they will now take the time to listen to this playlist and perhaps (like everyone’s favourite Deadhead) re-examine their Elbow-related feelings. Of course, this list may have the opposite effect and convince Chris and others who hoped to be converted that Elbow are not for them after all.
A few notes on my selection. I decided to allow each ‘Spiller just one nomination. I wanted to include one collaboration and one cover and after much deliberation I went for Murder of Birds with Jesca Hoop and Mercy Street (Peter Gabriel) to represent these two categories. I loved the Elbow version of Independent Woman (which I hadn’t heard before – thanks shoey!) but didn’t feel that it was quite in keeping with the mood of the rest of the selection. I also wanted to reflect one regularly-mentioned feature of Elbow – namely, their remarkable live performances: I have therefore included a couple of these in the list at the expense of the studio versions.
I think it’s fair to say that Elbow have long been on the ‘Spill radar and an overview such as this is arguably well over due. I thank everyone for their contributions, hope that the final list meets their expectations (which of course are ‘great’) and, with a promise to spend more time on the ‘Spill in 2012, wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year.
(Thanks to maki for making the playlist work and to tfd for offering to do the same.)
From: Asleep In The Back
01. Powder Blue – fredflinstone
02. Newborn (live in Amsterdam) – garethim
03. Scattered Black And Whites – DarceysDad
From: Cast of Thousands
04. Fugitive Motel (live on Jools Holland) – exodus
05. Grace Under Pressure – barbryn
From: Leaders of the Free World
06. Station Approach – saneshane
07. Forget Myself – blimpy
08. The Everthere – shoegazer
09. Great Expectations – ToffeeBoy
10. Murder Of Birds (Jesca Hoop) – barbryn
From: The Seldom Seen Kid
11. An Audience With The Pope – tincanman
12. The Loneliness Of A Tower Crane Driver (live at the Mercury Prize awards) – glasshalfempty
13. Mercy Street (Peter Gabriel) – alimunday
From: Build A Rocket Boys
14. The Birds – ShivSidecar
15. Lippy Kids – bishbosh