Earworms – 13th February

The Mekons – Heart of Stone
In which the one-time punks tackle an early ‘Stones single. Low romance quotient, but chillingly effective, with female vocals to twist things about a bit.

Agnes Obel – (I Keep a) Close Watch (John Cale cover)
It befuddles me why the usually adventurous John Cale performed (I Keep A) Close Watch like an Elton John ballad. Nothing wrong with Elton, but his ballads are all kind of the same. Now this, with the interplay of the Danish Obel’s piano and breathy voice fully realizes the majesty of what is, at heart, a beautiful composition.

Nelly Furtado – My Love Grows Deeper
From the Whoa Nelly! Album. Nice little song with some unexpected influences from a pop diva, which as we know, is not the sum of our Nelly’s musical vocal talents.

Roddy Frame – Reason For Living
One I turn to when I need reminding that things aren’t always so bad… I just find this euphoric – and love that it’s actually sung in a register I can (just about) holler along with!

Julieta Venegas – Eres Para Mí
Singer-songwriter Julieta Venegas brings long drawn out Mexican phrasing and vowel sounds to more modern genres with remarkable success. Her lyrics mix poetic imagery with a hint of mischievousness – here she tells us “The wind has told me – you’re the one for me.”
Mrs Maki

Linda Lyndell -What A Man
Salt-N-Pepa sampled this & polished it into an irresistible hit in the 90s. When it was first released  in 1968, Linda Lydell received so many death threats from the KKK that she soon retired from the scene.  Damn shame, ’cause she really could growl (maybe that’s what scared those crackers). 

If you have a suitably earwormy song you’d like to share, please send it, with a few lines describing it, to earworm@tincanland.com. The earworm guru likes a full inbox…

26 thoughts on “Earworms – 13th February

  1. I missed this last week. (My fault, not yours!)
    The Mekons. I liked them, but not keen on the song.
    Agnes Obel and Nelly Furtado are not really my scene. Sorry about that.
    Roddy Frame. The intro is exactly the same as something I remember from the 60s. Nevertheless, I liked it.
    Julieta Venegas. Nice. Lot of fun.
    Linda Lyndell. Yeah. Good record. I could imagine Dusty doing it. Shame the Klan wankers blighted her career.

    Once again, well done, Zala. Nice list.

  2. I’m sort of with Mitch on The Mekons. Love Sally Timms’ voice (have often pondered submitting “Ghosts of American Astronauts” as an earworm – or have I already done so?!), but this song doesn’t quite do it for me. But she’s still lovely to listen to! And it’s interesting to hear the lyric sung by a woman – ‘he’ sounds a right nasty piece of work!

    Really like the instrumentation on the Agnes Obel – and the vocal. Yes, like it.

    I think I prefer Nelly in her funked-up Timbaland collaborations, but this was quite nice.

    Julieta Venegas… Why do I want a Pina Colada? Apart from weirdly reminding me of Ace of Base, I rather liked this.

    Think Linda Lyndell was my fave this week – although would it be sacrilege to say I prefer the Salt ‘n’ Pepa-sampling hit? What the f*** was the KKK’s problem with her in particular (I mean, apart from the colour of her skin, presumably)? How awful.

    • PS I like the – quite literal – heart of stone pic, Zalamanda!

      PPS I hope the rest of you lot are sending in earworms. Otherwise, you’ll probably end up getting one of mine every week… (I’m not complaining, of course – I love seeing mine appear in the lists!)

    • Just got a look at the list & savoring a listen later. Looks great. Had to reply to Bish’s question ’bout the KKK wankers. You’re right about it being the color of her skin but in this case it was the color white & a southern girl at that. You just could not have a flower of the south singing black. She quit singing shortly after & laid low in Gainesville for 25 years till Salt-N-Pepa brought her a mini revival. Damn shame ’cause she really could bring it. Funny thing about Mitch’s Dusty comment above is yeah Dusty could have sung this & got away with it, foreigner and all that you know. The morons down south really partake of a peculiar insanity & we’re still many miles from putting all that behind us it seems. Looking forward to the rest in a bit.

      • Wow, that’s really interesting, fintan. I absolutely assumed she was black. What a f***-ed-up world we live(d) in.

        On a different, but related, note, I watched the Baftas on Sunday night. I found it painfully ironic (not to mention shameful) that, in the sea of white faces in the star-studded audience, the only black attendees were the stars of “The Help”. In some ways, we really clearly haven’t come as far from that era as we’d like to think.

      • I’m probably slightly exaggerating about the Baftas, tin – Cuba Gooding Jr presented an award (but what decent roles has he been offered since winning an Oscar for Jerry Maguire?) – but only slightly.

      • Exaggeration is the cornerstone of revolution.

        MLK’s I Have A Dream speech from the Lincoln Memorial is legendary, but he gave the same speech from the same place the day before and no one really noticed. He didn’t thunder ”I HAVE A DREAM” the first time, he had paused amidst warbling on about this and that and said, ”I say, I’ve just had a thought.”

        And it was in a Starbucks that Malcolm X said “It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won’t even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep.” His PR people built it up so it seemed he was talking about the black people, and everyone followed him out.

  3. I’ve only listened to the first one so far, but i have to say i really like it! Didn’t butcher the original at all, and it was quite chilling – when she sang “Here comes a little girl” – all i could think of was a child-snatching! Nice little axe break in the middle too.

    • Wow, really like the next two as well! Liked Agnes Obel, especially the backing track. The Nelly Furtado was great, i loved it. Don’t know much about her other than hearing a song every now and again on the radio that i usually ignored. I’ll pay more attention now.

      • Nelly seems to have changed her style with every album – of which there have been three, I think. I’ve quite liked all of them – but the first poppy one and the second folky one suit me a tad better than the third r’n’b one. All of my genre tags are necessarily loosely attached.

        And I shoud really have let SpottedRichard have said her piece first. Sorry, SR!

      • I really enjoyed the selection of earworms again this week. Everything really excellent, and again it’s hard to pick a winner. I think Agnes Obel just pips Linda Lyndell by a mere whisker. On the Nelly debate, I love her versatility and ability to explore what’s out there. Is it me, or are there jungle noises in the background of that track?

    • Think i have to say that was my favorite group of worms overall in awhile! Maybe it’s the funk / R&B focus. I liked the Roddy Frame, it was a happy tune! Loved the Julieta Venegas. And i think along with Nelly, my dond of the set has to go to the Lynda Lyndell. I of course know the Salt and Pepa song but didn’t know it was a cover. The original kills it. Jeez Fintan, our country was and is fucked up sometimes.

      Thanks to all and to Zala!

  4. Not mad on the Mekons, and couldn’t play Tinny’s choice for some reason.

    Like the Nelly Furtado and the Linda Lyndell.

    Not so keen on Roddy Frame and Julieta, sorry.

    Nelly wins out for me, this week!

  5. I really enjoyed this Earworms. I have been so disorganised and stressed I have not had time to listen until now!!!

    I really enjoyed them all but I really enjoyed the Nelly Furtado and Agnes Obel and I totally I loved the Julieta Venegas track, I loved the reggae beat and her voice is wonderful and I really love the sound of Spanish ! ! !

    Well done everyone ! ! !

    Thanks for a great playlist again Zala!!!

  6. I kind of spotted a theme on the first listen but it wasn’t until the third that I realised it was intentional. From desperately resisting all this lovey dovey stuff to revelling in it.One step at a time.

    I can’t say I’ve ever liked that Stones song and I still don’t exactly enjoy it lyrically but it is a brilliantly sinister rendition.

    My favourites were definitely Agnes Obel and Roddy Frame but the others were close behind. A slow burner of a list but all the better for it.

  7. I think Severin is right when he calls this a slow-burner of a list. Most of the submitted songs were slow-burners for me (with the exception of the Nelly Furtado, which I already knew well). I think they might all have slipped by without special notice on my first listen to the pot of worms… but they’ve all earned earworm status since. Especially Agnes Obel. I don’t know the original, and Cale has never really impacted on me before – but this is a truly extraordinary song, and her performance is exquisite.

    I selected The Mekons to tie in with the image. The song is one that matches Jagger’s unpleasantly misogynist image (although I suspect that he was playing it up here), and I do like what the Mekons have done with it.

    The Roddy Frame was so warm and comforting and genuine-sounding (and of course I was quite fond of Aztec Camera, although I was ignorant that he’d done any solo stuff), and the Julietta Venegas sounded so fabulous that it transcended my dreadful reliance on lyrics (because, of course, my sub-restaurant Spanish isn’t up to understanding her words). I did find Mrs Maki’s snippet of translation intriguing, though.

    Linda Lyndell‘s original of “What a Man” was a revelation. I recall Salt’n’Pepa’s version of this, and I can’t decide which I prefer. Actually, I’ve decided that it’s not necessary to decide. They’re both ace!

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