‘Spill Challenge #24746zero = brainasaurus v thesaurus – whose better, whose best?

Whose better – Whose best?

Right you petulant lot – who are you going to defend now then?

Inspired by my music players results:
Monkees 74 songs 3.4 hours of tunes V’s Beatles 0 songs not a second of tunes.
Why is this the case? – there’s a long winded answer and a short answer.
(insert Paul McCartney* where ever the hell you like here)

Why would I spend hours winding up my mate up about how The Wedding Present are so much better than The Smiths? – but the music that they constantly play IT SAYS NOTHING TO ME ABOUT MY LIFE .. was always a good sentence to slip in about the Smiths*… whereas David Gedge is authentic and honest and oh so incompetent about love and loss and gains a teenage boys empathy.

Answers can be long winded or succinct – preferable one artist/band in comparison to another (or an entire Genre if you are feeling flamboyant)
(*the argument doesn’t even have to be true – it can be just for the fun of it)

And I know that this is a exercise in debate – not a Black and White definition of entire careers (*see my point about The Smiths) – although I’m keeping the output of Leonard Cohen in preference to Bob Dylan, any day, thank you very much.

Come on people – get it off your chest.

No sulking at the back.
No throwing rattles out the pram.
A good cleansing is what we want..
Those that want to get oiled can wait ’till those with a more nervous disposition are tucked up in bed.

Thank You and good luck.
(some words, phrases and opinions will cause offence in this challenge – please stop reading is this is going to be a problem)

P.S if you can distil it down to one song against another as an illustration in your comments – all the more fun.

260 thoughts on “‘Spill Challenge #24746zero = brainasaurus v thesaurus – whose better, whose best?

    • certainly is..
      I always loved the music inkies and the papers thinking up rivalries – no one really cared because logically we all know you can enjoy the Beatles AND the stones – Prince AND Michael what’s his face – Blur and Oasis – if that’s what music floats your boat – but to create a reason for choosing one over the other is always a fun filled half hour (and probably a more difficult)

      I mean Shampoo ARE better than the Spice Girls.. I’ll be back later too…

  1. Why are Fairport Convention better than Steeleye Span?

    1 Fairport had Sandy Denny and Steeleye had Maddy Prior.

    2 Fairport had Richard Thompson on lead guitar. Now, Ashley Hutchings left Fairport and set up Steeleye because he wanted to explore further the use of traditional songs in a rock style – which in the ordinary way I would like better, and I think folk-rock is great. BUT the reason Fairport had begun to turn away from traditional songs was…they had Richard Thompson. And he could write songs a bit, so Fairport played those instead.

    3 Fairport lived communally for a while in a former pub called the Angel, and RT carried on living there with them after he left the band. Which I think is sweet. Sorry, I have no info about Steeleye’s living arrangements.

    4 Am I going to see Fairport this summer? Yes. Am I going to see Steeleye? No.

    5 Both bands have performed epic versions of the epic traditional ballad Tam Lin, and the Fairport version is a huge afasarae for me on RR – perhaps the hugest. Yet I have never recommended the Steeleye version, nor ever will, and this in spite of the fact that Steeleye’s has the better tune. (The Fairport one is a little monotonous, such that, though they carried on doing it in concert after Sandy left, you would not want to hear it sung by just the men. Trust me. Dirgelike is not the word, for it is even more dirgelike than that.)

    So…why do I like the Fairport version so much better?

    Tam Lin by Steeleye Span

    Tam Lin by Fairport Convention

    Because I just do.

    • Because I just do.

      Basically what it all comes down to, isn’t it. You can talk up a blue storm of a thesis as to why Abba are pop geniuses, but i still can’t stand them. Not a single song.

    • And Fairport never committed a crime on the scale of the Hat thing. (Although once RT left they could occasionally get a bit naff.)

      • fwiw i always sort of associate Hootie with Dave Matthews. I think they both came out were all over the radio at the same time. Only problem is that it might be a tossup betweent the two 🙂

      • Well, if they’re your nemesis you could pick anyone at all…

        Thanks for the edit, Shane.

    • you had me at number 1. No one is better than Sandy, I am unshakable in this belief, although I do like Steeleye Span, obviously, I don’t love them in the same way.

      • Thought I might…

        Oh and, following Shane’s example, the score on my iTunes is
        Fairport 435 tracks, 1.3 days
        Steeleye 117 tracks, 8.1 hours

      • Qualifying my remarks slightly – did much happen after Liege and Lief? Babbacombe Lee? Not that wonderful. Whilst Fairport had Sandy with them, they produced their best work (imo) and that includes tracks where she didn’t
        feature. Sort of lost interest in them after she left – possibly my loss.

        Steeleye have done some lovely work recently – check out their Cogs Wheels and Lovers album. There’s a particular track on there….. a version of a song we were discussing a little while back….which is just gorgeous.

      • I have to admit, I find the post-Sandy FC less interesting, but overall they still win for me. Now if it was Pentangle versus Fairport Convention I’d really have to marshall my arguments…

      • TFD, I was slightly overstating the case just to be provocative…. but that said, I did lose interest in Fairport after Sandy left and tended to follow her solo career (and later RT’s) rather than Fairport minus Sandy or Fairport minus RT (although I understand he occasionally rejoins them?)

        At their best, yes, Fairport were the best. I can’t argue with that.

      • To each her own, suzi – and I’m about to disagree with you fervently over Leonard Cohen anyway.

    • I have gone to the trouble of downloading the latest Adobe thingy in order to find out how to post videos on here. So here is an example of how good Maddy Prior can be…..

      Except (insert expletive of your choice) the person who kindly posted the video on Youtube has now removed it. And the track I had in mind has been omitted from Spotify, possibly because it was a ‘hidden track’ on the CD with a big gap after the previous track.

      More swearing…….

      Should the the song ever become suitable for one of Jon’s playlists, I have it ready in a little file of its own in the hope that I shall be able to box it without mishap….

      It is, in fact, a version of The Great Silkie of Sule Skerrie, from the Cogs Wheels and Lovers album, and it is stunning.

      I won’t rave on about it any more here, but if you think that you might possibly like it, do seek it out. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

      • Oh, I certainly will, suzi – i love that song. It’s one of the ones I learned at school from the BBC Singing Together programme.

      • Right, got it – and yes, she certainly sings it beautifully, but the violin drives me crazy!

      • There’s no ‘reply’ to reply to your replies, TFD, but was just about to post another video I found….which I now will not do ! !

        I had to laugh……I just love that violin…..! !

        It is Peter Knight who plays it, the sole accompaniment for Maddy’s voice…for me it balances it beautifully…..it introduces the melody, and then, after she’s sung all but the last two verses, it wanders off into what I suppose in classical music might be called a cadenza….an extemporisation, as it seems to be, which for me conjures up the wide waters and the rocky shores and skerries of Orkney, which is where the song originates. But then, just as you (well, not you personally TFD, since by now you’re tearing your hair) just as you are lost in reverie, it slowly and inexorably winds back to the melody and the last two verses, the Silkie’s prophecy. Some versions leave out the penultimate verse, but to me that’s a mistake – the picture it conjours up of idyllic, innocent happiness makes the final verse all the more devastating.

        Actually, I will post it, or try to, and see what other people think…..

      • ooh look, I seem to have succeeded in posting the video, but unfortunately I forgot to say, and now this comment will not be in the right place but never mind, that you either have to listen thru Thornaby Woods and then wait thru a minute or so of silence which seems interminable, before the Great Selkie of Sule Skerrie starts, or you can simply go to 5’20” on the video…! !

      • Of course, suzi – don’t mind me! I found the violin really intrusive, everyone; just wanted to hear the song. What do y’all think? (Warning: you have to listen to Thornaby Woods first, which is very boring.)


      • (Draws herself up to full height of 5’4″ ) Well you may find Thornaby Woods boring, TFD (I quite like it) but if you had waited a moment for my further post, you would have seen that you don’t in fact have to listen to it first…..

        (Wonder if this post will come up where I want it to..)

      • Well, I know that already, don’t I, since I had to listen to it all the way through in order to get to the Silkie.

      • @TFD, much as I like Joan, and I went to see her a couple of weeks ago, I don’t think Americans can do Scottish accents…

        There is another version of Selkie by Maddy from her Ravenschild album, which is on Spotify. Again, she sings it beautfiully, but you may not like the backing on this one either….it’s more orchestral and there seems to be an awful lot of water about….

        I’ll stick to the one from Cogs Wheels and Lovers…

      • Well, no, Joan doesn’t attempt a Scottish accent as such but there are some Scots words in there which sound a bit odd and at least one of them is mispronouced – ‘wean’ doesn’t rhyme with ‘keen’…it does present a difficulty to a singer, especially when their own accent is some way away from the one in which the song was originally sung. Do you wholly Englishfy it? Do you use the Scots words and attempt a vague approximation of a Scottish accent to go with it? I know I’m being picky….

      • Yes, I know what you mean – I’m always a bit startled when RT sings in Scottish, but his father was a Scot so it’s all right really.

        I doubt there’s very many non-Scottish people who know how to pronounce ‘wean’ though!

      • I’ve probably seen too many epis of Rab C Nesbitt ! But Joan attempts the Scottish pronounciation of ‘stone’ and ‘foam’, which sounds odd, amongst the American-accented rest of it, and it isn’t necessary. Maddy pronounces those words in the English way, but where there’s a Scots word, ‘wean’ or ‘bairn’, she seems – to my ears – to get it right (a Scot might think differently!) So to me Joan’s pronounciation throughout is a bit of a dog’s breakfast…..which is a pity, and, to me, does detract.

        I thought I’d found the perfect version of the song with Maddy’s version – the Cogs Wheels and Lovers one, not the Ravenschild one (I don’t like the backing on that one myself, I think it just doesn’t work) and for me, it IS perfect – but for you, it’s a pain in the ear (the violin bit, anyway.) Ah well….

      • Re Scottish accents – scepticusually has just amused me over on the mothership by mentioning the Co-Op slogan, ‘we’re good with food’ – which of course only works if said with a Scottish accent.

  2. klara Vs Pussycat dolls

    Kara – can sing
    Kara – can dance
    Kara – can speak Korean, Japanese, Chinese and English
    Kara – do not dress in an unattractive manner
    Kara – work hard, are educated and possitive role model for girls

    Pussycat dolls

    are not ! ! !

    Kara – Step

    Pussycat Dolls – When I Grow Up

    I think that is clear ! ! !

    • So, one of these is a positive role model for girls? Really? Sorry, Sakura, but I only see two versions of the same role, one more explicit than the other.

      • Thank you Shane ! ! !

        But Chris we will have to disagree about this I think so ! ! !

        I think Kara look great, they are pretty, talented and smart and I love the galactic style fabrics and colours in this vid.

        All girls want to look pretty and sexy, and I think Kara have a great image for girls, confident, fun and attractive and not at all inappropriate ! ! !

    • Well, neither of them are my type of music, and i do need to take issue with this bit –

      “Kara – do not dress in an unattractive manner”

      eye of the beholder i guess.

      But going just by the songs, that Kara song is a whole lot better than the Pussycat Dolls song. That was just awful.

  3. Fleetwood Mac!!!

    Peter Green & Jeramy Spencer days – Hey even Hugh & Barbi think they’re the best.

    Vs. Fleetwood Mac – Christine Perfect & Danny Kirwin version (with a touch of Bob Welch) Great cymbal work.

    vs. Fleetwood Mac

    Lyndsay & Stevie show up & they start off great only to descend into narcissistic pop drivel.

      • Amy , I’m sure , remembers my distinct aversion to the glossy navel gazing goes on the Rumours album. This is an argument I still have with Mrs. Fintan & the Fintanette. It took me about a month of listening to be worn out by it. To all the offerings above I’ll stack the following against. Monday Morning, Rhiannon, Over My Head , Say You Love Me, World Turning (ooh) etc. are all superior to my ear & still can be listened to very enjoyably. Excellent pop, well conceived & executed & the height of the Buckingham-Nicks Mac’s talents to my mind. None of ’em a patch on Oh Well or Tell Me All The Things You Do for me though.

      • Well, I like the eponymous Fleetwood Mac album as well (um, was there more than one? Well, the album with Nicks and Buckingham on it, anyhow – the one with “Rhiannon” on it). The two records are very closely associated in my mind.

      • Fintan –

        I don’t know if you caught my comment on Monday’s earworms thread, but if you didn’t, your ears were burning!

      • I do not know very much about Fleetwood Mac but actually I do like many of the tracks I have heard, it was just that song I did not like.

  4. Piper At The Gates Of Dawn knocks Dark Side Of The Moon into a cocked hat (whatever that actually means…). Where Piper is bright, sparky, full of creative energy and startling lyrics, DSotM is turgid, repetitive, over-produced wank with sixth-form schoolboy musings.

    • Piper was heavily influenced by the continuing and ever increasing drug use of Syd.
      By the time Dark Side was released, Waters had begun his journey into full control of the writing, performance and direction that Floyd would take.
      Where as Syd’s world was placid and free thinking, Waters carried (still carries ?) a lot of anger and angst in his mind and this comes out in his writing.

      • Lyrically, you may well be right, bp, yet the music demonstrates the opposite: DSotM is largely as placid as a stoned milkpond, whereas Piper is on the verge of a nervous breakdown (yes, even that duck at the end of ‘Bike’!).

      • Hi Chris,
        Sorry, but I’ve just listened to both albums back to back and I’ll stand up for Dark Side every time.
        For me, Piper is a car crash of an album that trys to mix simplistic childlike lyrics (The Gnome), with agressive psychedelia (Intersteller Overdrive). Syd’s use of drugs had, by this time, affected his already delicate mental state to such an extent that he became incapable of playing any instrument or even, at times, turning up for performances.
        There is no pleasure for me in witnessing a mental breakdown through music.
        Over the 5 years after Piper, Floyd spent their time honing their craft but without much commercial success.
        Dark Side contains much of what they had learned over that time but also pays respect to their understanding of how Syd must have felt. A respect that was also given out in Wish You Were Here, the follow upalbum to Dark side.
        Dark Side makes more sense, is better constructed and produced. It may not have the crashing sounds of Piper but it’s lyrics have a place of their own amongst the music. They are a compliment to the instruments and are not in competition.
        Floyd have gone through various stages in their development – not all good – and it is always tricky to compare different styles from different decades.
        Perhaps it’s because I didn’t totally get into psychedelic music that I look on Piper from a different angle.
        And the ‘Spill alows us to exchange our ideas and to be different without prejudice.

      • I suspect that my preference is also connected to my age at the time. Early Floyd were a punk band, to an extent, just trying to make new and interesting noises and not caring too much about technique or polished lyrics. I was 14 when it came out.
        I gradually became less interested as they developed and became more ‘sophisticated’ (the last album I bought was Atom Heart Mother). Despite/due to its punkiness, I do still find Piper musically more interesting than DSotM. Although I may have exaggerated slightly for the purposes of this Challenge….

      • It was that headline that prompted my comparison, SR. When No.1 in that list is Queen’s Greatest Hits, it simply underlined to me that it’s primarily about marketing, not music. Hence the recent money-grabbing, deluxe, multi-format, almost-empty boxset, re-release of DSotM.

      • Why Pink is the only female popstar these days who doesn’t make me grit my teeth.

        Adele is talented and all i suppose, but i want to commit homicide whenever i hear her songs on the radio. Katy Perry too, but she can’t even sing. Nails on a chalkboard.

      • Adele’s album is sold to people who have music ON – it’s not sold to people who care about music – so it doesn’t matter. You will not find anyone obsessed enough in 20 years time to curate or buy a box set of Adele.

        You will find 20 thousand copies in the defunct CD format in charity shops – played a few times – no scratches – probably left in the cd drawer of the cd machine because they had nothing to play if they ejected it.

        I learnt this lesson with Dido (sorry Chinny) – I made it through collage buying and selling Ltd edition music – it was the slight difference in tracks or artwork that made me enough to live on (Yello and Lemon Jelly I thank you) – I still have a unique Dido album somewhere, because people didn’t choose to go out and buy it, it just happened to end up in their trolly’s – an idiosyncratic version – what for?

        (Adele’s views on Tax are astonishingly selfish – I hope she rots for that – I avoid her songs)

        My big brother played Waters ‘Pros and cons of Hitchhiking’ a lot – it says do you remember Dick Tracey – do you remember Shane? in one song… but apart from that I’m more inclined toward earlier Floyd.

    • Interstellar Overdrive is brilliant, and if we were just setting individual songs against one another it would be hard to beat, but when it comes to the album as a whole I’m with bluepeter – which may simply be a personal preference for Watersesque angst and David Gilmour guitar solos over what too often sounds to me like twee whimsy or pointless messing about.

  5. “……it can be just for the fun of it.

    Here’s Pinky and Perky from Christmas 1961.

    And then there’s The Chipmunks from Christmas 1961.

    • Yes, bp. Do tell. I think the Chipmunks win for the “I just want a hula hoop!”. Also Pinky and Perky dancing is dire = just like me before (and actually after) I’ve had the requisite units of alcohol (except that afterwards I think I’m a hot babe with all the moves). Actually that last bit’s not true.

      • Well, I think the easiest answer to the question of preference is to quote Harry Hill and shout FIGHT.

        But the ones that I remember from the early 60’s are Pinky and Perky. They were so rubbish that the laugh was in it’s terrible puppetry, and, as SR has pointed out, the “dire dancing”.
        The Chipmunks were far too professional – and anyway they were Yanks.

        So Pinky and Perky win it trotters down.

  6. Here’s an old chestnut from the world of gothic rock. Sisters of Mercy V The Fields of the Nephilim. Of course, most goths like both, but there is still rivalry

    1. Andrew Eldritch started the Sisters in Leeds, which is goth central. Whereas FOTN are from Stevenage.

    2. Carl McCoy has much better hair and more stylish hats than Andrew Eldritch who is now actually bald.

    3. Andrew only had sunglasses, but Carl has steam-punk friendly goggles.

    4. FOTN have a live drummer, whereas Sisters had a machine, spawning a load of bands who do the same.

    5. It’s easy to dance to Sisters, it’s easy to head-bang to FOTN.

    6. Wayne Hussey was in the Sisters of Mercy and he writes the worst lyrics known to man, Carl McCoy’s lyrics are beyond human comprehension, but definitely better than Wayne’s.

    7. Carl McCoy falls out with everyone he works with, erm Andrew does too.

    8. Both bands are currently touring with only the lead singer from the original line up and neither have released any new material for over 6 years, but Eldritch’s last effort was in 1993 and that was a compilation.

    9. Patricia Morrison was in the SOM for a while and she is a goddess.

    10. Andrew Eldritch has never asked fans to shell out over £100 for a special boxed set of a live recording, so he’s not as mercenary as Carl (I think his new house is costing a lot to decorate).

    Overall, very few people care about either of them, but most agree that at least they’re better than the Mission.

    • I’m not even going to bother saying why All about Eve are better than the Mision. Because everybody knows that they are/were.

      Great analysis, Beth. I’m slightly intrigued by no. 7, because it seems to me that a great deal of goth-related bands have a mainstay who falls out with everyone they work with…

      • Of course, goes without saying that AAE are the superior band in that competition. It’s sad that goths seem to fall out with each other, Gene Loves Jezebel are twins, but now have two separate bands as they can’t work with each other. Sigh.

        Oh, I thought of compare and contrast songs, so I’ll post them. On my last.fm number of plays FOTN=2178 plays, Sisters=705

        Psychonaut by FOTN


        Body and Soul by the Sisters (worth watching just to laugh at Wayne’s hair)

        p.s why has my picture gone away? This logging in thing has gone strange for me.

    • I quite liked the first Mission album… But it has to be the Sisters of Mercy: Floodland and Vision Thing are both brilliant. Plus the drum machine thing and Patricia Morrison.

      • Secretly, I don’t hate all Mission songs, early stuff has some merit, and I can see absolutely why more people prefer the Sisters, but I’ve never been bewitched by them live so I’m sticking with the Nephilim for the quasi-religious experience I get at their gigs.

        Next, which Sisters do you like? Late rock SIsters (I’m thinking that you’d be a Vision Thing kind of guy), very early minimalist Sisters, more expansive Hussey era or Patricia Morrison and Floodland? Like 4 different bands really.

      • Floodland for me by a considerable distance, followed by Vision Thing (and there it’s the more Floodland-esque tracks like Ribbons that I prefer). The earlier stuff I found interesting at the time but was never much of a fan, and I haven’t really felt the urge to revisit any of it.

    • 1. I like my goth bands to come from completely random places , like Banbury (Play Dead)
      2.Yes, Eldritch does look a bit rubbish these days (when you can see through the fog). Too casual for a goth ovelord.
      3. But Andrew did have heart shaped shades!
      4.Live drummers are better but I quite like the quaint “naming the drum machine as if it’s a real band member” thing these bands do.
      5. I don’t dance in any recognisable form or headbang so this is irrelevant … next..
      6.Yep, Wayne is very bad, Carl is ok if you like lots of songs about “seeking” things, Eldritch is a better lyricist than either..although not the “best lyricist in the world” as he has claimed.
      8. Sisters have lots of new material though…although recording and releasing any of seems a bit too much effort for Andrew! Any idea what he actually does with his time? It’s a bit of a mystery.
      9. She was better in Gun Club
      10.”Andrew Eldritch has never asked fans to shell out over £100 for a special boxed set of a live recording”
      Don’t put it past him.

      • I only have two Gun Club albums, I have to admit that Jeffrey Lee Pierce isn’t my favourite vocalist, but I’ve always liked the bass lines. Trish brought some wonderful glamour to mid period Sisters, I think.

        True, there are quite a collection of new songs that Andrew does live (I have heard bootlegs, I suppose I should go and see him before he decides he’s bored with that too), but none have impressed me much, I have friends who would argue very strongly with this opinion though.

        Lastly I should go and listen to some more Play Dead, I like what I’ve heard so far.

  7. So Shanesane thinks Leonard Cohen is better than Dylan….of course he’s right !!

    Do I really need to explain why….and more importantly, do I need to figure out how to add an example of their respective songs to this blog (which I tried to do once before with dismal results….)

    LC is a great songwriter….apparently he started out writing poetry to impress the ladies but really his words are (generally) better sung….an ok sort of poet, a fantastic songwriter. My favourite of all – I think – is Famous Blue Raincoat, which compresses what could be the script for an entire (possibly French) movie into just a few short verses. Yet LC was apparently dissatisfied with it….well they say a great artist is never satisfied with his work..

    I do like Dylan – my favourite of his is probably Desolation Row. What’s it about…hard to tell, but it’s about desolation, and well, I’ve forgotten, actually, but it does have mermaids and that can only be a good thing,…

    • Yes, I do know that there are those who prefer Cohen to Dylan, and yet I’m always amazed about it. Dylan has produced an enormous body of work over the last 50 years and most of it’s brilliant, heart-stopping, groundbreaking and will live for ever…I just don’t see Cohen as anywhere close.

      Mind you, the first Cohen songs I became familiar with were Suzanne and Bird On A Wire in the Fairport versions, so of course by the time I heard Cohen’s own versions it was too late, and they never do sound right to me. But further than that, I’ve never heard a Cohen song that I’ve liked as much as those. (I like Hallelujah but much prefer the kd lang version.) Cohen’s often described as too gloomy, but I don’t mind that – why shouldn’t he be gloomy? That part’s just fine with me.

      But my fiercest indictment has to be the use of those god-awful backing singers. Why? Why? If he wants backing singers Cohen could surely have the best ones one the planet. After all, when Dylan’s looking round for backing singers look who HE gets.

      • oh rats and double rats! my reply to you got out of order for some reason so I didn’t see your comment at first.

        Cohen has backing singers because his voice isn’t what it was and the singers sort of disguise the fact…I don’t really mind them. When I saw him a couple of years he tried to sing Suzanne and he could barely get the higher notes, which was sad….his more recent songs are obviously more suited to his now deeper voice

        I think I always knew the Cohen versions of Bird on a Wire and Suzanne before I heard Fairport’s – it tends to be the versions that you hear first that you like best, although not always. I don’t like every single song of his but I like most of them….and for me they don’t date, whereas, as have said below, (assuming this reply goes where it should) Dylan seems to belong to the past.

        I still like Dylan’s songs, but not as much as Cohen’s. Trying to think why – Is it that they seem less personal, perhaps? Is it because many of them borrow from traditional songs – which I ought to like, but somehow now find a little irritating? Are Dylan’s songs a bit showy-offy ?

  8. Where’s Tim? Someone with better knowledge than me needs to talk about Genesis with and without Peter Gabriel. Personally I preferred them without Peter Gabriel – until they got really commercial.

    But on the other hand, I really really like Peter Gabriel solo. Think he’s marvellous.

    But I’m not that keen on Phil Collins solo.

    (Genesis without PG)

    (Genesis with PG – actually I love this. Just screwed up my own tenuous argument, I think).

    • I posted a song (too late) on RR last night from Trick of the Tail which would have fitted. The departure of Steve Hackett seems to have been the point when Genesis went south – after Wind and Wuthering, which I loved.

      • that was uncalled for, they’re a band of such contrasts, from the outside it all gets a bit confusing. Peter Gabriel dressed as a flower and then Phil Collins looking all serious, I am unqualified to judge, but probably should investigate further.

        Were you referring to the Fish or no Fish debate with Marillion?

      • I also gave up after Wind and Wuthering – and it all sounds a bit dated now so I can sympathise if you don’t like Genesis. Marillion I felt did the same thing but less well which will probably upset someone else … no offence, Marillion fans! Couldn’t tell you when Fish came or went.

  9. Thanks, TFD!! It’s impossible to find anything much by Dylan on Youtube, unfortunately, and he isn’t on Spotify either….

    I used to like Dylan and still do, but yet for me he somehow belongs to the past. Whereas LC’s songs seem timeless……

    This may be all to do with me getting older…..

      • TFD, even though this has somehow got misplaced, you (and anyone else) are inviited to state why you think Bob Dylan is better than Leonard Cohen….

        In the end, it’s what appeals to you personally….Dylan’s voice wasn’t the greatest and Cohen’s isn’t either these days, but both are great songwriters….however for me LC is the best – not every single song, but most of them.

        So please defend Dylan and say why you prefer him!

      • Dylan is about him.
        his Life – his America – his era – his god – his ego – you gotta give a flying fuck about what ‘he’ thinks to get it…. I don’t mind egocentric singer songwriters – that’s what it’s all about, in fact i love them – but you’ve got to feel with them – but he feel inclusive. His backing music made me think of other previous things – he didn’t let me in, so I left and listened to some Blues and some Guthrie. The songs were a shell and I was on the outside, I still haven’t found that song to make me want to find a way in. (however well Chris and steen tried for me)

        Cohen I embraced and he let me. Even though the ’80 output of Cohen’s is of it’s time – it’s still uniquely him .. backing singers, bad keyboards, the lot – but the songs have such power – about love and the world and an artists idea of ‘religious themes’ – all embracing, all inclusive.. dark and humble. Pained and heartfelt yet funny too. This is were I started and it did kick the shit out of Dylan’s output of the same period.
        (Paul McCarney had the ‘frog chorus’ and ‘Mull of Kin” you can see why I never made it back to the Beatles)

        Anyway – I then regressed(?) back to the 70’s and 60’s – and came to this outcome:
        Dylan: penetrate a facade of a song and find another wall – could be the most meaningful … or it could be stuff. Did I want to delve?. maybe one day.
        Cohen: blatantly honest in some ways, but still needing to delve deeper into the songs to understand.. giving repeated listens pleasure and mental stimulation. Did I want to dive right in? never been far from my turntable in 30 years.

      • Why do I prefer Dylan? Well, people have written books and books about this, obviously, but for me it’s something to do with the freewheeling imagery, a mind exploding with ideas and visions and rhymes, creating characters and worlds and stories that draw you in but never quite reveal all their secrets. And a sense of humour, which helps. Plus some fantastic tunes.

        I love Cohen, but he’s very precise, very controlled. There’s a (possibly apocryphal) story about the two of them meeting. Bob asks Lenny about a song of his, and how long it took to write. “About eight months,” Lenny replies. He in turn asks about one of Bob’s, and gets the reply: “Oh, about 40 minutes”. I imagine Cohen has a clear meaning behind each line of his songs, even though they often remain oblique to the listener. Dylan’s, by contrast, is often singing the first thing that comes into his head – but it sounds just as good. And I like that.

      • I heard that story as ‘8 years’ from Cohen – but I feel his imagination is so free flowing it takes him that long to distil it into song. and he himself has said it is never right…

        “the freewheeling imagery, a mind exploding with ideas and visions and rhymes, creating characters and worlds and stories that draw you in but never quite reveal all their secrets. And a sense of humour, which helps. Plus some fantastic tunes” that so funny – because that statement is Cohen to me and “very precise, very controlled, often remain oblique to the listener” – is Dylan.

        It’s like a Guardian ad – looking at everything from our own perspective.

      • Shane –

        Now that i’ve had time to think about this a bit – and mentally reviewing some lyrics – i have to say that i never really got the feeling that you did of being shut out of a lot of Dylan’s best songs. I’ll give you that many of his songs are situation specific about his own life.

        But when i think of songs like Positively 4th Street, Like a Rolling Stone, Mr. Tambourine Man, If Not For You, Blowin in the Wind – i don’t find those songs to be situation specific at all. Maybe because i got to know the lyrics when i used to play them on guitar so i’ve been living with them a long time.

        Positively 4th St. and Like a Rolling Stone are, granted, kind of nasty songs. But have you never known anyone those songs could have been about? Or felt like Mr. Tambourine Man, or If Not for You? Or seen the sense in Blowin in the Wind. He just said these things a lot better than most anyone else could have. And i love the music part too.

        Someone else can probably say all that a lot better than i just did.

      • I think once again we’ve reached the point we’ve discussed before – our response to an artist is affected by the age we are when we discover him/her, and also where he/she is…dammit, I’ll just say ‘he’ since I’m talking about Dylan…where he is in his career. Shane, I think that if your first taste of Dylan was 80s Dylan you could be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss was about; and even if you then explored him retrospectively there’s a vast difference between that experience and, say, my own [apologies here for saying this again] where I bought Dylan’s second album when it came out, realised I’d missed one and bought that, and thence bought every album as it came out until Blonde On Blonde which was too expensive. Dylan changed so much from one album to the next that there was a real excitement in listening to each for the first time and discovering all the changes; I really felt Dylan was taking me on a musical journey and I was very keen to make that journey with him. That’s why I wasn’t bothered when he went electric – it was just the next marvellous change.

        Of course he also pissed off my parents something chronic – another win for Bob! I can’t imagine them reacting so strongly against Len. They’d probably have quite liked him.

      • When you heard the songs does have a lot to do with it. Some of the kids like Seu Jorge better than Bowie, but Jorge wasn’t there with me in my adolescence and isn’t in my blood and bones. Always going to be Bowie for me.

        Listening to old acoustic Dylan feels like sitting in a comfy old chair in front of a fireplace in winter.

    • This is really tricky, because they’re both poets and I think they’re both wonderful, but it has never occurred to me before to compare them. The answer is that I couldn’t live without Dylan, and I’m now trying to articulate why without it all sounding as if I’m being negative about Cohen…

      The Music: with Cohen, it’s all about the words and the tune, while the music is no more than backing – and you could take it away from most of his songs without damaging them seriously. With Dylan, at least from Bringing It All Back Home, the music is at least as important – they’re songs, rather than poems set to music, and there is an essential collaborative element with the musicians, rather than the air of absolute control that I get from Cohen.

      The Historical Impact: Dylan changed the course of popular music at least once, and for a while was at the heart of everything; Cohen seems to do his own thing off to the side somewhere. Okay, that runs the risk of making Dylan seem too much of a figure of the past, and I wouldn’t spend much time defending his present-day records.

      The Politics: with Cohen, I’m afraid, it all seems rather solipsistic; the songs are all, to different extents, all about him. Dylan produced some great solipsistic songs himself – the whole of Blood on the Tracks, and an awful lot of Infidels – but his attitude feels much more all-encompassing.

      • Does it matter, though, whether someone writes songs that are all-about-me or songs that embrace the whole human condition? Isn’t it about whether they’re good songs or not?

      • @TFD ,,,, you say that someone’s feelings about Dylan depend on when you first encountered him…. but like yourself, I grew up with him….I thought he was wonderful, exciting, etc. etc, couldn’t get enough of him… and unlike some, I liked it when he went electric and left the protest songs behind, good as they were and still are. But the trouble is, I think that I’ve sort of grown out of him….

        Obviously, some people (tongue firmly in cheek) are more like this….

      • @Alabachi, I don’t really agree that Cohen’s songs are ‘poems set to music’…because I think they work best as songs….being a poet and being a songwriter require different skills…..with songwriting, a balance between words and music, both working together. I think he’s a better songwriter than he is a poet

      • That was really addressed to Shane, suzi, because he’s a lot younger than me and I think looking back on someone’s career is a whole lot different from starting out with them and growing up as they grow. You say that you’ve done that and now you’ve gone off Dylan: well, fine! I went off him myself when he turned to Jesus, and I’ve missed quite a chunk before he started coming up with stuff I liked again – Time Out Of Mind, Love And Theft and Modern Times, not to mention all the really old archive stuff that’s been coming out recently.

        But also, I’m now filling the 80s gap and reappraising his work in those years through TP&TH, because they toured together in 1986/7 and I have loads of bootlegs of those concerts, so I’ve listened a lot to the contemporary songs that I didn’t know before.

        And then there were the Traveling Wilburys…

      • @TFD yes, I know you remark was addressed to Shane, but I was commenting on your comment….is that not allowed ….? !

        I did like Dylan in the Traverling Wilburys but like you I went off him when he got all born-again Christian for a while….and I’m afraid I never really returned…! This may well be my loss!

      • @TFD, sorry, I don’t see any problem with commenting on something which was addressed to someone else, because everything that is posted here is open for everyone to read and therefore surely open to comment by everyone?? I really was not trying to be awkward…..My point of view does differ from yours,to some extent, and I thought you were generalising a bit….yes, someone’s view of a musician may be affected the point in their lives at which they encounter them, that’s very likely to be the case, but it’s not a completely hard and fast rule, surely ?

        Anyway, my heart is no longer living in the 60s. It’s moved on….to the early 80s at least…..

      • @TFD, no, no, you haven’t annoyed me – I was afraid that I had annoyed YOU, by commenting on your remarks addressed to Shane….that’s how it came across to me, anyway…I couldn’t see why I shouldn’t have commented but you seemed not to like it… maybe I’m reading too much into it.

        I still sometimes listen to and enjoy Dylan songs… including songs of his sung by other people…possibly especially those, to be truthful…. but I have to be in the right mood for them. He’s one of ….to quote …my back pages….I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now…

        (Voice: Who is she kidding ! ! ! )

      • Heavens no, suzi – I wasn’t annoyed, and I’m not annoyed now. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I think it’s really great that we all like different things, and we all have different reasons for liking what we like, and we all come on here and talk about it.

        Here was a challenge, after all, that could easily have had us at each others’ throats and yet here we are, reflecting in tranquillity. (Wordsworth) Thank you, Shane. Thanks you, ‘Spillers.

  10. Here’s one from the 80s. A-ha vs Duran Duran.

    In retrospect, it seems obvious.

    A-ha are from Oslo, capital of Norway and home to the Munch Museum (wherein resides a painted Scream). Duran Duran are from Birmingham, home of the Bull Ring Shopping Centre and one of the worst railway stations in the world.

    A-ha’s comic-book inspired video for their debut single, “Take On Me”, is one of the coolest videos ever, and even the leather cord bracelets still look vaguely cool. Duran Duran’s “debut video (for “Planet Earth”) also features digital effects, but they’re clunky (OK, it was 4 years earlier and maye the technology wasn’t up to it) regardless, there is something desparately disturbing about the sight of Simon Le Bon in pedal pushers and a cummerbund, not to mention the curtain cord around his neck.

    Morten Harket has cheekbones to die for (dahling!). I don’t wish to offend anybody so I will not make a comparison on this point (i.e. looks).

    Morten Harket has an incredible voice. Simon Le Bon… doesn’t.

    A-ha didn’t do all that silly faffing around on boats. Not even in the fjords.

    Sample lyrics (7th singles):

    Moving on the floor now babe you’re a bird of paradise
    Cherry ice cream smile I suppose it’s very nice

    “Rio”, Duran Duran

    It wasn’t the rain that washed away…
    Rinsed out the colours of your eyes
    Putting the gun down on the bedside table
    I must have realized

    “I’ve Been Losing You”, A-ha

    Spot the native English speakers.

    Both bands did Bond themes. I suspect neither were their best work, but seeing as it’s a common point, here’s
    “A View to a Kill”:

    “The Living Daylights”:

  11. ah now, for me, the “don’t-really-like-music” girls at school liked Duran Duran, coz they fancied John Taylor, which made them uncool as far as I was concerned. Aha were somehow more acceptable, Morten has a much better voice and cheekbones…

    If I could only listen to one I guess it would still be Aha, but I do love Planet Earth and Save a Prayer.

      • TV Burp probably appeals to some of each. Benjamin and I both like it. The ‘Fight’ is a regular slot, and occurred to me as a way of resolving some of these disputes. I’d like to see Dylan v. Cohen resolved Harry Hill-style…

      • Sorry, then, DaddyPig, but I’m appalled. The way to solve differences is to fight??? I won’t be watching it with my grandsons, that’s for sure.

      • I’ve always liked Harry Hill and always thought it was in a good cartoonish spirit. I’ve assumed Benjamin will see it the same way but you’ve made me think twice now…

    • Eddie Izzard action movie: dress in drag, long eared animals at the side of the speedboat to look cool (and funny) .. wafting in the wind with their lips flapping.

      Harry Hill action movie – big collars – shout ‘fight’. long eared animals hit each other.

      the winner is ….. oh no, I’ve started debates over child rearing!

  12. Madness
    The band I would’ve most liked to be in.
    A series of great tunes and great videos.
    Ended songs by slowing down.
    Everyone thought they would just do ska covers and then they popped up with My Girl and invented a new kind of pop-ska-talking about people’s real lives genre.
    Kept writing and singing and evolving great pop songs even as they slipped further down the charts.

    The Specials
    Miserable sods always falling out with each other.
    Too many lyrics looking down their noses at other people.
    Ended songs by speeding up.
    Kept doing miserbale stuff.
    Jerry Dammers wrote two brilliant political songs – Ghost Town and Nelson Mandela and the best the rest of the band could do was to fall out with him.

    • Even though I love the Specials – and we’ve been there before – the first two albums I purchased with my own money were by Madness and Blondie – both were ‘best of’s’ .. I think they were incredible bands for the art of 7″ singles – brilliant throwaway ‘pop’ on the surface – but if you were inclined to dig deeper – brilliant social comment for the time.

      I’d join you in Madness – looked like more fun.

      • Blondie ! ! yes……..

        But who are we to compare them to ? !

        Suspect they are incomparable……

        Debbie thought that she might be Marilyn Monroe’s daughter….and they shared this quality, that both men and women liked them (not necessarily for the same reasons !)

        Lovely, feisty songs….my favourite probably Picture This, but like most of them really

  13. Can’t seem to reply directly to your last post, TFD, but am relieved that the Walker Art Gallery is still where it belongs….

    This Spill challenge does seem designed to provoke fractiousness….who you like best is of course down to personal taste….

    ok….Beatles v Stones (Beatles, still quite like Stones)
    Beatles v Monkees (Beatles, but still like Monkees)
    Kinks v The Who (Kinks by some way, but still like The Who)
    Oasis v Blur (Oasis, no special reason)

    This could go on and on…..but time to say goodnight!

  14. Oh, I’m not fractious – I’m taking it in the light-hearted spirit that I’m sure Shane intended it! If you like Len better than Bob it’s fine with me.

    • But I still do like Bob…..just not as much !

      There’s a sort of belligerent quality to Dylan…..which can be amusing, but isn’t always altogether likeable.

      Cohen seems to bare his soul in a way that Dylan never does, as far as I can see….(I stand to be corrected here…)

      I didn’t mean that you personally were fractious, TFD, I just felt there was a danger that things might become so…

    • Well exactly Beth. I was going to come to that point last but I’ll start with it. The Ramones may have “invented punk – official” but they have become one of those cheesy shorthands for rock & roll that hipsters who don’t actually listen to music like to wear as a badge of coolness. The Lurkers are hipster-proof.

      The Ramones may be the original but that doesn’t necessarily mean the best otherwise people would still fly across the Atlantic in Wright bros style bi planes.

      The Ramones records just sound weedy to me. The Lurkers took the style and played it louder therefore better – case proven. Howard Wall was perfectly acceptable lead vocalist whereas Joey Ramone just has that horrible nasal drone.

      But you say surely The Ramones are just cooler than The Lurkers- the leather jackets, the hair, the skinny jeans, songs a bout beating kids wth baseball bats. That’s the point though, they are just a cartoon band, which wore thin years before they finished. THe Lurkers have more depth, something rarely acknowledged, a band of misfits and outsiders despite their apprent ordinariness. The Ramones gave us a cartoon image of US bubblegum culture, fun if you like that sort of thing, whereas the Lurkers were the authentic sound of the British suburbs, with all it’s repressed madness. And the Lurkers’ non-image is more punk than the Ramones dressing-identically-for- twenty -years cotrivance.

      But what about the Ramones live? Well I saw them once and I was just bored – it sounded like one not particularly interesting song that went on for an hour and a half. I didn’t see the original Lurkers but the current version is more fun than that even on an off night.

      And Arthur Bassick and Manic Esso are nice guys .. I’ve not met the Ramones so I can’t say.

    • I like the Ramones a lot better now than i did back in the day. I essentially ignored them then in favor of all of the other things in music that were going on at the time. First song i knew them by here was Rock and Roll High School (although a quick google shows that it didn’t chart). And that song still sucks.

  15. Much as I love them both, Paul McCartney > John Lennon.

    Partly about the music (Paul’s songs are based around the horizontal melody, John’s around the vertical chord structures, i.e. Paul had better tunes – out of countless examples, compare “Here, There and Everywhere” with “I’m Only Sleeping”. Partly because I generally root for the nice guy. Partly because I think, although neither of them are great lyricists, John is often overrated and Paul underrated – some of Paul’s love song lyrics (H,T&E again, for example) are perfection. Partly because Paul is unfairly maligned for his solo career (“The Frog Chorus” is a song for children), when John’s solo output was often execrable, even without living into the 1980s. (“Mull of Kintyre” > “Happy Xmas (War is Over)”).

    That said, George Harrison wrote the two best songs on the Beatles’ best album…

  16. Talking of art galleries, which would you plump for: Titian’s Venus of Urbino ( I quote Wikipedia: “The argument for the painting’s didacticism was made by the late art historian Rona Goffen in 1997’s “Sex, Space, and Social History in Titian’s Venus of Urbino”. Titian contrasts the straight lines of the architecture with the curves of the female form, and the screen behind Venus bisects the painting, a large-scale division that is mitigated by unifying elements such as the use of colour and the floral patterns of the couch, cassoni, and background tapestries.”)

    or Manet’s Olympia (again, Wikipedia “The painting deviates from the academic canon in its style, characterized by broad, quick brushstrokes, studio lighting that eliminates mid-tones, large color surfaces and shallow depth.”)?

    Me? I’m a dog person, so the Titian gets it over Manet’s black cat.

    Is that my coat?

    • Ah, good choice to compare… I like Manet’s style and attitude, so I think it would have to be Olympia over the Venus, despite the fact that Manet’s was really a sort of cover version.

      • The Titian is far more voluptuous, despite supposely being an allegory for the perfect Renaissance wife – all love, beauty and fertility. Mark Twain thought it was filth incarnate. The Manet was condemned for re-painting the Venus as a prostitute. The ‘classical’ coy being replaced by the ‘modern’ brazen? As a man, which woman would I prefer? Mmm, a bit of a poser, one might say.

        I like the way you use the term ‘cover version’ to compare nudes. LOL

      • “flat as a playing card” was i believe how they saw Olympia. I love all animals but i’m a cat person and have had 4 black ones (so far). But i’ll still take the Titian. Even though i like the concept of Manet’s better. There were many more interim covers of sorts though.

      • If it’s cats v dogs then it’s Manet for me, but really I like both.

        And what about Giorgione’s Sleeping Venus? That’s got neither cat nor dog, only landscape.

      • The flatness was part of the point; drawing attention to the restrictions of the two dimensional canvas.

        The fact that Manet’s model was a prostitute is neither here nor there for me; I doubt that any respectable woman would have posed nude for Manet anyhow. And the difference between mistress and prostitute can be so very, very slender… Her direct gaze, on the other hand, is a challenge – more to the male viewer perhaps – and something that I think is valuable.

        I prefer the Manet for what it points towards – modernity, and the ackknowledgment of the artist as an actor within art. With the advent of photography and reliable printing methods, painting as a purely representative artform was devalued and needed to find a new niche. Manet’s work was a step along this path – a path that led to Impressionism (much reviled by critics at the time) and beyond.

        Plus, I reckon it’s a heck of a lot more fun to play with the paint a bit – to adapt what you see, to express yourself overtly – as well as to cock a snoot at the establishment. If you can.

  17. Joyside better than the Clash ( mind you, IMHO, Keith Harris and Orville were better than the Clash).

    Let’s start with the case against. The Clash were among the first wave of punk bands. Their lead singer Danvers St John Mellors was the son of wealthy aristocrats and born in luxury in Turkey.
    He had played in many second rate pub rock bands but quickly saw the money making possibilities of pretending to be working class, playing badly and writing on his trousers with a Biro.
    Their first few records were quite good, little shards of punk noise and cheap polemic but they couldn’t keep it up. By the time of their second album they were draughting in clapped out old rockers to “produce” it and playing like a low rent Rolling Stones on Mogadon.
    It all went downhill from there. Culminating in this abomination, a song so vile that it went on to become the soundtrack to a war ! Horrible.

    Joyside, in contrast, were formed by degenerate Chinese gits from the slums. Their music and attitude is a result of living under one of the most repressive regimes in the world. One that executes thousands of people a year. The only logical thing to do is to get drunk and thrash a guitar to death.

    The real deal.
    Where are the Clash now ? Living in Hollywood and hob-nobbing with movie stars and politicians no doubt.

    • I really liked London Calling ! ! ! I think it was a great track and when I went to London on my holiday when I saw the river Thames for the first time I actually shouted “I live by the river” (Which embarrassed my sister very much ! ! !)

      Joyside are great ! ! !

    • “Their lead singer Danvers St John Mellors was the son of wealthy aristocrats and born in luxury in Turkey.”
      Your exaggeration for comic rhetorical effect won’t wash here! And a much nicer bloke than Jake Burns (see elsewhere on this thread)

      “quickly saw the money making possibilities of pretending to be working class,”
      An outrageous slur! He was pretending to be working class years before The Clash.

      “By the time of their second album they were draughting in clapped out old rockers to “produce” it and playing like a low rent Rolling Stones on Mogadon.”
      Outrageous…..errr …. ok you may have a point about Give Em Enough Dope

      “a song so vile that it went on to become the soundtrack to a war ! ”
      A fine pop record – Strummer was genuinely horrified when it got misappropriated.

      “Living in Hollywood and hob-nobbing with movie stars and politicians no doubt.”
      Simonon has been busy getting arrested on Greenpeace actions. Topper is dossing abut somewhere in Kent. Jones did a bit of hobnobbing with an unemployed punk singer I know from Merthyr Tydfyll – no red carpets there. And Pete Docherty & Kate Moss, but never mind about that.

  18. Well………….

    I know this is getting into taboo area, but I don’t worship at the altar of Bruce.

    Make no mistake – I understand fully who he is and what he means to people, and he hasn’t become The Boss by accident or simple longevity. He brought small town blue collar America to big arenas, and as a rock and roller he rates up there with the biggest and best.

    But there’s also much myth behind the Springsteen legend, contradictions that fans don’t want to see. His latest album, Wrecking Ball, rails against greed and corruption in America, yet he gave the keynote address at SXSW, the pinnacle of corporate music. And sure he used that pulpit to encourage artistic freedom and ignoring genre boundaries, but he hasn’t really followed his own advice. A lot of major stars appear with lots of other people and push themselves artistically and take chances, but what has Bruce done? Compare his record there with, say, Neil Young.

    Musically and lyrically, Bruce’s range is quite limited. He’s written some great anthems, no question. He’s wisely surrounded himself with a big, dynamic band of good players. And his storytelling has been masterful. But it’s always a little aloof, too. He uses fictional, representational characters, which is a good literary device but I don’t get the same emotional connection to a person in concept than I due to an Ira Hayes, say.

    I think that’s why, in all honesty, you really only need 3 or 4 Springsteen albums. Get his few best and you’ve heard all there is to hear. With others discussed above in this thread, however, you miss a lot if you don’t have their entire catalogue.

    I used an Otis Gibbs video above to demonstrate that lots of others are doing what Bruce does writing-wise. I’m not saying Otis is better. I am saying the above is just as good as a Springsteen song. And Otis was at Occupy & Bruce was in the corporate tents at SXSW.Sometimes on a sunny afternoon nothing but Bruce will do. But in terms of making me feel for the working man and the downtrodden strongly enough to get up and do something about it, it’s guys like Otis Gibbs (and others) who do that for me.

    • I’m a big Bruce fan, always have been, but I didn’t like either of the two albums preceding Wrecking Ball and haven’t even listened to that yet in its entirety. Don’t agree, though, that you only need 3 or 4 albums – I couldn’t possibly choose 3 or 4. They are all different, and all based so firmly in different styles of US music – people noticed it with the Seeger Sessions stuff but in fact Bruce had been doing it all along. Compare Greetings with Born To Run with Nebraska, say.

      Don’t understand what you mean about not feeling an emotional connection to fictional characters. The Ballad Of Ira Hayes is a powerful song anyway – it makes little difference that Ira was a real person, because in the song he stands for all the other people that have been mistreated and discriminated against. These days I bet most people wouldn’t know he was a real person anyway. And Springsteen uses fictional characters as a device to allow him to express whatever issues and emotions he wants to explore – you would soon be complaining if he kept writing about how awful it is to be a rich and famous rock star.

      So as I say, I may be cooling off a little with present-day Bruce – ask me again when I’ve seen him at the Isle of Wight – but Bruce up to and including Devils And Dust still does it for me.

      And Otis is quite nice, but really, I’ve heard a hundred singers doing that sort of thing and not remembered them the next day. Oh and incidentally:

      Justice is a woman in a rocking chair
      Combing out the tangles from her long black hair

      The what now?

    • I do like Springsteen a lot (I’m from New Jersey, i have no choice) and love some of it too, but he wouldn’t accompany me to a desert island. Old Neil Young probably would though.

      • Desert island? Now that’s a horse of a totally different colour – or a challenge for next week.

        *wonders how much TP she’ll be able to squeeze in*

      • It’s 5 Stones Albums for me. One or two each of Led Zep and Bowie – ack! Maybe i could make my own 10 mix CD’s.

  19. Since Chinny doesn’t come on here, I can without fear of contradiction state that pre-1987 Whitesnake beats post-1987 Whitesnake hands down. Influences: blues and classic British blues rock versus US hair metal. Style: pub rock denim versus US hair metal and spandex. Band: a proper band where the musicians got to write and co-write songs versus expensively hired session musicians and absolute dictatorship.

    Blur v. Oasis? Suede every time.

    • Sacrilege and presumption all in one ! ! ! (And, just to be absolutely clear… it is specifically Whitesnake 1987 which I consider to be the pinnacle of their career. I would certainly, broadly, agree with Abahachi that most of the band’s pre-87 stuff eclipses most of their post-87 stuff, (Apart from ’87 itlself ! )

      • oops… Well, at least we can agree that 1987 is much better than any of the dross that follows it…

    • Blur v. Oasis
      Alex James still owes me a drink and when I crewed for Oasis the brothers were tossers to the ‘fans’ who were working with us.

      Pulp for me thanks.

  20. Undertones Vs Stiff Little Fingers
    Both came out of late 70s Northern Ireland and were classed as ‘punk’ but had pretty different sounds, lyrically were poles apart and had greatly differing levels of success. Revisionist populist history seems to have ignored SLF when looking back on the UK punk years, but they were/are one of my favourite bands. Still love the Undertones (what’s not to like? – most people have a soft spot for them), but for me, it the Fingers all the way:
    1. Most people can name (or at least recognise) about handful of Undertones songs – Teenage Kicks, My Perfect Cousin, Here Comes the Summer, Jimmy Jimmy, It’s Going to Happen etc. Ask someone about SLF and they’ll usually falter after Alternative Ulster or At the Edge.
    2. Four studio albums each in their first incarnation – Undertones between ’79 and ’83, SLF between ’78 and ’83.
    3. Both had singers with highly identifiable voices – almost no-one is as immediately identifiable as Feargal Sharkey and his high-pitched quavering. Jake Burn’s guttural yowl was just as easy to spot, but many other singers have this – NO-ONE has ever sounded like Feargal.
    4. Both bands were championed by John Peel. Famously, Teenage Kicks was Peel’s favourite song. John Peel also played SLF’s first single, Suspect Device repeatedly before they were given a record contract.
    5. Whilst SLF got slightly mellower and more mainstream rock after the first album or two, The Undertones were always pop-oriented (like the Ramones) and better for it. I love them for this, but as a matter of personal taste, put up the bubblegum of Here Comes the Summer next to the catharsis of Suspect Device and I’ve got to go for SLF.
    6. People may argue with me, but even though they both released four LPs in a similar time-span, I still think of The Undertones as a singles band (probably down to the number of pop hits they had), whereas I listened to SLF’s four LPs constantly for years and they’re imprinted on my brain.
    7. Always loved Jake Burns who seems to this day like a great guy, never did warm to Feargal Sharkey for some reason.
    8. In conclusion, Rigid Digits win out over Teenage Kicks I’m afraid.

    • 7. Sorry got to chip in about point 7 but Jake Burns seems to me like a cock of the highest order, the easy going man of the people image he puts across is completely fake, I’ve heard loads and loads of stories about him and modern day SLF generally treating everyone like shit, no smoke without fire I think!
      I read an interview with Henry Cluney about how he in effect got sacked from SLF – he apprently phoned Jake up one day and got told by his wife that he was in the bath and Jake would call back when he got out. Nex thing he kew SLF were touring without him. Cluney’s comment years later was “I can only assume he’s still in the bath!”
      It’s a hard thing to find a gig promoter or support band who have a good word to say about him!
      Rant over ….

  21. Because I am just someone who enjoys what I enjoy, have very little knowledge of music, instrumentation, technique, bands, knowledge of individuals in them or the backstory, I am just going to keep it simple and then tell you what sounds best to me. Then you can add your two cents worth if you like and fill in with the important stuff.

    Who’se better?

    Keith Moon?

    John Bonham?

    While I can’t deny that John Bonham had that extra something, I just love the seamlessnes, the exuberance and the joy that was present in Keith Moon’s drumming. That’s all.

      • Have to agree with you. Whilst i can see what people like about Bonham, Moon is my all time fave drummer – he just gave his instrument personality, and how many drummers can you say that about. Although the Bonham devotees will say the same about him. Its commonly thought amongst those more expert than i at drumming that Moon’s technique was actually pretty dreadful, but he made up for it in other ways.

    • I think that Keith Moon is amazing!!! Jon Bonham is great but for me maybe Keith Moon was the very best rock drummer ever, but I am not an expert.

      BUT the really important question is . . . .

      Who is the best Japanese girl drummer? 😉

      Rina from Scandal or Shiho from Stereopony



      Time for bed now – this challenge is great ! ! ! !

      • I actually think Stereopony are all great musicians with only three in the band you have to do more i think.

        But actually I do really admire Rina!

        She is the youngest in Scandal and even now is only like 20. And when they started she was only 15 and she was a classical pianist but learnt to play drums in Scandal as they wanted a drummer and not a keyboard player.

        So basically she learnt drums by only when she joined. I saw this interview where she was saying how she wanted to give up because she thought she was holding the band back, but the other Scandal girls really encouraged her and said Scandal would not be Scandal without Rina as the drummer so she keep trying and now she is actually a good drummer I think.

  22. Lou Reed Vs John Cale?
    Sigur Ros Vs Bjork?
    Bowie Vs Iggy?
    Mogwai Vs Slint?
    Marley Vs Perry?

    Home teams win for me (going with the US convention of listing the home teams last). Good game.

  23. Very late to the party, but my first thought was Siouxsie and the Banshees vs The Cure, both of which around this time featured Robert Smith. “Swimming Horses” and “The Caterpillar” were both released in March 1984 (according to wikipedia). The former is, well, OK-ish. The latter is a work of delirious genius. And the video’s better. The Cure win.

    • Well… I am going to disagree with you bish. First off, you are comparing songs from when Robert Smith was in Souxsie (and presumably fed up and possibly there was tension in the band) and from when he reformed The Cure. A better comparison song would be from the next album that Souxsie did after they recruited their replacement guitarist. As it happens, my online sources tell me that there was much less reliance on guitar work, which is evident in their first single release, Cities In The Dust.

      Anyway, I don’t like The Cure much, which is criminal, I know. I really like Souxsie – a LOT.

    • Both have had their high and low points but The Cure never did Hong Kong Garden, Switch, Happy House, Israel, Monitor, Nightshift, Circle….etc etc Banshees win, despite being arrogant knobheads!

      • And the Banshees never did 10.15 Saturday Night, A Forest, Lovecats, In Between Days, Close To Me, Catch, Just Like Heaven, Lullaby, High, Cut Here… I think it comes down to how much pop you like in your goth – lots in my case! (Mind you, Spellbound, Peekaboo, Cities in Dust and various others are works of genius. So perhaps it’s a tie!)

      • I’ve been reading through today – trying not to get too distracted as work has to be done for a few days.

        But I came to the conclusion that the people on here are bloody brilliant.,, because, I love actually thinking about what appeals to people – even if I don’t share that view.

        I focused on Cohen – Dylan mostly because I still find it strange that I don’t connect with Dylan (I’m also writing something about Cohen, so I’m looking at his output quite deeply) … I know it often comes down to what age you discovered these people (and I don’t mean release date – many people my age and younger are obsessed with Beatles – Dylan – Floyd – Velvets etc) it’s just when you are really embracing music, It’s what sticks most – is what sticks – and you’ll stick up for them for life.

        There is also a timescale – Blowin’ in the wind – HAD blown – the times HAD changed and they were going into nuclear meltdown when I listened – that made Cohen’s ‘The Future’ more of a relevant protest track to me. But then so was Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘Two Tribes’ – my bad, as Buffy said.

        Beth’s – Sister v Neph – Sisters all the way, I can’t stand up for Cohen and not the Sisters of Mercy… that would be wrong – but looking back it’s funny how po’ faced Goth frontmen were.. all of these are on my Goth mix tapes and cracking they are too – even the odd Mission track…..

        …and while thinking about this I came up with Bauhaus, but against whom? I thought it’s going to be the Cure but felt they needed a Siouxsie – face off.
        Seems I was beaten to it.
        I like Bish’s ‘how much pop you like in your goth’, it works for how ‘much pop do you like in your beat combo’s’ I’ll take the Monkees thanks.
        How much ‘pop do you like in your ex soap star’ – well Kylie’s got a crush on Me. and how much pop do you like in your grebbo? I think I’ve lost my thread there – ah I’ll take Carter USM over Pop will eat itself thanks.

        sorry – for me it songwriting – the words of Robert Smith are perfect, flippant – frivolous -arrogant – yearning – pop- angry – really bitter – wistful – dreamy, surreal – merged with enough atmospheric’s or perfect pop in the music – it’s just the whole thing for me… and again it says more to me about my life… and that brings me to:

        I was 15 when Bruce Springsteen released Born in the USA – I wasn’t born in the USA….. in one album title and patriotic sleeve photograph he lost me. I’m not anti any American – it just visually typecast him as someone writing about stuff ummm not up my street… as it were.

        the Drummers all fine examples – Moon for me for the cheek here – but my pet drummer is Tony Allen – I bring him out whenever I need cheering up and always think of him as a mad octopus that makes me smile. (yes I do keep him in an oversized matchbox – and I don’t let the family know he’s hidden in the house).

        opps – it’s got to 10 o’clock – the Ms. demands my company for an hour. (she’s weird like that)

      • Sweet stuff, Shane. Of course you were wrong about Bruce (that’s not a patriotic song) but then you knew I’d say that, right?

        Thanks for an ace Challenge – not that it’s finished yet, I hope. Night night.

      • tfd –

        It was very anti-patriotic, but someone had to say it, and he did a bang up job. That album gets some crap for making Bruce a mega-star, but it’s still a very good un.

      • One thing i must say about Dylan – how could anyone alive not want to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, etc.

      • @Saneshane….the music played at my eldest daughter’s wedding reception a few years back consisted almost entirely of Beatles tracks – mainly early Beatles at that. I felt like I’d stepped into a time-warp! Yet she was only a baby when they split up, and I don’t think I played their music a great deal during her childhood, we were more into what was current at the time.

        However for one important birthday the family dubbed our own voices over ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ – altering the words appropriately….and sent her the resulting tape. Maybe that was an influence !

        I’ve found that RR has introduced me to things I either didn’t know or thought I wouldn’t like and found that I did… and what is also so great is that there’s people from the US and from Japan and elsewhere joining in, united by their love of music whilst all having different tastes and different ideas….

      • Ha ha, thanks Amy! Interestingly (ish), prior to this post if I’d given it any thought, I would have assumed it was pretty much a given that The Cure were “better” than the Banshees. (Not sure quite what I would have based that on: stylistic diversity of output, longevity, record sales? Perhaps all of the above.) Just goes to show, eh?!

      • I’d never thought to compare the two. I like both, albeit in different moods. The Cure definitely can be poppier – but some of their earlier stuff is terribly dark – whereas Siouxsie is almost invariably rawer than the Cure. However, I only really know both bands through their singles output.

      • Toughie: Scream, Juju, 17 Seconds & Faith are all almost perfect albums. Both groups evolved & flirted with pop (which was fine, if less interesting)& intertwined personnel.

        Can’t quite forgive the Banshees for nicking guitarists from Magazine & Clock DVA & derailing those projects, & nicking Budgie also finished off The Slits. The Cure, on the other hand, also come up with the flawed & über gloomy Pornography. Both outfits are probably guilty of chugging on past their sell by date.

        So, with a passing nod to acknowledge The Creatures – Cure win (for me) in extra/over time.

      • there was a distinct set of snobbishness about what Cure people listened to:
        the authentic believed the Nihilistic:
        Seventeen Seconds (1980)
        Faith (1981)
        Pornography (1982)
        were all that mattered.. and looked down their noses at the poppier:
        The Top (1984)
        The Head on the Door (1985)
        Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987)

        only slightly agreeing on Disintegration, which was pop – goth perfection/sell out distilled.

        Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me is my favourite and I stood by that at the time – to the wails of “really”? you can play this game with which is the best Cure?

      • good point about the Cure, when I was a moody teenager all I listened to was the gloomy 17 seconds, Faith and Pornography, the perfect accompaniment to long walks by the river with my walkman. As I got a bit older Kiss Me x3 became my favourite album by the band.

        For a while everyone seems to agree that Disintegration is their best, but due to being heartbroken by my first love just before it came out, I could hardly listen to it (he was a Cure fan) and it actually took seeing them live a few years ago to fully appreciate it.

        They’re considered rather mainstream by goths, but i think we all love them really. Pushed, I think I’d have to say my favourite album now is Faith for the bass lines.

      • Don’t think it’s snobbishness – time of 1st encounter, I think. If the pop stuff was your 1st encounter, that’s probably what you prefer. Although The Cure later revisited their earlier sound, something got lost for me. Am sure some of the Dire Straits crowd that were picked up around the Jumping/17 Seconds period, felt the same way when keyboardy, Faith came out.

      • who doesn’t love Lovecats though? Fat Bob looks exquisite in the video, espeically when he gets scratched by the little kitten (I in no way spent many hours watching it in my youth) and even my Mum likes it.

      • I was just using Snobbishness as a throwaway term about each side (pop or dark) they each defended their corner as the better Cure.

        But yes – my first hear was the ‘boys don’t cry’ compilation, probably a couple of years after it was released .. dark pop songs really – and that’s what I like.

        I painted a Biker jacket for my friend when I went to technical college – he asked for a Cure image on the back – I painted a surreal bundle of fluffy Lovecats on the back with lyrics underneath … and he was furious because that wasn’t cool Cure (really? was there ever cool Cure?) But the first time he wore it out he got chatted up, and then the next, and then the next night too.. I’d promised to re do the jacket. But somehow he changed his mind – fickle boys, eh.

      • No offense at snobbishness. Lovecats wasn’t a jump the shark moment (because it’s good), but did begin the period of interchangeable personnel & patchy albums.

  24. Just a terrific job on the topic Shane & wonderful music & posts by all. I’ve resolved myself not to get drawn into the Dylan-Cohen conversation mostly ’cause there’s no way to resolve I can see. I’ll just say my score ( Dylan 483 – Cohen 37) I would like to jump in the Springsteen fray however. As I’ve chatted about on here before Born In The Usa is the album made me a Boss fan. Specifically My Hometown ,which if he had never written anything else I’d still consider him genius on some level. Fortunately he’s been prolific so there’s lots to love. As to whether BITUSA is a patriotic album I would say distinctly small p – let’s reclaim the flag from huckster war gangsters – kind of love for your country. At a time when the Vietnam hangover was still massive ( still not over it) he allowed his audience to once again share a sense of country as community in some small but grand way. No mean thing in my book & it endeared Bruce to me for the effort.

    • I agree (of course) about Born In The USA – and with amy about it making Bruce a mega-star. Which was hardly the album’s fault! But it meant that after that he was more or less forced to play large arenas, with the change of style and lack of intimacy that entails; although Bruce always tries to get as intimate with the audience as possible.

      What Shane said about Bruce further up (and there was something further back than that but I can’t find it) interested me…about not liking certain music because ‘it wasn’t about me’. Do/did other people feel that? Or did you feel that when you were younger? Because I don’t think it was ever a factor in my own appreciation of music – I suppose that by the time I was about 12 I already knew I was a bit weird and had stopped expecting people to like the things I like (or agree with me about other things like religion, politics and so on). I’m still really surprised when anybody does.

      This is why I nearly always go to concerts by myself!

      • Reading back, that second paragraph doesn’t make a lot of sense – I should have added ‘and therefore I didn’t expect there to be any music that was about me’ somewhere in there.

        More coffee!

      • Mmm, that idea struck me as odd, too, tfd. I have never expected any music to be ‘about me’, but I always form a relationship with the, er, music before the words. (And, to some extent, with the people producing the music; acts with apparently large egos put me off, as does bombastic music.) When I get round to listening to them, words that seem to have been pondered over and chosen for more than their place in a rhyme impress me more than subject matter.
        This supports my Floyd choice, I think, and also my views about Cohen/Dylan and Bruce…..

        And, yes, this was a great Challenge, shane. Inspired!

      • About me – Lenny’s Suzanne has always irritated me with its use of the second person. Dunno if he’s trying to draw me in or not, but i always seem to find myself retorting to it. No, i don’t want to be there and no, i’m not her lover.

      • I’ve never been put off by music that’s about, say, England or Scotland or Ireland. I’m interested in it, actually. On the contrary, its giving me a window into a different world. I already know what goes on here.

      • Psychological Insight #2b: Maybe we’re all inclined to like music by people who we feel are possible versions of us (were we more talented, prettier, etc). Some of us then expect/want these versions to tell us something about ourselves and others expect/want to be told something different.
        Or not.

      • I’m the wrong gender then, Chris, as well as being wrong in so many other ways, because nearly all the music I like is by men; plus at gigs I always find I’m among more men than women (except when I go to see Mary Gauthier who has a large lesbian following).

      • Are there no possible versions of tfd that are male? PJ Harvey is definitely a possible version of me! (Whereas a Hello-Kitty-wearing female could never be (to comment on the Kawaii thread without going there…))

      • You’re right, Chris – that was a daft thing to say. I believe that gender difference is a social construct – that’s one of the things that makes me weird.

        Bob Dylan is probably the nearest thing to me. Which, given the state of him these days, isn’t a very comfortable thought.

      • So , that beggars the question of me inner female – ain’t that right? Could conceivably be a long list but I think I’ve narrowed it down to a cross between Chrissie Hynde & Carmen Miranda (with a touch of Cyndi).

        I mentioned Bruce (there’s nothing by me farther up thread) because in my head I was making a reference to the era (re: Cohen’s ‘The Future’ more of a relevant protest track to me) – and I didn’t get around to explaining that.

        I cut and paste a lot – (it’s the dyslexia, I put things through double spell checks to try and find words) – this thread has been a struggle – to not completely tumble over my typing – trying to explain logically.

        Anyway, to finish off the Bruce idea – as Tinny mentioned him – for me, that image and title was unfortunate .. the nuclear arms race was in full swing and Thatcher was clasping Reagan’s arse cheeks in her iron handbag … if I’d delved any deeper at the time – I would have understood it as ‘For right or for wrong – born in the USA’
        BUT a teenage gut reaction can last a lifetime – that’s my loss – it’s the album that did make him a mega star – maybe disappointedly for his fans – (but I never really listen to the radio or watch much TV) so my anti-‘right wing’ Americana image of it was entirely wrong – all because of a title and flag photo.
        I have a 7 year old – who is struggling to admit anything he does is wrong, and sometimes that stroppy young attitude is difficult to master – I could easily create a reaction to why Bruce isn’t my cup of tea – but the truth is – I saw a cover and made ‘a judgement’. A wrong judgement about the type of Writer Bruce is/was. That judgement means I don’t have ‘Born in the USA’ in my collection – but I do have ‘In Gorbachev We Trust’ by The Shamen. Perhaps if the internet was available then, the covers/titles wouldn’t have been the deciding factor.

        So, not one of us make a choice about where we are born or who we are and my comments: ‘it wasn’t about me’ is slightly wrong – in the intro I quoted The Smiths – ‘but the music that they constantly play IT SAYS NOTHING TO ME ABOUT MY LIFE’, now I like that – and as I said, it peeved my (Morrissey worshiping) friend, because I could argue why The Wedding Present WERE saying more to me about my life – but, if I jumped MY picket fence, so would Dylan and Springsteen .. I mean to say Carter USM, Pulp, ballboy – do say more to me about my life – but that’s not the be all and end all of my taste, I like learning from other cultures and music scenes, I think I’m quite eclectic – so ‘Ziva Kwawakabva’ (don’t forget you roots) by Bhundu Boys is saying just as much to me about my life as ‘Tower of Song’, it just happens to be in Shona not Canadian.

        “Well my friends are gone,
        and my hair is grey,
        I ache in the places where I used to play”

        ….thanks for reminding me Lenny.

    • Not sure about the ‘all about me’ thing…. not someting I’d consciously considered…..there are certain songs which reflect political my political views at the time….so agree with the point about Dylan’s Blowing in the Wind seeming relevant at the time but that Cohen’s The Future now seems more so…. or Oysterband’s Everywhere I Go….
      – incidentally, high time they featured on a list…(they did make the B-list once) or Billy Bragg’s Between the Wars which always brings tears to my eyes….. but really I’m pretty eclectic in my tastes….as you might have noticed from this weeks noms…Piaf, Show of Hands, Andreas Scholl and the Poni Tails….

  25. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this thread has run just under 24 hours.

    Just returned to it this morning and now my head’s full of drummers and Tony Williams and then Terry Cox and then Pentangle who didn’t come up as a threesome with FC and SS. And so I’m now listening to Pentangle’s Solomon’s Seal from 1972, which I haven’t heard for years.

    I have to agree with Shane, what marvelous people you all are with such wonderful views. Following the chat and listening to the music has made my ‘day’.

    • What’s impressed me too is by and large the commentary has been fairly objective, or as objective as one can be about music. I think I mean objective as in turning a critical eye to it and being analytical rather than the usual footie fan ”that’s rubbish ’cause I say it is” approach.

      I considered opinions I didn’t necessarily share because of that.

  26. My computer at home is kaput and I can’t spend much time blogging on a work one so I’ll just refer to the mother of all these disputes and say:

    Crosby 1
    Sinatra 0

    (I like them both but you want choices here, right?

    • I’ve always said that I don’t like Sinatra…. yet listening recently to various versions of i Could Write a Book, for the Books list….his version was by far the most expressive

      Sadly I only know Bing from White Christmas and Gone Fishing, not really enough to make a judgement…

  27. @Shoey – re The Banshees guitarist-poaching, before they snaffled McGeoch they considered trying to lure Geordie away from Killing Joke – in 1980! One of my favourite ever albums (What’s This For) would never have been made!

    • Close call. Siouxsie & The Homewreckers. Have a friend who worked for Polydor who was blown away by the unreleased follow-up to Clock DVA’s Advantage – then Siouxsie pinched John VC (although, to be fair, Adi was supposedly struggling with how to do the vocals on it).

  28. Realise that having mentioned (and posted a video of) Oysterband and then mentioned Billy Bragg, should have set them up for comparision…..
    Right, here’s Oysterband’s Everywhere I Go again

    And here’s Billy Bragg’s Between the Wars………………….

    now in a weepy heap, I love Billy’s song….but going by numbers I have more Oysterband CDs – yes I still buy those…..
    They do sing traditional songs but a lot of their material is their own – some political, some personal…. I once rashly compared them to Dylan….saying that their best songs were as good in their way as his…anyway, v. good songwriters imo, and underrated because they have the ‘folky’ image although some of their stuff is quite raucous and even punky…

    Billy’s songs have such passion, and many of them are so good too, so very hard to choose. But going by what I might take on a desert island, Oysterband would be my choice

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