Blog Archives

The Best of ‘What’s In My Bag?’

Amoeba Music, the famous LA record shop, has a great little web series called What’s In My Bag? They invite well-known people into their store, let them shop around for a while, and then interview them about the albums they chose. It’s basically a non-copyright-infringing version of Desert Island Discs. There’s often a lot of hipster-y posing, but there are a fair few videos where the celeb’s genuine love of music shines through. Here’s a few of the best videos…

Noel Gallagher

Unlike the others on this list, Gallagher’s video is ad hoc. Amoeba didn’t know he was coming; they just saw him in the aisles and ushered him into the green room for this brief but enjoyable video. He’s taking a punt on some artists that are new to him, and some of his choices (Pink Floyd, Can, and David Axelrod) are fairly surprising. Never one to mince words, he guesses that he’ll find a lof of these “shite”. He also gets a Hawkwind album “to see what all the fuss is about”. I don’t think there’s been fuss about Hawkwind for about 40 years.

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The Bizarrest Christmas Albums of 2013

That magical season is upon us again… when all the execrable Christmas albums are released. This year has seen festive albums by middle-of-the-road singers, such as Kelly Clarkson and Martina McBride, but also from artists that you might not expect. Below, I’ve compiled a list of the most unlikely Christmas albums of 2013. Have I listened to any of these records? No, of course not.

The Robertson Family – Duck the Halls

For those who don’t know, the Robertsons are the stars of an American reality TV show called Duck Dynasty. They are a salt-of-the-Earth tribe (they’re the guys in the header image), who made a fortune from duck hunting products, and bought themselves a mansion. Quite why they need their own TV series, let alone a spin-off album, I have no idea. It’s an album of standards, including the odious “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, but there are some new tracks, such as “Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Christmas”. That’s soon to be a classic, I’m sure.

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Wagner – The Original Neckbeard

A neckbeard, in literal terms, is hair covering the neck but not the face (see above). However, the term is often used to describe the kind of person who chooses to sport such a facial abomination. Neckbeards are self-satisfied nerds who wear fedoras and read the novels of Orson Scott Card. They can usually be found on message boards, complaining about immigration and “misandry”. Many people think that the Neckbeard phenomenon is a fairly recent one, perhaps dating back to no earlier than the invention of modem. However, I have discovered a much earlier specimen: Richard Wagner, the subject of the above painting.

Below are six reasons why Wagner was the original Neckbeard…

1)    He loved mythology

Wagner’s Ring Cycle is said to have been a huge influence on J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the Neckbeard’s favourite book, Lord of the Rings. Both works feature the fight for a ring of power that corrupts those who use it. This wasn’t Wagner’s only brush with mythology; Wagner’s first opera Die Feen has shades of Arwen and Aragorn, it being the story of a woman from the fairy world who marries a mortal king.

2)    He had a high opinion of himself

Okay, I suppose this one goes without saying. Anybody who writes a fifteen-hour-long opera cycle could hardly be called unpretentious. He believed that his works were so superior that they were a whole new form of expression, which referred to as “complete works of art”. This egomania led to a sense of entitlement: “The world owes me a living,” he claimed. And when he misbehaved (which did often), he didn’t believe he could be judged by the same standards of everybody else, because he was an artist.

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John, Paul, George, Ringo… and Peter?

Along with being the most revered rock band of all time, The Beatles are probably the most parodied. Their distinctive songs, accents, haircuts, and clothes, were all ripe for satire. However, there have been many poor spoofs of the “Fab Four” over the years, mainly by kneejerk reactionaries in the 60s and those looking for lazy laughs of recognition.

Peter Serafinowicz is a very funny man, a skilled impressionist, and a big fan of his fellow Liverpudlians, which is why his Beatles spoofs are some of the greatest ever. He’s done a good many over the years, but here’s five of the best…

I’ll Kill

Serafinowicz has done a few videos for Funny or Die UK, including this song which shows that Paul McCartney might not be the loveable guy he makes himself out to be.

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The Best Lyrics in History (Category: Humour)

Trumpton Riots

After two posts discussing terrible lyrics, I thought I would redress the balance somewhat and talk about lyrics that I really love.

Does humour belong in music? Well, I think it’s good to get away from the po-faced seriousness of rock music, at least from time to time. One of my favourite comedy bands is Half Man Half Biscuit. I’ll forgive you if you’ve never heard of them. They’re a punk band from Merseyside who started out in the 1980s and are still going “strong”. They specialise in sardonic, twisted songs filled with esoteric references. My description is not really doing them justice, but a lot of their stuff is on YouTube and Spotify, so you can easily check them out for yourself.

Anyway, I genuinely think that bandleader Nigel Blackwell is, in his own way, one of the best lyricists of all time. I will try to prove my case by giving you a few samples…

Tending The Wrong Grave For 23 Years

A mistake has been made
It’s a fact they can’t hide
Though I’m partly to blame,
It cannot be denied
There ain’t no use defending
It seems I’ve been tending
The wrong grave for 23 years

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The Worst Lyrics in History (Part 2)


Many people have joked about the fact Alanis Morissette doesn’t understand the concept of irony, but that song wasn’t even her worst crime against music. For example, her follow-up to Jagged Little Pill featured a song with the line, “How ’bout them transparent dangling carrots”. However, with her third album, Morissette completely forgot how songs work. Under Rug Swept, featured lyrics that weren’t merely bad, they were so verbose that you wouldn’t believe there was a melody in the world that would fit them. Read these lyrics aloud, and try to imagine how they could possibly be sung…

21 Things I Want in a Lover
Do you derive joy when someone else succeeds?
Do you not play dirty when engaged in competition?
Do you have a big intellectual capacity?
But know that it alone does not equate wisdom?
Do you see everything as an illusion?
But enjoy it even though you are not of it?
Are you both masculine and feminine?
Politically aware, and don’t believe in capital punishment?

These are 21 things that I want in a lover
Not necessarily needs, but qualities that I prefer

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The Worst Lyrics in History (Part 1)

Spin Doctors

Some time ago, I was commissioned by the US government to find the worst song lyrics in history. It sounded like a pretty easy job, and I’ll take what I can get in this economy. So, I spent hundreds of hours poring over virus-laden lyrics websites, until I finally found them.

You might remember the Spin Doctors as a One-Hit-Wonder responsible for the song, “Two Princes”. But uwisely, they actually recorded full albums of other songs. Most of these tracks lacked the catchiness of “Two Princes”, and instead had truly dreadful lyrics. Here is a selection of some the worst…

Refrigerator Car 

Your heart is a refrigerator car
It’s cold and it never waits
Frozen breath and frostbite
Stacked, unopened crates

You never loved your frozen freight
Perishables and bloodless meat
Your rolling snowball soul of sleet
You never wait

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