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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Thirty Days of Music- Part I

Drawing inspiration from Karl of "Those Geese Were Stupefied", I'm set to embark upon my own 'Thirty Days of Music' initiative. You can read about it on Karl's blog here

Day One is 'Your Favourite Song'

General Public - Tenderness

Formed from vestiges of English ska/reggae (skreggae?) band The Beat, with an ex-Dexy's Midnight Runner on drums, The Specials' former bassist and Mick Jones (!) on guitar, General Public were, ostensibly, a supergroup with a flair for film soundtrack fodder*. 'Tenderness' is off their 1984
d├ębut album 'All The Rage".

It’s a song that fails to overwhelm with its lyrical profundity, or ornate instrumentation. I’m almost entirely convinced that the only reason I even like it is because it featured in ‘Clueless’, a film that, along with ‘the Babysitters Club’ was taken out so frequently from the video shop during my formative years that my mother ended up trying to buy it from them. She can be kind like that sometimes**

Yet aside from being tinged with soft-focus nostalgia, ‘Tenderness’ is one of the most elevating pieces of music I’ve heard since The The’s ‘This is the Day’***, which, if it was allowed, would draw with General Public for the prestigious title of my favourite song. What makes ‘Tenderness’ so special to me is how unpretentious and earnest it is; an unashamed smattering of pure pop. A jangle pop melody, sugary backing vocals, hand claps (their magnitude is on a par with the cowbell in my humble opinion) and a soaring drum and bass line coupling. Each component is so unstoppably uplifting that collectively, they fashion a song which, no matter how many times I listen to it, never ceases to make my heart swell smilingly.

* Their songs were sampled frequently by Brat Pack don John Hughes

** When I was four years old I had a disturbing preoccupation with my cassette of Enya’s ‘Anywhere Is’. I wanted to know the lyrics so I could sing along so badly that my mom went into Our Price and stood with a small piece of paper and a pencil listening to the song on headphones until she’d copied down every single word.

*** It’s the song playing at the end of ‘Empire Records’ when they’re all dancing on the roof beside the neon record shop sign. Quite magical.

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