Nightman Listens To! Eurythmics – Savage (Top 1000 Albums Series)

When I started writing this series of Listens To! posts, my idea was to:

A: Listen to the tonnes of albums I have acquired over the years that I hadn’t bothered to actually listen to yet and give my thoughts as I listened for the first time.

B: Catch up on those artists that I was aware of/liked certain songs by, but whose albums I had never listened to in their entirety.

C: Potentially get some new favourites based off what I heard or by recommendations from my billions of readers.

D: Because there are a tonne of albums which always appear on best of lists which I have never heard.

As a musician, music fan, and human with working ears, I feel that I should give these a go. To get some focus, I decided to go to 2000 Edition of ‘Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums’ because it looks fairly comprehensive (and there are a few extra sections listing top 100 albums by genre which cover selections left out of the main 1000 which I will also try to cover).

sav.jpg

Greetings, glancers. It’s time for you to wail and gnash your teeth once more as I proclaim the greatest albums ever to be kind of crappy. Today I tread into the terrifying land of 80s synth based pop, ginger-headed melodies, and regrettable fashion choices. It’s another album I know zero about by a band who have had a few singles I’ve enjoyed and a few I have not. It’ll be interesting for me to hear if they can make a coherent whole album, or if they are the singles band that I know them as. Synth music, especially a lot of the chart stuff from the 80s has never sat well with me, partly because it came out of Disco (which I never loved) and eventually became today’s generic dance music (which is terrible). For a while when synths were first used, they had a purpose and a focus, but songs soon became overburdened by the instrument to the point of ridicule, or were not used with any sort of smarts, or just sounded crap. Maybe there isn’t any synth on this album, I have no idea. Only one way to find out.

What Do I Know About Eurythmics: Lennox-based pop duet who had a string of hits in the 80s and early 90s, employing Annie’s big mouthed vocals and lots of electronic sounds.

What Do I Know About Savage: Zilch, never heard of it. In fact, looking down the track listing I don’t recognise a single song.

Beethoven (I Love To Listen To): 80s drum beats with a slight squeak. Wind noises. Growing. More drums. Disaster. Ridiculous, laughable, dated sounds. Repeated vocals. Silly speaking. Fading from ear to ear. Additional silly bleeps. It sounds so tame and feeble and horrendously outdated. At least the lyrics are interesting. Shift towards fake strings, better for a few seconds. Laughter. And on it goes.

I’ve Got A Lover (Back In Japan): Bits of guitar or something. Beat and simple set of notes. Catchy enough chorus. Vocals like a yawn. Middle bit. Didn’t go anywhere. Goes on for a bit more with a few additional swerves and throbs and vocal bits.

Do You Want To Break Up: Clicks and twinkles. Guitar bend. Nuts. Baywatch. Beats mess. Vocal disgrace. More yawning. Low bits. High bits. Playing with the tempo. Ridiculous chorus. Repeat with assorted bits.

You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart: Sigh. More wafery fluffy beats. Keyboard bits and bassy bits and vocal tics. It’s oddly infectious though, but pretty plan and not very interesting. Enough.

Shame: Non-Tubular bells. Louder. Shame. Cersei’s breasts. Thumpy beat noise. Better melodies. Wondering if I’ve heard this, but probably not. Rolling Rs. Best song so far, I could listen to this again. Not too much though.

Savage: Organs. Churching. More soft beats. Anti-things lyrics. Gentle. Savage. Harp sounds. Drums and guitar kick up a notch. Aircraft flyby sounds. Guitar solo. Air. Ooohing. Fading out.

I Need A Man: Harsher vocals. Bluesy husky. Sexy? It has a different sound from the other tracks so far, but isn’t as heavy as it could have been. Better vocal delivery. Funny Status Quo guitars. Bababababababay.

Put The Blame On Me: Funky disco guitars. And funky disco beats. A sound more suited to me. More interesting melodies, especially on the title line. Piano falling downstairs. Weirdo noises and speaking. Unnecessary words. Howl. A good song, but like most others here the song seems to run out of ideas long before it ends and has a minute or more of filler at the end – throw in a few more variances or twists, don’t simply let the song fade to nothing like a watery fart.

Heaven: Uppy downy bass. Synth. Whispers. Heaven. Falling back on boring sounds and habits. A third of the song done and nothing doing. Too much of this feels like music for dickheads to dance to. No further substance or interest. Into the final minute we get a slight change, marginally better, but too little too late.

Wide Eyed Girl: Rain on a caravan roof. Faster. A View To A Kill. More yawns. More squeals and tics. Live bit. Attempted crazy guitar. Gets more raucous towards the end.

I Need You: Bits. Acoustic blast. More bits. Guitar repeat. A little bit of blues. Faking. Laughter. All very basic, but shows you don’t need all the blips and blaps.

Brand New Day: Last song up. Vocals only. A brave thing to do when you’re known for your synth and backing music. Grunts and backing vocals. We all know Lennox can sing, it’s a pity she arses about too much on too many of the songs. In comes the synth and noise. At least this one does feel like it was well planned beforehand. Drums now. This feels more like an opening track than a closing one. Gospel. End.

What Did I Learn: Not really anything I didn’t know about the band already, except that the lyrics are more interesting than I’d previously paid attention to.

Does It Deserve A Place In The Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: I would say no. Of course maybe it was another important step for electronic pop. The first songs drag on as the sound and style don’t appeal to me personally, and it all feels rather bland and dated. It doesn’t help that many of the vocals are grating and the melodies are not memorable. Once we get over that bump there are a few songs with greater quality, providing more ideas. I was expecting plenty of big choruses and tunes I that would have me whistling along instantly, but that never happened. As always with these albums, first listens are not the same as subsequent listens, but having gone through it once there isn’t enough to make me want to go through it again.

Another album down, and another which didn’t quite make the grade for me. But what about you? Is this one of your favourite albums and are you seething that I have failed to understand it? What makes it special for you? Let us know in the comments!

Bond Girls post for 007 Blogathon

Greetings, Glancers. Just a quick update for now – I’m taking part in a 007 Blogathon which is being hosted over at Maddylovesherclassicfilms – check out the link if you wish to take part. All you have to do is write about any part of the James Bond franchise – books, movies, and beyond and share your post on her blog. It’s taking place on 21st, 22nd, 23rd of July this year.

Bond Blogathon 3.PNG

As you know, I’ve written a few posts about the man with the golden shlong recently and I was in the process of finalizing another when I saw the blogathon so I’ll hold off from posting until then. For anyone who can’t bear the anticipation of finding out what I’ll be yapping about this time – I’ll be putting together a simple list of actresses who I think would have been good as Bond Girls. It’s all imagination, and it’s all in innocent bad taste, so I hope you’ll hang around to see what I write and check out the other entries taking part in the Blogathon!

Best Writing (Adapted) – 1970

Official Nominations: MASH. Airport. Lovers And Other Strangers. I Never Sang For My Father. Women In Love.

There are a few films I’m surprised to see missing out this year, especially when they are exactly what typically get nominated. Larry Kramer and Ken Russell crafted the script for Women In Love, a largely faithful adaptation which balances theme presented via dialogue with performance and visuals. I Never Sang For My Father is a little film which says a lot, again the screenplay allows room for performance rather than relying entirely on obtuse or emotive outbursts while Lovers And Other Strangers is just the sort of light distraction some people desired in 1970. Airport and MASH were always going to be the forerunners, and MASH is the more deserving winner.

My Winner: MASH

511oI5GRb3L._SX348_BO1,204,203,200_

My Nominations: MASH. Airport. Women In Love. Little Big Man. Patton. The Boys In The Band. Cromwell. The Magic Christian. Dodesukaden. The Conformist.

Yeah, I’m putting Patton here – it’s where it should be. I add two offbeat choices in Kurosawa’s Dodesukaden, perhaps the strangest film he ever directed (about people who live in a dump/junk yard) and The Magic Christian which brings together one of the oddest casts ever seen on film to make an episodic skit-show adaptation. Cromwell probably deserved a nomination but by this point audiences were not so interested in historical epics, The Boys In The Band would have been a bold nomination, and Little Big Man was a bit of a snub. Finally – The Conformist – a film as dense in theme as it is beautiful.

My Winner: MASH

Let us know in the comments which film you would award the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for 1970!

Carne

*Originally written in 2004

Carne-1991-Gaspar_Noe-movie-4

The short film which got Gaspar Noé on the movie map, introducing us to his horrific, but thoroughly interesting character The Butcher, played brilliantly by Philippe Nahon. Noe’s direction here has all the hallmarks of his later films, showing he was carving his own voice and style from the beginning. His sudden cutting along with harsh, loud noise, skipping flashbacks and many other techniques all are used to disconcert the viewer. And it certainly works. Also, he is not afraid of showing violence, as viewers of Irreversible will know. Here the violence is equally powerful, and in the sequel Seul Contre Tous, it is almost unbearable.

The film opens with a horse being killed. It is shot in the head, and we watch it writhe on the floor, its pool of blood flowing out. We then see a human birth in all its bloody glory, the daughter of The Butcher. He was orphaned in WWII, and has grown up hating the world, and everyone and everything in it. He serves his customers, but his interior monologue constantly reminds us of his thoughts – he wants them all dead. His daughter Blandine Lenoir, who would also reprise her role six years later, is the only thing he cares about, and we watch them grow older together. She is however mute, and the subject of bullying and toying. The Butcher’s relationship with her is almost incestuous, bathing her when she is old enough to do it herself etc, but this is explored more in the next film. When she is attacked by a man, the Butcher explodes with rage, stabbing an innocent man in the mouth. He goes to prison, taken from the only things he wants – his shop and daughter. In the short 40 minutes we see all this and more, his time in prison and release back to his world. Because of his daughter’s state, autistic as well i think, she is bland, does little except stare, and is under the full control of her father. The film continues in the exceptionally bleak Seul Contre Tous – both are come with high recommendations and warnings and both feature some truly excellent acting but both are harrowing and relentless.

Let us know in the comments if you have seen Carne or it’s fully fledged sequel.

The Dark Tower Multiverse Part 3

tower

Greetings, Glancers! I’ve decided to split my final post into two; they will be shorter than the previous posts, but together would be too long and boring to wade through. Full disclosure – I haven’t read Mr Mercedes, Revival, or Finders Keepers yet. I think they are related to one another, but I’m not sure how they connect with the wider Multiverse, Dark Tower or otherwise. You guys are the experts, so take the ball and run – let me know how those works should fit in to the cinematic and televisual landscape.

Rose Madder

Best Suited As A: Movie

So many of King’s books would work well as a two part TV movie than a standalone movie for the big screen and Rose Madder is no different. One of the few novels yet to be adapted, it would be a hard sell – a woman, victim of years of domestic abuse, decides to flee from her husband and start a new life. There she learns to trust and love again, thanks in part to a painting which acts as a portal to another world. I think the material works both ways – as a single movie or drawn out into two pieces for a longer whole – two big screen movies wouldn’t work, and there isn’t enough for a whole series. Still, get a stellar actress and strong supporting cast, make the other world believable and the treat and violence palpable, and you’ll have a good movie.

Major Connections/Tie Ins: Desperation, The Regulators. DT Series

I always got the impression that there King originally intended there to be more to the character and world of Rose Madder (and Rose Daniels) but abandoned the idea. Do some of these things link to Lisey’s Story? Probably just a coincidence. The world Rose travels to… for the purpose of the multiverse you could change from the story to make it clearly a part of Roland’s world and have your connections that way. The main genuine connection is through the minor character of Cynthia Smith – one of the women Rose meets along her way. She becomes a central character in both Desperation and The Regulators so make sure it’s the same actress and we’re all good.

Desperation/The Regulators

Best Suited As A: Movie

We’ve already seen one adaptation of this. What I think would be cool would be having this told side by side in four or six parts, split evenly. One week or night you show one piece from Desperation, the following week or night you show one piece from The Regulators. That may confuse people though. I was tempted to say why not bung it all together as a whole, thought split over different parts, and call it something new, something which references both stories. That would be more confusing, but would allow for some cool creative storytelling and presentation.

Major Connections/Tie Ins – DT series. Hearts In Atlantis.

The stories are completely different, even though they feature a similar cast of characters with the same names. Desperation is a little like Children Of The Corn in that it features a desert and deserted town, home to a malevolent force. The Regulators is the twinner novel, written by Richard Bachman, but also features the creature known as Tak, this time trying to take over a typical suburban street by forcing its way into the hearts and minds of the residents. Tak isn’t actually mentioned anywhere else, but the language he uses pops up elsewhere and his Can Toi are also known as Low Men. Can Tah are mentioned in Desperation too, which will become important later.

Wolves Of The Calla

Best Suited As: A Movie

Lets get back to Roland and chums. We’ve expanded the multi-verse far enough now that we know worlds cross over and collide unexpectedly. This is the beginning of the end as far as The Dark Tower is concerned, but it can be seen as a fast paced action movie with plenty of twists and treachery. The plot will depend heavily on decisions made earlier – those in The Dark Tower series, and in Salem’s Lot. The main action takes place in Calla Bryn Sturgis as our Ka-tet have to protect the town and its children from the Wolves – creatures who comes every few years to abduct and kill – as the names and plot suggest, it’s basically The Magnificent Seven. Elsewhere we have Father Callahan’s re-appearance, trips to New York to see Calvin Tower and protect the rose, and Susannah being taken over by Mia. The Susannah stuff, personally I would downplay most of it as I don’t feel it is overly important or ‘works’, but then again the next book is Song Of Susannah, so something has to be done. We know Mia gives birth to Mordred and Mordred kills Flagg, but couldn’t you skip all of that and have Roland kill Flagg? Hell, you could just say Black Thirteen corrupted her and be done with it.

Major Crossovers and Tie Ins: Salem’s Lot. DT Series. Black House. Hearts In Atlantis.

Obviously Salem’s Lot with Father Callahan now joining the team, again how much of the story he tells in the book that should be show here depends on how much was shown in the Salem’s Lot adaptation. We start to truly learn about Breakers and their purpose – this is why The Wolves are taking the kids, to force them to Break the barriers which hold up The Tower. This is something explored further in Black House and Hearts In Atlantis with several characters crossing over or being mentioned.

Gerald’s Game

Best Suited As : A Movie

One of the few King novels which has been around for a long time which has never been adapted, though I believe something official is in the pipeline. The main argument against this is that most of the book takes place in the head of Jessie as she lies handcuffed to a bed in a remote cabin. Well, there’s always ways around such things, showing the things she thinks of, her fantasies, and memories.

Major Crossovers and Tie-Ins: Dolores Claiborne.

Dolores Claiborne is the obvious connection as both books were meant to form part of a larger work which never transpired, and both feature a lead female protagonist/narrator. Again we can be liberal with connections here and have her mention a childhood where she may have lived near other characters, seen a scary clown, been chased by strangely dressed men in outlandish cars etc, or throw in the odd vision of The Tower.

Dreamcatcher

Best Suited As: A Movie

The already released movie is one of the worst King adaptations. That ending, man… ‘Jonesyyyyy’…. terrible. Still, there’s a decent, shlocky movie in there somewhere while also focusing on the friendship of the main characters and the government/military stuff. I don’t think there’s enough material here to stretch it into a two or three part mini series, but possibly you could get a three-four hour tv movie in two parts out of it, spending more time with the childhood sections.

Major Crossovers and Tie-Ins: IT. The Dark Tower.

The main characters are from Derry and in one section we find ‘Pennywise Lives’ spray-painted on a water tower, while certain names and the number 19 all play a recurring part. I would see this as an opportunity to take things a little further – firstly, why not have the government/military showing up as being none other than The Shop, potentially with same actors from previous movies showing up. Secondly, Duddits somehow learns how to enhance or share telepathic powers – maybe he learned this from a kindly old man named Ted Brautigan. I mean, if we’re going to take liberties, lets at least make them worthwhile.

Black House

Best Suited As: A Movie

Like I said for The Talisman, I would like to see this as a mini-series, but I don’t know if there would be enough interest. Basically we should follow suit – if The Talisman was a movie, this is a movie; if it was a mini-series, this is a mini-series.

Major Crossovers and Tie-Ins: The Talisman. The Dark Tower

While much of The Talisman took place in The Territories, Black House keeps its main narrative rooted in our world. Jack Sawyer is now grown up and has repressed his early adventures, though his uncanny abilities have made him something of a super cop. As a Detective he is brought in to investigate a series of gruesome murders involving children and soon finds himself recalling his lost memories and discovering the murders are linked to the Crimson King’s search for Breakers. We have already introduced this idea into the multiverse, but for anyone new it should make sense quickly. Several key players and terms from The DT crop up and we can further connect things by having upcoming settings and characters such as The Devar-Toi and Pimli Prentiss.

One part left to go, I think. As always, please share your thoughts on how you would bring together a Marvel style Stephen King universe and which connections and stories you would like to see done right on the big or small screen!

Cardiff Afterlife

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

The oft-forgotten Lifeblood ends in fantastic form with this dedication to Richey. Unlike almost all of the album, the lyrics do not feel like something rubbed out inside thirty seconds on the condensation of a windowpane, and the coldness which is the main feature of the album becomes a cloak to wrap around oneself. Musically we have the powerful and emotional melodies that we love, and mix that with superb harmonica work and tumbling, confused harps, along with a very sudden hard stop, and it’s one of the best album closer’s the band has written.

1853968_w21

Cardiff Afterlife: 4/Great