singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
22 November 2019
(listening with headphones)Avid Acutus
Funk F·XRII
Benz Micro LP-S
Linn Kilmax DS (Renew)
TEAD Mastergroove Mk 2
TEAD Vibe Phoenix / Pulse 2
Luxman P-1u
Sennheiser HD800

I was very behind the Taylor Swift curve. For some years I was aware of an entity of that name, and I think I assumed it was some kind of Garth Brooks type guy that younger people liked. Then, one day, I heard Shake it Off on the radio, and went straight off, gorging on the back catalogue.

There are more than enough creepy middle-aged men on the Internet expressing opinions on Taylor Swift, so I’ll try to keep my contribution brief. She writes with brilliant precision and economy. She’s sad and funny and silly and serious. She understands the power of what she does. “These songs were written about my life, now they are about yours”.

Then there’s everything else. The unselfconscious dorky videos. Giving Apple and Spotify the middle finger. The knowing self-awareness. Humiliating some dickless ass-grabber in court, and generally not taking any shit from anyone. She’s awesome. Like, totally.

Some people, apparently, don’t like Me! They think it’s broad, and obvious, and not indicative of the depth and tone of the rest of the (too long, sorry) album. But they’re idiots, because Me! is genius.

Being an old duffer, I hadn’t the foggiest who Brandon Urie of Panic! at the Disco was, but now I like him too. He’s a little dude, and he looks fun in the video. You know the song, it’s a madly, gloriously catchy boy-girl two-hander, and the air-drumming I’ve done to it since it came out has toned up my arms something lovely. It slightly reminds me of Follow the Band from Barnum, which I also love. They don’t sound alike, of course, it’s probably just the drums and general circus vibe it has.

I paid a small fortune for this, and it’s the same song on both sides, and it’s worth every effing penny. There are four different sleeves, and, naturally, I’d like them all, but just the one will do. On mine, Taylor has a blue jumper and a huge pink rose, and she looks cool.

The 7” is an essential purchase because it has the “spelling is fun!” line which – inexplicably – isn’t on the album version. That lyric is genius.

I think Taylor Swift could save this sorry-ass planet if we gave her the authority. It’s got to be worth a try.

5

Properly old-skool, this. First album, so she was, what? 14? 15? and the song is a perfect, nostalgic hit of the sweet ache of a teenage crush. I can’t imagine how many girls that age have written this song, or story, or poem, and I can’t imagine how any of them could have done it with such a lack of mawkishness, obviousness or pity. 99.99% of adult songwriters will never get close to this stuff.

4000 copies, all of which are currently on eBay.

The kind of flawless I wish I could be.

5

The enigmatic, marvellous Soundcarriers return from wherever – or whenever – the hell they’ve been. Waves has everything you’d expect and want, but perhaps has a little more immediacy than most of their stuff. It rather reminds me of The Essex Green but darker and dustier.

I don’t think I know Gloria. They plough a similar retro furrow to The Soundcarriers, but they throw in a bit of girl group and a Left Banke harpsichord. Bloody great.

This, apparently, came out last year, and I missed it because now I’ve (almost) given up the Internet and Twitter and stuff, I have absolutely no idea what music comes out when. If I don’t see it in a shop – and I hardly ever get the chance to go to record shops any more – I probably don’t know it exists. It was, as all sevens are these days, exorbitantly priced, but I didn’t care ‘cos, y’know, Soundcarriers. Then it turns out the song on the other side is even better. Result.

I don’t think we’ve ever had all fives before, but guess what…

5