So, I'm standing in a tent at Radio 1's Big Weekend, and I'm tense, for a lot of reasons. Stuff to do with work, stuff to do with where I am in my life at that moment, stuff to do with who I feel I'm becoming as the years go by. It's boiling hot, but I didn't bring shorts, so I'm wearing long trousers and a sun hat, and basically dying in the heat.
Then a familiar drum pattern starts. It's a song I already know I love. I loved it the first time I heard it on Jools Holland. I loved it so much, I started writing about it straight away.
And what I wrote was this: "Simple tasks, such as leaving my desk to get a cup of tea, or making important ChartBlog phone calls, or doing anything which takes me away from listening to this song over and over again, have become impossible. Meanwhile, my right foot is pounding away on the floor, in a manner which should only be familiar to tap-dancers and people who walk on hot coals for a living."
In the tent, the singer launches into her ranting first verse, it's bitter. She's yelling at herself, at the people in her past who dismissed her without a second glance. She's settling scores, left and right, and she's not going to take this crap any more. Abruptly, her and the drummer - there's no-one else on stage - stop. She pants a few notes, before launching into the chorus, which is part My Sharona and part Mickey by Toni Basil, but with Sleater-Kinney overtones.
I'm rooted to the spot, not dancing, not singing, just staring, and swallowing hard.
A second verse, a second chorus, and the singer goes into a counter-melody. It's at this point I realise there are tears blossoming up and out of my eyes. The music swells, the drummer sings another countermelody, there are noises, scrapes and whistles, and then...
BOOM! The rhythm of the song changes from perky two-step to MASSIVE ROCKOUT, the countermelody continues, un-supported by human voice, while the singer shrieks a variation on the chorus, and the drummer mumbles his bit quietly, all at the same time. And I'm crying, really fully properly crying. All of that pent-up frustration is pouring out, and I don't care, because I'm somewhere else, fully alive, fully awake and BUZZING.
I don't know of any other measurement for goodness in music, certainly not one that is worth a damn. This song rules all.
[Album: We Started Nothing]
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