Sunday, 1 February 2009

THE BLUE IN THE AIR 2008 ALBUMS: NUMBERS 70-61




70. RAPHAEL SAADIQ: The Way I See It

And yes, there is a corner for those obsessive ears, fixed on the SOUND, almost beyond reason or meaning. “You’ve got to hear this,” they say. “It’s REAL.” You shake your head. But the heart knows 1965 was never so simple, let alone 1975. There are no gold frames or cold xeroxings here: the red and black ambitions are clear; the way is open to all who dare to feel AND think. The party is endless, the joys and sorrows eternal.

=69. DAME SHIRLEY BASSEY: Get The Party Started
=69. GRACE JONES: Hurricane

There is an intrinsic logic to this tale and its numbering, and this is a very deliberate shared number. Mother and child finally embrace; and what a fine and apt pair they make. The daughter without a name finally tells us who she really is; the mother whose name belongs to everyone merely but fondly smiles – see, this is who I was all along. Mother and child. Madonna? Sometimes spirits can’t see the soft candy for all their assumed hardness.

68. STEPHEN MALKMUS AND THE JICKS: Real Emotional Trash

The seeming minutiae of life expanded. Mr Malkmus follows language like a slinky toy going downstairs, logic like a stream following its own course. An ever-expanding suitcase, a pink bowling ball of mischief.

67. JULIANA HATFIELD: How To Walk Away

Leaving. Going away. Removing yourself from the situation. Because you can, you want to, you have to. With pride and dignity, with some more self-knowledge, one step at a time, until the skies are bluer, the air fresher, your head and heart clearer. Not just for survival or self-preservation but also for progress. At night the stars shine, the cherry blossoms glow, life startles and endures.

66. SAM ROBERTS: Love At The End Of The World

And on the other side of the border, as the days brighten, the people go out and socialise. Love; murder; time; language; what words can’t say, what love can do, the irretrievable seconds and precious years, even in the midst of riots and bloody streets. The world as paradise and jungle, the past not a desert but a fertile plain.

65. LALAH HATHAWAY: Self Portrait

A long walk through the park: Memories and longings glide and catch, then loosen as the moment changes. A girl visits her father’s grave and leaves flowers, not for the first time. Then it occurs to her that she is holding herself as well. The ground begins to shake gently, and she has to sit down.

64. FOXBORO HOT TUBS: Stop, Drop And Roll!!!

Because the garage is never empty! The shaking woke him up from a dream of pop and rock, of dancing girls and jumping boys. A dream of not neither or now but BOTH. ALL. Rock and roll alarm clocks now for sale, dayglo walls scaled. Get up, get up. There’s work to do!

=63. WILEY: Grime Wave/See Clear Now

And Wiley was not workshy (did someone mention the Garage?). Like the BEF in the previous temporal equivalent, he put out two albums; the grimy one – fermenting, smouldering, tongues slapping the unwary ear as bluntly and surely as Ossie and Dudu used to do – and the pop one, House relit, protests of pink, money in someone’s caught falling star of a pocket; surefooted, crepuscular, finally his truth.

62. MAVADO: Gangsta For Life: The Symphony Of David Brooks

The third necessary carry-over from 2007, since he dominated the daggering dancehalls of 2008; of course, he’ll always be a gangster, eternally standing up so he can be distinguished, wickets bowled to matchwood, complacency run roughshod by glittering necessity.

61. eMC: The Show

Away from the bling, there is always the grind: the struggle for respect, for joy, for just one corner of peace and satisfaction. It never ends. When does this start, end? They will not stop because they have something to say. Fame is not the point; the struggle is for their voices to come together, which they do. Period (we are all eMC, son).

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