Sunday, 17 April 2011

Day 34: I will remain here.

A request today for Bev from Coventry who has asked for a few songs to be covered, but I've picked one out in particular. By the way, Cov is great, got a few friends who live there.

Song: The Steak Place
Album: The Frenz Experiment

Year: 1988

So here's quite a funny one, you can hear the laughter in MES's voice here, it starts with some cheesy finger-clicking and features only MES, and what I presume is Brix on acoustic guitar (she and Mark are credited with writing this one), but there's so much space you can just focus on his lyrics, another example of his writing on banal subjects and making them sound interesting. In this case, what seems to be an affectionate paean to the US roadside diner, but as ever, there's a paranoid element, there's talk of hitmen being pacified personally.

It's all a bit Americana, with a jaunty rhythm giving it a playful edge, but also a very pop edge, remember this is off the album which gave us the covers of Victoria and There's A Ghost In My House, so this is probably why, pop was on their mind and cast an influence over the whole thing. I love the atmosphere created by the picking out of description here, talk of "Cheap carpet lines the way/Aluminium tack door handles/Candelabra lions head" I can just picture it, one of those diners with black and white photos of Marilyn Monroe and the like lining the walls and fake plastic plants lining white pots while a smell of meat and chip fat fills the air, the menus are probably laminated too. Perhaps this is a weirdly lucid moment for Smith, being cocooned in comforting fakery for five minutes, it certainly amuses him, he laughs as he delivers the lines: "I'd stop the automation/I'd sit behind dusty lace/I have a word with hitmen/I give off a beatific face" suggesting he has given up making this a serious song at all. It is a bit absurd when you think about it.

I particularly like the closing line, which is simply (who I presume is) Smith quietly singing "Bad song" as the chords fade out, I love these aural footnotes he gives, in a similar way to songs like the song I looked at yesterday's "This is the definitive rant" or the weird bit he does at the start of Hex Enduction Hour's Fortress where he sounds like a TV presenter saying: "Today, on the Vitamin B Glandular Show" its almost like a poet addressing his readers before a collection of his work, offering a tiny sliver of another side to the actual art.

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