Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wire & Love

Tooling around the intertubes today and found some music to share.

First, one of my favorite bands from the late Seventies and Eighties: Wire! The first video is a live performance of Map Ref. 41°N 93°W, a favorite. You can read more about Wire and their music here; the link is about the production of their best album by far, 154. (Note: The live performance here is frakked up. The second guitar is almost completely mixed out. But it gives you the idea of the song.) It's well worth seeking out the original.

I couldn't find a real "video" of the song Reuters but this is close. It's actually about five songs, so you don't necessarily have to listen to them all. Reuters is up first. Listen to the lyrics!

The band took a hiatus of a couple of years then came back with a retooled sound. They were more jam-based, with smoother electronic textures. Still kicked all kinds of ass. This is Ahead:

And this is from the Late Show! A performance of Drill with a game Suzanne Somers introducing:

And now for something completely different -- Blondie in a live performance of Donna Summer's I Feel Love! This song is one of the greatest songs ever recorded, period. In my all-time Top Ten with a lock. The contrast between the warm and oh-so human voice singing about the most ineffable human emotion of all and the unwavering, steady beat of the machines is what makes it awesome. To today's ears? Maybe not so much, but it was revolutionary in the early Seventies. A real revelation.

This version is really good, though the guitars that rock it up change the song's underlying tension. By the way, there is supposedly a version of this where Robert Fripp and his Frippertronics guitar sit in with Blondie. If you know where to find it, I will trade appendages to get hold of it.

[Digression: Have you ever heard the two versions of Republika's Ready To Go? The original was very rave-y sounding, built on the rhythm and the electronics. But when it was released in America, the band remixed it so that the electronics were pushed to the back and the guitars were brought to the front. I'm as much a guitar-lover as anyone, but I'm endlessly amused by decisions like this. The assumptions about American listening tastes is illustrative, I think.]

And, finally, the Blue Man Group tackle the same song. The BMG's schtick sorta fits the song's theme but the full-on rock band treatment subsumes it. Not to say it's not a really kick-ass version, with the multiple guitars and all that percussion! Plus Venus Hum's Annette Strean (a Nashvillain, it turns out) is clearly having too much fun singing it.

Nerdy rock chicks. Mmmmmmmm....

But wait! One last video, a live performance by Blondie of one of their very best songs from their early years, Picture This. "If you could only oo-oh-whoa ... picture this...." Pop perfection.

OK, that's it. I hope you've got a tune stuck in your head now.

A couple of previous music posts here and here.

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