In this regular feature we ask the Everything Indie Over 40 social media community to help us compile a top ten list of a chosen topic. Our resident curator John Hartley (@JohnyNocash) then ponders, disects and finally presents.
In this edition:-
The Indie Top Ten Songs With Ten Or More Words In The Title
When I was a young child I came across a book of poetry on the bookcase in the kitchen. Three poets, all from Liverpool, contributed to the anthology which was entitled ‘The Mersey Sound’. Amongst the wit and rhyme contained within was a poem whose title was almost as long as the poem itself, written by Adrian Henri:
Song For A Beautiful Girl Petrol-Pump Attendant On The Motorway
I wanted your soft verges
But you gave me the hard shoulder
The art of naming a song is perhaps a bit more challenging than that of a naming a poem; after all, most poetry anthologies contain both a list of titles and an index of first lines. To be remembered effectively a song should have a catchy hook, usually a line of the song that is also the title, and consequently the shorter the better. However, taking the song as an art-form, sometimes a longer title is much more appropriate and representative of the song’s intent.
To that end, here is the Everything Indie Over 40 Top Ten Songs With Ten Or More Words In Their Title (that’s fifteen words in our own title, if you’re counting…)
For the statisticians amongst you, there were 75 different suggestions for songs to fit this category, with an average length of 12.72 words per title. That’s a total of 954 words. The shortest was, of course, only 10 words in length. The longest (by a mile?) was a nomination which clocked in at a mere 53 words, presuming of course that I didn’t lose count along the way.
I am not quite sure how impressed either the record shop counter assistant or those queuing behind @charlie_clown would have been when he asked for a copy of that Sufjan Stevens track ‘The Black Hawk War, Or, How To Demolish An Entire Civilization And Still Feel Good About Yourself In The Morning, Or, We Apologize For The Inconvenience But You’re Going To Have To Leave Now, Or, “I Have Fought The Big Knives And Will Continue To Fight Them Until They Are Off Our Lands!”’. I love this title for two reasons: firstly the indecision as to exactly which extremely long title best suits the song and secondly the generosity shown by the contraction of the words ‘You’ and ‘Are’ into ‘You’re’, just in case the title was getting too long for us to remember.
Quite what this heat rash looks like (apart from the Show Me State, obviously) is both unclear and intriguing. It also provides more fuel for the imagination than the alternative half of the title.
Neither suggested title is in the lyric, the single word is not exactly one that is in every day use and the bracketed alternative doesn’t give the whole picture either, for as far as I can see the song doesn’t give any indication of worry in the first place. Judge for yourselves, anyway.
That’s what The Brilliant Corners did. Straight to the point, no messing, no need for any alternative title, no need to decipher exactly what the context might be: ‘Why Do You Have To Go Out With Him When You Could Go Out With Me’, as nominated by @Dalliance68 and @Salient Braves leaves the listener in no doubt.
Maybe @MaScrieven could have a word with the girl in question for them? Or maybe ten or more words – when there are so many at our disposal it seems churlish to be selective.
The joy of indie was (is) that of independence and as such individuality. These terms certainly became associated with the next act in our Top Ten. Arctic Monkeys took a more self-deprecating approach to a similar subject matter than Another Sunny Day; “And I’m so tense, never tenser/Could all go a bit Frank Spencer?’ is a great line in the wryly-titled ‘You Probably Couldn’t See For The Lights But You Were Staring Straight At Me’. Thanks to @RiverboatCaptain, @BullAntics and @Eveshambaggy for this suggestion.
And there are traumas far worse than that to contend with too. Take for example the long-suffering narrator in the Half Man Half Biscuit track ‘All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit’, nominated by both @GLPNE73 and @Carter_69, as he is handed his unemployment benefit from an old school friend; life could have turned out so, so differently.
Lots of one-time famous people return to a life of normality. Boy George was seen sweeping the streets (ok, community service was the real reason, but hey…), which makes me wonder whether the character in Kirsty MacColl ‘There’s A Guy Down The Chip Shop Who Swears He’s Elvis’, nominated by @CTootell and @trustthewizards, might just be who he thought he was.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free. He is currently raising money to support men’s mental health charity CALM (@theCALMzone) at http://brokendownrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-broken-heed
Listen out on Twitter for further Indie Top Ten themes. We need your help.