Monday, October 07, 2013

Youtube(s) of the day

For some time now, the best thing on the Internet, if not its sole justification for existing, has been Marcello Carlin's "Then Play Long", in which he has been running through every UK number one album in chronological order, and managing to write intelligently about each one: finding a way to provide some constructive criticism even when it is difficult to say anything positive. In fact it is his big-heartedness, his continuing resistance to the many opportunities to say, in effect, "how did this crap ever get to number one / the record buying public is a bunch of know-nothing morons", that sets this herculean effort apart.

A couple of weeks ago he reached "The Lexicon of Love", by ABC. We can now see (even those of us who can barely see our nose in front of our face) that over the preceding five years, in which Marcello took us from July 1956 to July 1982 (266 number one albums!), he (and let's not forget Lena, too, without whom it very likely would not have happened at all) has been telling the story of how this album came to exist, and to reach number one, and why it is the greatest of number one albums. (The rest of the story will no doubt be, or will at least be capable of being read as, the ramifications of this album.) (Of course, his story has been much more than that; and it may be that "Lexicon" hasn't even been mentioned by name until now. There has been much to think about, not just in terms of pop music but in terms of community, history, technological change, and so on. The most disturbing thought that occurred to me in reflecting on his writings (he suspects that nobody has read every entry; he would be wrong) is that if it hadn't been for Thatcher we would not have had "Dare" or "Lexicon". Ouch.)

So anyway, public congratulations from me, Marcello, on reaching the summit.

One notable piece in the "Lexicon" puzzle that comes out in Marcello's essay is the string of four singles produced by "Lexicon" producer (and hero of this writer) Trevor Horn for seemingly nondescript pop duo Dollar. You can read about the songs in Marcello's piece. All I wanted to do was provide youtube links to each of them, and encourage you to listen to them. Closely. The ingredients of "Lexicon of Love" are all there, should you choose to spot them. (Note in particular "Videotheque", where it all seems to come together, while at the same time opening the door for Propaganda and Art of Noise.)

1. "Hand Held in Black and White".

2. "Mirror, Mirror (Mon Amour)".

3. "Give Me Back My Heart".

4. "Videotheque".