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The Songs That Saved Your Life – The 00s: What Now?

ColdplayIn the final part of our look at decade-defining works, we shift gears slightly and look at what the current era will be remembered for musically. Frankly, we’re gutted John and Edward won’t release a record before the qualifying period ends.

So, the 00s, or the noughties, or whatever you chose to call them. What will they be remembered for? Iraq? Black President? Economic catastrophe? ‘Jenny from the Block’? Continue reading

The Friday 5 – 5 reasons why we love rock’n’roll

So do we Britney, so do weLight and shade. That’s what we strive for round these parts. In ELM Towers, you’ll find rooms bathed in a light so shiny and white you’d swear you’d walked in on Simon Cowell, whereas the adjoining room would be dimmer than Manni Dinogue. For steady repetition is not good for the soul. But we’ve been guilty of a little negativity this past while.

Sure, there’s plenty to get annoyed about. Glasvegas. Talentless losers chancing their arms and getting the spot of far more deserving bands. Glasvegas. Irritating, tuneless wonders lecturing us on their deeply-held convictions about society that they’ve held for fully half an hour. Glasvegas. Oh, and Glasvegas.
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The Live Experience – The music vs the show

ColdplayOur intrepid reporter Mrs.Morrissey attended last nights Coldplay show at Hampden in Glasgow. We’re not carrying a review because it’s Coldplay and it doesn’t count. You know what Coldplay sound like and, in simplistic terms, you’ll know whether you would have enjoyed it or you wouldn’t have. They are Coldplay. They played all the Coldplay hits, and 50,000 people ohwoahwoahed to that one which sounds like ‘Walking on Broken Glass.’ Coldplay remain, like Snow Patrol, not as risible as Razorlight but still not worth actually listening to.

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To celebrate Springsteen at Hampden…

…here’s a classic performance from 1978. ‘Rosalita’ on the Old Grey Whistle Test – none more 70’s!

Gaslight Anthem Playlisted on Radio 1

News reaches us that the Gaslight Anthem’s ‘The ’59 Sound’ has been playlisted by Radio 1. Jo Whiley will, of course, be taking credit for discovering this great band, only two albums and an EP into their career. Finger on the pulse, that lady. Kinda bittersweet for us here at ELM, who championed the band from midway through last year, to know that they are soon to be taken away from us. It’s what we wanted, honest. When we go to gigs full of screaming kids and punters who buy their records in Asda….It’ll be great.

Ah, we’re just being snobby. Here’s a terrific live version of them doing Springsteen’s ‘I’m On Fire’.

Hard Rock Calling featuring Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band – Hyde Park, London

Springsteen at Hyde ParkYou have to give the Hard Rock Cafe points for ingenuity. When the Glastonbury headliners were announced, they announced a three-day festival of their own and promptly booked all the acts.  So after turns on the Friday by the Killers and the Saturday by Neil Young, it’s the New Jersey native who tops the bill this evening. These corporations – letting the poor little farmer do all the work then swooping in. Poor old Eavis.

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Fopp Selling Dylan Classics for the Same Price as a Pint

ELM is not just here for the nasty things in life. Well, not all the time. Sometimes we can also be counted upon to pass on important titbits, morsels of juicy information to you, our committed and devoted readers. And this is just such a time. When we visited Fopp the other day, we were surprised and delighted to see a range of classic Bob Dylan albums on sale for the princely sum of £3. Three quid. Come on.

Now, granted, you should own most of these albums already. We all should. But there is just so much of His Bobness stuff out there that it is sometimes difficult to know where to begin. Come on, we’ve all bought a few Best Of’s and maybe ‘Blonde on Blonde’ and that has done us. Like The Fall, when you get into it there’s just so much of it that it is daunting getting started. But there is other great stuff in there and, at £3, you just can’t knock it.

Of course, we can all download the stuff for next to nothing anyway, true. But these albums are exactly that – the way they look, the way they were sequenced, every nuance helps make up the package. If you don’t already own it, start with ‘Blood On The Tracks’, possibly the angriest album ever made by a man with a mop of curly hair. It kicks off with ‘Tangled Up In Blue’, a sprawling, visceral ripping-apart of a relationship which is as scabrous as it is superb.

It’s Sir Zimmerman’s divorce album, but it’s no pathetic lament. There is spite, grief, joy, pain and anger here. Utterly essential.

Accompany it with the delightful ‘Nashville Skyline’. This is post-crash Dylan, happily ensconced in his happy hobo phase, singing like Kermit the Frog and delivering a country-infused album of jaunty pop beauty. Everyone knows and loves ‘Lay Lady lay’ because, well, it’s just utterly brilliant and still, still doesn’t sound anything like anybody else even four decades later. It’s not even the best song on the album, that being ‘Tonight I’ll Be Staying here With You’, Bob getting fruity with a young lady of his acquaintance with a song which will immediately catapult you into a honky-tonk on a hot summers day.

But there are dangers here. Steer clear of ‘Self-Portrait’, a confused mess of an album filled top to bottom with horrendously dull crap. Rolling Stone’s review, famously, was succinct and to teh point – ‘What is this crap?’ they wrote. Even geniuses have off-periods. That is further proved by ‘Saved’, Dylan’s document of his short-lived adventure in Christianity, which does indeed prove that the devil has access to all the best tunes.

Still, absolute works of genius by probably the most important songwriter of the 20th Century for the same price of a decent pint of lager. Well worth investigating. Oh, and they are also selling lots of early Springsteen at that price too. Come on! There’s a party right there – bit of Bob, bit of ‘Badlands’ and some beer. That’s living all right.