Friday, 27 March 2015

50 songs to take to my grave #28, #29 & #30

These three have already been written about here in one way or another. They're all more than worthy of being included in this series, so here's what I said about them (with a tweak or two to keep it relevant). Links to the original articles are included if you're interested.

#28: Emmylou - First Aid Kit
(adapted from 'Country Boy', 23 May 2014)

Sometimes, something comes totally from left-field and bowls you over. When I first heard First Aid Kit’s Emmylou, it was one of those moments the tears started welling up. (To be honest, I have one of those moments every time I hear it!) If you didn’t know better, you would think it’s a 70s country classic sung by one of the legendary Nashville-based female superstars of the era. So when you realise it’s actually two teenage sisters from Sweden in 2012 it adds another level of wonderment. I mean – those voices! Those harmonies!

Live they take it to another level - it's spine-tingling how good they make it sound. Emmylou is not only one of my fave tunes of the past few years, but my daughter's too. It shows how far country music has reached over the years and how many generations it continues to inspire.

#29: True Faith - New Order
(adapted from 'This Is Pop!', 28 February 2014)

It was when I was 16 and part way into becoming a fully-fledged ‘indie-kid’ that I somewhat belatedly got into New Order. I heard True Faith and became immediately hooked. It’s one of those tracks that moves me tremendously; there’s just something about it that gives me a pang in my stomach and makes my hairs stand up on end.

It also has one of my favourite ever sleeves. The golden leaf image on True Faith was the work of Peter Saville, Factory’s in-house designer and has been revived in numerous forms and colour schemes on New Order releases since. It struck me as a fine example of ‘the perfect package’ – the outside and the inside combining style and substance in harmony.

#30: The Winner Takes It All - Abba
(adapted from 'Abba, Antmusic and ‘Ashes To Ashes’', 12 February 2014)

I have absolutely no problem whatsoever admitting to liking Abba.  When I was between 8 and 11, they were my favourite band.  I claimed my mum’s copy of Greatest Hits Volume 2 as my own, and the 'Super Trouper' album accompanied my first proper record player for Christmas 1980. What lay at the heart of Abba for me back then – and to many to this very day – were the songs.  They were proper songs, written and performed by a proper group.  This wasn’t lost on me even as a young boy.

The Winner Takes It All still strikes me as being one of their highlights. Abba could do heartbreak songs really well and this one was the epitome of heartbreaking. It sent chills through me even at 9 years old. It sends shivers through me now at 43.


  1. I think I've mentioned before that I'm no lover of post-1982 New Order, though I do have a fondness for 'True Faith'.
    First Aid Kit could, quite literally, sing the phone book and make it a thing of unmitigated beauty.
    There are great pop songs, there are perfect pop songs and there is 'The Winner Takes it All'. I bought 'Super Trouper' from a charity shop only recently to upgrade my copy of this one astounding pop song.