Friday, 23 May 2014

Stop, Collaborate and Listen #10 - 6

by David Bowie and Annie Lennox

Well, obviously the original version of this song has got power and punch. But it’s this version played live after Freddie’s passing that gets my heart up in my throat. It was performed at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992. Two of my favourite artists – David Bowie and Annie Lennox - shoot this song straight into the eye of grief and find a new power for life behind it. It’s almost a guaranteed play on nights when I have friends over for a drink and a music/youtube playlist night. There is something so wonderfully dramatic yet uplifting in this rendition that tributes the artist that Freddie was and the ability to write such a killer song. I love that this song in this live version has a male and female counterpart. And I love that the two artists that make this combination have never been a stereotype for their gender – or for their art for that matter. The grace and style that both Lennox and Bowie bring to this mammoth concert and backed by the surviving members of Queen before adoring fans to me is a moment in rock history that stands in my books as golden. And the addition of some theatrical makeup and costuming, well, it’s a winner in my books. (Lou Endicott)

by Queen and David Bowie

If you want me to be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to writing this review. When you have a love of music and certain artists are almost like the definition of said love, then how do you possibly put into words what one of your all-time favourite songs could mean? Maybe I should start with the concept of the duet.

So we wanna talk about duets? This is where things get real, because for me, when the idea of a duets countdown was mentioned, there was always this one song that absolutely, no doubt at all makes the top of my duets list. Take two of my all-time favourite artists, and I mean, not just favourite as in “oh I just love that new Nicki Minaj track so much right now” but as in, outright, all time, idols of music. If I was an actual musician, these two would be some of the many I would quote when people asked me where I get my inspiration from.  So you take David Bowie (no explanation of awesome talent needed), take Queen (no explanation of awesome talent needed), you stick them together in a studio in Switzerland in the early 80s and what you end up with, is, in my humble opinion, is one of the greatest rock(?)-slash-pop(?) songs ever written. That bass line is undeniable, immediately recognisable, the simple keys infectious but for me it’s the vocals of Bowie and Mercury that make a maybe, possibly forgettable hit such an incredible masterpiece.

It’s probably the memories this song holds for me, the emotions it evokes after being part of my life for so long, the amount of times I’ve listened to it are countless, but sometimes I get angry with myself for not being able to articulate exactly what a song means to me. This is one of those times when there’s nothing I could write that can actually describe the journey this song takes me on with every single listen and there are no words to exactly describe what it feels like to hear those two incredible voices at that crescendo. It’s when music makes my heart leap out of my body and it’s probably precisely the feeling that Queen and David Bowie were trying to describe when they wrote some of my favourite lyrics of all time...

Love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
Under pressure

(Jo Michelmore)

by Seether and Amy Lee

Most of the time I’m shiny, happy Katie who has a love for music which is quirky and a bit silly. But buried deep down beats the heart of a mopey little goth who loves nothing more than a song which will get my mascara running. There’s no point in me trying to hide it or be embarrassed – I’m owning this one. So when you put together two mopey little goth singers to sing a song about being mopey little goths, well shit, of course I’m going to like it.

I really do have a soft spot for Shaun Morgan’s vocals. There’s something about his brooding, raspy voice that does something to me (that something does also include giving him a big hug and a lollipop). The contrast between his and her vocals is what makes the song for me. Whilst lyrically there’s no escaping the fact that it’s a crying in your cornflakes kind of deal, his doom and gloom is offset against something more hopeful in Amy Lee’s sound. In any event, whatever hope ole Amy was trying to give just wasn’t enough, because much like the song their real life relationship was broken. Badoom-tish. (Katie Langley)

by Run DMC & Aerosmith

I’m disappointed this song didn’t rank higher in our count down. I mean, Aerosmith, Run DMC – what’s not to love? It marks one of the first rock/rap collaborations. Sure, Limp Bizkit went on to bastardize the whole thing (nu-metal, yewwww!). But we shan’t speak of that now.

Aerosmith originally released ‘Walk This Way’ in the mid-70s, but it wasn’t until Run DMC re-visited and re-arranged the track with Steven Tyler in the 80s that it became a success. This version of the song actually charted higher than the original. Let’s face it; it’s better.

The film clips features both groups in a music battle of sorts, before they bust through the dividing wall and jam out together. It’s so symbolic, man. Here’s a fun fact though, Run DMC couldn’t afford to pay for the whole of Aerosmith to appear in the clip, so the only real members are Steven Tyler and Joe Perry – the other dudes are actors. (Katie Langley)

by PJ Harvey and Thom Yorke

Some time in about 2001 my radio alarm went off and while this was no unusual occurrence I usually wouldn’t wake rapidly. However this one morning I awoke more suddenly to something more aurally pleasurable than I had heard in quite some time. It was the familiarly atmospheric tones of Thom Yorke but there was another voice, another I hadn’t yet bonded with, another that like Thom’s stirred something primal within me. This was to be the introduction that spurred a musical love I still carry over a decade later and one that has moved me more than almost any other. It was this pairing of Thom Yorke and PJ Harvey that sent me on the music driven path I continue to the day.

‘This Mess We’re In’, breathes the lust and desire of a fleeting relationship, draped in the drama that a city like New York has inspired for decades before and decades to come. It conjures imagery both radiant and submerged in shadows. A love story that feels more bitter and mournful than its words suggest. PJ and Thom both feel so effortless with their vocals gently writhing and prickling like a soft, sensual touch over the pulsing rise and fall of minimalist guitar. It is this minimalist approach which gives ‘This Mess We’re In’ a power that mesmerises and unbuttons my outer layers, revealing a certain masochistic desire to wallow in my own heartbreak. (Nayt Housman)

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