366 Songs 189: Once Around The Block

There’s something so appealing about the way that this song sounds so dated in every way aside from the lead vocal: The multi-tracked guitars sound like something from the 1970s, and the backing vocals sound like a Swingle Singers recording that never got released, but they work so well together it’s all forgiven. Add Damon Gough’s warm, lackadaisical vocal over the top, and what you have left is a sweet, somewhat sloppy, song that sounds like something you can’t quite remember, which is pretty much its best selling point.

366 Songs 187/188: I Was Wrong/You Were Right

These are, officially, two songs despite the fact that they’re obviously meant to be listened to together (Note that the first line of “You Were Right” starts “And you…” as the continuation of the last sentence from “I Was Wrong”). Damon Gough’s musical career has been filled with more than enough missteps and wrong turns than most, and the album that these songs come from (Have You Fed The Fish?) feels like it was the start of that tendency; even in these two songs – specifically “You Were Right,” which is the more substantial of the two – there’s a meandering quality and aimlessness to everything here, underneath the lush strings and excitement of the performance. The song is the musical equivalent of someone telling a story, adding “And then!” after every event, giving the thing a breathlessness and monotony that it doesn’t really deserve. Despite that, though, there’s a nice goodwill to this song, as with most Badly Drawn Boy songs. You want to like it, because it’s nice and you get the idea that Gough is a good guy, under everything.

(Worth pointing out: Gough lifted lines from this song and spun them out into a completely different song on the same album, which is either genius or a sign of creative exhaustion. That other song, “Tickets to What You Need” is also a lot of fun, another of the good songs from Have You Fed The Fish?:

How genuine, I wonder, were the repeated “What’s wrong with me?”s in this song, at the time…?)

366 Songs 137: Magic In The Air

A song that feels like summer, to me. Specifically, the summer Kate and I started emailing each other for the first time. The album that “Magic In The Air” comes from, “The Hour of The Bewilderbeast” had just been released and I would listen to it over and over again, with the sun streaming in the windows and writing long, nervous emails to send halfway across the world, wanting to believe in Damon Gough when he sang “Love is contagious/When it’s alright/Love is contagious…”