Songs in the key of Lou #6


mm1Anchors Away by Mike Mills

I have no idea where in the pages of “Just For One Day” this is referenced but it must have been because it has ended up here.

Now I have to think of something to say about this…



I like pirates?

Actually, that isn’t true.  I don’t like pirates.  I think Johnny Depp ruined pirates for me with those awful films.  I’m not even sure I enjoyed pirates before those films but I really hate them now.

That’s right.

I hate pirates.

I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) by Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston.

I love her.

The tragedy.

The drama.

The musical heritage.

The songs.

The voice.

Admittedly her version of “I Will Always Love You” isn’t as good as Dolly’s and, yes, it gave birth to a whole generation of X-Factor contestants who think singing five or fifteen notes all at the same time is better than just picking one but I still love her.

I was fourteen when “I Wanna Dance…” was released which means that at least once a month for about two years I would have danced with nobody to it in the cultural hall of the Mormon Church on Bingham Terrace in Dundee.

I say “danced” but we all know there wasn’t any dancing.

It would have been at one of these dances, quite possibly after this song that I ended up having my first kiss…that’s right folks, I kissed a girl.

I kissed a girl and I liked it.

I’m like a short, pudgy, Scottish, Katy Perry.

But less annoying.

Or more annoying.

The real joy of “I Wanna Dance…” lies in that moment at the very beginning when, after teasing us with an “Uhhhh” and  a “Yeah”, Whitney delivers a joyous “WHOOOO” and the whole thing starts…an uplifting pop song of the sort that only the darkest of hearts couldn’t find joy in.

Pretty in Pink by Psychedelic Furs

Dear Ms. Ringwald,

I have been an admirer of your work for many years now.

Your performances in so many iconic eighties films define my own experience of growing up at that time.

Oh, I can’t do it.

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.

Yes I’m married and I’m sure you probably are too but I just know that we could be very happy together so please, please, please will you marry me?

Best Wishes, 



I think “Pretty in Pink” may have been the first “indie” song I ever heard.

I was sitting in the living room of my first girlfriend’s home, a gaggle of other teenagers sprawled across the floor and squeezed onto the sofa’s.

Somebody had brought along a copy of “Pretty in Pink” on VHS for us to watch.

We felt very grown up because for most of us it was the first AA (ask your grandparents) film any of us had seen.

The first thing that happened was that I fell head over heels in love with Molly Ringwald (PLEASE MOLLY!) and the second thing that happened was that I bought the soundtrack to the film on tape on my way home from school the following Monday.

I didn’t pay any attention to The Smiths or New Order or Echo and the Bunnymen, I used to just rewind “Pretty in Pink” over and over again.

I genuinely don’t think I ever listened to anything else on that tape.

Crash by The Primitives





The Primitives should have been huge.

They had a great look, a charismatic front-woman, a tunesmith to rival almost any other…but they “crash” landed at the tail end of the C86 era and were never going to make a splash when baggy arrived, they were too tight, too sharp and too much for that scene.  Then grunge hit and their chance was gone.

The sort of lyrics and melodies they were dealing in would have seen them sit quite comfortably alongside any of the Britpop bands…curse the passing of time.

“Crash” is an indie disco floor filler, the sort of song that is instantly recognisable even if you don’t know what it is…or even if you haven’t ever heard it before!

Manchild by Neneh Cherry

I wrote a piece on Neneh Cherry earlier this year where I described my discovery of her while on a summer holiday in Utah at the same time as “Raw Like Sushi” was released.  It remains one of my favourite albums of all time…and one of the best albums of all time.

Trip-hop beats before trip-hop was a thing.

Silky smooth vocals.



R ‘n’ B.

“Manchild” has it all.

Luka by Suzanne Vega

My girlfriend was studying art, not at St Martins College but in Dundee.


I would travel there from my own university town of Paisley most Fridays, unless we were meeting in Edinburgh for a trip to The Egg…often the weekend would involve both things, Friday night in Dundee and then the bus to Edinburgh on Saturday.

I saw an Oasis tribute band in the student union there once.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

When they finished “their” set they walked off stage and “Liam” was mobbed, literally mobbed, by a horde of very attractive art student girls…including my girlfriend.

It was a turbulent relationship.

So many good times.

But sour notes that have left a lasting mark…on both of us.

After one argument or another I was left at home in her flat while she headed off, quite rightly, to have a good time rather than spend time with an arsehole.

I spent the night listening to her records.

When I stumbled across “Luka” I was left in pieces by the time it ended.


Real tears.

Awful questions about who I was and what I was.

It wasn’t that the lyrics were an accurate description of our post-adolescent tiffs…neither one of us was abusive…but it was her voice.

Pure and honest, simple…but devastatingly maudlin too.

I haven’t listened to it in a long time.

It frightens me a bit.

Will it still make me feel the same way?

I don’t want to know.

Take the A Train by Duke Ellington

The thing that has been most fun about these articles has been listening to things I haven’t heard…before or for a long time.

This is something I had never heard before.

It’s a riot.



I dunno.

It’s good though…even if it is jazz.

Girls and Boys/This is a Low/Parklife/End of a Century/To the End/Beetlebum by Blur



I’m writing a series of articles on the Blur singles catalogue.



You will just need to read those.



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