Tag Archives: 1997

The Chemical Brothers – The Private Psychedelic Reel (1997)

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A story of how music can save. ‘The Private Psychedelic Reel’ is the closing track off The Chemical Brothers’ second album Dig Your Own Hole. It’s a great tune in its own right, but is especially remarkable for what it brought about. Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons contacted Jonathan Donahue to fuse their electronic music with his Mercury Rev brand of  psychedelia. Donahue is credited with “Effects [Dub ‘tetix Wave’]”… whatever. Importantly, the track inspired a disillusioned Donahue to start making creative music again and Rev’s best, Deserter’s Songs, followed shortly afterwards. Thank you Tom and Ed.

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Radiohead – Lift (1997)

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Good morning. We kick off today with Radiohead’s lost classic ‘Lift’. It was recorded during the sessions for OK Computer, but never made the grade. That’s not quire right of course, something that listeners can quickly appreciate. In fact, ‘Lift’ had been expected to be the first single from the album due to the band’s predilection for featuring it in their sets throughout 1996. Anthemic and melodic, the song perhaps fits better with the Radiohead in 1995, rather than 1997. It would have been huge, but these guys were perfectionists. Have a great week.

 

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The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony (1997)

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What can you say about the The Verve’s ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ that has not already been said before. The song was ubiquitous in 1997/98.  Richard Ashcroft had taken Andrew Oldham Orchestra’s strings cover of The Rolling Stones ‘Last Time’ and realised its potential by writing those sublime lyrics. The bitter sweet would follow when the Stones’ former manager Allen Klein reneged on an agreement they had with Decca and demanded 100% of the song’s royalties, stripping the Verve of their undoubted achievement.

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Primal Scream – Star (1997)

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I have very fond memories of this song. Primal Scream had been dormant in my thoughts for a few years leading up to the release of their Star EP in 1997. I heard it and I smiled. Have a great weekend.

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Radiohead – Let Down (1997)

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Radiohead too

This time last week, I was amazed at having not posted a particular song – and so here I go again. Last month, at a gig in Madison Square Garden, NYC, Radiohead played ‘Let Down’ for the first time in a decade. Is it the best track off the best album ever produced? Arguably, yes. What cannot be disputed is that for one glorious moment, they were everybody’s benchmark.

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Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Into My Arms (1997)

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Nick Cave

Tapping into the hurt of broken relationships, Nick Cave was able to create a sound so sad, I am almost happy to hear it. ‘Into My Arms’ was released as a single off The Bad Seeds’ 1997 album The Boatman’s Call. In the same year, Cave performed the song at the funeral of his friend Michael Hutchence.

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Radiohead – Airbag (1997)

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Radiohead 1997

OK Computer redefined rock music. Previous Radiohead album The Bends had been a quantum leap for their own sound, but two years later, nothing had prepared the listening hordes for what followed next. The opening track ‘Airbag’ jumped on stage like an “an interstellar burst” and Thom Yorke was “back to save the universe” with jingle bells, layers of trip hop and Phil Selway’s drum loops. Have a great week.

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Harvey Danger – Flagpole Sitta (1997)

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Harvey Danger

I have to admit, one of my shortcomings is that I am 95% more likely to be drawn to a well executed melody than I am a well crafted lyric. However, the 5% allows for a little humour. In 1997, Harvey Danger included this amusing slice of power pop on their debut album Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone? ‘Flagpole Sitta’ was released as a single a year later and picked up as the theme tune for the long running sitcom Peep Show in the decade that followed.I’m Not Sick, But I’m Not Well.” Have a great week.

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Supergrass – Late In The Day (1997)

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Supergrass 1997

How do you follow up a career-defining album like I Should Coco? By releasing In It For Money of course. Different tricks, more introspection, it seems so obvious now. ‘Late in the Day’ was the fourth track and fourth & final single from the album. These guys were on it in 1997. Have a great weekend.

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Taj Mahal – Queen Bee (1997)

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Taj Mahal too

Taj Mahal has the cool and that’s why this is a third feature in this blog. But ‘Queen Bee’ is the first of the three he penned himself and the only one that he wrote for his 1997 album Señor Blues – a journey through some of his favourite blues styles. As with much his great work, he’s able to blend his influences seamlessly – in this case blues and reggae. Say it’s so, Taj, your queen bee rock you to your soul.

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Cat Power – Nude As The News (1997)

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Cat Power again

Produced by Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, the album What Would The Community Think housed the psychotic overtures of ‘Nude As The News’. It was Chan Marshall’s dark, melancholic third album, and its best song drew on the influences of The Velvet Underground and Nirvana. The song draws on an abortion that Marshall (a.k.a. Cat Power) had when she was twenty. Visceral stuff.

 

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Aphex Twin – Flim (1997)

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Aphex Twin

Come to Daddy was an EP by Richard D. James and his pseudonym Aphex Twin. The psychotic title track is one of his best-known productions; but elsewhere on the disc was the pure gold of ‘IZ-US’ and ‘Flim’. The fragile ambience of the latter makes the grade here.

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The Notorious B.I.G. – Mo Money Mo Problems (1997)

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The Notorious B.I.G.

‘Mo Money Mo Problems’ was a single off Biggie Smalls’ Life After Death. While his role on this posthumous single was understandably limited, the big man’s inimitable flow is there amongst the circus. But the real reason I feature the song is just to acknowledge one of THE classic guitar chops from Nile Rodgers, and to do so without having to actually post its source material – Diana Ross’s ‘I’m Coming Out’.

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Elliott Smith – Angeles (1997)

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Elliott Smith

In 2003, the same year that The Postal Service proclaimed Give Up, Elliot Smith decided to cut short his career and his life. One of Smith’s quintessential songs is ‘Angeles’. Behind the calm vocal delivery, he was not a happy man; it showed in anything he did – gambling, alcoholism, drug addiction and song writing. “Someone’s always coming around here, trailing some new kill / Says I’ve seen your picture on a hundred dollar bill / … And be forever with my poison arms around you.” He died in Los Angeles, aged 34 years old, having stabbed himself in the chest with a kitchen knife.

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Ben Folds Five – One Angry Dwarf & 200 Solemn Faces (1997)

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Ben Folds Five

Another statement of intent at the start of an album, ‘One Angry Dwarf & 200 Solemn Faces’ is piano and pedals where ‘Red Morning Light’ is guitar and percussion. After the good reception for Ben Folds Five’s uplifting self-titled debut, their sophomore album Whatever and Ever Amen kicks off with this sharper, quick-witted revenge fantasy. The piano tunesmith Ben Folds was morphing from Billy Joel into Elton John. Have a good weekend.

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