Searching for something to say

Time for a bit of pure self-indulgence; I’m doing the 20-first-line thing again. Only with 25 (thanks Rob), and with a whole bunch of songs either missed out or included for completely arbitrary reasons. (So I skipped some albums which appeared in the earlier attempts, but not all of them.) The difference from the previous two attempts is essentially that this is 25 songs I actually like.

  1. “When your world is full of strange arrangements and gravity won’t pull you through”
    – ABC, “The look of love” (Justin)
  2. “Well I remember when you used to look so good and I would do everything I possibly could for you”
    – Love, “Bummer in the summer” (Chris)
  3. “Summer was gone and the heat died down”
    – Nick Drake, “Time of no reply” (Justin)
  4. “Sometimes I feel so happy, sometimes I feel so sad”
    – the Velvet Underground, “Pale blue eyes” (Larry)
  5. “As I was walking all alane”
    – traditional, “Twa Corbies”
  6. “You’ve got to hope for the best, and the best looks good now baby”
    – Spiritualized, “Do it all over again” (Unity)
  7. “They stumbled into their lives”
    – Blur, “Fade away” (Justin)
  8. “Everyone’s too nice to me, the way Vincent Price would be with midnight coming on”
    – Peter Blegvad, “Special Delivery”
  9. “D’you lay with a shallow girl?”
    – James Yorkston, “I awoke”
  10. “Your railroad gauge, you know I just can’t jump it”
    – Bob Dylan, “Absolutely Sweet Marie” (Alex)
  11. “Who could find him, the sidewinding Indian?”
    – Spiritualized, “Do it all over again” (actualfactual)
  12. Moon is giving sunshine, clouds are full of wine”
    – Laika, “Marimba song” (Unity)
  13. “Boy, do you hear me say, do you hear me say now?”
    – the Concretes, “You can’t hurry love” (actualfactual)
  14. “This old world may never change”
    – Fred Neil, “Dolphins” (Jim)
  15. “Sonically we’re in control”
    – Leftfield, “Original” (Unity)
  16. “I want, him wants, you want, who wants, he wants, I want, him wants, I want”
    – Happy Mondays, “Do it better” (actualfactual)
  17. “They’re nice and precise – each one begins and ends”
    – Buzzcocks, “Fast cars” (actualfactual)
  18. “Drag boy dog boy dirty numb angel boy”
    – Underworld, “Born slippy” (James)
  19. “Why this uncertainty? It’s not clear to me – would you rather be independent?”
    – Pet Shop Boys, “One in a million” (Unity)
  20. “Spring was never waiting for us, girl”
    – Richard Harris, “MacArthur Park” (Lisa)
  21. “So you lost your trust, and you never should have”
    – Coldplay, “See you soon” (actualfactual)
  22. “It’s the darkest time of year”
    – Robyn Hitchcock, “Winter love”
  23. “Thinking of all the times you missed digging it in, you can’t resist”
    – Ed Kuepper, “By the way”
  24. “First time, I did it for the hell of it”
    – SFA, “Something for the weekend” (Alex)
  25. “Brown Eyes and I were tired”
    – Brian Eno, “St Elmo’s Fire” (Unity)

Have at it.

Update 13th July: that’s your lot. Well spotted, all.


  1. John
    Posted 7 July 2006 at 00:05 | Permalink | Reply

    13. Oasis “D’ya know what I mean?”?

  2. Phil
    Posted 7 July 2006 at 07:35 | Permalink | Reply

    Nope, sorry.

  3. James
    Posted 7 July 2006 at 08:07 | Permalink | Reply

    18. Underworld “Born Slippy”

  4. Justin
    Posted 7 July 2006 at 08:08 | Permalink | Reply

    1. Look of Love – ABC
    3. Time of No Reply – Nick Drake
    7. Fade Away – Blur

  5. Alex
    Posted 7 July 2006 at 09:00 | Permalink | Reply

    10: Bob Dylan…Absolutely Sweet Marie

    24: Super Furry Animals, Something For the Weekend (can I point out incidentally that they were fucking brilliant?)

  6. Anonymous
    Posted 7 July 2006 at 13:23 | Permalink | Reply

    2. Is this Love, “Bummer in the Summer”, from Forever Changes?

    Chris Y

  7. Lisa Rullsenberg
    Posted 7 July 2006 at 17:52 | Permalink | Reply

    20 – is that MacArthurs park in there!? Awesome!

  8. Rob
    Posted 7 July 2006 at 23:30 | Permalink | Reply

    Drat. The only one I knew was the Nick Drake. #14 and #21 are cooing at me from my subconscious, but then so was #20 and I’d never actually have guessed that right (many years since I heard it).

    I’m not having much luck guessing SFA songs from “Fuzzy Logic”. Mind you, nobody got my one from “Love Kraft”. Funny.

    I’ll wait a bit before Googling in case something occurs to me.

  9. Larry Lamb
    Posted 8 July 2006 at 12:13 | Permalink | Reply

    4 “Pale Blue Eyes” Velvet Underground

  10. Phil
    Posted 8 July 2006 at 17:05 | Permalink | Reply

    Actually it’s “Pale blue eyes” by REM (a rather poor live cover version) but you were never going to get that short of telepathy (or hacking my account).

    I’m gratified yet oddly dismayed by the number of people who recognised the Nick Drake (viz. 2) – I mean, it’s me he’s singing to, isn’t it? I’ve actually sung “Time of no reply” in public. I felt a right dick singing the line about the trees. Cheers, Nick…

  11. Jim Bliss
    Posted 10 July 2006 at 15:59 | Permalink | Reply

    14. Dolphins. I don’t know what version you’ve got (I’ve got the achingly beautiful Matt Johnson one)

  12. Unity
    Posted 10 July 2006 at 16:00 | Permalink | Reply

    15 is Leftfield – ‘Original’… I think…

  13. Phil
    Posted 10 July 2006 at 21:11 | Permalink | Reply

    Jim – that was a live version by Fred Neil himself. I haven’t heard the Matt Johnson; the best version I’ve heard is a duet by Beth Orton and Terry Callier. Much better than it sounds – she’s not one of the world’s great vocalists (whereas he quite possibly is) but their voices go together really well.

    This is going well. Still another four or five which I’d count as obvious, though.

  14. Unity
    Posted 11 July 2006 at 19:20 | Permalink | Reply

    6. Spiritualized – Do it all again.

    12. Laika – Marimba

    19. Pet Shop Boys – One in a million

    And 25 is Brian Eno – St Elmo’s Fire

  15. actualfactual
    Posted 11 July 2006 at 19:56 | Permalink | Reply

    No one is prepared to admit to knowing that 21 is “See You Soon” by Coldplay. Understandable of course.

    11 is by The Beta Band, but God knows what the title is. It goes “Who could find him, the sidewinding Indian? Why do they miss him, the overpaid simpleton?” but I have no idea what the track’s actually called. I think (less secure now) 13 is The Concretes and I think it’s called “You can’t hurry love” – at the very least it’s on my iPod in the “Swedish, mad” category.

  16. Phil
    Posted 11 July 2006 at 19:57 | Permalink | Reply

    Blimey. Good work, that pseudonymous person (I assume it is a pseudonym and not an unfortunate family homage to the younger Mitford gel…)

    I’ve actually got Another green world on vinyl – the track that came up was a cover of “St Elmo’s Fire” by Uilab (the band Ui with a couple of members of Stereolab). But see earlier comment re telepathy, etc.

  17. Phil
    Posted 11 July 2006 at 20:01 | Permalink | Reply

    “She jumped in the river of the tears that I cried, those I left alone are left outside…” Ah yes. And I actually like “See you soon” by Coldplay, actually. H’mph.

    I’m holding out for somebody to get (or at least have a crack at) 16 and 17 (both of which I rate very highly indeed); after that it’s mostly your actual obscurities.

  18. actualfactual
    Posted 11 July 2006 at 20:36 | Permalink | Reply

    Okay, as for liking Coldplay, well, I knew the lyrics didn’t I? It’s just that after only seeing the songs on German MTV, returning to the UK and suddenly being confronted with the “real” Chris Martin, well, it’s a tad disturbing….

    As for 16 and 17, I’m sure I know 16, the tune will come along soon enough, and 17 is the Buzzcocks (Fast Cars) – 23 rings a bell too.

  19. Phil
    Posted 12 July 2006 at 22:42 | Permalink | Reply

    My rendering of 16 is approximate; there doesn’t appear to be a canonical version of the lyrics online to check.

    It might be fairer to quote a line from later on:

    Good good good good
    Good good good good
    Good good good good
    Double double good, double double good

  20. actualfactual
    Posted 13 July 2006 at 16:19 | Permalink | Reply

    Oh the shame for not getting that – and I was out in Manchester at the weekend as well! Admittedly it was to watch the Twenty20 as opposed to go out wearing stupid baggy trousers as I would have in 1988, but even so! I’m blaming that on only having “Bummed” on vinyl and not hearing “Do It Better” for ages.
    It’s a sign I should digitize all that analogue music, I suppose. Well, most of it.
    Thanks for the quiz – it’s an idea worth appropriating. Can you edit the random choices if iTunes comes up with something seriously dodgy that your girlfriend wanted you to put on the iPod?

  21. Phil
    Posted 13 July 2006 at 22:07 | Permalink | Reply

    The first time I tried this it was strictly random, plus I hadn’t ripped most of my collection at the time – so I ended up with a list that was heavy on show tunes and Hits of the Eighties. I went to the other extreme with this one – I decided to do it after I started playing songs at random & came up with the first three here, & after that I just ignored anything I didn’t like.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: