Friday, March 03, 2006
When I was a teenager I used to listen to songs I liked over and over again, largely because my record collection was rather modest. I still have the lyrics of many of them stored in my head - Eddi Reader, Sinead O'Connor, Guns n Roses... These days I've close to a thousand albums, so the rotation between listenings tends to be longer, but equally there hasn't been a song for a long time that I felt could stand repeated playings, until now. I've found myself listening to the brilliant 'Bloody Mother F*$~ing Asshole' from Martha Wainwright's eponymous debut album on a fairly regular basis since I was given it for Christmas. There's something addictive about her raspy, gin-soaked voice belting out the expletive-laden chorus with the spine-tingling conviction of a woman scorned. I've promised Ant that if he dies before me, I'll sing it at his funeral. So I looked up the chords and started to learn it on the guitar, but my style of singing just doesn't do it justice. Sitting on the train this morning, I was hankering to hear it again, and so stuck on my current playlist of favourites, which also includes Lorna Bennett's version of 'Breakfast in Bed', Nina Simone's 'Break Down & Let It All Out' and 'Fancy' by Bobbie Gentry. Though these are all from different eras and genres, they hang together for me as songs of this moment in my life. Martha's album has evoked in me a long-forgotten enthusiasm for music that appeals directly to a given personal era, satisfying a need, enhancing an existing state of mind. It's not about the lyrics or the sentiment even (neither of which particularly apply to me), but the atmosphere it conjures just speaks to something inside me. More soon please, Martha.