Curated Music

I love music; it inspires, it calms, it motivates, it annoys, it comforts. Today there is more music than anyone can possibly consume in a lifetime but increasingly as the algorithms takeover the world it is harder to break out of your own silo of “liked” music.
Within this section of the site are a combination of personal discoveries and randomly mutated musical earworms that have occurred to me over time. Explore at your (p?)leisure…

If you can’t stand the heat…

Another mutating earworm presented itself in the car (again) the other day. Club de Belugas’ ‘Nujazz’ track ‘Some like it Hot’ was playing . Now I’ve listened to this maybe 30 times or so before but there was something present that I’d never picked up on previously. Maybe it was triggered by the specifics of the listening conditions, high levels of road noise and in a car that wasn’t my own, there was a synth brass stab in there the timbre and rhythm of which woke the earworm and set it off burrowing away.

(From 48s in on the video above)

This proved to be a relatively hard nut to crack but the Donovan Determination would not be deterred. Finally I unearthed the little devil hiding back in the early 90s DNA remix of Suzanne Vega’s ‘Tom’s Diner’ (0:28 onwards)

Now (perhaps unsurprisingly) the same brass stab pattern appears in another related track; Brenda Boykin, who’s vocals appear on ‘Some like it Hot’ also recorded ‘Love is in town’ (taken from her 2008 album ‘Chocolate and Chilli’) check it out below (0:36s for the brass stabs)

That’s it for this week’s earworm trail

I’ve another Suzanne Vega related mutating earworm post coming next week from a completely different direction.

Until then happy listening


A little bit of history repeating

You just can’t keep a good earworm down, it always keeps coming back to the surface.

A couple of months back I heard Anna Calvi’s ‘As a Man’ on my morning commute to work. It was immediately appealing for several reasons; Anna’s vocals hold tones I have a penchant for (think Garbage, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Warpaint etc) but the song itself hooked into some familiar musical memories.

First off I had strains of Shirley Bassey ‘The word is about there’s something evolving…’ straight from Propellerheads’ “History Repeating”

Then as the song progressed I heard a melodic hook that I struggled to place. For the rest of my journey to work I was humming it round and round.

Parking up I took a stab at identifying the track, it felt like a Coldplay number but I didn’t know the title. Flicking through their hits I finally found a match – ‘Talk’ from their third album X & Y

Clearly Anna has her own bit of history repeating and a top class song to boot as a result.

You know there will be more mutating earworms as and when I find them (or at least as and when I find time to put fingers to keys).

Maybe not tomorrow, but some day soon 😉


What am I? Human?

Back with another Midweek Mutation of an earworm. This one is literally hot of the decks having only just identified the link.

The Starting point is an absolute corker of a song from Rory Charles Graham aka Rag’n’Bone Man. “Human” was the title track from his first album, released in July 2016 it has been used in numerous TV shows and films. The parent album being released in February the following year.

It occurred to me that it would be a great track to add to the covers on my set list. After a couple of listens though I could hear something else coming to the fore during the descending “don’t put the blame on me”

And off we skip back to 1988 – the golden year of Stock Aitken and Waterman (see my last earworm!) which also birthed the classic “bohemian” pop record from Mrs Paul Simon aka Edie Brickell

I remember buying this from my local Woolworths store on 7″ Vinyl and playing it on my record player repeatedly at the age of 14. But I digress, “what’s the link?” you impatiently ask.”we can’t hear it”

Well the bit that strikes the earworm chord is the line “Don’t let me get to deep” which fairly closely follows the intonation of “don’t put the blame on me”.

So there you go, one fast fire earworm sorted. Just in time for tea.

Catch you later, humans


Did Mika get inspired by a Donovan?

Ready for more Midweek earworm machinations?

Ready or not here it comes!

Somewhere there is a photo of me at a school fancy-dress party donning blue jeans, white t-shirt plus questionable (certainly superfluous) braces, pretend strumming my dad’s acoustic guitar and singing along to one of the Stock Aitken and Waterman hits riding high in the charts at the time.

The song that was being played is the earworm answer to the conundrum that struck when I heard ‘We are Golden’ by MIKA for the first time.

Try not to be distracted by the typical MIKA exuberance and joyously cheeky performance, and just listen to the first 8 bars (which comprise the intro and choruses) it should take you all of about 10 of the 15 seconds to work our what it reminds you of. Assuming of course you were around at least old enough to appreciate chart music in 1989.

Everyone loves a bit of SAW

Yes that’s right Jason Donovan’s chart smash ‘Too Many Broken Hearts’.

Tell me I’m wrong and I’ll say ‘it’s my earworm so there!’ but somehow I don’t think you will today.

Back tomorrow 


Beauty to the power of 3

Ok so here come three Friday favourites thick and fast.

First off a corker from Alice Merton, real groove going on here…

Followed in quick succession by a luscious aural delight from Charlotte Gainsberg

And finally this killer from Janelle Monae which has been one of my favourite 180bpm running tracks for a couple of years now. 

That’s all folks hope you enjoyed them now go kick the weekend!


A Dangerous Affair

Back for more? so soon?

Well here it is, this week’s Thursday Throwback. Once again plundering the archive of musical missives from the dim and distant past of yours truly.

(my my Donovan, we’re in a particular chipper mood today aren’t we!) 

Yes we are, bounding weekendward and one beer down so jovial is my current disposition. 

Not to put a dampener on it, but here is a funky little number extolling the perils of overindulging in all chemically induced pleasures.

Taken for the Crystal studio sessions – Dangerous Affair

Back with more jollity tomorrow!


Foot-loose and Fascination Free

This week’s Midweek mutating earworm is quick and simple.

When ‘Fascination’ from Alphabeat came along in 2007 all I kept hearing was an 80s classic that would always get played at discos.

Do-do-doooo dad-dah-dah-da

Purely tempo 180bpm and drum pattern from the intro / break is all it took to build an unbreakable earworm link to Footloose by Kenny Loggins

Dum-dum-dummm da-dah-dah-dah

And then the next step on the journey is the same beat but slightly less high energy. The Cure’s “Close to me” taking almost the same drum beats but going off in a completely different direction.

Dum-dum-dum da-da-da-da-dah-da

And that’s it! Short and sweet, journey complete. 

You know what comes next…? tomorrow!


Hello, I must be going…

It’s a great title, and I remember it being an album I really got into; hours spent struggling with teenage crushes and lamenting unrequited love. A bright red Saisho personal cassette player connected to even brights yellow Sony earphones on a detachable headband pumping Phil C’s drums and dark moods into my headspace, feeding the angst song by song.

I think my dad was a Phil Collins fan from the start; there were at least a couple of Genesis albums in his collection (although I don’t remember any Gabriel-era material) and after I showed an interest “…But Seriously” was a welcome christmas present. I think my love of brass sections probably stems from hearing The Phoenix Horns in tracks like “It Don’t Matter to Me” and “Saturday Night And Sunday Morning” and might explain why I love the likes of Renegade Brass Band who I’ll be seeing for the third time this Saturday when they return to the Wardrobe in Leeds (tickets still available I believe)
My favourite track from the Album RBB Rhymes Beats and Brass

After almost a decade of being an increasing fan (along with managing to see Genesis live at Roundhay in 1993) I stopped adding to the collection after never really connecting with albums from “Both Sides” onwards. There was something lacking lyrically for me, clever couplets and knowingness in the form of Achtung Baby and Zooropa from U2 were the kind of thing that took the place of earnest emotional observation. Oh to be twentysomething again…

I revisited some of the Phil Collins back catalogue earlier this year after reading his autobiography (which I recommend to anyone I trust not to be a snob about it), it was a great read; as honest and open as his songs have always been, and an eye opener to that fact that people who seemed to have it all sorted are generally no less insecure or flawed than the rest of us. The music will always have a place in my history and heart.

Well enough trolling down memory lane. 

Hump day tomorrow


Ready for the weekend?

I’m off down a musical rabbit hole again ferreting out Friday Favourites.

So it starts with thinking what from my collection would make a good weekend kickoff, up pops Boogie 2nite by Booty Luv.

Now I know that Booty Luv are made up of former Big Brovaz members and so it makes sense to drop in a link to ‘Nu-flow’ which draws me back to the Saturday’s earworm from last week but I swerve that tangent.

But then I start digging into the detail.

Turns out the top Booty Luv singles are covers (I know, shocker!).

Boogie 2nite was originally performed by Tweet and “Don’t mess with my man” by Lucy Pearl, so I give them both a listen;

And as I listen to the original (above) Mr Earworm takes hold and transports me across to ‘Don’t’ by Mr Edward Sheeran.

There is somewhat more than just a titular similarity hear, although that’s not uncommon for the 8th most streamed artist on Spotify. (No Scrubs / Shape of You ?)

So this is rapidly turning into a Midweek post but who cares? I’m having fun. Party for one anybody?  🙂

Enjoy the rest of your Friday and party like Orson! 


PS the Single mix of Boogie 2nite was the Seamus Haji Big Love Edit (featured above),  not the version of audio that appeared in the official video release, which in case you’re interested was the remix by DB Boulevard which you can find here – not quite as “party” though. 

Love this Life

This could equally have gone under the title of Something Old Something New as the post a few days ago did but for different reasons; Something Old – a Strawberry Thieves track (they have all been kicking about a fair while now), Something New – a remixed version of “Love this Life”. 

I love the guitar solo the most!

When I was putting my modest studio together in earnest a couple of years ago, I invested in an up-to-date version of Cubase and started digging through some of the archived recordings. I also figured it was time to revisit some of the things I’d learnt but since forgotten back at college. 

“Love this Life” was recorded during the same sessions as “Too Close for Comfort” but never got finished. The drum track had a fair amount of cross talk and the bass recording just didn’t capture Ian’s playing, so I spent a fair few evenings re-programming them note by note to give them the weighty punch I was after. I also recorded some new ad-lib vocals for the outtro.

My favourite part of the track has always been Paul’s duelling guitar solo and the guitar is squarely front and centre throughout.  

If I’m honest I don’t think the vocals sit quite right in the mix just yet and I’ll be looking to re-address that at some point but you know, a work in progress is still a work. Leave your thoughts good bad or ugly below (I want them all!) 

(Line mentioning “tomorrow” goes here)