Wallls of Sound

Walls of Sound

(Soundtrack: Elastica)

David Allison has a fun post up about Elastica and laziness, and this got me thinking about my one problem with the band’s amazing debut album… Unlike a lot of the feelings/thoughts that I try to capture here, this one is easy to put into words– “Indian Song”…I fuckin’ hate it!

My first thought,  whenever I chance upon this CD and see those women lined up in front of a Spectorish brick wall is, of course, of “Line Up” itself… and believe me, this is a very pleasant thought indeed… “S.O.F.T.”, “Hold Me”, “All-Nighter”, “Waking Up”, and all of the rest follow so quickly on its heels that I begin to wonder how the album could ever have sunk to the bottom of the disorganized mess I laughingly call my “audio library”… I get so excited that I fairly run toward the CD player, only to be reminded, just as I pop it open, that, if I actually go through with the operation, I will be condemning myself to a rendez-vous with inexplicable New Age hell in about twenty-five minutes…  Oh yes–“It is waiting”… and it sounds like a really bad Tears for Fears song with bored female vocals… Why did they do it?

Sometimes, I just toss the CD aside…on other occasions I have been known to program all 15 of the other songs in their natural succession, just so that I can pretend that track 8 never existed…but the one thing I will never do is ever listen to that song again…

And then I began thinking–this could almost be a meme! Everyone must have a few of these “tragically flawed” CD’s in their collections, right? Golden Bowls, Henry James would call ’em… It’s almost worse than the proverbial album with only a couple of good songs! For instance–wouldn’t London Calling be so much better without “Lover’s Rock”? It manifestly does not rock–and can anyone seriously claim to love it? What about Rumours? Maybe I’m the only Fleetwood Mac fan under forty–but even I can’t stand “Don’t Stop”. I actually solved this problem a few years ago by burning a “DS-less” version of the album–so now my experience of “Second Hand News”, “Never Going Back Again”, “Go Your Own Way”, “I Don’t Want to Know” is free from fear… Before I came up with this solution, I often used to just opt for Tusk (which has no flaws) instead! Also–New Kingdom’s Heavy Load would get a lot more playing time around here if “Mother Nature” wasn’t there to cast its lame shadow over all of its wonderful neighbours…

What say you?

Good Night Friends!


  1. as an irrationally avid fan of elastica who sees them as doing no wrong i really don’t mind the indian song and i think that you are overreacting more than just a bit. but, then again, i also love the menace just as much as i love elastica elastica so i’m probably insane. actually the only elastica song that i really dislike is gloria and i think that is only because i really hate the name gloria. as a suggestion i suppose if that song really ruins the album for you you could just burn a copy without that song on it.

    as a side note i would like to mention that i have been almost completely satisfied with life ever since i adopted the theme of mayor of castorbridge as an approach to life.

  2. Ha! ‘Indian Song’ is pretty dull and new agey, yeah, but I mostly just skip it seems like it bothers you more than it bothers me!

    ‘Lover’s Rock’ on the other hand — yeah, I could definitely do without that fucking song! Especially since it’s tucked away near the back end of the album, and since I mostly forget about it until it comes on.

    On the whole I’m pretty forgiving of flawed albums though. I mean, it’s ideal if I can listen to an album straight through and be satisfied, but for the most part I manage to shrug duff tracks like these off.

    That said, I’m off to give my CDs a once over to work out if there are any I dont give much play because of only one or two tracks. Nothing comes to mind but we’ll see if I can dredge anything up…

    David Allison

  3. Ugh. Me no type so good.

    “…but I mostly just skip it, and it seems like it bothers you more than it bothers me!”



  4. I don’t think the problem with Elastica was “laziness” so much as “dumping our songwriter, Damon Albarn.”


  5. It’s kind of funny when you rant against Rumours and London Calling when both are always considerd among the greatest rock albums whenever such a poll is conducted.

    It’s just art thats all.


  6. Sean — I’m really starting to get sick of the idea that female band members who go out with male pop stars are having their songs written for them by the men. It seems highly dubious to me — like, duh, obviously they couldn’t be writing their own tunes! They’re only silly girls after all!

    And yeah, I know Elastica weren’t an all female group, but I still objects to the suggestion that Damon Albarn wrote all their good songs for them (which isn’t to say that ‘Dan Abnormal’ had no input, but hey).

    And as for ripping of Wire, well yeah, but at least they ripped off someone good!

    David Allison

  7. thank you David–

    you said everything I would’ve wanted to say on those subjects…

    Al–come on man! I’m just having fun!


  8. ok..now I get to be cool..hehe..

    when my band went and recorded with albini he had just finished some work with elastica…

    he said they were stuck up.

    We had an untitled instrumental.

    He gave us the title he’d been trying to give bands for a while…

    including Elastica…

    “A picture of me fucking your mother”

    we used it.

    The band was Slight Surface Noise…

    and I have several hundred records in my storage room if anybody is interested…


  9. I’m double posting all these things on both Davids’ blogs, but oh well:

    Dave, this isn’t a male/female issue as far as I’m concerned: I’m just tellin’ you what I been told, man.

    I for one am a lot more irritated at the way new albums by veteran female artists get more attention when they have big-name hipster-cred male producers attached: cf. Loretta Lynn/Jack White, Marianne Faithfull/Nick Cave, Nancy Sinatra/Thurston Moore, etc. Were these women less good/interesting before some Williamsburg-approved dude came along to lend a hand?

  10. I love Loretta and have plenty of reasons for disliking Jack White, but that’s the best album she’s had in a long time. I think his production is well suited for old country. Ditto for Nancy (who was best with Hazlewood). Don’t know what that says about gender relations, but them’s the facts. I also don’t much care for Emmylou Harris’ solo work, but it’s impossible to make a bad song when she does backup (just listen to that Bright Eyes song with her for proof — he sucks, but not with her). Dylan’s voice was never better than with her. Same for Parsons. Is that patriarchal, saying that some men weren’t as good without her? I don’t know.

    I do agree that it’s unfortunate when old country artists only get listened to when some new hipster mentions them and, of course, it would be better if people actively searched out new experiences, but it’s a bland world, and at least some attention is coming to the deserving.


  11. Okay, I’m curious: why do you hate “Don’t Stop”? I’m not a particular fan of “Fleetwood Mac” or “Rumours,” but that’s one of the songs on it that I like.


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