That’s the Yeah Yeah Yeahs all over, isn’t it? Karen O is specifically cool because she’s gangly. She is the CJ Cregg of rock, the new new wave Racnoss who can carry off dressing like Su Pollard because she doesn’t give a monkey’s, and ‘Sacrilege’ is the alt.rock ‘Like A Prayer’. Praise be!
When the Pet Shop Boys covered this in their Pandemonium show – Neil Tennant in crown and gown, natch – it fostered the biggest singalong of the night. I’d swear, somewhat insultingly (for whoever), half the audience assumed the song was Tennant and Lowe’s – and wised up too late. Otherwise, I’m not sure there’s a natural overlap between the bands, but the point for me is ‘Viva La Vida’ has fast become an anthem and, I’ll wager, the Noughties hit that will last. At least in the sort of Absolute Radio pantheon that will forever rate Bohemian Rhapsody and Stairway To Heaven the standout peaks of our popular culture.
Obviously I think this is a great record, and while much of that is down to its immediacy and bursting pride, there’s also the question of its surprising birth. After all, X&Y had pretty much clawhammered the joy out of the soul of anyone who listened. It was a flatulent album, stretching its reserves of hot air over a dozen lifeless rhyming-dictionary clods of half-songs. They barely deserved their Brian Eno moment. However, he turned up anyway and has to take a hefty slice of credit for the alert Coldplay that emerged. But credit to Martin and co for actually bothering their arses this time.
Like Doctor Who, this is a family favourite. Actually, Doctor Who’s too scary for Junior. Let’s call this a mainstay of our automobile glee club.
Junior says: “WOAH-OH-OHH-OH-OHHH-OHHH. That’s the best bit.” And probably the only bit not pilfered from Joe Satriani, Cat Stevens, ‘Papa Don’t Preach’… – ah, we’re all the sum of our influences, aren’t we? Whatever cobbles this together, it gets Junior smiling every time. Maybe she’s got some publishing rights too.
Did Trevor Horn ruin Belle And Sebastian? Did Russell T. Davies ruin Doctor Who? Did Tony Blair ruin Labour? Nah, they just buffed them up until you could shave in them. Dear Catastrophe Waitress represented a sonic step forward – or sideways, however you look at it – but B&S were never exactly scuzzy and never lost their lighter touch. There’s not much lightness of touch on ‘I’m A Cuckoo’, unless you take it for a wimpier spin on Thin Lizzy; there are guitar pyrotechnics (well, they spark a little) and it soars up to a triumphant final verse, riding shotgun with the Sunday gang in Harajuku.
Junior bops, and actually likes it. I’ve suspicions that the chocolate cornflake cake she was munching did more to hep up her mood, but Belle And Sebastian never did anyone any harm.
Tune in on Monday for the second part of our Harajuku double-header.