[7] The Specials, ‘Ghost Town’

The Specials

This place being a beacon of originality and all that, it’s difficult to tackle ‘Ghost Town’ without offering trite observations about unfortunate serendipitous events that have been reeled out a million times before. Ahem. No, we wouldn’t want to do anything like that. No. Now, wasn’t it strange how all those urban riots raged while this was at No.1? It’s as if Dammers, Hall and the gang were seers; arch-chroniclers of the rough-end of the street, so in touch with the pulse their fingers kept bobbing up and down.

OK, let’s just say that this queasy classic is powerful and insidious enough, even without the confluence of circumstance that makes it a vivid ‘Sign ‘O’ The Times’. A lucky break, if we’re being grim.

The best part of 30 years removed from all that, Junior just liked the record – although she drew the rather alarming conclusion that the crazed, ghoulish “la-la-la”s were being sung by Lykke Li. Still, with a whole new set of riots surely only a further drop in house prices away, there’s an opening for Lykke to reissue ‘I’m Good, I’m Gone’ and provide a timely anthem for our skidaddle out of the chaos.

People getting angry:

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[13] Lykke Li, ‘I’m Good, I’m Gone’

Lykke Li

Junior was poorly this morning, so her mother kept this one back ‘til later. I had no worries about it being a smash with her, though, because we’ve been wallowing in the peculiar cooing sound of Lykke Li all year long. She already had a foot in the door of our house before I’d heard a note – what with my compulsive love of Scandinavian pop – but when she turned out to be a Swedish Björk with enough glorious tunes to fill an ABBA Best Of… well, we practically had the guest room made up.

Whatever you might expect, there’s nothing flimsy about ‘I’m Good, I’m Gone’, the most plainly obvious single from the gossamer-light but hard-nosed Youth Novels album. It sashays about while piano is gamely thumped, and even though Lykke sounds cutesy she’s still letting us know who’s boss. Cementing the Scandi-pop credentials, this and Youth Novels enjoy the production magic of Björn of Peter, Björn and John fame; that’s Peter, Björn and John of ‘Young Folks’ fame; that’s ‘Young Folks’ of Jukebox Junior No.1 Single of 2006 fame; that’s the 2006 Top 20 of I-haven’t-yet-transferred-it-to-this-version-of-the-blog fame. Got all that?

Eventually, Junior listened on the way home from Sainsbury’s and was observed to clap in time (you’ll hear Lykke Li herself declaring, “I know your hands will clap”). It enjoyed a second play at home, where Junior danced like a dervish. So much for being ill. She then asked for “lemico, lemico”, which Lykke fans may recognise as a bastardised refrain from ‘Tonight’. Yes, we’ve played this album a lot.

2008 Top 20 Singles?

Halfway through the year, always looking for delaying tactics and ways to ramp up the tension for the year-end countdown, here’s a minor indicator – the Top 20 Most Played 2008 Singles on my iPod thingy.

[1] Martha Wainwright, ‘Bleeding All Over You’
[2] The Ting Tings, ‘Great DJ’
[3] Laura Marling, ‘Ghosts’
[4] Alphabeat, ‘Fascination’
[5] Fleet Foxes, ‘White Winter Hymnal’
[6] Coldplay, ‘Violet Hill’
[7] The Ting Tings, ‘That’s Not My Name’
[8] Death Cab For Cutie, ‘I Will Possess Your Heart’
[9] MGMT, ‘Time To Pretend’
[10] Lykke Li, ‘I’m Good, I’m Gone’
[11] Coldplay, ‘Viva La Vida’
[12] Santogold, ‘L.E.S. Artistes’
[13] Portishead, ‘Machine Gun’
[14] Vampire Weekend, ‘Oxford Comma’
[15] Laura Marling, ‘Cross Your Fingers’/’Crawled Out Of The Sea’
[16] Hercules And Love Affair, ‘Blind’
[17] The Shortwave Set, ‘No Social’
[18] Goldfrapp, ‘A&E’
[19] H ‘two’ O featuring Platnum, ‘What’s It Gonna Be’
[20] Foals, ‘Red Socks Pugie’

Admit it. You’re astonished.