[14] Delays, ‘Valentine’

Valentine

It’s ridiculous that Delays don’t have proper hits. Here’s a band that really only make sense if they’re racing up the charts, otherwise what’s the point of such bright, barefaced pop? They might as well keep their powder dry, dour, functional. Perhaps the kids just don’t want their guitar bands to be so heart-on-sleeve, so unguarded, unless they feature Trace Cyrus or something.

‘Valentine’ ought to be too trite, tackling Hurricane Katrina with this sort of zinging gusto, but Delays get away with it with a bracing blend of hooks, drama, movement, pace, power – sorry, was possessed by the dread spirit of Alan Hansen for a moment there. He won’t have heard of them though, but will pretend he has so he can offer ill-judged soundbites on the telly, collecting cheques with nary a clue why ‘Valentine’ trumps ‘Long Time Coming’.

Junior says:
“I liked everything,” which leads me to suspect there’s a lack of critical rigour going into her assessments.

Best bit: “Oooh-ooo-ooo-ooh-woah-oh”.

[15] Lloyd Cole & The Commotions, ‘Forest Fire’

Junior sat transfixed at the audacity of Lloyd’s wordplay and the shocking absence of dropped names. Not an Eva Marie Saint nor Norman Mailer in sight. As the song picked up, she livened up with an array of bounces, but there weren’t enough huge clanging chords to really get her excited. It’s a slow-burner of a record, aptly enough, and one for the more serious-minded teenager.

I thought it was romantic as hell back then, even though my closest brushes with affairs of the heart were limited to sending Valentines to girls I’d never met. Not so much stalking as a love as yet unspoken.

This didn’t even trouble the charts, but it’s a great song and quietly important to me. Lloyd was often at my shoulder over the next few years, helping me with my lovelorn poetry. Would’ve been nice if he’d exercised some quality control over it, mind you.