Archive | August, 2018

Certain Songs #1309: New Order – “Dreams Never End”

Album: Movement
Year: 1981

It took a little over a year from when I purchased Joy Division’s Still in late 1981 to get fully caught up on all the music that Joy Divsion / New Order had released.

And since I had started with Still, I didn’t buy any of this music in any kind of order, meaning for awhile, it was all jumbled up in my head, especially since the last thing I bought in that period was the most radical — the singles that were collected as the 1981-1982 EP (more on that tomorrow) — it took me a while to process New Order as their own thing.

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Certain Songs #1308: New Order – “Ceremony”

Single, 1981

While “Ceremony” might or might not be my all-time favorite song, it’s definitely my all-time favorite recording.

But because nothing is ever easy, I need to instantly point out that praise applies to this specific version of “Ceremony” — often referred to as “Ceremony (Version 1)” — which came out in March of 1981 as a 12-inch single with a green cover, and not the version that ended up on Substance, which is therefore the one that most people know.

The version on Substance was recorded in November 1980 after Gillian Gilbert joined the band, but the original recording was just Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris, working out their grief just months after their entire world was forever changed by the suicide of Ian Curtis.

There is a timeline, of course, where Ian Curtis never killed himself, and “Ceremony” was just the next Joy Division single. Weirdly enough, I still think they get into dance music, as once Sumner & Morris (and even Peter Hook) discovered technology, there was no turning back, and besides, on songs like “She’s Lost Control” & “Isolation” they were already angling in that direction.

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Certain Songs #1307: Nerf Herder – “Buffy The Vampire Slayer Theme”

Album: Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Album
Year: 1997

So my first thought when I read that they were going to reboot Buffy The Vampire Slayer was “what are they going to use for the theme song?” Because while Nerf Herder’s original theme song is definitely part of that show’s iconic aesthetic, it’s also incredibly 1997, and there is just no way that you could make a realistic show about high students in 2018 and use a surf-punk instrumental as your theme song.

Right? Part of the many many things that made Buffy The Vampire Slayer such a great series was the verisimilitude of normal turn-of-the-century high school students juxtaposed with the fantastical (and metaphorical) monsters they battled.

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Certain Songs #1306: N.E.R.D. – “Lapdance”

Album: In Search of…
Year: 2001

I’m pretty sure I first encountered this funk-rock-rap hybrid on one of the random video shows that I would still tune into during the early part of the century. I think it may have been VH1 who had a weekly show where they would play a bunch of new videos, but I can’t really remember.

All I know is that at some point I saw the censored version of the video for “Lapdance,” and while I was vaguely aware of The Neptunes, and I knew that they had made a record as N.E.R.D, it still hadn’t crossed my radar.

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Certain Songs #1305: The Neon Boys – “That’s All I Know (Right Now)”

Single, 1980

This has always been one of the weirdest singles I ever purchased: a 1980 indie release of two songs from Richard Hell & The Voidoids on one side, and two songs from The Neon Boys on the other side.

The Neon Boys, of course, were the pre-Richard Lloyd incarnation of the band that eventually became Television. And as to why this single — recorded in 1972 and probably shelved because who the hell was going to release it? — was put out in 1980 has been lost to the mists of history, but at least the insanely great Neon Boys songs haven’t been.

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