Archive for the ‘X Factor? My Arse! or How To Do It Properly’ Category


X Factor? My Arse! Or How To Do It Properly! – Adele

February 22, 2012

Adele, London born and bred, is currently riding on a massive wave. She received 6 Grammys a couple of weeks ago and on Tuesday she got two Brit awards for best female and for best album.

Adele cover for the album 21

There’s more…


X Factor? My Arse! Or How To Do It Properly! – Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue

January 11, 2012

Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue: a more random music pairing you couldn’t hope to find. The diminutive pop princess and the tall, lanky, dark, goth rocker are at the furthest ends of a compass, musically speaking. And yet, they produced this belter of a tune. It must be the Aussie connection.

This song was written by Cave with Kylie in mind. According to Wikipedia, the organ of truth, he had wanted to write a song for her for many years – who knew? His inspiration for Where The Wild Roses Grow came from a traditional song called Down In The Willow Garden, about a man courting a woman and killing her on one of their dates. Where The Wild Roses Grow is on the album called Murder Ballads. With a title like that, it’s safe to say it would not contain the usual love songs.

I can’t remember where and when I first heard it, but it was a brilliant surprise. Baby, baby I love you songs can be good, but a story song is even better and this one is hauntingly beautiful. It had a good mournful sound, a dark story that swept you along and it was sung well by both artists. Cave’s dangerous growl is a good contrast to Kylie’s slight and breathy sound. I feel she’s a much better singer in this song than in many others she’s done before and since, though I know many people weaned on her frothy stuff will baulk at the idea of her doing a song like this. As far as I’m concerned, when she makes an effort as she did in this song, she’s actually very good. As for Nick Cave, the few tracks I’ve heard tell me he doesn’t make a bad song. Good stuff doesn’t get old.

You can get odd pairings on these so-called talent shows, but Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue have shown us How To Do It Properly.

X Factor? My Arse!


X Factor? My Arse! Or How To Do It Properly! A New Series From Pie And Biscuits

December 9, 2011

The (British) X Factor 2011 final is airing this weekend.

Regular readers know how much I dislike the X Factor. It’s aural fast food for the reality TV generation. Our youth are in serious danger of becoming obese from consuming ropey covers of some decent songs, sung badly and stripped of the production values that made them good in the first place. Add to this the sob stories and other forms of manipulation that are now obligatory for these shows and I’m left shaking my head in despair. Is it because I’m Officially Old™? Probably. But I know the tunes I was listening to from tot to teen and beyond had complexity, with roots in the genres of Jazz, Blues and Classical, to name a few. For the duration of a song, my brain would be deliciously challenged and my heart would soar. What could be better in life than that?

My brother sends me YouTube clips from time to time to prove the point. He titles them “X Factor? My Arse!” or “How To Do It Properly!” I liked the title so much that – with his permission – I’m going to use it for this occasional series. I must make clear that these posts will not be coming from the point of view of a muso, or a music journalist giving you artist/group in-depth background, or the serial number of the last originally released Beatles track ever. If that’s what you’re looking for, you won’t find it here. What you will get on each post is a short breakdown of the song, as I understand it, memories the tune evokes, if applicable and why I like it. And although I am Officially Old™, the songs I like and post in this series will not always be from the dim and distant past.

So let’s kick off with the first musical gem in this series: Michael Jackson and Never Can Say Goodbye – in acapella.

I hadn’t heard this song in acapella before. I was struck dumb by the purity and maturity of the voice, the emotion and the effortlessness in which he sings. It drills right down to the marrow. He was twelve years old when he recorded this. Twelve years old, ladies and gentlemen. We didn’t need to know about his sob story to make us like his music more (that all came out much later). We just felt the talent. There’s nothing more to add here, other than to say he showed us How To Do It Properly.

X Factor? My Arse!