Monday, 8 September 2008

News, Views and Music Issue 3 (Top Five): Credit Crunch

And this weeks’ top five: a mini-soundtrack to the credit crunch!

5) “Wall Street Shuffle” (10cc/ Sheet Music, 1972) “Go and sell your mother, you can buy another”... It sounded slightly out of touch with the times when it first came out (1972 was the year for novelty records and empty-headed glam singles) and charted at what - for 10cc - was a lowly #10. But this song has enjoyed something of a revival in the years since, making more sense with every passing bank merger/ credit card bill/labour election victory down the years since.

4) “Money Money” (Grateful Dead/ From The Mars Hotel, 1974) Definitely not a fan favourite this one, given Bob Weir’s song’s capitalist tendencies which never sat that well with equality and democracy-loving Deadheads like me. Still, though, this song bemoaning the narrator’s inability to please his trinket-loving lady friend will strike a few chords these days (and incidentally this ponderous blues sounds like a great rowdy rocker when played at 45rpm not 33rpm!)

3) “Money Talks/ Slum Kids/ Scum Of The Earth/ Second Hand Car Spiv” (The Kinks/ Preservation Act II, 1973) “Becoming the head of a multi-million pound corporation sure beats selling cars second-hand!” It sure does, Ray Davies. The second and third records of one of the longest rock operas in history is almost exclusively about the hard-ships born out of poverty, of the self-possessed politicians who promise a way out of a country’s financial straits but only by not mentioning the greater evils which the population turn a blind eye to in order to escape their troubles. While the slow and steady Mr Black promises a ’five year plan’ (perhaps Ray had a crystal ball and really meant to write ’Mr Brown?’), Mr Flash is a great orator, promising that despite his dodgy past he will see an end to present crisis if he is elected—before his stupidity and disregard for fellow human beings gets in the way and he gets ousted from office (who said ’Cameron’ just then?!) Stuck between a rock and a hard place, the poor people in Preservation land suddenly sound alarmingly contemporary. For an alternative, try Ray’s ‘Sitting In The Mid-day Sun’ from the first Preservation record—a wonderful ode about how glorious it is to have nothing.

2) “Rock And A Hard Place” (Rolling Stones/ Steel Wheels, 1989) Talking of which, this song from one of the better latter-day Stones CDs sums up the debate over whether we agree next year to another four years of disappointments and misery from Labour or four years of hatred campaigns and society division from the Conservatives. Bring back the Monster Raving Loony Party I say!

1) “Money” (Pink Floyd/ Dark Side Of The Moon, 1973) Was Roger Waters being serious or sarcastic when he wrote these lines? Sarcastic we hope—this is an album, after all, about not giving into the pressures of modern day living, a reason why Dark Side continues to be so universally popular—and yet this is, after all, an album that made Pink Floyd millionaires and the way they talk these days they seemed to realise the fact long before the LP came out. Either way, those ringing cash-till registers and talk of money as escapism make the perfect accompaniment to our month of recession woes. That’s all for now, see you next week (if we’re not bankrupt!)...

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