Wednesday, 21 August 2013

You Could Be Laughing 65% More Of The Time

Yes, I know it's a lyric from John Grant's second album, but I've only just got round to buying the first ("Queen Of Denmark").
This album was released in 2010, but it's taken 3 years and the purchase of his follow-up album "Pale Green Ghosts" for this CD to find a home on my shelf.
And to be honest, since I've bought it, it hasn't spent much time on the shelf.  It's almost taken up permanent residence in the CD Player.

'Queen Of Denmark' is an album where the songs a primarily based around a piano and John Grant's voice, with a healthy slab of melancholy and bitter-sweet reflection.
All served up with a collection of lyrics that are both thoughtful, powerful and full of humour and wit.  From start to finish, it touches on music hall ("Silver Platter Club"), the opening of "Marz" has a touch of the nursery rhyme about it, attack on intolerant people ("JC Hates Faggots"), and just generally having a bad day (or longer) ("Chicken Bones").  The lyrics even find time to have a pop at Winona Ryder's english accent in the film Dracula ("Sigourney Weaver").

The title track is, for me, the stand out track of the whole album.  The track starts on a reflective tone, and almost self loathing.  It starts with the line: "I wanted to change the world, But I could not even change my underwear" and continues in a sort of apologetic tone, before the chorus (and the backing band (Midlake)) explode forth, before relenting and the verse returns to the piano and John Grant's deep, mellow. emotive and rich voice.

Throughout the album, there is a deeply personal sounding tone to many of the songs, but the humour and wit contained in the lyrics shines through and just adds to the "earworm-iness" of the songs.
I guarantee that you will leave this album, perhaps feeling slightly uncomfortable in places, but with a wry smile on your face (maybe that's just my experience?)

Don't believe me?  Judge for yourself - "Queen Of Denmark"

"So, where does this ... 65% More Of The Time ... thing come from?", I hear you ask.
Well, that is lifted from the lyric of "GMF" from the second album ('Pale Green Ghosts').
Musically similar to "Queen Of Denmark", this song sounds much more self-confident and knowing of himself, but I as the listener am not entirely convinced.
The song contains more of the fine lyrical moments such as:

"I'm usually only waiting for you to stop talking, So that I can
Concerning 2-way streets I have to say, That I am not a fan"

"Half of the time I think I'm in some movie
I play the underdog of course
I wonder who'll they'll get to play me, maybe
They could dig up Richard Burton's corpse"

I'm also amused by the exponential reduction he introduces in the final lines of the song:
"And don't forget you could be laughing
65 percent more of the time
You could be laughing
63 percent more of the time
You could be laughing
25 percent more of the time"

It almost feels he has developed some mathamatical equation to calculate how much more happier you would be in his company, but regressing over time.

The attendant video is one of the best directed, best shot and best acted I've seen for a long while, and just adds to the song as a whole package:

1 comment:

  1. Once again, our musical tastes cross, Mr Digit! I really like both albums (and recommend John Grant's earlier band The Cszars, too). And you're right - the GMF video is as good as any short film you'll see winning awards at film festivals. It's funny and slightly heartbreaking, too. If you get the chance to see this chap live, don't hesitate: his voice is roughly 65% even more amazing than it is on record.