Wey Wey Hep a Hole Ding Dong: Robyn Hitchcock the song by song, album by album thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Lance LaSalle, May 15, 2020.

  1. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    Be Still

    I think this is a good song that doesn’t quite live up to its potential. It’s quite poppy, with a good chorus, but doesn’t seem to really get going until the first piano/cello-dominated instrumental section, when it really takes off for me. I’m not a record producer, so am not sure what I would do to improve the first couple of minutes. :D

    3.5/5
     
  2. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    The sound.
    Sucks.

    But this is a pretty good song, again, more of a pop song in the vein of Tromso Kaptein than is Robyn's won't, but I like the pop arrangements, they look good.

    3.9/5 Docked because of the sound.
     
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  3. Great Face For Radio

    Great Face For Radio Sing Hosanna, the jazz snobs are all going home.

    Location:
    London N13
    This is certainly one of the better tracks on the album but still fairly unremarkable in a wider context. It's a decent melody although it quickly becomes repetitive and I'm not a huge fan of the duet vocals. But unlike several that follow it's a pleasant if undemanding listen.

    Be Still 3/5.
     
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  4. dbeamer407

    dbeamer407 Forum Resident

    I like Be Still well enough to put it on a two CD set of Robyn Hitchcock songs several years back. 3/5
     
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  5. bzfgt

    bzfgt The Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler

    Location:
    New Jersey
    I think this one's great, it hops along and the cello is propulsive. 3.9/5
     
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  6. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    I meant wont not “won’t”.

    I know you know that but I want you to know that I know that too. And just made a typo.
     
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  7. Shriner

    Shriner Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA
    Out for a few vacation days:

    Tromso -- the revisit reminded me that this is actually a lot better than I remembered: 4/5

    Harry's song -- 4/5

    Still -- 3/5 Great Face nailed what I think about it.
     
  8. MattR

    MattR Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sheffield, UK
    Be Still - pleasant, and the interlude with the cello part is indeed excellent. Not a classic though. 3.3/5
     
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  9. pocketcalculator

    pocketcalculator Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    "Be Still" - There isn't much to the tune and lyrics here, but in a proper arrangement, it might make a gentle miniature portrait of a stranger on a train. The arrangement here is just too much, trying to make this into some kind of big pop song - the drums and the pizzicato cello part is too busy, and the driving cello sixteenth notes belong to a different song entirely. The instrumental bit with the piano and melodic cello is nice, but it's still too big.

    On the digital version, there's too much high end and not enough mids and bass in the mix, which makes the percussive parts of the acoustic guitar and percussion, and then the cello, extremely emphasized. It's not screechy, but the effect is like fingers down a chalkboard for me - it just makes me antsy and want to skip to the next song. The vinyl sounds much more full and warm, but it can't save the arrangement. 2/5.
     
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  10. chrism1971

    chrism1971 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glos, UK
    I don't like Be Still much - reminds me of some of the songs on Ole T, the ones I thought were trying to sound too pleasant! The tune meanders along, then the Let the Darkness chorus comes in and it goes flat for me. After that there's some good piano / cello mix, then back to a rather dreary verse... 2/5

    I know Lance is v busy at the moment, but I thought nearer the end of this thread (and who knows when that will be) we could each compile a top 10 list of our personal RH favourites - which would be interesting as it's bound to differ completely from the scores so far compiled! Mine would favour the earlier period but it would be fun generally.
     
  11. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Our votes for "Be Still"

    1-0
    2-2
    3-4
    4-3
    Average: 3.0667
     
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  12. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Today's song is "Stupefied", written by Robyn HItchcock and produced/engineered by Paul Noble.

    Robyn Hitchcock – Stupefied Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

    Robyn Hitchcock: vocals, piano, guitar
    Paul Noble: bass, guitar, keyboards
    Jenny ADejayan: cello
    Lizzy Anstey: keyboards
     
  13. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    Stupified

    There’s some nice Indian percussion here - sounds like tabla. Other than that, this is a fairly ordinary Lennonesque song of the Watching the Wheels type, without much to make it stand out.

    2.75/5
     
  14. Great Face For Radio

    Great Face For Radio Sing Hosanna, the jazz snobs are all going home.

    Location:
    London N13
    After a decent opening partnership, the innings starts to fall away dramatically here. This song reminds me a lot of Eels and in the hands of someone like Mark Everett it would be really good, but it doesn't suit RH at all and ends up as a turgid, lumpen John Lennon tribute. The Indian percussion tacked on at both ends sounds like a desperate attempt to add some light and shade but merely sounds out of place. There are no drum credits on the album sleeve or anywhere else which is odd.

    I've really no idea what he was trying to achieve with this album, it's too MOR to be interesting and too offbeat to be MOR. It doesn't seem to be at all popular with long term fans and I doubt it attracted many converts. Tellingly, very few of these songs featured in live sets even at the time and none have for a while as far as I'm aware.

    Stupefied 1.8/5.
     
  15. pocketcalculator

    pocketcalculator Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    "Stupified" - the drum machine tabla part is incredibly annoying, minus .6 points for that. The Lennon piano is alright, but that's all there is to the music. As for lyrics, well Robyn wants to say something about getting high, but I can't tell if it's positive or negative, or anything at all. This would be forgettable if it weren't so annoying. 1.4/5.
     
  16. bzfgt

    bzfgt The Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler

    Location:
    New Jersey
    I wish I could find the interview, but I read one where RH said "I have really quirky lyrics over really ordinary-sounding music, like a spicy curry over white rice" (paraphrase from memory). This is a horrible approach and thank goodness it's often not an apt description. But it worries me he might have thought about it that way, I hope it was just an ill-considered remark.

    "Stupefied" is the kind of thing that makes it plausible that he sees it that way, it's got the usual quirky words and sort of generic music. It is not bad at all, but I can't get excited about it either. And even if I was the type who is happy as long as the lyrics are good, they're not all that earth-shaking here.

    What is a "talbot"? All I can find on the internet is that it's a kind of dog, and although I wouldn't put it past him to use it like that I assume it can also mean some kind of jar or jigger or something?

    Anyway, I shall grant it a generous 3/5 because if it was playing in the background on a radio or something I'd find it totally pleasant, plus I'm a RH fan so there'd be a little extra pleasure and I love his voice (when he isn't whisper-wheezing)....

    I just listened to it while I was writing this, and now Youtube is playing "Filthy Bird"....man, this is awesome! I wonder what I gave it? Probably not enough....I seem to remember it being popular on this thread, though....

    Anyway, for Lance's convenience I'll repeat my score:

    3/5
     
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  17. bzfgt

    bzfgt The Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler

    Location:
    New Jersey
    I gave Filthy Bird 4.8...OK, I gave it it's due....
     
  18. Great Face For Radio

    Great Face For Radio Sing Hosanna, the jazz snobs are all going home.

    Location:
    London N13
    I'm guessing it's The Talbot which was the name of a now closed hotel in which he was standing in his flares on the song Winchester.
     
  19. MattR

    MattR Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sheffield, UK
    That's exactly the problem with it.
    As for Stupified, I don't dislike it as much as some of you. It's catchy and gets stuck in my head, but the backing is right on the borderline of being unacceptably cheesy. It's one of the songs I do actually remember from of the album, unlike some of the others which go straight in one ear and out the other. A very generous 3/5
     
  20. Shriner

    Shriner Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA
    Stupified -- 2/5. Doesn't do a lot for me and the tabla is annoying.
     
  21. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    I think this song is actually pretty cool. Good soul groove: the drum programming coupled with the mastering kind of makes it all sound like a little late period They Might Be Giants aping some old fashioned soul or something, but I really like TMBG. Of course, it ultimately just comes off as watered down soul, but I like it.

    As for what he's going for: good question. This album, which I'm discovering more or less at the moment, seems to have a lot of pop hooks. Maybe he just wanted to make a lightweight pop album? He's never really done that. I'm liking all three of the first three songs a lot. IN otehr words he's three-for-three! Batting 1000 thus far.

    4/5
     
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  22. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Our votes for "Stupefied"

    1-1
    2-1
    3-3
    4-1
    5-0
    Average: 2.6917
     
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  23. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Today's song is "I Love You", written by Robyn Hitchcock and produced by Paul Noble.

    Robyn Hitchcock – I Love You Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

    Robyn Hitchcock: vocals, guitars, piano
    Paul Noble; guitars, bass, vocals
    Jenny Adejayan: cello
    Anne Lise Frokedal, Jenny Macro and Lucy Parnell: vocals
     
  24. bzfgt

    bzfgt The Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler

    Location:
    New Jersey
    I hesitate to admit this because maybe it makes me sound like a curmudgeon but I find writing a song where you sing "I love you" a bunch of times to be really wack, as are a lot of these lyrics. It is something the public never needed to hear at least, except he probably had to let us hear it to prove his sincerity maybe. And that makes it even wacker, like "One L" territory only without the dumb "One L" idea.

    On the other hand the music is kind of cool. Not great, but pretty good; I mean, I could imagine liking it better with different lyrics. It's kind of generic, though.

    So I guess I'll say 2.3/5.
     
  25. Great Face For Radio

    Great Face For Radio Sing Hosanna, the jazz snobs are all going home.

    Location:
    London N13
    This is like some sort of ghastly 1980s MOR nightmare. The underlying riff which is reminiscent of Antwoman, is okay enough but the I Love You choruses are absolutely horrible. It's as if he's trying to sound like Aerosmith with that awful attempt at a rock guitar lick . If you're going for that, at least turn up the volume and the distortion and do it properly. I hate the way he sings this one too, it's totally unnatural for his type of vocals.

    I Love You (no I don't) 1/5.
     

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