Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Top 102 Albums. No 55. George Best.
Top 102 Albums. No 55.
George Best - The Wedding Present.
"I thought we said all the things we had to say"
Today's choice is inspired by the choice of a later Wedding Present album over at Cathedrals of Sound. I did a little listening and then listened to the albums that followed this, Bizarro and Seamonsters, both of which have their supporters in the title race for best Wedding Present album. Maturity, a less 'tinny' sound, more variety....
However, there's probably no chance now that any of their other albums will manage to cuckoo this one from its comfortable spot in the bedsit nest lined with strands of my twenty year old self. I can feel the springs poking through the single mattress I shared with myself and my misery as I listen. What other album is going to offer that sensorama.
When I listed too the follow up albums I'm always aware of a sort of claustrophobia, an effort to prove himself, as if Gedge was doing his response to the Divine song "You think I'm a boy but I'm really a man." Here, as the guitars kick up a storm in a teacup and the teaspoons rattle on the saucers Gedge's love trials are outlined with an exuberance and humour which captures something of the plasticity of youth. Even though Gedge was twenty seven when this came out, an age at which 'proper' rock stars are burnt out. This helps explain the seemingly inexhaustible litany of breakup stories.
They say you should never judge a book by the cover but hell, I think the cover was at least half of the reason I bought this album. The iconic shot of George Best gave the album immediate status and became a much parodied artefact. It also gives us access to an immediate meta-narrative of promise and decline. I've always felt that the real marker of the death of the wave of sixties optimism so often attributed to the killing at Altamont is more vividly represented by Best throwing his talent to the wind.
It's just like the use of another icon, William Shatner, in Gedge's lyric about domestic abuse. There's something really affecting here in the use of typical boy nerd icon Shatner in a plea to a woman to leave a man who's abusing her. It feels like the whole song is taking place in the singers head, that he lacks the ability to really reach across to the woman addressed in the song - sister? ex-girlfriend?
"You can't say, it doesn't really matter
This isn't T.V., he isn't William Shatner"
Indeed there is a sense that the whole album is like this, breakups remembered in a bedsit and all the things he wishes he'd said. It's full of pain and longing shot through with wit and just enough acid to give you heartburn.