The Midday Meal

A repository for the various things i consume in the course of daily existence

Friday, January 28, 2005

Songs 12 & 13 Primal Scream - Come Together/Primal Scream - Swastika Eyes (Chemical Brothers Remix)

This is a beautiful day It is a new day We are together, we are unified And all for the cause Because together we got power Apart we got power Your soul don’t burn You dark the sun you Rain down fire on everyone Scabs, police, government thieves Venal psychic amputees Parasitic you’re syphilitic I know I am cheating a little bit, but I need to catch up with everyone else who are well into the mid teens. Primal Scream jumped on the baggy house bandwagon with their 1990 Screamadelica album, ten years later they delivered the angriest album ever. 2000’s Xtrmntr is a spiky, bass fuelled ball of rage, seething with bile and overt violence, but it is still so very danceable.

Come Together was written at the beginning of the Summer of Love when the Rave scene in the UK was still truly a counter cultural movement. As such it is infused with the naivety of much of the music created at the beginning of the 60’s counter cultural explosion, the previous summer of love… Come Together is huge, it is 10 minutes of dance hooks and gospel choruses. It’s a joyous experience, a celebration of the power of music and as clichéd and naïve as it is possible to get. It was fuelled through the overly positive vibes created by the initial ecstasy honeymoon of an entire generation.

I came to Primal Scream and Come Together through a different rout. It was the early nineties, and I, like most people I knew, was a bit of a rock pig. I was quite a big fan of the Black Crowes. In 1994 Primal Scream put out Give Out But Don’t Give Up, which featured the single Rocks. Rocks did exactly that, which lead a number of my more financially solvent friends to invest in the album. Not wanting to miss out I went record shopping and found screamadelica in the store for a significant amount less than the new album.

In hindsight that absolute bargain should probably have been a message that price is never the true indicator of quality, but we do not need to recount my financial mistakes and foolishnesses here. Suffice it to say I have probably listened to Screamadelica more that almost any other album I brought in the nineties. Although it preceded my infatuation with electronic and dance music by a good half dozen years, it the first album which I owned that started to take advantage of the hooks and loops and the technology of dance music. It opened my eyes to a whole lot of music I had ignored before.

The other reason why I still listen to screamadelica and primal scream is their ability to maintain their relevance. Like the rest of the rave world Primal Scream got over the ecstasy honeymoon and realised that just because you were great mates at 3am and you felt that all sorts of problems could be solved if only everyone was doing this, reality soon came back to you and it wasn’t necessarily a very pretty picture when it did. Primal Scream spent the ten years between Screamadelica and Xtrmntr growing up and waking up.

Swastika Eye’s is their reaction to that wake up, to the realisation that however positive the foundations that lay at the bottom of the rave culture and it’s progeny that they had been co-opted and commoditised by the very thing they were trying to get away from, just as had happened with punk music 20 years earlier. This quite clearly pissed the boys in the Scream off and they decided they wanted to tell us all about it. They recruited heavily from the detrious of the 90s indie/rave revolution to put together a quasi supergroup to try to record the angriest album in the world ever.

I don’t think you can say whether they achieved this or not, but what they did produce was a ball of compacted rage, vitriol, and disco funk. Much of dance music is themeless, due I guess to the fact that there isn’t a whole lot of lyrical content in your average house tune, nor is there much scope for it. However on Swastika Eyes what Bobbie Gillespie lacks in poetic lyricism he more than makes up for in passion… screaming, swearing spitting passion…

The wedding of the blissfull hedonism of disco music with the (sometimes incoherent) rage of punk is pulled of with the help of the flotsam and jetsam of some of the eighties and nineties greatest, the Primal Scream of 2000 featured former members of the Jesus and Mary Chain, The Stone Roses and My Bloody Valentine, and further recruited from New Order and the Chemical Brothers to put this monster together.

I guess the reason Swastika Eyes is here is because it fits with my belief, one which has been validated by experience but frequently ingnored as well, that you can keep an eye on the important things but still find time to enjoy yourself, and every so often you can do both.

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