I’d been thinking about a theme like this, and was prompted to do it by a post from Hugh at the weekend, in which he shared one of the songs I’m including today. The theme is a response to some of the scenes we’ve seen in the news since the lockdown in England had another gradual relaxation last Monday. Despite the exhortations of our esteemed Prime Minister for people not to go mad and congregate without taking the recommended precautions, that is exactly what the usual moronic suspects did, celebrating the fact that they could go out and have a beer. The theme that came to mind from this was: crowds. The song that Hugh shared had a lot of ‘audience’ (or ‘crowd’) participation, and I said to him in the comments that it put me in mind of another video. After a little bit of thought, I came up with another four which also have a good deal of involvement by people other than the band, so that is this week’s six. Here goes.
Following Hugh’s lead I’m starting with the song he shared:
In keeping with my other choices for this week that video is full of joy, which is a kind of sub-theme for this set. The song comes from Coldplay’s 2014 album Ghost Stories, which like most of their albums was #1 in the UK and the US, and in loads of other countries too. This one was released as a single, reaching #9 in the UK and #10 in the US, though it did make #1 in Italy. A little snippet for you about the video: if, like me, you puzzle about these things, you may have wondered where the video was recorded. The road signs didn’t look to be in the style of ours, the cafe prices were in dollars, but the traffic was driving on the right side of the road. I wondered if it could be Australia, and a quick trip to Google confirmed that it was made in Sydney. So now you know!
This week’s second song is by a singer-songwriter who is, I think, under most people’s radar despite his successes in the UK albums chart. I have featured him in this series before, but not with a song as raucous and ultimately uplifting as this one:
No one sleeps while Frank’s on! This is a rather different song from the one of his I shared earlier in this series, all the way back in episode 5. I have actually included this one in a post before, but as that was back in November 2014 I’m not expecting that anyone will remember that (I didn’t – I had to look it up!). The song is actually quite a bleak one, about a guy whose relationship has broken down and is turning to chemical solutions for the pain. But the underlying message is one of hope that things can – and will – get better, and the sight of all of those people having a great time dancing like their lives depended on it always cheers me up. The song was on Frank’s fifth album, Tape Deck Heart, released in 2013. It reached #52 in the US but was a big hit here, getting to #2 (his three subsequent albums have reached #2, #3 and #3 here). The song was a single, too, peaking at #75 here but not charting in the US, though it did make #16 on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart, which is based on radio plays.
This week’s third song is another which includes a lot of people dancing, plus a few extras:
I had a CD of the best of Blink-182, and when I first put it on in the car, while taking my daughter back to uni, the look on her face was priceless – it was the kind of music she and her friends enjoyed, and supposedly wasn’t for dads. Who cares? I’ve always loved this song and video, and it never fails to make me laugh and cheer me up. It comes from their third album, the wonderfully titled Enema Of The State, which was released in 1999 and peaked at #9 in the US and #15 here. As a single, it was #6 in the US and #2 here – still their best chart positions for a single by a distance, though their 2016 album California reached #1 on both sides of the pond.
Another bunch of people having a good time are to be found in this next one, too:
That was the second song to be released as a single from the Kaiser Chiefs’ debut album, Employment, which came out in March 2005 and got to #2 here and #86 in the US. As a single it reached #9 here but, like all of their US releases, didn’t chart over there, though it did make #34 on the Billboard Alternative chart. The song is based on band members’ experiences growing up in Leeds, suggesting that their younger years were quite lively! ‘Smeaton’ is a reference to John Smeaton, an 18thC engineer who designed canals, harbours and lighthouses and who, like Ricky Wilson, the band’s lead singer, went to Leeds Grammar School (the ‘Leodensian’ link). And in case you were wondering, the band ‘borrowed’ their name from the Kaizer Chiefs football team in South Africa, the former club of the Leeds United player Lucas Radebe. Some enlightenment to go with the entertainment is always good, I think!
NB: I’ve been advised that this video doesn’t play in the US. However, the band’s record company obligingly put out a newer video, which does work there. You’ll find it here: https://youtu.be/84qWb8i_Q_A
This next one takes a slightly different approach to its crowds, assembling groups together for scenes in the video. But it comes together to make a joyous collection:
If you watch that on YouTube you’ll see that the comments are full of people sharing their experiences of being involved in making it. This just adds to the enjoyment for me. The song comes from Big Country’s third album, The Seer, released in 1986; the album reached #2 here and #59 in the US. As a single, this song reached #19 in the UK but didn’t chart in the US. It was used in the 1980s by the Tennent’s Lager brand in its advertising, and was played at the launch in 2012 of the official campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote in the Scottish independence referendum – the band are Scottish, if you didn’t already know that, hence the choice of their music.
Hopefully you haven’t already overdosed on joy from these crowd videos, as I have one last song for you. This also appeared in the same 2014 post as the Frank Turner one, and is the song I mentioned to Hugh. As an example of music’s power to create happiness I think it takes some beating:
I just love the way that a simple song builds, layer by layer, until the confetti crescendo. The song has been covered many times, including by Foxes and Fossils (who featured covering another song in Back Under The Covers), and is a great way to end this week’s tunes. This was from The Lumineers, the band’s eponymous debut album, released in 2012. The album reached #2 in the US and #8 here. This was the lead single, and peaked at #3 in the US and #8 here – their only top 100 UK single to date, though their three albums have all been top ten here, including a #1 for Cleopatra, their second record.
I’m very aware that I haven’t given you the usual balance of upbeat and reflective tunes this week: these are unremittingly happy songs, but I think we all deserve a little bit of joy in our lives, especially now. No doubt I’ll return to normal next week, so there may be some misery on offer then if you’re missing it 😉
As always, I wish you a good week and hope that you stay safe and well. I’m off to continue my celebrations over my football team finally seeing sense and relieving old misery guts of his job. Ho hey!