heard on the wire

This really ragged notion that you’ll return

M1 sunset

It sounds so cinematic: from Saturday I’m going on my first road trip, taking in seven destinations in seven days. Of course, were it a road trip on arrow-straight roads stretching to the horizon, amid tumbleweed and motels, tuned to WKPR, that’s exactly what it would be. But it’s not, it’s motorway service stations and the occasional glimpse of corrugated steel, roads dug into cuttings, dormitory towns; it’s a road trip around England. It’s a beautiful country, but its beauty can rarely be seen from the motorway network.

However one thing is certain, whether it’s WKPR, the dismal miasma of daytime BBC, or a magnificentally stocked iPod, road trips require music. And what better music than that which punctuates each destination, starting with London.

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This story is old

After two near-misses, it’s about time The Smiths were featured in a song-from-each-year-of-my-life. 1987’s Strangeways Here We Come was the band’s swansong, their most ambitious record to date.

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Like a red machine

It’s a mark of the genius of The Smiths and New Order — the two great 80s bands — that in the space of two years they both released consecutive LPs that overshadow anything else released at the time.

The Smiths’ Queen is Dead is often hailed as their finest work — and There Is a Light That Never Goes Out as their best song — while Brotherhood is generally one of New Order’s least acclaimed recordings. Conversely, I think both Meat is Murder and, even more so, Strangeways Here We Come eclipse The Queen is Dead — whose standout track is obviously I Know It’s Over — while Brotherhood, dumb closing track aside, is New Order’s finest long player.

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heard on the wire is a blog about music old and new, but mostly new. It occasionally uses 21st century file formats that may not be supported by 20th century web browsers. For best results use Safari or Chrome. And If you like the music posted here, please think of the effort and expense that has gone into making it and consider buying a copy of your own.


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