Pouty British

April 18, 2008 at 9:20 am (Uncategorized)

I don’t know about you, but Spring’s inability to just commit itself to a steady, loving relationship with Colorado is driving me crazy! Rain one day, snow the next, a two-day summery stretch of 70’s, then back to the typical Fort Collins gusts that make a good hair day a near impossibility. Gah!

During bummer-down weather spells like this one, I often find myself turning to a category of music I affectionately refer to as “pouty British.” And because of the Beatles’ Liverpool roots, I figured I could tie this in. (My favorite pouty Beatles tune is “Yesterday” of course, or “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”)

So join me in indulging your inner pouty Brit and check out these tunes. (Caution: Don’t play any of them for more than an hour or so. Just trust me, lol.)

First up is Aqualung, AKA Matthew Hales of Southampton. (So pouty here). I have his record “Strange and Beautiful,” released in 2002. The song from it that you would know if you heard it is “Brighter Than Sunshine.” (Coincidentally, it’s the cheeriest tune on the CD). It’s definitely catchy, as are the rest of the songs on the CD. My personal favorite is “You Turn Me Around,” which is this sort of inspirational song about being ‘turned around’ or pulled back from a bad situation by a loved one.

This is The Streets, AKA Mike Skinner. (Why these dudes can’t just go by their names, I’m not sure.) He is a British rapper, which gives the genre a unique dynamic. (And really, who doesn’t love accents? )
The best pouty song by this artist from West Heath in Burmingham is called “Dry Your Eyes.” It depicts a breakup step by step, and how the narrator attempts to keep his significant other in his life. But, as he says, the moral of the story is to “dry your eyes mate, I know it’s hard to take but her mind has been made up. There’s plenty more fish in the sea.”

Keane is a band from Battle, in East Sussex. They are sometimes described as “piano rock.” And yes, they rock! Their music is not the dramatic downer that “Dry Your Eyes” is, it is actually catchy and surprisingly upbeat. The unique thing about them is their sound – guitarless rock with awesome piano melody and distortion. But the undertone is definitely that of melancholy crooning about heartache. Check out “Somewhere Only We Know” on their first album “Hopes and Fears.”

The Old Pros, Coldplay of course! Some factoids: Coldplay was formed in 1998 in London. In their early years, they were known to give 10% of their profits to charity, and are also large supporters of Amnesty International and Fair Trade. Lead singer Chris Martin is married to American actress Gweneth Paltrow. Coldplay’s newest album, to be released June of this year, is to be called Viva La Vida (Long Live Life) and is said to have Hispanic influences.

Being a pretty popular band, everyone has heard of Coldplay and has their own favorite songs. I’m a big fan of a few songs on each of the band’s CD’s, but I think “A Rush of Blood to the Head” makes for good pouty background music when I’m painting. They were featured on the Garden State soundtrack, which, I’m just going to say, is essential listening material to anyone with a soul.

And now, the exception to the pouty British rule, Elliot Smith is just pouty. The artist, based out of Portland, Oregon, struggled with and sang about drug addiction, depression, and alcohol abuse. He was popular during the ’90s, but his life was cut short in 2003 when he died of two stab wounds to the chest (the autopsy didn’t determine whether they were self-inflicted or not).

Elliot Smith’s voice has a soft, genuine quality to it. His sound consists of acoustic strumming mixed with some electric sounds, and intensely poignant lyrics. It creates an overall mellow sense of melancholy. My favorite songs are “A Fond Farewell,” “Baby Britain” (more upbeat), “Needle In The Hay,” and “Bottle Up and Explode!”

Hope you guys enjoy my picks for best pouty Brits, if you have any more rainy day bands, leave me a comment!

Google Images and Wikipedia were used in this post.

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