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Duelling playlists

  • 14 December 2022
Especially around Christmas, we Hugheses tend to get weird about playlists. What music do you want streaming through the house anyway? You can get anything at all on YouTube and Spotify these days. My family members, like me, have always been a tad defensive about playlists although there are a few items we all like. But these are over far too soon, and then the arguments begin about whose taste is more execrable.

(Yeah, sadly, our family bandies words like ‘execrable’ along with the shorter, more Anglo-Saxon epithets. But when you are describing to nieces and nephews why ‘Despacito’ is unacceptable then you might need the word combination to demonstrate how essential to OHS it is not to hear it again.)

There isn’t much music I hate, but computer-assisted, Autotuned, studio-cooked pop muzak and awful power ballads that all seem to have the same unmemorable tune top my list of the execrable. Such wasted energy and talent, I sigh to the resistant young ones advocating for Ariana Grande and Kpop.

However, here is my unfinished and incomplete list for future lockdowns and Christmas tree-decorating and pudding stir-ups, for long days of post-Christmas washing-up and  subsequent lounging round, reading Christmas-gift books. In no particular order, just as they come to mind, they are:

The Hu, a Mongolian heavy metal band that uses a mixture of modern and traditional instruments and mixes throat-singing with conventional vocals. I recommend ‘Wolf Totem’ and ‘Song of the Women’. If you doubt my judgement, they have just been Awarded the UNESCO Artists for Peace prize and Elton John loves them. Just go to YouTube, OK?

Which brings me irresistibly to:

The Who, of course. Anything: ‘My Generation’ was the song of my generation and still is the song of all youngsters giving the middle finger to the wrinklies. Also, ‘I Can See For Miles and Miles’ and ‘Pinball Wizard’.

King’s College Carol Service. Because they’re lovely, of course. And they always stick in some weird Anglican modern stuff with fancy discords and suspensions along with ‘Silent Night’ and ‘O Holy Night’ and John Rutter’s ‘Shepherd’s Pipe Carol’, which is bloody gorgeous.

Glenn Gould playing anything by Bach, particularly because it annoys early music fascists who want it done on medieval nose trumpets and tinkly virginals. They make me think of Thomas Beecham’s famous dismissal of harpsichord music as two skeletons copulating on a tin roof. But do yourself a mental health favour and listen