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FLOAT ON

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A bit of a lazy posting today, with much of what follows tailored from wiki.

Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space is the third album by Spiritualized, released on 16 June 1997. It was recorded shortly after the break-up of the band’s lead singer Jason Pierce and Kate Radley, the band’s keyboard player. Radley had secretly married Richard Ashcroft of The Verve in 1995. Pierce, however, has maintained that much of the album, including songs such as Broken Heart and Cool Waves, had actually been written before the break-up.

It reached number four on the UK charts and at the end of the year was named the NME album of 1997, beating, among others, Radiohead‘s OK Computer; it was also near the top of just about every critic’s poll.

The title track, which opens the album, is sublime, gorgeous and sad in equal measures.

mp3 : Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space

Original pressings of the LP had an alternative version of the title track, incorporating the lyrics and melody of Elvis Presley‘s Can’t Help Falling in Love. However, the Presley estate objected and so the new remix with fresh lyrics as featured above, was put together.

Things changed however, with the estate no doubt swayed by the critical acclaim for the album, and for the 2009 re-release the version of the song with the Presley lyrics was allowed, with the proviso that the song now be re-titled :-

mp3 : Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (I Can’t Help Falling In Love)

Even more sublime and gorgeous. And it’s heart-breaking rather than sad. I’m not convinced that Jason Pierce wrote this before the break-up….

Enjoy

THE TRACK MARKS OF MY TEARS

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LOVE

For the second successive day, I’m featuring a track that had to be trimmed back dramatically to make it suitable as a single.

The world was going crazy for all things Spiritualized in early 1998.  The LP Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space has been name top of loads of critics lists at the end of the previous year and was making its way back up the charts again as folk rushed to find out what the fuss was all about.

Dedicated Records decided to cash in.  Here’s how I imagine the conversation went.

Concerned bloke at record label : “It’s a great idea to go another single. But there’s a couple of problems with the choice of I Think I’m In Love. First of all, the album version is almost 8 minutes long and meanders along at a dreamy pace with all sorts of instrumentation not to mention a gospel choir thrown in on backing vocals…and it takes nearly two and a half minutes before it hits the upbeat sounding chorus that will sound good on radio as I will now remind you.

mp3 : Spiritualized – I Think I’m In Love

Money-grabbing bloke at record label: “Piece of piss. Just cut down on the instrumentation and reach the radio friendly bit after 45 seconds.”

Concerned bloke : “But what about the fact that this is a song about all the great things taking heroin can do to your mind? There’s no way the radio bosses will allow it, and besides, do we really want to be corrupting the kids? Have another read at these lyrics:-

Sun so bright that I’m nearly blind
Cool cause I’m wired and I’m out of my mind
Warms the dope running down my spine
But I don’t care about you and I’ve got nothing to do
Free as the warmth in the air that I breathe
Even freer than dmt
Feel the warmth of the sun in me
But I don’t care about you and I’ve got nothing to do
Love in the middle of the afternoon
Just me, my spike in my arm and my spoon
Feel the warmth of the sun in the room
But I don’t care about you
And I’ve got nothing

I think I’m in love
Probably just hungry
I think I’m your friend
Probably just lonely
I think you got me in a spin now
Probably just turning
I think I’m a fool for you babe
Probably just yearning
I think I can rock and rool
Probably just twisting
I think I wanna tell the world
Probably ain’t listening
Come on

I think I can fly
Probably just falling
I think I’m the life and soul
Probably just snorting
I think I can hit the mark
Probably just aiming
I think my name is on your lips
Probably complaining
I think I have caught it bad
Probably contagious
I think I’m a winner baby
Probably Las Vegas
Come on

I think I’m alive
Probably just breathing
I think you stole my heart now baby
Probably just thieving
I think I’m on fire
Probably just smoking
I think that you’re my dream girl
Probably just dreaming
I think I’m the best babe
Probably like all the rest
I think that I could be your man
Probably just think you can
Come on

I think I’m in love

Money-grabbing bloke : “Ah…. but here’s the genius bit of the edit – it will also involve cutting out those ten lines of lyrics that refer to putting needles in one’s arm and heating up substances with the use of a spoon…..the sort of lyric that would have seen the single banned in the first place.  Everyone will now just assume it’s a straightforward love song and have it played at weddings and the like.

Concerned bloke : “That is fucking genius…when’s the release date?”

So, the single edit transforms immediately what this song is really about:-

mp3 : Spiritualized – I Think I’m In Love (single edit)

It’s a very funny but cruel lyric in many ways.  All the positive, upbeat and romantic things that are uttered by the protagonist are slapped down immediately with a reminder that life really is shit.

The CD single came with a wonderful Chemical Brothers remix that re-instated the full uncensored lyric as well as an instrumental version:-

mp3 : Spiritualized – I Think I’m In Love (vocal remix)
mp3 : Spiritualized – I Think I’m In Love (instrumental)

Enjoy.

ABBEY ROAD EP

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R-822837-1209743239

Christmas 1997.

Santa, via Jacques the Kipper, brings me a copy of Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, the hugely acclaimed LP released a few months earlier by Spiritualized.

Sadly, it’s an LP I can’t quite take to albeit there were a couple of songs I thought were more than half-decent….but despite maybe a dozen or so efforts, I still didn’t get what all the fuss was about.

Fast forward fifteen or so years. Decide to give it another go.  This time I do get it.  I can’t put my finger on other than acknolwedging that, even as I hit my 40s, my musical horizons continued to expand.  Let’s just say, it was like discovering a lost masterpiece in the attic.

It’s an LP in which just about every musical instrument and every musical genre seems to have been thrown into the mix. Much of the material is about a painful and messy end to a relationship, with the basis being the real-life events that surrounded the band’s frontman Jason Pierce and the band’ keyboard player Kate Radley.

My favourite song on the album is Broken Heart which must be one of the the most gut-wrenching, emotionally-draining but defying songs ever written and recorded.  The fact the person who the song was written about contributes so much to its haunting sound just seems incredible.

I hadn’t realised until very recently that this was one of two songs later re-recorded and put out as EP in August 1998.  I was delighted therefore to come across a second-hand copy of the 12″ of Abbey Road EP and rushed home to play this version of Broken Heart.

And to my astonishment and delight I discovered that it’s even better than the LP version with the addition of what sounds like a full-blown orchestra and gospel choir to the mix.

mp3 : Spiritualized – Broken Heart (Abbey Road Mix)

The leads track on the EP was this:-

mp3 : Spiritualized – Come Together (Abbey Road Mix)

One of the most accessible tracks on the album but it couldn’t get any airplay thanks to the regular use of the word fuck/fucked/fucker.  It therefore made sense to all and sundry to have a fresh stab at it, but the use of mess/messed to replace the swear words, to my ears, diminish it somewhat.

The EP was completed by something which wouldn’t have been out of place as the credits roll on a movie where the very final scene has left the entire audience in a state of shock and tears:-

mp3 : Spiritualized – Broken Heart (instrumental)

The Abbey Road EP didn’t sell all that well, only reaching #39 in the singles chart.  But then again, none of the singles from Ladies and Gentlemen…. went Top 20.

Enjoy