Some confessional songs this week. You could say that the “I’m great!” song and the “I’m rubbish!” song are merely two sides of the same self-indulgent coin. Certainly there are those who take it too far – Robbie Williams’ endless self-analysis/laceration is as tiresome as any rapper’s bragging about his bling and bitches. But done occasionally and well, a good wallow in one’s worthlessness can cheer one up no end.
Beatles for Sale is perhaps the most unloved of all the Fab Four’s albums, but it has benefited from last year’s CD remastering project. I’m a Loser is a standout – an early Lennon admission of his paranoid and really rather disturbing approach to women (see also You Can’t Do That, Run For Your Life, Jealous Guy etc).
Bob Dylan’s 1969 record Nashville Skyline contains surprisingly straightforward songs for a man who had recently been banging on about pawns holding grudges in the ceremonies of horsemen, and jewels and binoculars hanging from the heads of mules. I Threw It All Away is as plain as it gets.
It Just Came To Pieces In My Hands – a denunciation of the rock star’s ego – is one of the strongest efforts of Paul Weller’s Style Council period, and indeed of his long career…
Talking of rock star egos, Elton John’s poor old battered muse staggers on, through candles in the wind and cartoon lions. Personally I’ve never understood how Bernie Taupin made a career as a lyricist – his rhymes are awkward and his sentiments sledge-hammered. But in 2001, Bernie, Elton and his battered muse pulled This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore out of some memory of inspiration. A confession of senescence and decline – by any standards, it’s a big song.