Educating Peter # 16

This week Michael has sent me a song by a band I’d heard of, but not the music (as in “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of them. What are they like?”).

The band is Any Trouble. As far as I could remember I thought they were a punk/ska kind of band. I discovered after listening to the song that my recollection of them was way off beam. (Curse you, shoddy memory!) By the way, when I told Michael that I thought Any Trouble was a punk/ska kind of band, he very diplomatically declined to say anything. You’re a good man, Michael.

(Update: I’ve just discovered that I have heard Any Trouble before. On this blog. As I was adding the tags for this post, “Any Trouble” popped up as an existing tag. It appears in this post from 2010. Courtesy of my memory, I have no recollection of that at all.)

But this waffling is stopping us from getting to the meat of the matter: the song and its potential to sway me into thinking the 1980s weren’t so horrible after all.

Now that I’ve heard the song, here’s my summary:

“Oh yeah. I like this. I still think the music of the 80s is dreadful, but I like this song a lot.”

And now for the details (if you’re interested)…

Any Trouble – “Yesterday’s Love” (1980)

Link

0:00-0:02 – Because of my ongoing and hopeless Beatles infatuation, when the band’s singer Clive Gregson sang “I don’t wanna be your lover” at the very start of the song without any instrumental accompaniment, I instantly thought of Ringo singing “I wanna be your lover, baby…“.

0:02-0:05 – But then Clive sings “I just want to hold you for the rest of the night” and I’m not thinking of The Beatles (as much). Unfortunately, I first thought Clive sang “I just want a hoodie for the rest of the night” but then realised that back in the 1980s not many, if any, singers would have sung about “hoodies”. The term “hoodies” is a 21st-century thing isn’t it? As far as I know, hooded jackets have been around for a long, long time but I don’t ever remember them being called “hoodies” until this century. (Note to self: Shouldn’t you be writing about the music, Peter?)

0:05-0:10 – Now the music’s started and I’m thinking to myself “Wow, that reminds me a lot of early Elvis Costello“. I’m also thinking to myself that grammatically I’m botching up my tenses. (This paragraph is in the present, whereas the first one was in the past, and the second was a mixture of both. What’s going on here?)

0:10-0:26 – And straight into the chorus. This song doesn’t mess about. I’m very pleased that it doesn’t want to waste the listener’s time. Hooray for brevity!

This song is zipping along. And I’m humming the tunes with remarkable ease.

(I think I’ll settle on present tense for the rest of this post.)

0:26-0:36 – It’s only been 26 seconds and we’re already into the second verse. I’m enjoying this enormously. No cavernous echo on everything, no exploding drums, no synthesizers set to “Ice Crystals” etc. Why haven’t I heard anything from this band before? (Hint: not played on the radio in Australian in the 1980s.)

(Sidenote: I’m going to have to hear more from this band.)

(More words in italic to signify importance.)

(Note to self: It doesn’t work, Peter. Knock it off.)

I’ve paused the song.

Michael, before I press play and resume the song I think I’m now able to say the following:

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner. Thank you, Michael, for sending me this song.

Now, back to the song…

0:26-0:36 (revisited) – Boy this reminds me of Elvis Costello. This second verse is reminding me of “(The Angels Wanna Wear) My Red Shoes“. It’s not really the tunes or the vocals – “Yesterday’s Love” has, for me, a total My Aim Is True vibe. But I’m also enjoying it for what it is (i.e., an Any Trouble song) as opposed to what it isn’t (i.e., an Elvis Costello song).

0:36-0:52 – Another chorus. Splendid.

Incidentally, I’m wondering how, at the rate the band are racing through the song, they’re going to manage to make it last two minutes and 47 seconds. Maybe they’ll put in 15 middle eights or something.

0:52-1:03 – Well, here’s my first slight disappointment for the song. It’s the middle eight. There’s nothing wrong with the middle eight at all. It’s a fine middle eight (except for the bass player’s out-of-tune E string at 0:55-0:56 which made me go “Wha???”). My disappointment is that the middle eight appears, right on cue, after the second chorus. It was dishearteningly predictable. But it’s not a major thing for me because I’m enjoying the song so much. And I love those jazzy chords from 0:58-1:02. Classy.

1:03-1:18 – A repeat of the middle eight. (Maybe they won’t play 15 middle eights, but at least two will help fill out the song.) And there’s that out-of-tune bass again, from 1:05-1:06, but I’m glad it’s not as out-of-tune as it was the first time around. Oh, I noticed something odd in this middle eight. It’s extremely minor, but… at 1:10 the drummer (Mel Harley) hits his bass drum sooner and harder than at any other time in the song. Up until then, the bass drum had been steady and at a fairly constant volume but that particular kick is louder and a little sooner than the others. If you’re as nerdy as me when it comes to audio, and you want to know the exact moment, it’s at 1:10.966.

1:18-1:28 – Back to the verse. More splendidness. Oh, and another early bass drum kick (at 1:25.621).

1:28-1:44 – Chorus. It sounds like the guitarist may have played the wrong chord at 1:32 – or that may have been deliberate. (I’ll go with deliberate.)

1:44-2:09 – Guitar solo. I wondered what that weird sound was when it started at 1:42, but then realised it was a guitar getting ready for its solo. For me it’s a mighty good solo. It’s Country-style, with lots of bent notes, and I thought it was fabulous (despite the guitarist’s hesitant phrasing at 2:00-2:01, and not bending the note up enough at 2:03).

2:09-2:20 – One more verse before the chorus gets repeated and fades (or stops). That’s my guess. 2:11 – The E string on that bass sure is out of tune.

2:20-2:36 – Chorus. I don’t know who decided to really crank up the acoustic guitars here (from 2:25), but I’m glad they did.

2:36-2:44 – The last chorus, but with an enjoyable twist: stop-start drums.

2:44-2:47 – The end bit. I love how the band doesn’t let the last note take a long time to fade away. It’s just Bang. Last note. Quick fade. We’re done.

Yep. it’s definitely time to listen to more songs by Any Trouble.

Thanks, Michael!

5 Responses to Educating Peter # 16

  1. steve simels says:

    Peter– my early 80s skinny tie band desperately wanted to be Any Trouble, to the point of blatantly ripping off their “Second Choice.”

    Here's an mp3 download link

    http://www.divshare.com/download/19744587-c05

  2. Peter says:

    Thanks, Steve. I now have the album (Where Are All The Girls), so I'll put on my listening ears and get stuck into the little beastie.

  3. Jon says:

    Looking back, seemed as though Any Trouble had several roadblocks to success. Their singer sounded a lot like Elvis Costello but *looked* like Elvis's frumpy other brother. The band name was a little unusual, and their biggest song had a reggae beat which might have misled people as to their sound. All too bad because as you point out above they could really write and play!

  4. Peter says:

    Well, I've been listening to The Floor Models' “She'll Make Up Her Mind”, followed by Any Trouble's “Second Choice”. When you said The Floor Models blatantly ripped off “Second Choice”, my first instinct was to say: “Er, yep.”

    But then I thought that may have been a little uncharitable.

    Looking at it more diplomatically, I'd say that apart from the rhythm, and the chord progression, and parts of the vocal melody, it's not all that similar. Hopefully.

  5. Peter says:

    Hey Jon: I'm guessing a lot of bands at the time resembled Elvis Costello in some way or another*, and subsequently got lost in the crowd of “Hey, they're like Elvis Costello!” artists. Unfortunately, Any Trouble would have been lumped in that crowd. But unlike a lot of Elvis-lites, Any Trouble had a swag of decent songs.

    As for the band name, I must admit that I don't like it. I suppose it would have been thought of as funny at the time, but I think the name isn't suitable for that particular band. To me, “Any Trouble” would have been the perfect name for a punk band that released one single in 1977 called “What Are You Looking At?” and disappeared soon after.

    (*In Australia there were a few, such as Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons, Sports, and Mental As Anything.)

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