Educating Peter # 51

June 9, 2013

This week’s song is something called “A Girl (La La La)” by Artful Dodger.

The band and title don’t look terribly familiar, so I think I’ll be going on an another musical adventure courtesy of Michael.

Artful Dodger – “A Girl (La La La)” (1980)

0:00-0:15 – Well, that wasn’t how I thought this song was going to start. I thought it was going to be a straight-ahead power-poppin’ / rockin’ / boogyin’ kind of thing. OK. Maybe this is a ballad. I hope not.

Not-Terribly-Noteworthy Thing I Noticed: The singer’s quiet – and weird – “Yeah” at 0:04.

0:15-0:31 – Hang on – I know this song. When the singing started, I recognised it immediately. I recognised it as being the song with the singer who sounds uncannily like Rod Stewart during his time in The Faces.

Slight Digression: Back in 1979, when I was a wee lad of 18, there was an ad on Australian TV for a brand of drink called Claytons. It was a non-alcoholic drink that pretended to be an alcoholic one. The ad line for Claytons was “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink”. When I’m listening to Artful Dodger, I want to call them The Claytons Faces.

Inescapable Faces comparisons notwithstanding, I’d like to officially state that I like this song (so far). It has a very strong melody that I’m enjoying a lot, and I think the playing suits the melody.

I think it’s a solid power pop song. I like it.

0:31-0:46 – I don’t think this guitar part is anything worth writing home about. I doesn’t do much for me at all.

0:46-1:03 – Back to the main melody. That’s better. Sing it, Rod.

1:03-1:17 – And the guitar part one more time. Nothing to see here, folks.

1:17-1:34 – And back to the main melody again. The band is not afraid to use this melody repeatedly (more than you’d ordinarily expect in a pop song). But that’s understandable, because it’s a darn-tootin’ melody.

Nice little strangulated note from the singer at 1:31.

1:34-2:13 – Hmm. Here we go again with the guitar part. It’s been ages since I last heard this song (probably in 1980 when it was first played on Australian radio), so I’m having trouble remembering how this song went. I’m beginning to think it’s going to consist entirely of the main melody and the guitar part, taking turns. (“OK, I’ve sung my bit, now you play your guitar. After that, I’ll sing again, and then when I’ve finished you play your guitar again. Let’s just keep doing that.”)

I’ve just notice that the guitar part here is slightly different to the other ones. This one has a distortion sound that I think is awful. (It sounds like a very small amplifier that’s been overdriven way beyond its capacity to give a decent sound when overdriven.) And the guitarist is playing a lot longer this time.

2:13-2:21 – The band has gone all quiet here, presumably to break the monotony of the previous two minutes.

2:21-2:29 – Here’s where the “(La La La)” part of the song’s title comes into play, as the singer dispenses with the lyrics and simply sings “la la la la la la, la la la la la…”. The band really doesn’t mind pummelling the listener with that tune. It’s a good thing that tune can withstand relentless flogging.

2:29-3:43 – The rest of this song (all one minute and 14 seconds of it) is nothing more than a big singalong of the main tune. This band is fearless. To base a entire power pop song on nothing more than one tune is a fairly brave thing for a band to do. As far as I can tell, power pop fans usually like a much higher quotient of tunes per song in their music.

But Artful Dodger have one good tune, and are happy to play that one good tune over and over again.

***

Thanks for the song this week, Michael. I enjoyed it – but if it went on for another minute, I probably would have ended up thoroughly sick of that tune.