Well, this week Michael has suggested another song by The Bats, but this time The Bats are an American band.
That prompts me to wonder how many bands around the world have been called The Bats. (Answer: According to Discogs, there were eight bands called “The Bats”. And there were four bands called “Bats”. And two bands called “13 Bats”…)
But all of that wondering is stopping me from listening the song Michael has chosen.
The song is called “Popgun”, and I’m going to listen to it…
0:00-0:11 – This introduction contains some galloping drumming. And a not-terribly-convincing piano sound in the right channel. (It may be an actual piano, but it sounds more like an electric piano pretending to be a grand piano.) And a dreadful-sounding synthesizer in the left channel.
0:11-0:22 – Wow, this verse reminds me a lot of Buddy Holly.
Incidentally, this isn’t the first song suggested by Michael that has reminded me of Buddy Holly. I have a feeling that Michael is a fan of Buddy Holly. Or is a fan of musicians who were fans of Buddy Holly. Either way, there’s a lot of Buddy Holly going on in songs Michael has hurled my way.
0:22-0:36 – Well, that verse just flew past (see previous paragraph), and didn’t make much of an impression on me. Never mind. I’m sure I’ll hear it again sometime soon. (Probably in about 20 seconds.)
Anyway, here’s the bit before the chorus, and I like it more than that verse I don’t remember. I’m a sucker for “aah la la”s (cf. Beatles, The – “Nowhere Man”), so this bit before the chorus gets my vote for best part of the song (so far).
Although I might take points off for the synthesizer playing that painfully high note at 0:35. (I did, however, enjoy the rest of the synthesizer in this pre-chorus section. It was carousel-y. Fun.)
Here’s another useless “incidentally”…
The falsetto note sung by the singer at 0:37 reminded me of The Keys’ “I Don’t Wanna Cry” which, just happens to be a song that Michael suggested for a previous Educating Peter (’twas # 23). I have feeling that in addition to Buddy Holly, Michael likes falsetto notes in pop songs.
0:36-0:47 – This is the second-half of the bit before the chorus, and it’s gone frantic. The drummer is galloping again, just as he did in the introduction, and then he stops and starts. I’m not enjoying this pre-chorus second-half much, because I think it’s a little too frisky for the song.
0:47-1:10 – Oh no. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. When the band sings the word “popgun” at 0:48 there’s the sound of a gun.
There are two reasons why I think the sound of a gun in this song is wrong, wrong, wrong:
1. It’s a pointless bit of literalism. (Do we really need to hear a gun after the band sings the word “popgun”?)
2. I’m terrified of guns. Absolutely, completely, and totally terrified of them.
(Non-fun fact: Years ago, a friend of mine – Hi, Kevin! – joined a gun club and bought a gun. He told me how much he liked his new hobby of shooting, and wanted to bring around his gun to show me. I was happy to see Kevin, but not his gun. Nevertheless, he brought the gun around one night to show me. When he came around, the gun was in a box, and wrapped in a cloth. Kevin put the box on the coffee table. I moved to the other end of the room. He then asked if I wanted to see it. I said “No thank you”. He reassured me that it wasn’t loaded – it wasn’t – and, being a considerate guy, said he wouldn’t do anything that I wasn’t comfortable with him doing. I said “I’m not comfortable being within 300 kilometres of a gun”. By the time he opened the cloth to show me the gun, I was even more at the other end of the room. Kevin enthused about his gun and his new hobby, then put the gun away. We had a pleasant enough evening, and Kevin left at the end of that pleasant evening, but all the time that gun was in the house I was petrified.)
The synthesizer sure does remind me of early Elvis Costello.
From 0:58-1:10 the band repeats the song’s introduction, but I didn’t think it added to the song mainly because I think the tune for the introduction isn’t very strong.
1:10-1:21 – The second verse.
At 1:13 the singer sings “but it seems”. I thought it was “Buddy sings” (aka The Buddy Holly Reference That Wasn’t There).
1:21-1:46 – The bit before the chorus. “Aah la la-la”.
Oh, I just noticed: this section has a drum beat that’s slightly “I Feel Fine”-ish. I wonder if the first time this bit before the chorus was played had that drum beat. Hang on…
Yep. It was there the first time (0:22-0:36). And I didn’t notice it. (Note to self: Pay more attention to the music, Peter.)
I like the minor-chord action from 1:32-1:35. Was that played the first time as well? Hang on…
Yes. (From 0:33-0:36.)
1:46-2:09 – Another chorus, and another gunshot after the word “popgun”. Grrr.
Maybe the band (or the producer) thought it would be novel – or fun – to hear the sound of a gun in the song. I don’t think it’s fun or novel at all. I think it’s horrendous.
2:09-2:33 – Another pre-chorus. Which means there’s going to be another chorus coming up.
2:33-2:44 – And here’s another chorus. With the sound of another gunshot (2:34). Please stop doing that.
2:44-2:55 – A repeat of the chorus, with that swirling Elvis Costello-ish organ sound. And another sound. (Insert emoticon of Peter looking glum hearing a deeply unwanted noise at 2:45.)
2:55-3:07 – Yet another chorus. The band are really pummelling the listener with that chorus. Unfortunately, every instance of the chorus is accompanied by that sound. (At 2:56. And again at 3:02).
3:07-3:23 – This is the last part of the song, and the band has a long fade-out. It starts with the noise I dread (at 3:07), and then it features the drummer playing what could very well be The World’s Longest Drumroll. In amongst the drumrolling and Elvis Costello-ish organ there’s a possibly unintentional reference to Mr. Costello. This last part of the song starts with the singer singing “pump it up“.
3:23 – The song has finished, and I’m extremely glad I don’t have to hear that sound again.
Overall, ghastly sound notwithstanding, I didn’t mind “Popgun”. I thought it was an average entry in the catalogue of early-’80s power pop.
The optimist in me is looking forward to Michael sending me a song that’s really out of the ordinary.