I don’t think I’ve ever had a song I could call ‘Our Tune.’ In fact I guess I’ve always poo-pooed the idea. I’m not saying I haven’t shed a tear or two over the odd Simon Bates feature sporting that name. But I guess I might have come close to having got myself ‘Soundtrack for the Summer’ this year. It did happen once before I think when ‘Hey Jude’ was played by John Peel on his Saturday afternoon programme just a before I went on a trip to London in my teens and I proudly purchased a copy somewhere in Notting Hill on the first day it became available. It had no means of playing it for a week when I returned home and then it got played to death. Consequently I always meant a lot to me and often takes me back to that trip to the Metropolis. It also nearly happened with Avril Lavigne’s ‘Complicated’ a couple of years back.
Now you all know my attitude to the singer-songwriter culture – I think it’s largely a shop-front for self-indulgent pretentious pomposity. You’ll also be aware that I dislike the modern high-jacking of the word ‘jazz’ by smooth pianists and acoustic guitarists who don’t stand a hope of success in the rock market and have to resort to airing their wares on middle of the road stations (you know who I mean). I was disgusted for example to hear that Jamie Cullum had given an accolade suggesting he was jazz musician of the year, probably by listeners to the dreadful Jazz FM or possibly the Mercury Awards people, I can’t rightly remember. Whichever – it was a totally undeserved and nonsensical attribution of distinction. Now I have nothing personal against the lad, Jamie – I’ve heard him being interviewed on the radio and found him to be articulate and amusing, but let’s be honest – he’s got one of the worst singing voices ever and his musicianship is thoroughly average. “Where’s this all leading?,” I hear you ask. Well – I’m about to pull this all together – nominating My Soundtrack of the Summer and dethroning Jamie in one fell swoop.
I took a week’s family holiday in Spain in July. The teenagers in the group bought a copy of Jack Johnson’s ‘In Between Dreams, CD on the outward journey and played it incessantly throughout the week. The tunes were infectious, the singer-songwriter type lyrics were almost tolerable and much improved by the musical settings which were mainly memorable jazzy grooves. It infected my brain and I grew to love it.
The song ‘Good People’ was released as a single and has been often played on the radio since my return and has always brought moments from the trip back into my mind. It’s a good song from an almost perfect album – only 1 dud track IMHO.
It is thus with great pleasure that I nominate Jack Johnson as the Alternative Jazz Musician of the Year and his brilliant album my official Soundtrack of the Summer of 2005.
See if you agree – go out and beg, steal or borrow a copy of ‘In Between Dreams.’