Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Clandestine Classic XLIV - Generator

The forty-fourth post in an occasional series that is intended to highlight songs that you might not have heard that I think are excellent - clandestine classics, if you will. Maybe they'll be by bands you've never heard of. Maybe they'll be by more familiar artists, but tracks that were squirelled away on b-sides, unpopular albums, radio sessions or music magazine cover-mounted CDs. Time will, undoubtedly, tell.

As I continue to address the paucity of clandestine classics in this year's blog posts, it occurs to me that I should probably try to balance out the downbeat, some would say morose, tone of the last entry in the series. Here, then, is about as upbeat a number as you can get. Now I don't know too much about The Holloways, beyond what can be gleaned from Wikipedia, but I do know Generator was a track from their superbly-titled 2007 album So This Is Great Britain? I bought that, and it's full of mostly perky, jangly guitar pop, but Generator stands heads and shoulders above the rest. For a start there's that incessant, driving beat which, trust me, is excellent at worming its way into your subconscious. Then there are the twin vocals of Alfie Jackson and Robert Skipper (I think), in close harmony, delivering lyrics at infectious, breakneck speed. And then there are those lyrics, as follows:

I can get a record player, and a generator,
Generate the music that makes you feel better.

I don't live in poverty, I got a little bit of money
And I've got a healthy body.
I'm not going to let stuff get me upset
And I won't let all the little things get me depressed.

When I was a young boy I got a stereo
And I taped all the songs straight off the radio.
The sounds that the bands made, and the melodies
Was all I need to make me feel free.

Sometimes you get so low, you don't know why
Or a little upset all inside.
May I remind you? That you don't live in poverty
You got your youth, and you got food in your belly!

I can get a record player, and a generator,
Generate the music that makes you feel better.
I can get a record player, and a generator,
Generate the music that makes you feel better.

By Christ, that's an optimistic song, isn't it? Essentially, yes, life can be a bit crap sometimes but don't let it get you down, play some great music, and all will be well... And of course that's simplistic nonsense but I always feel better for playing music I love, and I suspect you do too. Plus this references that simple pleasure from days gone by of taping a song from the radio - for me, this meant bending over the stereo with a finger on the pause button during the chart run-down, and I know I'm not alone there. Today's equivalent is performing a dodgy download, which somehow seems so much less exciting...

But I digress... like I said, I know little about The Holloways, and their debut album is the only record of theirs that I own. I love this song though, and the way it gets into your head. They carry the "cheer up, it might never happen" vibe into the video too, as you can see:


  1. You hit the nail right on the head there;surely there was no better feeling than the satisfaction of completing a tape recorded from either the radio or TV. I loved the tense finger hovering moments that could mean pressing stop too late and having the DJ introducing the next song,or indeed Mum strolling in and offering a cup of tea! Are we better off today with instant perfect downloads from Pietunes and the like? Not so sure....rant possibility about kids today curtailed!

    1. Too right mate, twas a simple yet brilliant pleasure, right up there with compiling mixtapes. Happy days, simpler times.