search for something...

search for something you might like...

Some Of Our Best Friends Are Songs: from Magnificent to Satie 50 songs we talked about in 2021...

Some Of Our Best Friends Are Songs: from Magnificent to Satie

50 songs we talked about in 2021...

by LamontPaul, Founder & Publisher
first published: December, 2021

approximate reading time: minutes

Costello is finding ways to make this whole music-making shebang fun again

Throughout 2021, OUTSIDELEFT's Week in Music delivered an idiosyncratic array of opinions and comments on the records that reached us, and mattered to us and some that really didn't matter to us at all. Way too many titles to list here. Instead, throughout this week a totally randomized smattering of what we called Singles reviews. A mere 50 fab tunes revisited and reordered, from A-Z by song title! 

50 Singles from 2021: Magnificent - Satie

Elvis Costello and the Imposters
Magnificent Hurt
--Jay Lewis
After a couple of French classes with Iggy Pop and Isabella Adjani, followed by a crash course with some of the finest Spanish-speaking vocalists, EC has returned to his vocal duties.

What this amounts to, alongside the visceral joy of his last couple of albums with the Imposters, is that Costello is finding ways to make this whole music-making shebang fun again. And 'Magnificent Hurt' is the best of this recent blast of brooding beauty and those sinister fairground keyboards from Steve Nieve make it all the more exciting.

Poppy Ackroyd
(One Little Independent Records)
--Tim London
See, proper musicians don’t need to mime - they’ll play live and it will still sound gorgeous. Although there are moments during this video when it’s just Poppy’s head and shoulders and only the evidence of the piano hammers striking the keys to prove she’s not practicing her typing. I’m going to sit down and examine which strings are being hit by which hammers connected to which keys to make sure it’s really not Memorex. No, I’m not. This is presumably a musical painting of the murmurations of huge flocks of starlings that, when I see them myself, make me wonder whether life is just a psychedelic prank when comparing them to the more mundane things, like a squashed snail or dumped fridges. And it is, as Poppy smiles at the end, ‘the one’. Image. Captured.

Little Mix
--Tim London
Intrepid pouting.

The Linda Lindas
--Ancient Champion
Punky powerpoppy new wave from Southern California's The Linda Linda's. Has a touch of the Redd Krosses about it and can be a bit Bangly too if you need references. But they're no revivalists. Half Asian / half Latinx. Two sisters, a cousin, and their close friend and massive, massive commercial appeal, surely. That's what's happening here. I Love it.

Saint Etienne
(Saint Etienne Limited)
--Jay Lewis
Saint Etienne always were in a smarter league than many of their Nineties contemporaries. The second single from their forthcoming 'I've Been Trying To Tell You' album shows that they still have that ambition to explore new territories. 'Penlop' is a five-and-a-half-minute cinematic adventure, built on shuffling beats and ambient keyboards, Sarah Cracknell's dream-like indecipherable vocals only arrive halfway through, and then, my word, the drama unfolds. It's quite breathtaking.

The album 'I've Been Trying To Tell You' is released on 10 September, followed by a tour in November.

Self Esteem
Prioritise Pleasure
--Katherine Pargeter
No, 'Prioritise Pleasure by Self Esteem' is not the title of a well meaning self-help article in a glossy magazine, (you know, the hefty ones that smell of umpteen perfume samples). No, it's much more important than that!

Rebecca Lucy Taylor and co. follow up one of the best singles of the year (' I Do This All The Time'), with a swaggering ode to moving out of the darkness and into the light. The percussion-led verses break into the fabulous juxtaposition of a gospel choir with a blast of electro noise in the chorus.  It's a jolt to the system - a cry for release. And it's just a shame that the verse where Taylor breaks out the straightjacket guilt to find joy, defiance, and, err, pleasure won't get played on the radio.

The album, 'Prioritise Pleasure' is released on 22 October on Fiction records.

Ari Lennox
--Ancient Champion
Ari Lennox creates joyous and generally sultry pop songs. They are the good ones. Pressure posits itself around an insouciant, classic pop hook, something you might pick out on the guitar, bass or piano while dabbling and never get it to sound as fresh, simple nor as lovely as this. Ari Lennox absolutely restores faith lost in rnb pop. Delightful.

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Push The Sky Away
--Ancient Champion
Taken from the B-Sides and Rarities thing that's going on. The poignancy and drama lent to an already gorgeous song by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the choral support is grounding. I can't fly while I listen. I can only cower in tears. How can music be this beautiful?

The Wombats
Ready For The High
--Tim London
The sound of a band. Doing band things in a rehearsal studio. They’re looking forward to going to the pub for a swift bottle of an amusingly named lager before catching the tube back to Wimbledon. Hold on, that’s The Wombles, not The Wombats. It’s all a bit of a waste, though. There’s time, wasted, listening to this. The waste of a horn section which they squeeze in before the end. The waste of the bass line from Air’s La Femme D’argent, which, admittedly, is 1960’s groovy bass line number five anyway. And the waste of the ambitions and desires of the bands that this band’s existence displaces. Or was that The Wombles?

Simone Dinnerstein
Satie: Gnossienne No.3
(Orange Mountain)
--Jay Lewis
Simone Dinnerstein is an extraordinarily gifted pianist. She may be best known for her delightful adaptations of Bach’s Keyboard Concertos, the rawness of her rendition of Purcell’s ‘Dido’s Lament’ with singer Tift Merrit and this year's performance of Richard Danielpour's 'An American Mosaic.'

Erik Satie may be far too familiar territory for some, but there is something so delicate and haunting about this interpretation that is so fresh and captivating.
More please...

(NB, as we're unable to locate any video of this, here's a clip of Simone working with another master of minimalism...)

Essential Info
Main Photo: By Robman94Elvis Costello performing live at Riot Fest in Chicago, 9/16/2012
Some Of Our Best Friends Are Songs 2021 A-Ch
Some Of Our Best Friends Are Songs 2021 Che-Ha
Some Of Our Best Friends Are Songs 2021 Hands-Look
Some Of Our Best Friends Are Songs 2021 Magnificent-Satie

Founder & Publisher

Publisher, Lamontpaul founded outsideleft with Alarcon in 2004 and is hanging on, saying, "I don't know how to stop this, exactly."

Lamontpaul portrait by John Kilduff painted during an episode of John's TV Show, Let's Paint TV

about LamontPaul »»



All About and Contributors


Outsideleft exists on a precarious no budget budget. We are interested in hearing from deep and deeper pocket types willing to underwrite our cultural vulture activity. We're not so interested in plastering your product all over our stories, but something more subtle and dignified for all parties concerned. Contact us and let's talk. [HELP OUTSIDELEFT]


If Outsideleft had arms they would always be wide open and welcoming to new writers and new ideas. If you've got something to say, something a small dank corner of the world needs to know about, a poem to publish, a book review, a short story, if you love music or the arts or anything else, write something about it and send it along. Of course we don't have anything as conformist as a budget here. But we'd love to see what you can do. Write for Outsideleft, do. [SUBMISSIONS FORM HERE]


Ooh Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha May 29th

outsideleft content is not for everyone