Back in 1966, soul singer Jimmy Ruffin asked the oft-pondered question, What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? More than forty years on, the answer remains mysterious. Some drink, some hibernate and others do as Sydney singer Laura Imbruglia has done… write cracker country songs. Laura has been playing rock and roll gems for quite a while but it wasn’t until she had her heart hurt that her sombre songbird really took flight. And now, on her sophomore album The Lighter Side Of… we’re getting hear the upside of an emotional downside. It’s not all minor chords and tears before bedtime but for those of you who love a bit of heartache on a Wednesday, jump on Imbruglia’s myspace and take a listen to ‘When It All Falls Apart’.
Laura will launch the album at the Annandale Hotel in Sydney this Friday night. But before you head along to check out her new sound, you can check out her inspired and eclectic Top Five songs for this week’s Mid-week Mixtape. Take it away, Laura…
The Mamas & Papas – Glad To Be Unhappy
My Mum & Dad stopped listening to music (besides the radio in the car) at least thirty years ago. As their LP’s were just collecting dust, I decided to claim them. I soon realised their collection was pretty dodgy (including but not limited to a Romantic Accordian LP- WEIRD), except for a few Beatles records and a Best of The Mamas & Papas LP. The first time I heard this song I was blown away by the perfect melding of the sentiment and melody. Mama really sounds sad!! I just kept putting the needle back to the start of the song like a woman possessed! This is a Rodgers & Hart tune but I like this version better than the jazzy Sinatra & Billie Holiday versions I’ve heard since.
The Louvin Brothers – When I Stop Dreaming
I was seriously obsessed with these guys for pretty much all of 2007. They’re a kooky Christian duo from the 1950’s. I was already obsessed with them and then I got dumped and all their heart-breaking lyrics just cut even deeper than they had originally. I just walked around town with headphones in, switching between the Louvin Bros, Roy Orbison and any other singing sadsacs in my collection. Their voices are so rich and beautiful and I love the instrumentation too. They were pretty sweet on the old guitar and mandolin. I’m a massive sucker for harmonies and you can’t get better vocal harmonies than the Louvin Brothers. FYI: They also cover “In The Pines”. Topical!
“Maybe” from the musical Annie
I would say this is probably the first song to have had a major impact on me. I was about three or four and so into the film/musical Annie that I was convinced I was an orphan and that my “parents” were imposters. This song opens the film and Aileen Quinn, the child actor really sings it beautifully. I’ve noticed over the years that there aren’t many indie musos who admit to liking musicals. I find this to be a strange phenomenon. I’m not taking the piss, I have this soundtrack on my ipod and I listen to it! It reminds me of my childhood, her voice is gorgeous and the songs are great! Carole Burnett singing “Little Girls”- haha! Watch the movie.
Richard Hell – Blank Generation
My manager has great taste in music and quite an extensive collection of all kinds of genres, which he organises in a Rain man-like fashion. He made me a mix tape once and this song was on it and killed me. There’s the little intro & then the song just suddenly bursts out at you, perfectly matching the opening lyrics “I was sayin’ get me outta here before I was even born!”. I love his swagger and ranty vocal style. Plus, listen to the lead guitar breaks! They’re so wonky and a bit shit but they’re perfect at the same time. It’s a good example of an artist/band who have complete control over their chaos. It’s a skill not many people have or put to such good use.
Richard Hell – Blank Generation
Cheap Trick – Surrender
This band are the kings of power pop. Perfect melodies, harmonies, guitar solos, middle eights, intros, outros, you name it!! This song has everything you could want in an awesome guitar pop song: Constant key changes, tight harmonies, endless drum fills and the ending just fills me with joy and makes me want to punch the air and jump around on my bed like a little kid. I also like their sense of humour. They had two ugly guys in the band & two gorgeous guys. The hot lead singer & bass player were always on the front of the album cover looking glammed-up and the less attractive drummer and lead guitarist (who wrote most of the songs) were always on the back looking dorky. They rule.