Friday, September 27, 2013

Everything's Getting Older

A track-by-track look at the 2012 Scottish Album of the Year and what it means to me.

Tasogare/Let's Stop Here
When I first listened to Everything's Getting Older, I was lying in bed in a cottage in Scotland (appropriately enough). Sarah and I were on holiday with my family; we were staying just outside of a small town named Dollar, and we visited several Scottish landmarks during our stay, including the Wallace Monument and the Falkirk Wheel. I put this album on for the very first time one morning when Sarah had popped off for a shower, and the lusciously lovely piano lines that kick off the record will now forever remind me of curling up in that big white duvet in a Scottish holiday cottage.

I didn't even notice the join between these two tracks at first - the opening notes of Let's Stop Here sound like an extension of Tasogare - so that's why I've lumped them together here. I listened very intently to the lyrics of Let's Stop Here, a story about Aidan Moffat meeting up with an old crush and nearly getting it on with them but calling it off because he's grown up and moved on and fallen in lurve with someone else. I'm not used to hearing the protagonists in Moffat's songs do the right thing, so those last three words put a big smile on my face.

As a twenty-two year old man, I ought really to identify with the bit about getting drunk and eating pizza more than I identify with the bit about having children and going to the supermarket. Sadly, this song doesn't make me want to go out and get wrecked; it makes me wish it were Saturday, so that I could go to Asda and do a big shop. Sigh.

A Short Song to the Moon
I wasn't bothered by this one, until I saw it live. The Miniature Music Press dispatched me to review Wells and Moffat's show in Cardiff last year, and their rendition of this song was an unexpected highlight. It was bouncy, it was upbeat, and it ended with a super-hot extended trumpet solo. Spectacular.

Ballad of the Bastard
I was staying at Sarah's house one night - her stepbrother had gone off to university, so I ended up kipping in his recently-vacated bedroom - and unable to sleep, I found myself reaching for the iPod. I listened to Last of the Country Gentlemen, and when that didn't send me to sleep, I stuck Everything's Getting Older on. In contrast to Josh Pearson's frail, winding wailsongs, this album sounded very to-the-point indeed, and Ballad of the Bastard - the album's weak point, for my money - sounded particularly clunky that night. It's grown on me since, but it's still my least favourite.

The Copper Top
During one of my many visits to Spillers Records in central Cardiff, I spotted a new release from Arab Strap frontman Aidan Moffat. It was a collaboration with someone named Bill Wells, but more excitingly, the CD came with a free business card for a fake funeral director's business. I was eager to make the purchase, but my friend Cliffey, who was with me at the time, convinced me that I shouldn't buy an album that could, for all I know, be complete rubbish just because it comes with a free piece of card.

And so I kept my cash in my pocket and headed back to the student house in which we both lived. Shortly afterwards, I found myself sitting in my squalid little room, watching the video for The Copper Top on YouTube and wishing I'd taken the risk.

I eventually received the CD as a birthday present, in case you're wondering.

Glasgow Jubilee
This was the song I showed Sarah on Spotify to prove what a great album Everything's Getting Older is. It's a fair bit more rocked-up than the other tracks, and I decided that it would be the most immediately ear-catching. She loved it, incidentally, and she quickly learned the words so that she could growl along in a fake Glaswegian accent.

(If You) Keep Me In Your Heart
I didn't drink until a couple of years ago, but now that I have a job and responsibilities and stuff, I feel obliged to make the most of every non-school night by at least trying to get drunk. These recent attempts to become an alcoholic have coincided with a sharp upturn in how frequently that 'last drink before bed' line pops into my head. It's got a strangely romantic, intimate ring to it, all the weirder for being cooed by a gruff Scotsman.

Dinner Time
My parents still live in the house I recently moved out of, but that's still the house I picture myself returning to when I listen to this song. They'll move out one day, and I can't even begin to imagine how the house will end up looking when somebody else owns it. I probably won't go as far as breaking back in to take a peek, mind.

The Sadness In Your Life Will Slowly Fade
This one's been a fixture of my iPod playlist recently, and so I now associate it pretty closely with catching the train home from work. The stuff about struggling through the day cuts very deep by quarter to six in the evening.

The Greatest Story Ever Told
One Friday night, not that long ago, I went to my friend Mark's house for drinks and chat. Having enjoyed plenty of both, I trudged back home at something like four in the morning, enjoying how completely deserted Cathays was at that hour. I had my iPod to keep me company, and I decided that Everything's Getting Older would be the perfect small hours companion for my walk home - Aidan Moffat, with his friendly Scottish accent and conversational tone, makes for great company when there's nobody else around.

This song was especially heartwarming on that particular evening, and when Mr Moffat tells you to 'look after your teeth', he says it with such gravitas - like it's the last piece of advice your father offers you before succumbing to some terminal disease - that you'll never forget to brush again after hearing it.

And So We Must Rest
And here's why this album is the perfect 'just before you go to sleep' listen. Aidan Moffat croons you nodwards with minimal backing, and no matter what time is was when you started listening, it's time for bed by the time he's done.

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