Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Who Says The Magic Numbers Aren't Cool?

Last Friday, shortly before departing for the Knee Deep Festival, I tweeted the following:

Clockwise from top left: Violent Femmes, The Afghan Whigs, The Magic Numbers, Woodenbox with a Fistful of Fivers, Cake, Modest Mouse.

Now, I was pretty happy with the six CDs I had chosen for the drive to Liskeard - in fact, all of them are still in my car now, partially due to laziness but mostly because they're such good driving albums.

Sarah, on the other hand, was kind of surprised that I was willing to share that photo with the hoopy bunch of froods who presumably run Knee Deep's Twitter account. "You can't show them your Magic Numbers album," she said, demonstrating a touching concern for my online street cred. "The Magic Numbers aren't cool enough!"

But while I understand the source of Sarah's reservations - The Magic Numbers weren't even that cool in their mid-noughties heyday - I'm still proud to count that self-titled debut among my Knee Deep Half-Dozen. I brought it along simply because it seemed like a nice record for a sunny day, but when I actually slid The Magic Numbers into Darth Vacar's stereo, I remembered all the other reasons behind the album's place on my CD rack. Reasons like...

...Mornings Eleven
A very special opener, mixing a catchy, poppy verse with a lazy and gleefully lackadaisical chorus.

...Forever Lost
The one with the cartoony video. This is the perfect example of TMN's knack for concealing deep, deep melancholy under several layers of upbeat, summery tunefulness.

...I See You, You See Me
Hoo boy. When I was driving to work on Monday morning (i.e. the day after returning from Knee Deep), I decided to pop The Magic Numbers on again, and this song caught me completely off-guard. I'd kind of forgotten about I See You..., but it was pretty much my favourite song when I first acquired the CD.

In case you haven't heard it before (and you can't be bothered to click on that YouTube video), this is a very emotive boy/girl duet about two people who basically love each other but find themselves unable to do anything about it for whatever reason. The "looks like it's happened again" line was always a killer at the best of times, and that - along with the deflated post-festival feeling and a dollop of the usual Monday morning blues - made for an unexpectedly emotional journey to work, I can tell you.

...This Love
Another great song that I'd forgotten about. This has shades of Damien Rice, actually; the tender first half and the dramatic rising second are equally satisfying in totally different ways.

...Love's a Game
Oh, and just when you think the album is winding down, BAM! The Magic Numbers hit you with yet another classic noughties single. It's less energetically appealing than Forever Lost and Love Me Like You, but it's still a gem that helps to keep me engaged right up until the bitter end.

So, if the Knee Deep social media guy did in fact turn up his nose at my tweet, well, more fool him. The Magic Numbers rock.

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