Song of the Week / Uncategorized

Song Of The Week

Every week we will bring you a song that we have been hammering lately. It might be a new release, but equally it might be an album track, or something that was released a while ago which we have only just discovered and/or come to truly appreciate.

Patrick Wolf – The Magic Position

This week’s choice will come as no surprise to those of you who read our rave review of Patrick’s concert. We know it’s probably a bit cliché, but we honestly weren’t able to stop listening to Patrick Wolf after the gig. Every time we tried to listen to something different in iTunes, we’d keep coming back to something by Patrick. But the one song in particular that has been going round our heads for days, and that we have had irrepressible urges to listen to, is this. 

When listening to the original version, it is impossible not to feel uplifted as soon as the strings come in (those blasted strings! For it is they that got us hooked on to this song), and by the time the first two lines roll in – ‘So let the people talk, This Monday morning walk / Right past the fabulous mess we’re in’ – we find whatever grumpy mood we were in just dissipating. In no small part to the wonderful pronunciation of ‘fabulous’ and ‘iiiiiiii-iii-iin’. We guess that’s magic(!)

We know that this is probably as “pop” as Patrick Wolf gets, particularly pre The City, and we suppose that is another reason we like the song, as we are fools for pop after all. We like the gaps in the song; a lot of decent pop songs would find themselves uncomfortable with such long stretches of instrumental, but this song thrives on the slightly off-beat timing used. Talking of Wolf’s vocals, there is something so delightful about them in this song, even more so when seeing him sing it live (he was SO HAPPY when playing and singing this song, it’s insane.) We know that Wolf has the ability to belt, but in this song the vocals are gorgeously reined in. He seems to have found the exact balance required between belting and not putting any emotion in, or what we like to term ‘Rachel Stevens-esque coldness’. We guess he’s found the magic position(!)

We like the song as it is such a happy song. Yes, that’s a crude and basic category, but it’s true. It’s a song about the way having someone love you completely changes your frame of mind. We wonder if it is also about having someone to love, but we actually think it is much more so about being loved than giving love. It can certainly be argued both ways, depending on whether you view love as a reciprocated phenomenon, and depending on particulars of a relationship. We particularly appreciate the musical play on words with copious mention of ‘the major key’. Ironic perhaps because up until this point in his career, Wolf didn’t really seem to know how to write songs in the major key. Maybe he never knew it existed!! But it also works as an A-grade metaphor, ‘to live, to learn, to love … in the major key’

We do have to admit that ‘You put me in the magic position’ does sound a bit like a terrible, terrible euphemism for sex, although we accept that the song is not about this (although good sex probably was one thing making Patrick so happy when he wrote this song.) Every time we hear the ‘you put me’ line, we want the song to go ‘in the mood… for the magic position’ or else ‘in the mood… you know you do, darling’. But maybe that’s just us. 

There are no nonsensical chants, but this is Patrick Wolf and so we wouldn’t expect any. We think the “Shoot Bang Fire!” and “HEY!” at the start of the song deserves praise, in any case. 

We suppose, thinking about it, production is perhaps a bit ‘boring’ on the  original version. Patrick Wolf recorded acoustic versions of songs from his back catalogue for his ‘Sundark and Riverlight’ album last year, and his retreading of the song does seem to add something new. In the retreading, with less instruments involved, the strings seem a more important part of the song.

Anyway, whichever way you listen to it, this song is basically amazing. With a UK chart peak of #69, we think the song deserved wider public recognition, as it probably could have been a “breakout” hit for Patrick that arguably The City became instead, but as always with pop, sometimes songs are best left as treasures.

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