Monday, December 8, 2008

Song of the Week: "Valerie", The Zutons

It's pretty rare that I hear a song in passing and immediately become hooked. That's what happened the other day as I was flipping channels on TV. Somewhere between countless repeats of CSI: Poughkeepsie and Law & Order: The Tax Assessment Files, I ran across an HD music channel that was showing a bunch of one-off live performances. Click, click, click. What was that? I heard one little refrain and I clicked back. Live on stage was some band I didn't recognize performing a song I had never heard before. But, man oh man, that song had a nice groove to it. Before I could say "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" the song was over. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet and the obvious refrain of the song, I was able to piece it together quicker than those super sleuths on CSI: Youngstown. That little song I saw on the boob-tube two weeks ago is our Song of the Week. It's called Valerie and it is performed by some lads (and a lass) from Liverpool, England who call themselves The Zutons.

I don't have too much knowledge of this band (like...damn-near none). So I'm not going to waste a whole lot of space telling you that some other band -- whose name escapes me at the moment -- is also from the seaport town of Liverpool. I'm not going to make crass comments about the ease of looking at Sax player/back-up vocalist Abi Harding. All I'm going to say is that frontman David McCabe, wrote a pretty darn catchy tune which appeared on the band's sophomore effort, 2006's Tired of Hanging Around. With nice Ray Davies like vocals and good musicianship, the song's melody will burrow into your head like a musical tick. It's catchy enough that it not only stopped me dead in my click, click, click. It also caught the attention of that Über-skank (but talented), Amy Winehouse, who covered the song and had a nice little hit with it. (warning: by clicking the following link you will be subjected to bee-hive hair-dos that may hide the missing dwarf from Wizard of Oz, snaggly Brit-teeth, legs that would horrify even the skinniest chicken, and more tracks than have been laid across Siberia).  Winehouse's Valerie.

That's it for this week. Enjoy your Song of the Week for December 8, 2008.


  1. Just took a listen to the Song of the Week and it sort of took me back to the early 90’s when I was caught up listening to (and enjoying) a rotation of songs by Bad Company, Guns and Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, CCR, Steve Miller Band, AC/DC, and John Cougar Mellancamp. I suppose the time was right for classic rock but I have pretty much closed that door with the exception of CCR. Anyway, while I totally agree that The Zutons Valerie is catchy and the melody made a (fleeting) imprint, I was not taken by it. It left me feeling like I had been there, done that.

    The A.Winehouse rendition, however, is another story. What a delightful surprise! I had never given her the time of day having written her off as unworthy. By god, she is a natural. Who knew? My only problem is when I watch her I have a hard time believing THAT voice is coming out of THAT body. She must be one of those reincarnation mishaps. So, thanks Morgan, for turning me on to Ms.Über-skank and giving credit where credit is due.

  2. Amy Winehouse is like the Ark in Indiana Jones. You can't stare directly at it/her or your face will melt. I must admit, Amy Winehouse is one of my guilty pleasures. I was recently in the Baltimore airport with a 4 hour delay and I picked up an iTunes playlist from someone else who had theirs on share. I spent a cozy 2 hours listening to Winehouse. She's got a sweet voice and a nice retro way of arranging her songs. Retro in that 60's Motown/Stax way obviously.

    Re: The Zutons reminding you of AC/DC or Guns-n-Roses. I respectfully disagree. I don't hear that at all. As my daughter would say: Like, no.

  3. I don't think it would be crass to mention the pulchritudinous presence of Ms. Harding. It seems evident to me, given the fact that she is front and center in damn near every promo photo I've seen, that the band recognizes the marketing potential of their ravishing reed-blower. I'll be she even looks fetching brushing her teeth.

    You weren't kidding about the song being catchier than a cold in kindergarten. Isn't something I'd run out to buy, but its a nice little ditty. The Winehouse version was pretty disappointing. I've heard her do some pretty great stuff, but that version of "Valerie" isn't one of them. She looks and sounds about as enthusiastic and engaged as a ten-dollar whore. [Insert punch-line here.]

  4. JBC-15 says:If you like The Zutons, you might do well to check out another contemporary Liverpool rock band with 60's leaning called The Coral.