Mixtapes for Hookers

2001. Song #6 Would Go Out Tonight, But It Hasn’t Got A Stitch To Wear
June 8, 2009, 1:28 am
Filed under: design of a decade, music | Tags: , ,


6. Stars, This Charming Man

Canadian duo Stars won me over in February of 2001 with their languid cover of the Smiths’ classic This Charming Man; sadly, it’s also the only Stars song that’s ever really grabbed me.  Actually, the whole reason I like it so much is that it borrows the classic opening guitar bit from the original but waits until the song’s halfway point to introduce it.

The song’s whispered vocals are performed by actor-musician Torquil Campbell, which surprises me because I had always assumed it was a woman singing.  (Stars do have a female vocalist, though she didn’t enter the picture until late in the recording of the Nightsongs album, on which this appears.  Evidence that it’s actually Campbell singing appears in this oddly-textured video of a 2008 live performance.)

Musically this sounds like it belongs on a compilation called Late Night Chillout Groove 4.  The bassline is particularly unhip-sounding now, though if I remember correctly it sounded just great in the early post-Play era. Subtle electronic indie-pop, the sort championed by label Le Grand Magistery, has become tres passe these days, as college rock–if college rock even exists anymore–has swung sharply towards folk-rock in the past couple of years.

It’s actually really surprising to me how laid back the music I liked in 2001 sounds now.  It’s also odd to me that mellow artists like Dido and Coldplay and millennial-era Moby only had mega pop success after breaking through on modern rock radio, though I guess the very similar Stars never really had any mainstream success in the US.  They’re still trying, though, having opened up for Coldplay on a chunk of last year’s Viva la Vida tour.

mp3: Stars, This Charming Man

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