Graham Reid | | 2 min read
From time to time I am approached to write liner notes for albums, and I only ever accept those which I think are interesting -- like the collections of New Zealand psychedelic music under the banner A Day in My Mind's Mind -- or those which make me think a bit.
And a collection of "heartland" radio hits made me think about how far some critics, like myself, are removed from what other people listen to. So I accepted the offer of writing about a double disc collection of radio-familiar songs (familiar even to me who has rarely listened to mainstream commercial radio). I recognised every song.
So this is what I wrote . . .
As someone often
described as a “music critic”, I know my taste is rarely in tune
with that of radio programmers. But I'm also honest enough to say I
can't often pick a hit. And radio, by its very calling, is about
Music critics are strange
creatures who often seem to recoil from the idea of hit songs. But
I've never been one who thinks music should be an endurance test, or
that one form or other is somehow “better for you” or “superior”.
I unashamedly love pop songs (I grew up when the three minute pop
single was an art form) and there's nothing I like better than
hearing a great song float out of a window or from a car radio.
This collection is full
of great New Zealand songs – and we know they are because at some
time or other they made people dance (Do the Blue Beat, Sensation,
Montego Bay), touched people's hearts (Till We Kissed, Listen, Andy), and made us think (Damn the Dam, Smiley which was
an anti-war message wrapped up in MOR pop, Black Pearl) or
laugh (We Don't Know How Lucky We Are). And sometimes told us
something about ourselves and who we are in this world (What's the
Time Mr. Wolf which will always be associated with Once Were
Or just made us feel
good: Doctor, I Like Your Medicine, Magic, Yesterday Was Just the
Beginning of My Life, I Need Your Love, Tumblin’ Down . . .
They say the best music
writes itself into your autobiography – and I would bet that there
are many, many songs here which mean something special in people's
lives: a wedding, teenage parties, beach days, the loss of a family
member, first love, first heartbreak, dancing like a loon beneath the
moonlight just because you could . . .
More than a third of
these songs were number one hits and more than half won music awards.
That tells me a lot of people – among them “music critics”
obviously – felt something deeply for this music.
These song were hits which got into people's hearts. Heartland music, I guess.
Like the idea of a collection of New Zealand songs like this? Then check out this.