#31songs (11): A song with a number in the title (sort of)
‘Severn Beach’, by The Blue Aeroplanes, from Friendloverplane (1988)
I could have chosen ‘Days of 49’, of which there are versions on both Friendloverplane and Spitting Out Miracles, or ‘Warhol’s Fifteen’ or ’88 Out’ from Friendloverplane, but instead here’s one that doesn’t really have a number in its title, even if it sounds that way, the wonderfully catchy and straightforward ‘Severn Beach’:
There’s a raucous rockabilly garage-band feel to the song: it’s there in the big crude echo on the vocals, in the riff, and in the fuzzy and out-of-tune guitar solo. There’s a counting-song aspect to the lyrics, which takes us back to Manfred Mann’s ‘5-4-3-2-1’ via XTC’s ‘Senses Working Overtime’: my son loved this when he first heard it a few months ago, and he’s only just turned five.
If there’s a drawback to the garage-band feel, it’s that the lyrics are largely incomprehensible. I have tried, but in the verses got nothing more definite than ‘… cardboard box to get out to Severn Beach’, ‘where the mud flats howl’, ‘like buried pots’, and ‘they got nothing to say but plenty to do before they die.’