I didn’t buy a copy of the Observer.

What? What do you mean, you don’t understand? Sigh. Fine, some context.

For the last 3 years, I’ve been buying the Observer once a month – every time the Observer Music Monthly is included.

Over the last few months, I’ve found myself more and more disappointed. I predicted great reviews of the Raconteurs, Elbow and the Young Knives – all non-events in my opinion. The Observer didn’t disappoint. Ah, a new Nick Cave album sounding very much like his last – I predict a great review. And lo and behold, five stars out of five. Oh look – Vampire Weekend, my personal favourite overhyped band. Ah, four stars out of five.

But onwards, ever onwards, I plunged. Just in case. Just in case the Music Monthly gave me my next favourite artists (like it used to, so often). But maybe it had changed. More likely, I had.

And so, yesterday, I took the plunge. I didn’t buy the Music Monthly. And you know what? I don’t think I’ve missed a thing.


I’ve posted a live video of the National singing “About Today” before, but I recently came across this extended version, with a truly hair-raising last couple of minutes.

The greatest song about the moment a relationship is truly over, by the greatest band on the planet at the moment.

This is a bit of an odd one, and an incident that I always think about when I ponder my obsession with music.

A few years ago, I was trying to track down a particular album, and thanks to a series of misunerstandings, ended up with the completely wrong album. A wrong album that I listened to, again and again. A wrong album that became one of my favourites of all time. A wrong album that contained the most emotionally raw, heart-wrenching songs that really got to me. A wrong album that contained songs whose lyrics were me, my life, my experiences. A wrong album album called “Songs for a Hurricane”, by Kris Delmhorst.


From that album, the song that affected me most was “You’re No Train” – sparse, heart-breaking, dealing with the situation when a relationship is truly going nowhere; when the other person is there and gone, there and gone, and the effect that has; when one person just doesn’t know if they want to be part of something anymore.

Baby, you’re no train, you’re the track. Always running away, always running back. Baby, you’re no train, you’re the steam blowing by./Baby, you’re no train, you’re the silence behind. So roll on.

But one addendum to this – and the reason behind my post’s title. After finding this amazing album by accident, I got Kris’s subsequent work, and was utterly disappointed with it. I’m sure it will appeal to many, but all the intimacy of “Songs for a Hurricane” is missing. Maybe she’ll recapture it, but in case she doesn’t, I count myself very lucky to have stumbled across “Songs…”, as I see it playing on repeat in my life.

Kris Delmhorst – You’re No Train