Saturday, August 21, 2004

Hey, little girl

by Suw on August 21, 2004

It's not often that I buy singles. If I like a song I either download it (scream of horror) or get the album. The only reason for buying a single is if the b-side is worth having and usually they're not, they're just a waste of money – who needs some crappy remix or live version of a song you already have?
Admittedly Radiohead used to be very good at producing high quality b-sides, so I do have a lot of Radiohead singles and EPs, up to the point where Thom lost his head somewhere in his own lower intestines.
Thursday I was, as I habitually am, listening to XFM. Their X-List show is an opportunity for listeners to control the play list, (well, only to some extent I suppose. If I rang up and asked for the new Duran Duran single Sunrise, for example, I doubt that they would have it in the building, let alone play it), and some guy rings in to ask for Soulwax. Good call. Excellent band. But he asks not for Any Minute Now, their current single, but for the b-side. Sadly the station doesn't have a full version of the single, but this guy waxes long, eloquently and passionately about how wonderful this b-side is and how they really, really need to get a hold of it and play it.
Normally, I wouldn't take any notice, but the song in question is actually a cover version of Hey Little Girl, by Icehouse. Back in the 80s I used to love Icehouse – I have a ton of their stuff stashed away upstairs in the loft so I was suddenly overcome by a real need… not just a fleeting desire, but one of those overwhelming longings to hear both versions.
I managed to find the original version – I had forgotten was a lovely voice Iva Davies has. It's just beautiful. And Hey Little Girl has aged very well indeed. Some 80s stuff sounds really a bit crap, but although this sounds of its time it doesn't sound dated.
Anyway, I couldn't electronically purloin Soulwax's version, so I did the unthinkable and actually bought the single from HMV online. It arrived through my letterbox this morning, and I stuck it on the stereo as soon as I had opened it.
What can I say? The guy on the radio was right. Not only is it an astoundingly beautiful version, but Stephen Dewaele's voice is so similar to Iva Davies' as to be really very spooky. It's just quite, quite fabulous. Subtle, understated, emotive, delicious. Four minutes of heart-stopping tingle-making bleepy Soulwaxy goodness.
Go buy it.

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