So these days and since I last had to drive back to Manchester through Sunday evening I don’t listen to the Top 40 and wouldn’t if you paid me frankly, but a 48 year habit makes me check the Top 100 soonish after it’s posted on-line. And for the past few weeks, even though it’s been on the chart for 28 weeks now, I’ve been noticing that Paloma Faith is there and around with a song called ‘Make Your Own Kind of Music’. Which is a familiar title as you will recall from here.
No doubt it’s a new song. I mean, I know nothing about Paloma Faith except that she’s called Paloma Faith, and anything of hers that I’ve heard has been by accident and I wouldn’t have known, or cared, frankly. I say again, they’re not making this music for me, any more than the Rolling Stones recorded ‘Satisfaction’ for my Gran. Either of them.
Still, I start to notice it and I get curious. She won’t have covered the Mama Cass song. It’ll be something new, I’d probably hate it. The singers of today don’t cover Sixties songs any more, and not the obscure stuff from twice as long ago as they’ve actually been alive. And if, by some implausible reason, she has, she’ll have updated it and fucked it up good and proper.
So, finally, I decided to check. The official video starts badly, all black stiletto platform-soled walking across a thin surface of water, and voices offscreen, carping, criticising, niggling, putting down. She can’t sing. Well, we heard that all those years ago, and ever since, and lately it’s been the ones I am contemporary to that have been saying it. So she’ll riposte, she’ll blast them her own way. Then she abruptly sings this line, ‘Nobody can tell ya/there’s only one song worth singing’, and I am jerked out of my complacent assumptions because, damn, it is that old song, and damn, the girl’s doing it straight, and she might not have Mama Cass Elliot’s voice, she’s singing it like she means it.
Of course, robbed of it’s context, the song changes its focus. It’s about Paloma and it’s about music, nothing before. It’s about believing in herself and what she’s doing, and whoever it is that can’t get into that with her, who must be going, she understands, because this journey is for her.
You could say that cheapens the song, but Paloma’s conviction carries it through, and she’s modernised the arrangement but not changed it, the song is still entire, it’s chorus still comes for you and drags you into it, and she’s done what Mama Cass couldn’t and taken this into the chart, as high as no 6. And this is good.
The official video does the song no favours, starting and ending on Paloma’s first and last lines, melodramatically, cutting the intro and outro that give the song it’s structure, that are the most determinedly Sixties elements to it. which is why the Official video is not linked below.
Between this, and Rita Ora’s ‘Anywhere’, maybe The infinite Jukebox is going to have to open a non-vinyl wing…