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Saturday, March 28, 2009

YouTube Weekend: Catherine Wheel, "Black Metallic"

I first came to know this song by way of a compilation of live performances played at the WHFS studio called "Just Passin' Through." The version there, from 1996, is an extended acoustic performance with passages added to the beginning and the end ("Look into the sky, Daddy-O...") that have nothing to do (as far as I can tell) with the song itself. The version on YouTube sounds heavily overproduced by comparison, especially in the vocal treatment, but it has its own strange, dreamy beauty - as well as a sense of relentlessness and despair.

This video (from 1991) is creepy and disturbing, particularly after the 2:40 mark. It echoes some parts of Kubrick's version of The Shining. It's a non-embeddable video, so right-click on the image to play. Catherine Wheel, "Black Metallic":


For over a decade this song made me think of someone I knew - at least the opening lines "I've never seen you when you're smiling; it really gets under my skin..." As of earlier this week, those lines no longer apply.

Turns out this wasn't the first Catherine Wheel song I had ever heard. I caught a video by them at the end of an episode of MTV's late lamented "120 Minutes" at a friend's house back in 1995 or so. That song was "Waydown", and the video is disturbing for completely other reasons. People with a fear of flying may not want to watch!

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