Thursday, 4 February 2010

From Belgium With Love


It's a long story, but earlier this week I was having a chat with a work colleague, and we got talking about famous Belgians. I won't bother explaining why this happened - it would only make the whole thing seem even weirder than it already does. Anyway - the point was that there aren't many of them. My friend suggested Hercule Poirot but we ruled him out by virtue of the fact he isn't a real person.

I then triumphantly pointed out that the bewilderingly brilliant Plastic Bertrand is Belgian and must surely count as a famous person. My friend then said he regarded "Ca Plane Pour Moi" as "one of the worst records ever made"! What?? I, naturally, corrected him. "Nonsense," I said, "It's an absolute classic."

And it damn well is. So there.

Download: Plastic Bertrand - Ca Plane Pour Moi

We've started with Belgium so let's run with it...

Back in the early 1990s I heard a track on the radio (Jo Whiley's show, I think) called "Not An Addict", by K's Choice. A while later I stumbled across the CD single of the very same song, in a record shop bargain bin. I bought it - I forget the price but I imagine it was a quid or so. Bargain? Oh yes. K's Choice are a Belgian band fronted by brother and sister Sarah and Gert Bettens. I use the present tense there, as I'm pleasantly surprised to see that the band still exists - in fact, they're releasing a new album (their 5th) and undertaking a European tour (click for dates) in 2010!

Anyway - back to "Not An Addict". Sarah Bettens has a luscious voice and this song is the perfect vehicle for it - the quiet/loud progression lets her alternately croon, and then let rip. Impressive stuff. Lyrically, the song does border on pomposity, but just about stays on the right side of self-righteous. Check it out - it's a little-known classic and you'll be all the richer for hearing it.

Download: K's Choice - Not An Addict

Our third track for today isn't by a Belgian artist at all (that's just the sort of whacky whimsy we like round these parts). That said, it does mention Belgium in the title (and, er, the lyrics) so that's just as good, isn't it? Yeah?

Cuff The Duke are in fact a Canadian band, hailing from Toronto. As far as I know they've got no connection with Belgium (outside of this song) at all, but as soon as I decided to do a Belgian-themed blog, I just couldn't get the song out of my head... so here it is, in all it's Strokes-y glory. And believe me, this IS a mighty, mighty behemoth of a song.

Download: Cuff The Duke - Belgium Or Peru

I reckon that'll do us for now. I hope you've enjoyed this brief sojourn to Belgium... and Canada. Perhaps we'll do it again sometime...

Don't forget - if you like the music, support the artists by BUYING their records. Cheers.

Artist links:

Plastic Bertrand
K's Choice
Cuff The Duke

Until next time...

1 comment:

Marco said...

Lio, the singer, is belgian. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lio