Shake It Up

Californian Grass < Shake It Up > I’ve Got A Feeling

My sister in law recently got a chicken bone caught in her throat. She’s fine, but what was allegedly a very nice meal left her in a state that was apparently not unlike watching a cat cough up a fur-ball. As I sit here repeatedly listening to Lost Sirens my brain is stuck on this image and I feel like the album at this point really needs a Heimlich manoeuvre.

Perhaps I’m being a little disingenuous of Shake It Up, but the song gets stuck in my craw for 2 reasons: a) Bernard’s “wannas” and “gottas” – together with the whole Rock The Shack-esque “shake it up – YEAH! (repeat)” – palaver, and b) the tube / distortion effect applied to the guitar stabs which make them sound like a mating toad, particularly as they come after a 30-second intro that offers such potential; suggesting a completely different song altogether is about to kick in. The choruses work fine, with Bernard’s switch to a lower register and the “does it ever” callout, but the verses let the song down – as has been the case with numerous tracks over the London-period albums, here because they sound (again) like a lesser band’s cheap attempt at trailer pop. The “NO!” and “HEY!” shout-outs are the point at which the chicken bones lodge themselves right in, and I gesticulate to anyone close-by that I need a whack on my back between the shoulder blades. Also “you’re coming all over like a piece of cake” has to be one of the poorest lyrics I’ve ever heard on a Sumner-penned record. The feedback section below welcomes your worse suggestions.

Yet, as I’ve pointed out on more than a few occasions, there are all the elements of a much better song in here. The intro, the choruses, the rolling synth bass pattern, the under-utilised arpeggiating keyboard loop (e.g. at the instrumental break at 2:15), and the outro which features great strings and that synth bass line to good effect. Overall I think it’s a production issue, and somewhere in the Cenzo Townshend / Mac Quayle / band’s production efforts someone should have stood back, listened again, and tried a different approach to the mix.

Shaking up your life for a better tomorrow is a fine sentiment, made all the more potent and interesting given the state of the band at the time, and particularly at the time of Lost Sirens‘ release, but unfortunately this song is not one where if I chew it slowly it will go down better. The chicken stops here.

Rating: xxIoo

Available on: Lost Sirens

10 thoughts on “Shake It Up

  1. It always makes my day when there’s a new entry on this lovely blog. I’ve been following since day one, check every few days or so.

    I just wanted to thank you for all the work, all the the well-formulated opinions.

    Can’t wait for Music Complete!

    (“Shake It Up” is the only New Order song I’ve never heard in its entirety. It makes me cringe, and, given how wonderful New Order are, that makes me a bit sad, y’know? There are some dubious songs in the band’s discography, but to me nothing quite compares with “Shake It Up”—not even “Rock The Shack”.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pieces of chicken bones, indeed. Was enough said, right there.

    I’m incredulous at the relatively positive reviews which came out at the time, for this collection of disappointments.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Misheard lyrics for me part two for this album. I hear “ you cut me all open like a piece of cake”. I prefer that to “coming all over like w piece of cake”. Makes more sense to me.

    Anyway. It’s an ok song for me. Better than the Superstar (forget it’s name but also from lost sirens).

    I don’t know about mating frogs but I really like he guitars on this one. A bit of Johnny Marr Idiot Country-sequel wah-was effects. The chorus is good but inageee the verses are a bit twee. It’s a song that doesn’t telly know it’s own identity and sounds a bit of a mesh (see what I did there) of chorus idea for a song shoved on the end of a verse/bridge idea for another song.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like a wedding covers band doing ‘Confusion’ with poor memory, poor instruments and while intoxicated. Some interesting elements but overall a shouty mess. And ‘I read your book from front to cover’ is either genius or bs. I vote the latter.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very good review for what must be one of NO’s worst songs ever. 3.5 is actually very generous, especially since you’re giving I’ve Got a Feeling the same score. It’s just my personal opinion but I find I’ve Got a Feeling to be much more listenable than this pile of shit. I’d rate it 2.0 max.

    Liked by 1 person

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