Top Ten Song and/or Album Titles by Felt
n the 1980s, Felt released 10 singles and 10 albums, then broke up—all part of the masterplan of majordomo Lawrence, a man of many quirks to put it mildly. Felt were a remarkable band, not only for their music, but for their sheer, uncompromising weirdness. One gets the impression in retrospect that if they had just settled down and made “normal” records, Felt would be talked about in kind of reverential tones reserved for bands like the Smiths, My Bloody Valentine, or the Velvet Underground. As it stands, it’s hard to believe that a band like this ever existed at all. They seem as if they might have been thought up by Bill Drummond or some enterprising journalist.
One of the best things about Felt—outside of their always restless and challenging music—was their wonderful use of song and album titles. They didn’t always make sense, but somehow managed to convey a tangible reflection of the music regardless. The perfect footnotes to their strange story. In homage to Lawrence’s 10-in-10 plan, here are 10 of my personal favorites:
10. (tie) “Ferdinand Magellan”; “Vasco De Gama”
You gotta love song titles named after the great explorers. Priceless.
9. Forever Breathes The Lonely Word
The best Felt album, if not the best title. Not sure what, if anything, this means, but it does somehow manage to create a mood that the tracks within flesh out perfectly. Just like the songs, which according to the sleeve notes were written by Lawrence and “coloured in by the band.” Ace sleeve as well, featuring half of organist Martin Duffy, now of Primal Scream.
8. “All The People I Like Are Those That Are Dead”
It’s just so cranky sounding. And I’m an old crank, so I love it. A really lovely tune to boot, considering the subject matter.
7. “The World Is As Soft As Lace”
Perhaps the best known Felt title, as it was dropped into a lyric on “I Don’t Love Anyone” by Belle & Sebastian, whose Stuart Murdoch is a great big Felt fan himself. I’ve always thought this title was a bit 4AD-ish, but it’s good in any case.
6. Let The Snakes Crinkle Their Heads To Death
Felt’s fifth album overall, and the first of five for Creation. It is entirely instrumental, sort-of loungey sounding music, and it runs by in just under 20 minutes. Teenage Fanclub once recorded a parody of this record called “Belt.”
5. Bubblegum Perfume
This is a Lawrence-selected compilation of the Creation years, but that title has always struck me great. Especially since Felt are about as far away from bubblegum as you can get. On the vinyl version, the track names—all 20 of them—appear on the spine. Fucking cool.
4. “Don’t Die On My Doorstep”
I’m pretty sure the guy who reviewed the LP this is taken from, The Pictorial Jackson Review, for the All Music Guide online said this was one of the best song titles of the decade. Not sure if I’d go that far, but it’s pretty great.
3. “Something Sends Me To Sleep”
The band’s second single, and their first great title (the first single was simply called “Index”). Makes me think of that “Sleepy Time” tea that never fails to have me snoring within 20 minutes.
2. “My Face Is On Fire”
Might sound a bit like razor burn at first, but really is something more sinister altogether. A big tune in the Felt lore, as well, as Lawrence decided he didn’t like it, so he rewrote and retitled it as another song and basically disowned this one, making it one of the rarest items in the Felt canon. Never one to let a good title go to waste, Lawrence later recycled the concept at least in part by naming a song “I Will Die With My Head In Flames.” Nice.
1. “Press Softly On The Brakes Holly”
Train Above The City was Felt’s last album for Creation and ninth overall—it is also their oddest. The entire record is brief, jazzy instrumentals rendered by dums, piano,and vibes, and features only Martin Duffy and drummer Gary Ainge. Lawrence only manages to get himself in the credits at all by providing the wonderfully abstract titles for every tune. I thought it was fitting to top the list with a selection from the most “title-istic” album in the catalog. It makes me think of Audrey Hepburn. Couldn’t tell you what the song is like without digging out the record though.