Lately, I’ve been listening to the classic tunes of yesteryear and really enjoying the good old days. Remember 2002? Wasn’t that a crazy year? Remember the hairstyles? What were we thinking?
In 2002, Cornershop may well have robbed us all of our innocence when they released their long-awaited album Handcream for a Generation. Tjinder Singh, who basically is Cornershop, mixed funk, soul, disco, reggae, electronica, and rock into the tasty masala that is this album. Don’t let the reggae scare you off (it almost had that effect on me). It bears its ugly head in the song Motion the 11, but even I got captivated. Well, maybe I just got sucked in by the person dying in the background and blubbering like a perfect idiot. But really, for me the centerpieces of the album are the single Lessons Learned from Rocky I to Rocky III and the sitar/guitar psych-out Spectral Mornings.
Lessons Learned reminds me a lot of Ween. Like Ween, it’s easy to pass Cornershop off as a novelty band, but after listening for awhile you realize that there are some really catchy songs with some cool instrumentation. Cornershop is to grooving what Ween is to rocking (or Cornershop:grooving;Ween:rocking for you standardized-test lovers). Lyrically, I have no idea what is going on in these songs. I can’t tell if it’s just words or if Tjinder’s actually trying to tell us something, like in the repeated line “guns in the A&R office”. But very cool song.
Spectral Mornings features Noel Gallagher on guitar, some Hindi (?) singing, and a sitar jamming through 14 spectral minutes. (I don’t know what that means.) These two songs alone kept me coming back to the whole album but really the other songs are very entertaining, too. Handcream came out 5 years after When I Was Born for the 7th Time and the rumors had been flying of a band breakup. I can see why people were waiting so desperately for this album to come out.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any tracks from Handcream publicly available, but I did find the three songs below. The first is a single from 2004 featuring M.I.A. on vocals, the second is a cover of the Beatles song but sung in Hindi and comes from When I Was Born, and the last is a cover of a novelty song just to prove they can do that well, too.