Paulo Nutini – Sunny Side Up

I often complain about the music listened to by those young people. Often it’s not actual music as such, just semi-structured, or even insufficiently structured noise. (Was that curmudgeonly enough? Oh good.)

But recently I had to break a twenty pound note to get change for a car park machine (boring story – don’t let it worry you), so I popped into HMV in Milton Keynes and decided to buy a CD (rather than something from Starbucks, since they’d cost about the same).

And so I bought Paulo Nutini’s Sunny Side Up. And what a delightful album it is.

It starts off joyfully and raucously with 10/10, a ska track, complete with plenty of brass and lots of emphasis on the off-beats. I have no idea what he’s saying most of the time, but it’s a great track.

Then we move on to Coming Up Easy, which is a bit more laid back, but still with a bit of a soul feel to it. For most of the track I thought it was just okay, but then at the end Paulo turns into Van Morrison repeating the mantra “in love I was created, and in love is how I hope I die”, which really makes the track for me. In this one, I can kind of work out what he is saying, but still have no real idea what the song is actually about.

We then have a couple of good tracks, more laid back, storytelling sort of songs – quite good songs, but less exciting. But I’ve got to move on to Pencil Full of Lead, a fantastic song, basically impossible to describe or categorise, but described by a friend as “like something out of the jungle book”, which is a pretty good comparison, as it’s not very unlike I wanna be like you, in terms of feel. As I’ve said, a great song, which got a lot of much-deserved airplay and is completely positive and uplifting – “I got food in my belly and a license for my telly and nothing’s gonna bring me down” is a great philosophy. The highlight of the album.

But then when you think things are settling down, we get track 8, High Hopes (this live version is cool, but the album version is more delicate). It might sound unkind when I say it sounds like the closing credits song for a Disney film that hasn’t been made yet, but it’s got an innocence about the sound of the recorders, ukulele and harmonica, and a positivity about it that gives it that sort of feel. I like this track almost as much as Pencil full of lead. And another fine positive message in it too “there’s no harm in being wrong you know – to me it’s common ground”.

From there it does calm down a bit, but picks up yet again with Simple Things, a pure country and western song. Or at least it would be, if he wasn’t so Scottish. This one starts off quite sensibly, and then goes mental half way through. And who can argue about the value of the simple things “like going round his mums house for his tea”.

I got this album pretty cheap, but I can honestly say it was worth every penny – one of the things I most often complain about in modern music is that it is often quite depressing. Even if the words aren’t depressing, the sound of it is depressing. Well, this album does what it says on the tin, and I enjoy Paulo’s sunny disposition.

Though he is clearly bonkers, of course.

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