Wednesday, October 20, 2010

366. Mott- Another album for the Hoopleheads.

Album: Mott
Artist: Mott the Hoople
Year: 1973
Genre: Rock


  1. All the Way from Memphis
  2. Whizz Kid
  3. Hymn for the Dudes
  4. Honaloochie Boogie
  5. Violence
  6. Drivin’ Sister
  7. Ballad of Mott the Hoople (26th March 1972, Z├╝rich)
  8. I’m a Cadillac/El Camino Dolo Roso
  9. I Wish I Was Your Mother

By the time Mott the Hoople came to release Mott (which I think can technically be called a Self Half-Titled release) Rock's "Golden era" was coming to an end. While you may be with Bono ("Don't believe in the sixties, the golden age of rock") in regarding it all as a load of bollocks there are definitely those who feel the greatest era in all of popular music started in 1963 when the Beatles changed the world and ended in the early seventies when the world changed the Beatles. 63-73 is often called The Greatest decade and I'll be fairly confident that the majority of the albums in the top 100 of this list were recorded in those days. By 1973 the world had already seen the entire careers of The Beatles, Hendrix, Cream and The Doors along with the finest hours from The Rolling Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd and lots of others. Popular music had seen all the innovations that would make it better and was now forced to rely on the changes that would just make it bigger, flashier, more expensive and further out of touch with the average punter in the street. This is what produced Glam rock and finally led to the invention of Punk which gave Rock it's much needed boot up the backside. Mott the Hoople had already given the world All the Young Dudes and now that it's composer and producer David Bowie had reinvented himself again they were left to their own devices to try and come up with something original and inspiring in an era that had already seen Sgt Peppers, Exile on Mainstreet and Dark Side of the Moon.

Whether or not they were successful probably depends on how you judge your Rock and Roll. If you go exclusively on album sales then Mott could have done better. If you judge it by songs that receive airplay decades later then it's not looking too strong. If however you're criteria for a good album involves creepy lyrics involving strange relationships you might find Mott is right up your alley. On the album's final track, I wish I was your mother, Ian Hunter sings about how much he wishes he was his lover's mother or even her father. This would have given him the opportunity to wrestle her brothers. Try and tell me that's not a strange desire. I love my wife very much and at no point have I wanted to be either of her parents. And I've never had a desire to wrestle her brother (his martial arts black belt notwithstanding). The good news is that the lyrics of Mother aren't what's keeping it from achieving the greatness it deserves. The song itself is pretty bad regardless of the words and the added mandolin doesn't help either. Mandolins rarely add anything to music and they should be avoided mainly because it's absolutely impossible to look cool while playing one.

My least favourite track on Mott however is a song called Violence which commits does something I always hate in music- puts me into a lyrical timewarp. I'm sure there's an actual word for it but the effect I'm talking about is the line that only seems complete when you start it again. Violence features the oft-repeated line: "Violence, Violence it's the only thing that makes any sense". Once you've sung this line the only way to feel that it's reached a satisfactory conclusion is to immediately sing it again. Consequently once it's in your head it's not going away until you either crowbar it out with another tune or else beat yourself senseless with a blunt implement. This approach might seem drastic but it's the only response, especially when the line taunting you from inside your own head advocates violence as the only solution.

With the exception of Violence, Mott isn't an especially offensive album but it's not really that much fun either. It lacks an All the Young Dudes or another hit single and has too many forgettable moments and no really memorable ones. It sounds like Rock in a holding pattern- redtreading watered down version of former greatness while it waits for music to reinvent itself.

Highlight: All the way from Memphis
Lowlight: Violence

Influenced by: The Stones
Influenced: Glam Rock

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "MOTT" is a FIVE STAR RECORD by a band that had a lot to say with only a very short time to do so (1969-1973). The Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame is a JOKE... This was OUR BAND"

-Every band has a fan who is incensed about their exclusion from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

So would you care to Mott or would you rather not? Let me know below.

1 comment:

  1. What is a Hoople? Is the song All the way from Memphis the song that gave its name to the splendid BBC quiz show of the same name?