12 AUGUST 1995
I WAS BORN A MAN
OK, here’s the deal. By the time you’re reading about the first cuckoo in The Times, you’ll be reading about the fifth LP by Baby Bird in The Maker, If it’s half as good as this, the first LP by Baby Bird, you’ll be reading about how it’s 20 times better than its nearest rival
I Was Born A Man has given me the hardest Make Your Mind Up Time dilemma since Leapy Lee and Lena Zavaroni appeared in the same edition of “Opportunity Knocks”. And I mean that most sincerely.
So, where to begin?
Well, whenever I’m in wonderland, I start at the beginning. Blow II To The Moon takes every Monkees song you’ve ever heard, frazzles it at the edges and feeds it through a mix that makes Toe Rag look like Peter Gabriel’s Real World. It’s awesome. Man’s Tight Vest is a song of gender confusion blended with surreal blasphemy (“I’m happy with my nails – even Jesus was jealous…”) sung like John Rotten over LSD John Lennon. It’s scary. Lemonade Baby is a car commercial sung by Brigitte Bardot with barbed lyrics that prove sarcasm is the highest form of wit. It’s hilarious. CFC is a love song that takes the epic outro of I Got You Babe and makes it as delicate as sky-writing, “Smoking around the loops of your nickname”. It’s beautiful.
I could carry on. Tell you how the Pet Shop Boys could take Baby Bird to Number One for 15 years. How Hong Kong Blues is a hilariously and scathingly anti-colonial groove that sounds like Booker T in an MG BGT. But, instead, I’ll just say that I Was Born A Man is the only record I’ve heard this year with lyrics worth remembering and music that’s impossible to forget, because I’d rather you listen to it than me talking about it.
After all, it’s your vote that counts.