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June 15th, 2019


Buzzcocks - Harmony In My Head

When people remember Buzzcocks they think of Pete Shelley and so they should, the man's songs were some of the greatest of the era. But there was another singer and songwriter in the band, lead guitarist Steve Diggle. Diggle wasn't the lyricist that Shelley was, but his best songs had something else, something magical. They soared. He knew how to pile on the discord layer after layer until the moment hits when all the pain cancels itself out and you're left spellbound and exultant.

He seldom did it better than on Harmony In My Head, released as a single in 1979. His 20 a day rasp made you think you were getting something straightforward and no nonsense, but the words turn out to be rather oblique. I hear it as comparing the social pressures and compulsions that we labour under as being like earworms. Consumerism isn't a philosophy, it isn't an ideology, it's just a tune you've got stuck in your head. Fill it with better ones, start with this.

Buzzcocks - Harmony In My Head