Unpopular Advent 2015 - Day 18: Robert Forster - 'Songs To Play'
If Peter Walsh Milton is someone who works “hard at work developing my sitting still and keeping quiet talents, which to me are a little bit neglected in this world” then one rather feels that Robert Forster is one who would applaud such sentiments. On ‘Let me Imagine You’ he sings “There was silence, things we didn’t know/ There was romance, where I couldn’t go”. Well quite.
Forster’s Go-Betweens of course famously (or not so…) featured Walsh in the line-up for a short time in 1979 and Forster and McLennan wrote the marvellous ‘Don’t Let Him Come Back’ about this episode in the band’s history. “Who’s that in his apartment?” Well quite.
And just as it has been a pleasure to have The Apartments back this year, so it is to have this new solo set by Forster.
Now I recall a time when I was attempting to orchestrate some wonderful writers on my Tangents website: There was a brief pre-millennium exchange of views between a couple of friends about whether there ought to be some kind of enforced ‘Carousel’ style cut-off point for anyone wanting to make Pop records. And whilst I admit there is still something perversely appealing about refusing anyone over thirty the right to write and record a Pop song I also concede that to do so would be both to willingly misunderstand the way Popular music has evolved within our culture (for better and/or for worse) and to make most of the records I have enjoyed so much this year impossible. Certainly the idea that someone like Robert Forster would never be allowed to make records again is as preposterous as it would be depressing.
At once both familiar and fresh, ‘Songs To Play’ is the record I always wanted to hear from Robert Forster. Which is to say that ’Songs To Play’ is a Robert Forster record and I always want to hear a Robert Forster record. Who wouldn’t? Well quite.
Infamous Go-Betweens devotee Luke Haines wrote a splendid piece on ‘Songs To Play’ for The Talkhouse website. He said all the things I would have said had I the time, the intelligence, the wit and the head free of snot I am currently encumbered with. And as I write this that article is ironically, and somewhat fittingly, unavailable. “Error establishing a database connection.” Maybe it all means we should stop reading and writing and just go and listen instead. Well quite.
‘Songs To Play’ is available. So go and buy it already.
That pre-millennium Tangents exchange is here and here. I hope the writers do not mind my drawing (admittedly very scant) attention to their sixteen year old words (as in, the words were written 16 years ago, not that they were 16 when they wrote them...).