Saturday, August 29, 2009

Are you having a laugh? Is he having a laugh?


The title refers to the choice catchphrase of the show-within-the-show on Ricky Gervais' HBO sitcom Extras, with which I am completely obsessed. Its closing credits song (covered by Chris Martin in one of the most brilliant television cameos of all time) is the title track to this Cat Stevens record. I've always been a big fan of the album. Harold and Maude, which you might recognize as the movie that both Mary and Ted agree is the "greatest love story of our time," used several tracks from Tea for the Tillerman in its score.

For the most part, the album stands by itself. Each song flows into the next one. Although it's a fairly prototypical pop/folk record, not quite what I'd call "unique" in any sense, its wisdom lies in its simplicity. It's the album that made Cat Stevens, aka Yusuf Islam (See "A is for Allah" if you're unsure of the quickest way to ruin your career) a household name in America, mostly on the strength of the single "Wild World." Released in November of 1970, the album was ranked #206 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. "Father and Son" is truly a touching tune.

What Stevens lacks in wit is more than made up for with hauntingly pristine vocal melodies, carefully orchestrated guitar layering and the kind of delicate vocal sap unseen absent Paul McCartney. Enjoy. And go watch Extras.

7 comments:

Nancy Magoo said...

All I saw was the title and got so excited that I didn't really read the rest of the entry. Love Extras! I think I love it even more than The Office. Comedy gold.

You should check out all the podcasts and audiobooks if you're a Gervais fan.

www.nancymagoo.blospot.com
www.whiteboydancefllor.blogspot.com

Valerie Reilly said...

Strangely enough, just today I told my two teenage daughters they should find Harold & Maude and watch it before school starts.
They asked "Why?" and I said, "Because every teenager should know Harold & Maude. And the soundtrack is amazing."

- Valerie
valerieandtonic.blogspot.com

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lancelonie said...

This sure looks and sounds interesting! :)

lespaul90 said...

I don't understand anyone who thinks Ricky Gervais is funny. He ruins television and films.

mim said...

I grew up on this. Nice to see it's getting some respect. I'll tell my mom. She'll feel cool all over again.

me... said...

The same here mim :D