Cornershop – When I Was Born for the 7th Time (1997)
Name that tune time!
For me, it was instantly familiar but I hadn’t the foggiest idea what was said before “45” and had to look up what exactly a “Brimful of Asha” is/was. An essay on the Cornershop website helped clarify.
This catchy but overlong hit song is somewhat of a microcosm of the album itself, for better and, to a lesser extent, for worse.
For better…in that some sounds enhance the listening experience.
When I Was Born for the 7th Time has a terrific list of featured instruments, including some sitar, harmonium and dholki (speaking of things I had to look up!).
It also featured a Punjabi language cover of Norwegian Wood, a neat take on one of my favourite Beatle tunes.
The album is also filled to the brim with hooks, it’s easy to see the appeal.
For worse…in that some sounds take away from the listening experience.
The album opens nicely with Sleep on the Left Side, a late-90s, two-chord loop that could be a distant, slightly less chatty cousin of Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand.
But just as I was settling into a groove, a loud, enthusiastic voice bursts in to introduce Brimful of Asha.
It reminded me of watching a quiet, nighttime scene in a TV show and all of a sudden, a commercial comes blaring on with flashing lights, startling sound effects, and impossibly-energetic voiceovers!
The album flow was disrupted a couple other times along the way and at 15 tracks, it’s not as potent as it might have been with some editing. From what I gather, there’s substance to the lyrics, but some of the sounds through some of the less interesting musical stretches probably detracted from some of the messages.
Luckily, the better outweighs the worse, the stronger tracks still outnumber the weaker ones but overall, it was a bit of a (mostly) up & (slightly) down experience.
Like Brimful of Asha, much of the record feels tailor-made for use in adverts, many of the tracks have likely already been employed in that manner.
But even if they’ve already been featured in commercials, I’m sure that won’t stop these songs from being re-born, perhaps for a 7th time, in new promotional campaigns.