With only some 10 days left till the Stereophonics concerts in Malaysia and Singapore, I thought I’d hit on something a little left to centre.
Now, we all know the main genius behind this Welsh band is none other than Kelly Jones. And back when Stereophonics were working on Pull the Pin in 2007, he started having all these crazy ideas that needed to be penned down. Cue Only the Names Have Been Changed, a limited edition release, which reached number 1 on the iTunes chart, but didn’t do so well critically.
The essence of the solo debut: women. 10 of them to be exact. You have heard Dakota and Lolita – which, by the way, is about his then newly borned daughter, Lolita Bootsy – from Language. Sex. Violence. Other?, and perhaps even Daisy Lane and Bright Red Star in Pull the Pin. Only the Names… is sort of like an extended version of that.
Like an author’s anthology of short stories, this is Jones’ musical anthology: There is Rosie, the good-hearted lady who works in the hospital, and helped save Jones’ baby girl Lolita when she was ill. There is Katie, who sold her body for a free taxi ride home. There is Violet, who sold her body and ended up getting murdered. There is Emily, who waited a lifetime for that prince charming, only to fuck things up herself in the end. There is Suzy, one of them girls who came out of nowhere just to inspire your life, only to disappear as quickly as she appeared. And there is Misty, only because she is Jones’ second daughter.
Call me superficial, but I don’t really like an entire album of songs named after girls. Perhaps it is corny, and you’re sort of taking the easy way out in being articulate. Perhaps it’s the whole Low Millions shebang with their Ex-Girlfriends flop in 2004. It just left a bad taste in my mouth; and you’d think as a son of Leonard Cohen, you’d at least do – I dunno – better. But that’s just me.
For me, I can’t say it’s a mind-blowing solo debut for him, as I only like Suzy, Liberty and Jean. But I doubt Jones penned down the songs to have them share the same fate as his Stereophonics numbers. I suppose, it’s just one of those things, which got too much and you just have to write them all out. You know, like that time in high school, when you got a bunch of writings to do about love and life and teachers, and you just want to let them all out. Whether one or none of them would fly or not, it does not matter.
Other than that, Only the Names… portrays a more personal and sensitive side of Jones, ala Bright Red Star. Striped off the backings of Stereophonics, his many leather jackets and RayBan shades, and armed only with his cherry red Gibson SG. Not at all the rock persona Stereophonics is known for, but all the same contexts that made the band who they are always.
HERE is Suzy.
And we will see you guys at the concerts.