Takin’ on the world
The glorious day
The journey (full version)
You’re a phoney
Does this train stop on merseyside?
Thirteen tracks collect the best of Amsterdam’s output so far, pleasing old and new fans alike.
Ian and Paulie take journalist Alan O’Hare through the long player track-by-track, plus the lyrics to each song can be read by clicking the ‘Lyrics’ link to the right of each title.
Ian: “It’s the call-to-arms and we can put it anywhere – it can appear at any point during the set. It’s about setting yourself apart and choosing your side – making choices. I love sittin’ in the pub and talkin’ about what you like, you know, Oasis or The La’s, The Coral or The Zutons, crisps or nuts…Madrid or Amsterdam. These decisions define who you are as a person.”
Takin’ on the world
Paulie: “It’s a cool song and it was one of my favourites straight away, although I can never decide if it’s me favourite to listen to or favourite to play! It would be wrong to start the album any other way – it sets out the stall for what’s to come. It’s Amsterdam’s attitude to music contained in a song.”
Ian: “I love it ’cause it’s just a really short pop song and it’s funny; I listened to it recently for the first time in ages and hats off to Genevieve, her singing at the end is just sensational…it’s also a strong contender for the third single.
The glorious day
Ian: “Currently my favourite Amsterdam song ’cause we nail it live now; we’re all over it. It’s just one of those songs that’s often the highlight of the night…”Paulie: “This version is so much better than the previously recorded one…it ticks all the boxes.” Ian: “Those lyrics were written a long time ago, it’s kind of a love song to Che Guevara.”
Ian: “The fans fuckin’ love that song and I always forget about it but I really dig this version. Ninety-nine per cent of the time I’m disappointed with recording ’cause I can’t ‘step away from it’ you know, But I’ll never forget putting that song on the morning after we recorded it and goin’ ‘yeah’, we nailed it’.”
Paulie: “We always get a great reaction to it live but it’s dead hard to play! We missed it out a bit on the Wonder Stuff tour but not playing it has made me prick up me ears and appreciate it more.” Ian: “It’s a song that brings the colours and nuances to Amsterdam.”
Ian: “Ah, the fuckin’ journey, when we get in the groove to that, we could play it for 20 minutes. It’s Johnny Barlow’s piece de resistance. I wrote it in a state of extreme distress but when I played it to Tony Kiley he just went ‘it’s one of the best things I’ve ever heard in my life’…he knew what I was going through at the time. On the album you hear me walk into the studio, slam the door, hit me guitar and sing it live.
Paulie: “I love the song, it excites me, but live, when you get to about the 7th verse, you start to see the funny lights! You get dizzy playing it – you have to belt it out and give it everything; it’s that good a song.”
You’re a phoney
Ian: “Next! No, you know, people still think it’s about Tony Blair but it was actually written really quickly about Naomi Campbell; she did an advert for PETA and then two years later was on the catwalk in fur, just because someone had given her money … and because she’s thick as fuck! That was the entire inspiration for You’re A Phoney.”
Paul: “It is catchy – but so’s the clap! It sticks in your head like a beautiful butterfly that lands on you and lays an egg which burrows into your brain…and fuckin’ stays there!”
Ian: “I fuckin’ love The Gangster and its whole vibe. It’s a clever little song with the key jumping around to annoy Paulie! It’s changed a lot and is one of the new songs now. From a songwriting point of view, I’m very proud of it…everybody knows the person in the song – plastic gangsters selling coke or whatever; it’s everywhere. The modern thing now is the proliferation of illegalness…sometimes it’s like living in a banana republic. I live in a community where the hard-cases are the most respected people and it’s terrifying, frankly.”
Paulie: “The album version is all about the band’s line-up now really, it’s taken a new direction, opening with a really strong riff on the bass. It’s a shame we couldn’t get the live ending on the record though…”
Ian: “It’s got a great chorus and we’re gonna’ have to start doing it again live now. Sometimes God gifts you with a great melody and that’s one of them…it’s well-loved by Amsterdam fans and Miles Hunt from the Wonder Stuff.”
Does this train stop on Merseyside?
Paulie: “I’ve not told anyone this before ’cause it’s embarrassing; but when we played at the Garage in London recently I had a bit of a moment when the crowd sang the whole of the first and second chorus to this. I had a Peel moment and shed a bit of a tear on stage…being in London and hearing all those people sing about where I come from was a mega experience.”
Ian: “I’ll never forget the afternoon I wrote it in me little flat, I just had these four chords and played it to Genevieve when she got in. It’s the song that put Amsterdam on the map, people love that song wherever they’re from…it doesn’t feel like my property any more and that’s great.”
Ian: “Maybe the controversial one because people expected Feels Like Growin’ Up but it’s one of mine and Tony Kiley’s favourites…it’s a lovely song.” Paulie: “I agree, my favourite part is when the cello comes in. We really should play it live more.”
Ian: “The best song on the record and maybe the best song I’ve ever written. I don’t know where it came from but I’d never like to go back to that place I was in when it arrived. I’m really happy with the recording of it too; Ian McNabb plays his Rickenbacker on the riff and it just sounds massive. I still struggle to get through it in one piece when we play it live.”
Paul: “Just a great song, I know it touches people because the lyrics are really personal but, for me, the music is just as important and the whole thing just works perfectly.”
Paulie: “Another gorgeous little song…” Ian: “I like it ’cause everything that’s mentioned in the song really happened: I did get a call one night from my best friend telling me about his new baby, I did know someone who left England ’cause they thought it was shit – it’s all true. And I kinda’ like the falsetto thing, it sounds really good on this song.”
Ian: “It’s back to the Intro again…laying yourself on the line, really. “I know you hate me but I’m not giving up” – it’s just a statement. There’s a great song inside this too.”
Paul: “It bookends the album and finishes what the intro starts.”