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Home > Music

Ghost Train #1: Train

by Alan Connor

5 August 2003

This week's TFT asked for an explanation to the lyrics of Train's "Drops of Jupiter".

Can you imagine no love, pride, deep-fried chicken?
Your best friend always stickin'
Up for you
(Even when I know you're wrong)?
Can you imagine no first dance?
Freeze dried romance?
No five-hour phone conversation?
The best soya latte that you ever had?
...and me?'

Explanation came there none. Abuse came there plenty. "We just had a chat in here," we were told by aeronaut Mark Butterfield, "and we all agree we'd rather nail our dicks to planks than ever listen to anything Train record, release, say or sing ever again."

This is eminently sensible. So much so that the TFT is coining a term: a Ghost Train of a band.

A Ghost Train is a band so bland that they give new releases a bad name. A Ghost Train brings nothing to the table. You would be a gazillion times better listening to the acts a Ghost Train cites as "influences".

And we will direct you at the choice CDs and/or best Amazon bargains for those influences.

In the case of Train themselves, then:

  • Train, like all Americans, love Aerosmith. Unsurprisingly, their best bargain is a Greatest Hits. Eight quid gets you the pick of their '70s tracks, including a Shangri-Las cover. Unless, of course, you prefer their turgid '90s soundtrack work.
  • Train also enjoy covering Cheap Trick when in concert. A mistake. Don't remind your audience how tough the Trick themselves were live. They'll leave the gig and go pick up a copy of At Budokan.
  • Zep. Of course, the Zep. Has there ever been a band more-cited as an influence by the crappiest of bands? Hangingday recommends the remaster of Led Zeppelin III because the rocking is leavened by some pleasant acoustic grooves, as recorded in Bron Y Aur.
  • Finally, Train bang on about The Who. They wish. One of their cheapest CDs is, happily, the reissue of Live at Leeds. Swollen to fifteen tracks, there are Who fans who consider this a document of the real Who - the live act - and disregard the studio albums.

A classic Ghost Train, then. Impeccable taste. Awful output of their own. Still don't understand that soya latte crap.

What are your suggestions for Ghost Trains? storekeeper@lnreview.co.uk

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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