Following a busy couple of years hosting his hugely successful Twitter listening parties, amongst many other activities, Tim Burgess returns with an addictive new single, “Here Comes The Weekend”, the first taste of music from a new album due for release later this year via Bella Union. “Here Comes The Weekend” is a buoyant, bouncy, beaty beauty about a modern day romance both helped and hindered by technology. It’s the perfect curtain-raiser, an anthemic hymn to transcending geographical distance with emotional connection. The track comes accompanied by a colourful video directed by the legendary Kevin Godley.
“The idea was very much about two people who were distanced and wanted to connect but were finding it really difficult because of mobile phone signals and rain and time differences and jet lag,” says Burgess. “And I always knew the album should start with Here Comes The Weekend. It’s a simple song, and it’s a feeling more than anything.”
Commenting on the video Kevin Godley says: “This idea, about physical separation versus virtual connection, had Tim, Rose and Dan delivering impeccable performances throughout a pretty physical day, spent bending real people + live projections into a film that seems to blur the lines between joy and anxiety. Not that we set out to achieve anything that specific, but the improvisational nature of the shoot allowed it to emerge. Nor did it do any harm having an artist and song this bloody good to apply the idea to. Big thanks to Tim and everyone for the opportunity.”
Has there been a busier musician over the last two years? A more prolific artist? More creative? More heroic?
Tim Burgess – as self-effacing a band leader, solo star, label runner, repeat memoirist and all-round caffeinated can-do kid as you’ll find – would certainly shrink from the latter accolade. “A hero??” he’d likely mutter with a shake of his boyish mop. “For playing some records?”
Yes, Tim, we would say that. And not just because with the May 2020, mid-lockdown appearance of I Love The New Sky, his fifth solo album, he undauntedly pushed on with releasing an album that brought much-needed sunshine to a world enveloped in gloom.
Over the course of the first year of the pandemic, Tim’s Twitter Listening Parties were a lifeline to many. At a time when the world shut down, we all retreated indoors, alone, and cancelled gigs were the least of our worries, the North Country Boy’s idea of utilising social media to unite us round a digital turntable was inspired.
An innovation he’d imagineered a few years previously to peer under the bonnet of The Charlatans’ back catalogue albums now became a meeting place for fans of artists of all sizes, stripes, vintages. Yearning members of the Oasis faithful could lean into Bonehead’s reminiscences of making Be Here Now. Agog Beatles heads could cosy up to Paul McCartney’s tweeted tales from the studio floor, or marvel at Yoko Ono and Klaus Voormann’s 50-year-old memories of recording Plastic Ono Band.
The guests were as eclectic as they were electrifying as they were enthusiastic, with the eager participants including everyone from Run the Jewels to Roisin Murphy, Kylie Minogue to Iron Maiden – with the heavy metal heroes the all-time champs on the TTLP replay chart (yep, if you missed them in real time, you can go back and play any of the Listening Parties from the last two years #tech).
At a time when we couldn’t go anywhere, Tim Burgess helped us go everywhere. “Everybody all over the world starts listening to an album at the same time,” he said in spring 2021, as the number of parties he’d hosted ticked past the 743 mark and his Twitter followers hovered around the quarter-of-a-million tally, a 250 per cent increase on the previous year. “There’s a global call to arms, so you feel part of something. Then you hear one of your favourite records, or something new to you which is equally exciting. And you get to listen to it with a community. And this past year, who hasn’t missed all that?”
Meanwhile, Burgess was writing. And writing. And writing. For sure, some of that was for his first Tim’s Twitter Listening Party book. It was a handsome tome published last year (a second follows this autumn), the profits from which went to support various live music charities – a bit of front-footed, philanthropic proactivity also reflected in Burgess handing over monies from various other TTLP-related (ad)ventures. That Tim-shaped badge you bought might just have helped save a locked-down independent venue.
There were, too, some notes (and tweets) written to support the release of “A Head Full of Ideas”, The Charlatans’ 2021 career-spanning 30th anniversary boxset that was also accompanied by some triumphant band shows.
But mainly that writing comprised songs. Twenty-two of them in total. From September 2020 to summer 2021, ideas poured out of Burgess. He’d been encouraged by Simon Raymonde, boss of his record label Bella Union – and, of course, a former Cocteau Twin. He applied a musician’s logic: if you can’t tour your last album, write a new one. Then, when you can tour again, you’ll have two albums’ worth of songs to play.
But more on that later… For now, enjoy “Here Comes The Weekend” and stay tuned for more Tim Burgess info coming soon!