yuppie-hell.jpgI rather like the world of music, you just never know what awaits you around the next corner. I have little interest in the Billboard Charts, preferring instead to seek out the new and unusual. Actually often I do not doing the seeking, it somehow finds its way to my door.

From a Finnish Punk Folk band that plays the bagpipes, (yes there is one!) to an a cappella group specializing in medieval monastic chants, I have heard it all. They all have their unique charm.

Some music is purely for fun, some music has historic value, some contain social messages, but all are important. To me it can be summed up as, Who we were, Who we are, and Who we may become.

thinker.jpgWhich brings us to Yuppie Hell. I listened, and I liked. I have to admit that I had never heard of the British singer/songwriter James Ellis before this song. Research of James Ellis turned up a blank, all I know is that he is a British composer and Yuppie Hell is his debut into the music world.

I can make some observations and guesses. He wrote it, he played it, he sang it, and he likely did the editing and overlays (think Mike Oldfield and Tubular Bells). ‘Oldfielding’ is a style that has gained much popularity in recent years. A decent computer, a decent sound card and voila, you have a home studio. All aspects of Yuppie Hell open questions. Unless I am much mistaken (which I could be) there are even some sound bites from The Exorcist used in one of the backing tracks.

So what makes Yuppie Hell stand out from the myriad of other music released on a daily basis? Well for one the very fine piano playing. It is fine playing on what I suspect is a very fine piano. Probably a Grand or Baby Grand, it is certainly not the out of tune upright found in the average British pub or church hall!

The most outstanding aspect however are the lyrics and the story they tell. James Ellis takes the listener on a rather dark journey, but does it in such a fashion that just sucks you in. Listen once and let it just flow over you, listen a second time and pay attention to the really rather clever lyrics.

In my mind the writer obviously is describing the Macdonald Triad. A theory first put forward in 1963 by J.M. Macdonald in the paper “The Threat to Kill”. James Ellis adds a dysfunctional (and probably drug addicted) mother, and a do-gooder Spandex wearing father to the mix. While I had never considered the Macdonald Triad a great subject for a song, it is certainly an interesting one. The FBI for example use the Macdonald Triad in exploring and possibly targeting potential criminals.

James Ellis remains an unknown entity to me. At this time I know nothing about him. But I do plan on digging. So James, in the event that you happen to read this article, please get in touch. And even if you do not, let me give you an idea. I think that Yuppie Hell needs a video to accompany it. Something simple, dark and stark!

Yuppie Hell is a hard biting piece of social commentary.  You can get your own copy from iTunes. At 99 cents it is hardly a wallet buster. Try it, you might like it.

Yuppie Hell – Single – James Ellis

Simon Barrett





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