A friend of mine is doing this over on Facebook, you’re supposed to post a song a day but fuck doing that for a month, I’m gonna do it all in one go – right now.
1. Red Cortina
A SONG YOU LIKE WITH A COLOUR IN THE TITLE
The Saw Doctors ∙ If This is Rock ‘n’ Roll, I Want My Old Job Back ∙ 1991
What a way to start, eh? A song that just about nobody has ever heard of. That doesn’t mean that the song isn’t fucking brilliant though it just means that it wasn’t a hit – or hasn’t been used on an advert – and you really shouldn’t start a gig with it, unless you’re the Saw Doctors, then it might be a good idea as it’s a fan favourite. The song really has nothing to do with the car in question, it’s not like Little Deuce Coupe or Tom Robinson’s Grey Cortina, the Red Cortina is just one of the little bits of down-to-earth reality that keep the song – a wistful memory of the narrator’s first love, as in pre-pubescent, that’s absolutely dripping with emotion - from getting too schmalz even for my nostalgia soaked soul, alongside details like ‘pretty name I can’t remember’ and ‘disco at the start of summer’ it keeps things real (yo) and puts the song firmly into a relatable setting. Everyone had that crush when they were a kid, and Red Cortina is that story.
2. One in Ten
A SONG YOU LIKE WITH A NUMBER IN THE TITLE
UB40 ∙ Present Arms ∙ 1981
I wonder, would Number of the Beast count? I mean the title is a number after all. Anyway as much as I like ‘Maiden my choice is the polar opposite of that from the only Brummies everyone likes. Who is the One in Ten? It’s all of them, every person reduced to a statistic and then downplayed, it’s everyone that’s a ‘reminder of a world that doesn’t care’ from the physically and mentally sick to the victims of crime, poverty and age to everyone on the dole and on the streets, standing up and for four and half minutes being noticed rather than counted, set to heavy reggae. This was before UB40 became a covers band your mum likes, when they were motivated, when they were angry and when they had something to say, when they were giving you food for thought one might say (ahahaha I’m so clever) and in One in Ten everyone gets their say.
3. My Own Summer (Shove It)
A SONG THAT REMINDS YOU OF SUMMERTIME
Deftones ∙ Around the Fur ∙ 1997
I don’t like summer all that much, it has it’s perks – bootsales, birthdays, bikinis - but it’s hot, I can’t sleep because of its hot, people are either cheery or pissed off (because it’s hot) and really I just want it to go away. How happy I was to find that someone else not only agreed with this but wrote a whole song about it and that song sounds just like how I feel in summer, groaning away and then bursts of anger at the sun shouting for the clouds to come back and make all the shit go away, thank you Chino Moreno.
4. Coma Girl
A SONG THAT REMINDS YOU OF SOMEONE YOU’D RATEHR FORGET ABOUT
Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros ∙ Streetcore ∙ 2003
Um, ok, that’s some mood whiplash after boring questions 1 and 2 and happy summertime number 3 innit? I’m good at pushing things I don’t want to remember deep down into the blackest pits of my noggin so, y’know, I don’t think about them, so thanks for making me think about them, meme. I ended up with Coma Girl, a nice song by the bloke from The Clash about meeting a cool biker chick at a festival that I do still like and do still play but does greatly remind me of an ex-girlfriend, a great ex-girlfriend with whom I parted on great terms. I don’t like remembering her simply because it was so nice and because I wish I had that again – thanks again, meme. Anyway this wasn’t ‘our song’ or anything, in fact I can’t even remember if I ever told her it reminded me of her but it did, all the time, it came out when were first getting to know each other and well, she was just pretty similar to the girl in a song, which has a great chugging guitar line and some really impassioned vocals on the chorus btw, it’s a good song on a brilliant album but when I do play it I do, every time, even if for a split second, think of her and feel momentarily very, very sad, which is a right bugger at the gym, you can’t keep a steady pace on a cross-trainer if you want to curly up and die.
And yes I’ve had girlfriends since 2003, dicks.
5. Glad to be Gay
A SONG THAT NEEDS TO BE PLAYED LOUD
Tom Robinson Band ∙ Rising Free EP ∙ 1978
Sometimes you just need to piss off the small-minded, bigoted fuckwits who live in your town and while Tommo’s anthem for the LGBTQ+ has thankfully dated a little in the verses, it’s glorious chorus is still an almost football terrace chant of ‘sing if you’re glad to be gay / sing if you’re happy that way’ and cranking it up in your car (a Grey Cortina perhaps?) and driving through well-known homes of liberal thinking like Basildon or Romford or Dagenham or delightful little hamlets filled with white folks who consider themselves good people and seeing how many of the tossers you can make bristle or outright angry is just gloriously good fun, especially as you’re in something that can drive away very fast if they get extra cross that someone dare suggest that it’s ok to be homosexual.
And the verses sadly haven’t dated that much, things like the gaybashing verse and sentiments like ‘the buggers are legal now, what more are they after?’ are still very relevant.
Mary Jane’s Last Dance
A SONG THAT MAKES YOU WANT TO DANCE
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers ∙ Greatest Hits ∙ 1993
I don’t dance, fuck you meme. So in defiance of your bullshit need to make me do something that makes me look a complete fool I just searched ‘Dance’ in my music library and picked a song, while it does mean this is three singer-songwriters in a row I’d like to mitigate that a little by pointing out it was this or ‘The Lap Dance Is So Much Better When The Stripper is Crying’ by The Bloodhound Gang. As much as I love me some Mary Jane’s Last Dance it really isn’t much more than a standard ‘song about a girl with her name in the title’ with a bit of extra depth in the choruses and a sub-plot about the boy being constrained by his small town, all standard stuff but it’s written and arranged by Tom Petty so of course it’s 148% better than most of those and it has a harmonica and I’m a complete sucker for a mouth organ. Best lines? “There's pigeons down on Market Square / she's standin' in her underwear”
7. Ol’ 55
A SONG TO DRIVE TO
Tom Waits ∙ Closing Time ∙ 1973
Fourth singer-songwriter in a row, I’m losing credibility by the syllable but there there’s simply no other choice for this. A song about driving home from your girlfriend’s house that takes place mostly on the freeway and shows off Waits’ ability to sing about mundane things in a way most people would only reserve for love songs the song somehow sounds just like driving in the early morning as dawn cracks in front of the lorries and trucks and you’re completely content. There’s nothing else to say about it, it just sounds just like this. I use it to start any playlist needed for an early start because there’s nothing better.
8. Mr Brownstone
A SONG ABOUT DRUGS OR ALCOHOL
Guns ‘N Roses ∙ Appetite for Destruction ∙ 1987
Well that narrows it down! Fuck it I’m picking a G’N’R track just to get away from all the singer-songwriters and claw back a few cool points, not that Axl Rose is exactly a beacon of credibility but 1) he didn’t write this and 2) just close your eyes and think of Slash. If you don’t own one of the best albums of the 1980s and don’t know it off by heart you suck, but just for you: Mr Brownstone is a pretty straight forward song about heroin addiction and how it can wreck the lifestyles of rock ‘n’ rollers but with an unusual element of putting a focus on the tolerance you build up by prolonged using, needing more and more each time and having the advantage of presenting it in great, conversational way rather than trying to turn it all into poetic suffering, you can tell it was written by two blokes who were both heroin addicts and regular geezers. It also has a great set of two verses that mirror each other, showing how drug addiction ruins you.
Appetite’ also has Nightrain on it, which would been just as fine an answer but while it’s a bit more of a blisterer, Brownstone just has better lyrics, probably because they weren’t written by Axl.
9. Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)
A SONG THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
Benny Hill ∙ Single A-Side ∙ 1970
I knew this was going to come up, but I’m a clinical depressive and so my default is ‘miserable bastard’; so what’s a chap like that to do when asked for a song that makes him ‘happy’? Well first he is to remind everyone that he fucking hates the song ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams because it’s the aural equivalent of an ignorant twat saying ‘just cheer up’ and then pick a song that still makes him laugh after all these years. And of course it’s a novelty song by an old British comedian about a milkman and a baker who end up having a wild west showdown with dairy products and baked goods over the love of some old tart that ends in the milkman being killed by a flying pork pie. Every rhyming couplet in this is pure gold (top), seduction via layer cake, murder via pie, and the last place you’d expect to find a chilling, ghostly conclusion, it’s just wonderful, it was one of the first songs I learnt all the way through (mostly so I could annoy my late Uncle Ernie, who of course loved this song and loved three generations of Reeds singing it to him every time he visited) and it still makes me laugh out loud, the funniest thing that weird fucker Benny Hill ever made, yes even better than his role in The Italian Job.
10. The Space Race is Over
A SONG THAT MAKES YOU SAD
Billy Bragg ∙ William Bloke ∙ 1996
So when your default is ‘miserable bastard’ you tend to like a lot of miserable music, so how do you pick just one?
You pick a song that you play if you need to cry but can’t. I doubt that for many that’s a Billy Bragg album track but, y’know, they don’t know about the masterpiece that is Red Cortina either. Though the song is about, well, the space race being over and now no little boys can grow up to be astronauts anymore, it’s more broadly about crushed dreams, life not ending up how you want it through no fault of your own and the consolation prize not being close and that’s my life, a drag myself through each day doing things to avoid the regrets, disappointment, longing and realisation that things didn’t have turned out how I wanted them to, and I didn’t even want to go into space, I just wanted things to be better than they were. All of that is here in Space Race’ with Bragg almost choking on his lyrics with all the disappointment.
(I’d rank William Bloke as Bragg’s most underrated album and it really needs love, tracks like From Red to Blue, Brickbat, The Space Race is Over, Goalhanger, Upfield and The Fourteenth of February are all as good - if not better – than songs on any other and that’s over half the tracklisting)
11. Fairytale of New York
A SONG YOU NEVER GET TIRED OF
The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl ∙ If I Should Fall From Grace With God ∙ 1987
It has to be this, because I hear it 100s of times each year, from November onwards there’s a 1 in 12 chance it’s going to play in any shop you go into (because no-one ever notices the rather unsubtle use of swear words if the song’s a hit, as Elvis Costello or The Jam), and yet I still think it’s utterly wonderful, if I’m still not sick of it after all that time then it’s the best candidate for a I’m never going to get tired of. And it’s just so great, it’s a four and a half minute break from merriment and as much as I love Christmas, I need that break, I need a few minutes off of sleigh bells and Noddy Holder to just enjoy a miserable story about two fuck-ups in New York who end up a drunk and a druggie, a duet with a vicious argument for a verse, a melancholy memory from a prison cell set to a gorgeous arrangement by the always talented Jem Finer before going back to more holly, ivy and Wizzard. It’s a reminder of the dark side of Christmas that allows me to enjoy the happy side of it al the more and stop me getting overdosed on noel sugar.
It’s also the only Christmas song I play all year ‘round too, just because it’s such a good lyric.
12. When Hell Comes Home
A SONG THAT YOU LOVE FROM 2011
Alice Cooper ∙ Welcome 2 My Nightmare ∙ 2011
Why 2011??? Did Lady Gaga write this or something? Good job my man Alice put Welcome 2 My Nightmare out that year and it was so good (hell, it has Ke$ha on it and it’s still good, that’s some feat) or else it’d’ve been that song Kate Bush did about banging a snowman. The overall quality of Mr Cooper’s follow up to Welcome to My Nightmare (wait, I thought Goes to Hell was that?) is damn consistent, and Ghouls Gone Wild, a song about a zombie beach dance party, is delightful but I’m having this very creepy little look at domestic violence as my pick, please. A sequel to ‘Nightmare really needed a sequel to Only Women Bleed and When Hell Comes Home is a fine follow-up, with Alice’s vocals oozing out and the horror factor cranked up to drive home the nightmare that is having an abusive father, I specifically rather like the repeated lines, like the narrator (the abused kid) is repeating things over and over to try and convince himself, a kind-of half a madness mantra. I could do without the slightly cheesy impression of a drunk dad at the end but it doesn’t hurt the track, and it’s still better than a song about the woman who sung Wuthering Heights fucking Frosty, or everything Pitball did that year (and every before or since).
13. Do Anything You Wanna Do
ONE OF YOUR FAVOURTIE 70’S SONGS
Eddie & The Hot Rods ∙ Life on the Line ∙ 1977
So, we go from a question where I had to resort to combing through Wikipedia’s ‘list of albums in X year’ page to a question so broad it has 100s of possible answers. Do you know how much happened in the 1970s, meme? Glam Rock, Heavy Metal, Pub Rock, Punk Rock, Two-Tone, all the Beatles solo careers! And that’s not counting all the good Reggae, Soul and Pop that came out too! Sod it, I’m just picking a random great song.
The Hot Rods are here with some good advice – don’t passively accept your boring life. ‘fuck it’ Do Anything You Wanna Do says ‘it’s your life, live it your way’ which isn’t that original a thought but it’s put across with such conviction in such a great collection of sing-along lines and it actually has the balls to admit that doing such things has a downside – being ostracised – and puts that in the chorus.
14. Smack My Bitch Up
A SONG THAT YOU WOULD LOVE PLAYED AT YOUR WEDDING
The Prodigy ∙ The Fat of the Land ∙ 1997
Come on, admit it, you’d think it was funny too. And if the bride wasn’t up for something this childish (and dark) she probably wouldn’t have stuck with me long enough to get to the marriage part.
A SONG THAT IS A COVER BY ANOTHER ARTIST
Johnny Cash ∙ American IV: The Man Comes Around ∙ 2002
I remember reading somewhere a music journo talking about the difference between ‘stark’ and ‘harrowing’ using Hurt as an example, Johnny Cash’s version being stark and the Nine Inch Nails version being harrowing, they were trying to say that Cash’s version was better because it didn’t leave you fucked, I think, I disagree, The Man in Black’s version can make me feel just as fucked as Trent Reznor’s and that’s part of why I like it. Anyway, I like Reznor’s version of the song just fine, but when the song gets stripped down and sung in Cash’s instantly-relatable everyman way rather than Trent’s hissing and straining the song goes from very sad to beautifully sad, a tragic look at self-hatred, self-harm and addiction, with Cash’s age adding a further layer, this is a man at the end of his life, a man who really had been a drug-taking drunken bastard for years, reflecting on what a shitbag he was, deflated and resigned to the fact that he was that shitbag. It’s magnificent.
16. Science Fiction/Double Feature
ONE OF YOUR FAVOURITE SONGS FROM A MOVIE
Richard O’Brien ∙ The Rocky Horror Picture Show ∙ 1975
As far as I’m concerned the best songs from a musical’s soundtrack are the ones that can work as a song when taken out of context, there’s the odd exception that proves this rule (After Today from A Goofy Movie being a genuine example of that) but most of the songs from musicals you’ll hear me praise (over, and over, and over) like I Won’t Say (I’m In Love) (from Hercules) or Pirate Jenny (from the Three Penny Opera) or Reviewing the Situation (from Oliver!) or Rest in Peace (from that Buffy musical episode) are all songs that don’t rely on the plot to make sense. That is partly why I like Science Fiction Double Feature so much, because other than a reference to Brad and Janet in the chorus, which is hardly odd as the whole song references b-movies so why not reference The Rocky Horror Show, the song has about as much to do with the film as ‘D.I.V.O.R.C.E.’ or ‘Niggas in Paris’ does. What it is instead is the song version of continuity porn, a massive crossover of old sci-fi and horror movies that I find oddly inspiring, like all these old actors and character are standing together, ready to fight…Frank-N-Furter I guess, it’s a song that should be swelling behind the heroes as they get back to their feet, battered but not beaten, to face the villain one last time (on your left), even if it is about King Kong, the Triffids and the Invisible Man.
My Old Man
A SONG THAT FEATURES YOUR FAVOURITE ARTIST
Ian Dury ∙ New Boots and Panties!! ∙ 1977
Thank god, I was getting worried Ian Dury wasn’t going to show up here! While I might listen to other artists more Dury still sits at the top of my ‘best artists ever’ list, Dury sings about my world in my voice and does so with lyrical skill, humour and a nice spread of swear words, yes he is an inspiration for my style of writing, how did you guess? I just ain’t got the skill (and I don’t like your suggestion). So we needed a song that encapsulates what Dury does best, and My Old Man is a fine example (though there’s no swearing, sadly), a song championed for how straight-up it is and it deserves that praise, it doesn’t lack for emotion, for feeling, what it does lack for is bullshit; no islands in the stream-level metaphors, just a bloke talking about his dad. And it ends with a goodbye as touching as anything typically ‘poetic’ ever written, at least as far I’m concerned, you keep the entire lyrics to I Will Always Love You, I shall be having ‘all the best mate from your son’.
Also there’s a question on here for your mum but not your dad, and you can’t have one without the other, cheers dad.
18. Goodbye’s All We’ve Got Left
A SONG FROM THE YEAR YOU WERE BORN
Steve Earle ∙ Guitar Town ∙ 1986
Man, 1986 was surprisingly good – Elvis Costello put out his best album since My Aim is True (King of America) then followed it up with another superb effort (Blood & Chocolate), Siouxsie & The Banshees put out Cities in Dust, Billy Bragg made his seminal Talking With the Taxman About Poetry which still has one of the best love songs (Greetings to the New Brunette) and comments on politics (Ideology) ever; The Housemartins released their debut (London 0 Hull 2) which had Happy Hour and Caravan of Love on it; Megadeth had Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?; Metallica had Master of Puppets; Run-DMC had Raising Hell; The Smiths had The Queen is Dead, The Damned had Anything…oh. Oh well, can’t all be winners. Everything I just namechecked has contenders for this (even Anything, it had their version of Alone Again Or on it and that’s wonderful) BUT 1986 was also the year Steve fucking Earle (that’s his full name) released his debut album and as much as I love Happy Hour, the debut by one of my favourite artists is kinda a bit more important, sorry lads. And on this debut (Guitar Town) there lived one of the best break-up songs of all time, a lovely little ditty about the sense of futility that comes before and just after a relationship that you know is bolloxed before repair, way too many broken hearted love songs are about desperately wanting to save or get back a relationship, not this one, Goodbye’ knows that ‘talking won’t do any good anyway’ and that ‘goodbye is all we’ve got left to say’ and that there’s nothing to do but get through the post-breakup depression and the inevitable bumping into each other where nothing comes of it but awkwardness and sadness. Refreshing, refreshingly fatalistic but refreshing nether the less.
19. I Know It’s Over
A SONG THAT MAKES YOU THINK ABOUT LIFE
The Smiths ∙ The Queen is Dead ∙ 1986
What, you didn’t think it would be something happy did you? Did you think it wouldn’t be something about feeling suicidal thoughts bear down on you as you suffer from crippling loneliness because you’re single as fuck and nothing worked out the way it was supposed to? Did you really think it wouldn’t be a song that highlights the stupidity of thinking you’re better than the shallow louts and boring normies out there because if you're so funny then why are you on your own tonight? And if you're so clever then why are you on your own tonight? If you're so very entertaining, then why are you on your own tonight? Because you’re not and that's why you're on your own tonight
with your triumphs and your charms while they're in each other's arms and you’re basically a cunt and you can feel death practically begging you to end this pointless waste of an existence? Did you? If you did then I’m disappointed in you. And frankly I don’t know what’s worse – that my life is that miserable or that I can relate to bloody Morrisey!
And by complete coincidence, this is also from 1986
20. Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)
A SONG THAT REMINDS YOU OF YOUR MUM
The Delfonics ∙ Single A-Side ∙ 1969
My mum has utterly terrible taste in music and there’s no way I’m dedicating a paragraph to Lionel Richie or George Benson or *shudder* Abba. Luckily we both happen to like this little slice of classic 60’s soul (well, barely, it came out in December 1969) for reasons I have never understood: you see If you’ve missed out on it (which is odd, because it’s been covered by everyone from Aretha Franklin to the sodding New Kids on the Block) it’s a pretty simple love song made better by some damn soulful singing (including some vocals way higher than any adult man should be able to reach) and some lush instrumentation just like most good soul songs and yet I can’t get her to feel the same about the Isley Brothers, Jackie Wilson or Marvin Gaye. Still she doesn’t mind Smokey Robinson, which is something I suppose.
21. Ode to Billy Joe
A FAVOURITE SONG WITH A PERSON’S NAME IN IT
Bobby Gentry ∙ Ode to Billy Joe ∙ 1967
I was gonna go with Sylvia’s Mother just because it’s so damn funny but I thought ‘no, dwitefry you can get way more uncool than Dr Hook, why don’t you spend some time defending a Country and Western song that everyone got sick of decades ago and has been memed and parodied to death?’. Challenge accepted
Ode to Billie Joe is a brilliant lyric, kiss my ass. The juxtaposition of this horrible, sad thing (that would be Billy Joe’s suicide) being discussed in-between normal family dinner talk (I’ll have another piece of apple pie / you know it don’t seem right) borders on chilling, the fact that we don’t know (and never find out, not even from Bobby Gentry in interviews) what our narrator and Billy Joe were throwing off the bridge IS chilling, but where it excels is by showing (rather than telling) how even the nicest, most well meaning people can be completely useless during a period of grief and how people can miss right what’s under their noses. Just to recap – the girl narrating this has been bonking Billy Joe, they were a secret couple – what the song does right is make you work this out and allow you to work it out before the rest of the family does, which is never, so you get to sit there feeling like this girl does as her parents and brother miss the obvious signs AGAIN and AGAIN and leave you, like her, just wanting her to shout ‘I loved him!’ but know she can’t because whatever it was they threw off that bridge (I always assumed it was an aborted foetus but then I’m horrible), whatever it was they did, it’s keeping her quiet. Yes it’s been parodied ad nauseum, yes it’s opening lines are so C&W they make me want to dry heave but Ode to Billie Joe is a brilliant lyric, fight me.
22. Repeat (UK)
A SONG THAT MOTIVATES YOU
Manic Street Preachers ∙ Generation Terrorists ∙ 1992
What? I’m motivated by anger, sue me
23. My Cat
A SONG THAT YOU THINK EVERYONE SHOULD LISTEN TO
Jack Off Jill ∙ Sexless Demons and Scars ∙ 1997
Really this is ‘a band everyone should listen to’, I just chose the song that Jack off Jill did that is most likely to appeal to the majority. I didn’t think ‘Cumpdumster’ or ‘Angels Fuck’ or ‘Strawberry Gashes’ would do the job but a song that’s just about how awesome the lead singer’s cat is? That should do the trick. And yes, there’s no metaphor here ‘My Cat’ is just about a damn great kitty, he’s a pussy superstar! It’s a song as adorable as cats! Who can’t get behind such a thing?
24. House Party at Boothy’s
A SONG BY A BAND/GROUP YOU WISH WERE STILL TOGETHER
Little Man Tate ∙ Single A-Side ∙ 2006
Best band of the noughties and now they’re naught and that’s a terrible shame, House Party at Boothy’s is a perfect example of why all three of those things are objective facts and not the opinion of some twat with a pissy little blog on the internet. John Windle’s ability to write lywics so relatable in a manner that felt like he was just having a chat with you down the pub and Maz’s ability to arrange these lywics so that every on sounded like a hit single and a song that’d been your favourite for 10 years are on full display in what is genuinely a song about a house party at some bloke called Boothy’s gaff that somehow is every house party you’ve ever been too? Best lines? “Well I sit in a chair next to the CD player / Talk to some kid couldn't be much gayer / His mate’s with his cousin, he's tryin' to lay her / while her best friend guards the door” technically a verse but whatever.
25. Well… All Right
A SONG BY AN ARIST NO LONGER LIVING
Buddy Holly ∙ B-Side w/ Heartbeat ∙ 1958
While a couple of songs ol’ Buddy Holly wrote have aged (Oh Boy!, Rave On, Baby I Don’t Care, I Guess It Doesn’t Matter Anymore), a shockingly large amount of them just haven’t and that’s a testament to just how damn good Holly was. Take this for instance, a mere b-side but it’s superb and it’s still as applicable as it was over 70 years ago. It’s just Buddy Holly shrugging and agreeing with the usual ‘kids don’t know about love’ sentiment to these fools’ faces then turning the phrase around and telling that love that the only ‘alright’ will be how their love will be all right. AND it’s completely unisex, it could be sung by a man to a woman, a man to a man, a woman to a woman or a woman to a man. Buddy Holly was really fucking good.
26. The Love Cats
A SONG THAT MAKES YOU WANT TO FALL IN LOVE
The Cure ∙ Single A-Side ∙ 1983
I wish I had someone who loved me so much they’d form a suicide pact with me. Yes, yes that’s genuinely a part of this song (‘into the sea / you and me’) and no its not why I picked it, though it would be nice wouldn’t to have someone who would literally die for you, it does help though. That little bit of darkness takes the edge off of all the sugar that flows from Robert Smith when he’s happy and by god is he happy here! and it’s just so infectious, you can feel sad before the song, you can feel sad after it but by god you just can’t manage it during. I think it’s all the cat metaphors, Rob must have worked bloody hard to find so many ways of meaning ‘to have sex’ using only cat references, not only can he beat Mecha Streisand but he can even cheer ME up.
(I was so tempted to pick something awful for this - I genuinely have a song called ‘Cumdumpster’ on my Walkman - but I cheated for number 6 already so I felt bad)
27. Come Dancing
A SONG THAT BREAKS YOUR HEART
The Kinks ∙ State of Confusion ∙ 1982
The line that makes my poor black heart every time? ‘Now my sister’s married and she lives on an estate’
What? You cry. Well what you need to know is this: this song was written and released in 1982 (the album it was on came out the following year) and is a song about Ray and Dave Davies’ sister Rene. Rene died in 1957. While out dancing (it wasn’t a palais, it was at the Lyceum). That line is where the song deviates from reality and Ray instead uses his song to give his sister - the one who bought him his guitar, the woman we have to thank for The Kinks and thus Paul Weller - the happy ending she never had and it’s so sad want I to cry, I usually don’t though because that’s also not very useful at the gym, you can’t see how man reps you’ve done.
A SONG BY AN ARTIST WITH A VOICE YOU LOVE
Within Temptation ∙ The Silent Force ∙ 2004
This list has been disturbingly short on metal, lets change that with a Symphonic Metal goody. I mean you have to have a good voice to do symphonic metal because you’re basically singing opera but with better music behind it, but a lot of ‘em – even the mighty Tarja Turunen – tend to keep it shrilly, as if showing off their skills by making my ears bleed from so many high notes. Sharon den Adel though has the sense to go all over the scale which in turn shows she has far more range and makes it far easier to listen to on headphones, Angels (an sad look back at a lover) has her doing this all the over place and the whole thing benefits immensely from it and that is what my crush on her is completely based on and has nothing to do with, say, her arse.
29. Independence Day
A SONG THAT YOU REMEMEB FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD
Martina McBride ∙ The Way That I Am ∙ 1994
As a child I listened almost exclusively to Country & Western and the Spice Girls. Country music is really not for kids, it’s full of death, drink and other horrible shit – like a story song that explicitly includes gang rape, or a song that goes from domestic abuse to murder/suicide to arson in three and a half minutes. The difference is that the former is from Kenny Roger’s dire Coward of the County and the latter is a description of Martian McBride’s awesome Independence Day that turns a display of American patriotism into a celebration of one mother gaining her independence by murdering the bastard then ending her own suffering. It’s just so goddamn triumphant, after two verses of very successfully sinking us into the hopelessness of this poor woman’s situation and the chorus being more of a yearning for her gain her independence day after she (the narrator’s mother) ‘lights up the sky that fourth of July’ everything becomes a celebration, even if the song pretends not to pass judgment (‘I ain’t saying it’s-a right or it’s wrong but maybe it’s the only way’) on her methods.
Also, as a kid I genuinely thought the line ‘and took down some names’ was ‘and took down some nets’ as in net curtains, I just assumed that was all that survived the fire. This is dumb for many reasons but mostly because ‘nets’ doesn’t rhyme with ‘flames’.
Tears of a Clown
A SONG THAT REMINDS YOU OF YOURSELF
The Beat ∙ Single A-Side ∙ 1979
What, you didn’t think it would be something happy did you? Did you think it wouldn’t be something about how I’m always smiling on the outside but inside I’m REALLY FUCKING sad did you? Alright, alright I already did this gag.
Look, I don’t know exactly why I’m so happy to play the clown. Part of it is wanting people to like me, part of it is that I feel so sad so often that I don’t like to see others be anything other than laughing, part of it is just plain ol’ insecurity, so I’m happy to put myself over as an amusing dolt even if it leaves me frustrated that people don’t take me seriously and Tears of a Clown, even though it’s actually about covering up missing a lover, represents it all perfectly. Why The Beat’s version and not the original (by the aforementioned Smokey Robinson)? I just like Ska and Birmingham accents better.
Shit, there was a lot of people who didn’t’ get include in this! No KoRn, no Elvis Costello, no Specials, no Cramps, no Kate Bush, no Joe Jackson, no Damned, no Joy Division, no Nirvana and oh god, no Paul Weller! I feel bad.
Anyway that was surprisingly fun, I don’t waffle about music often enough on here.
(Pokémon reviews are being written but it’s been a busy (and bad) month and Gen 5 introduced an entire new 151 so there’s a lot to get through)