Seven songs (and a bonus track)

11 June 2008

Right so I’ve been tagged by Tom for this seven songs meme:

?List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they?re not any good, but they must be songs you?re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they?re listening to.?

So here goes – after the jump (lots of YouTube videos embedded within so it really is necessary). By the way, I suck at writing about music.

1. LCD Soundsystem – Someone Great

The best song on Sound of Silver by far, and a million miles away from the past silliness of “North American Scum” or “Daft Punk Are Playing At My House”. A poignantly droopy synth intro, lyrics ambiguous and even a little absurd in places, it’s not only a terribly sad song about loss but a terribly sweet one that conveys the protagonist’s love and fondness for the song’s subject. The charming irritation that the world passes on regardless – “The worst is all the lovely weather / I’m sad it’s not raining” – sticks with me, for some reason, a jaded and cynical Auden for the modern day.

Good for: Wistfully lying in the park in the sun.

2. Morrissey – You Have Killed Me

A song I’ve warmed to, despite my misgivings over basically anything Morrissey has done post-Smiths. And not for the reason that I empathise with the song and know how it feels as the victim – quite the opposite; I’ve more often been the wrongdoer than the wronged and struggle to sometimes understand forgiveness and it depths and complexities. Yet despite the tale of sorrow told in the song – the final lines – “There is no point saying this again / But I forgive you, I forgive you / Always I do forgive you” cast a different light on it.

Good for: The morning after.

3. Sons & Daughters – Red Receiver

Enough gloominess. I had the pleasure of catching S&D at the Scala on Monday; the gig they generally rocked out, the punkier sounds of their second album in turn influencing how they performed the first. Yet it’s this track, the second on their debut album, which seems to fit the band so much. Upbeat without being overwhelming, and quietly letting their Scottish and folk influences bleed through . The video above is actually not a very good rendition, the album version is acoustic, not sung in an American accent and allows Scott Paterson’s backing vocals come through a lot better. But it’s still not bad.

Good for: Dancing like a pixie.

4. Muse ? Stockholm Syndrome

I used to hate Muse. In fact, I still hate them. But I enjoy their music. “Hysteria” may be the best-crafted track on Absolution but “Stockholm Syndrome” is the most gloriously overblown, the epitome of high rock wankery. The variety of tempo, from the creeping intro riff, then Matt Bellamy at his angelic yelpy best, the prechorus chord drop leading to piano-backed despair. Is that all? Nope, at the end they just go fuck it, we don’t really know how to end this, so we’ll just knock out a fuck-off heavy metal climax and stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Good for: Bank robbery, fucking.

5. Portishead – Silence

One of my worst traits is that I refuse to see bands on a comeback, or after a long hiatus, for fear they’d have turned to crap. So I didn’t do the Pixies comeback, much to my regret, and I turned down the chance to see Portishead earlier this year. Big mistake. Third is my album of the year so far. I was spoilt for choice for tracks off this (particularly “Plastic” and “Machine Gun”), but it’s the first one that’s here. The buildup is haunted by a menacing guitar and beguilingly long – just to make your ten-year wait that little bit longer. When Beth’s voice finally cuts in, much maturer and sadder than before, it underlines how long it’s been and how much older we all are now. Nothing more chastising than that. Then just as it gets going, the track ends abruptly, as if they can’t be arsed now that they’re back.

Good for: Stalking the streets of nineteenth-century London. In a cloak.

6. UNKLE – Unreal/Be There

I actually prefer the instrumental version (not shown above) – and not because I dislike Ian Brown. It just feels nice and empty without his vocals; having heard it so many time in the late nineties the absence of his voice makes just as much a statement as its presence. As well as being eerily relaxing and help winding down after a day, I also keep playing this whenever I’m travelling home at night, just to keep me on my toes.

Good for: The last tube home.

7. The Automatic – Gold Digga

Right, a silly one to finish it off. Kanye West may be a boring hack who basically just raps over the top of other people’ songs, but one band have found a way of making his songs listenable: speed it up, get a howling mentalist keyboardist to do the rapping instead, and ditch the fancy production. The result. A spoilt rappers’ lament suddenly becomes a hilariously vibrant toe-tapping tune. This may be the best song the Automatic have ever performed. In fact it’s probably only the second song they’ve ever performed, given the rest of their back catalogue is basically the same song again and again.

Good for: Drunkenly hijacking the stereo at a party.

Bonus track: Radiohead – Nude (James Houston remix)

Takes a little time to start up (arf) but once it kicks in it’s a beautifully shot, bleepy scratchy retro tech take on Radiohead’s “Nude/Big Ideas (Don’t Get Any)”, featuring a Sinclair ZX Spectrum, a printer, a scanner and the vocals piped through a load of knackered hard drive platters. Elaborate but charmingly nerdy with it.

Good for: Asserting one’s impeccable geek credentials

Right, that’s it. I can’t tag seven people as I don’t know seven people – but I will shout this out to Armand, Duncan, Tom, Annie and Thom and see if any of them pick it up…


4 Responses

Mike

That was awesome. I enjoyed that very much! This should be done more often.

Let’s put it like this – I’ve seen your shout-out and will take it under advisement.

(And I adore the ‘Nude’ video – huge hit of nostalgia that brings a tear to my eye)

James

You managed to pick my favourite song of all time :)
Although admittedly it’s the Ian Brown version I love.

Iain

I’m a bit late to both this blog entry (holiday) and LCD Soundsystem, but so far I’m not getting why everyone is so keen on ‘Someone Great’. It might be a grower, but I much prefer All My Friends and New York I Love You…

Muse are annoying people, but their cheesy overblown rockouts are great fun, I agree. They sound like an alternate-reality Radiohead, who upon being told by their record company that “Climbing Up The Walls” was weird shite agreed to ditch OK Computer and churn out another Bends instead. Sometimes, that’s ok.