Ten Songs

posted on August 31st, 2008 by Anthony

So you might have noticed I’ve been in hibernation somewhat. Mostly because a lot of the drivel that I’m putting out on the net is being diverted through Twitter these days.

If you’re not one of my Twitter followers, you may have missed a wee bit of news… Claire is now 17 weeks pregnant and fatherhood is very much impending! So that has been on both of our minds recently!

Despite this good news I have got a few things queued up to talk about, but really I’ve been waiting for something juicy to tempt me into writing a block of text over 140 characters! Recently Jack (who has has been making me jealous with his post a day regime) gave me something that tickled my blogging fancy.

Random Choice

Simply he posted a list of ten songs that mean something to him. Not necessarily his favourite songs, but songs that mean something.

A good idea.

So I’m going to have a bash. My only problem is coming up with just ten. I consume a lot of music, and lots of different genres – I, in all honesty, probably don’t do enough actual listening these days. There are lots of tracks that mean lots of the things to me, in loads of different ways, but plucking out ten has been interesting.

In the end the ten I’ve come up with are really just a list of 10 tracks that I can pin memories to at this moment. If you asked me the same question tomorrow I would almost certainly come up with a different list.

So in no particular order – here we go…

I Melt with You – Nouvelle Vague

I’ll kick off with an easy one. This was the song that me and Claire had for our first dance. It’s a pretty little ditty that most of you will have heard because it had been used extensively by T-Mobile. I would like to say I was dead cool and discovered it way before… but no. I heard it on the ad like everyone else.

It has really nice lyrics though. “I stop the world and melt with you” etc etc.

Nouvelle Vague are a cover band. Like with a lot of their stuff their Frechified Bossa Nova stylings actually improve the Modern English original no end!

Listen to Nouvelle Vague – I Melt With You on Last.FM

Valley of the Shadows – Origin Unknown

Now, as they say, for something completely different.

This is an old school Jungle (Drum ‘n’ Bass as the kids call it) classic that has lot to answer for. Back in the early 90s, when I was still a young sprat of a lad, I discovered pirate radio. I’ve talked about Zee 100 before, and how it shaped my musical tastes, and this one track that really stands out from that time.

It’s an eerie tune, with a wobbly, jangly, and instantly recognisable intro. It throws in some spoken word samples from a documentary about near death experiences (“It was like a long, dark tunnel…”) then, after proclaiming “31 seconds!”, it clips you around the ear with a bag full of bass.

Norman Jay dropped it in a set when I was in a club in Manchester – totally out of the blue – it gave me proper goosebumps.

Considering it’s 15 years old the tune still sounds pretty fresh. As does a lot of the early hardcore, jungley stuff. It was pretty forward thinking stuff, which is why I liked it so much.

Origin Unknown – Valley of the Shadows on YouTube

Passion – Gat Decor

Another tune from my pirate based musical education. If you had to, I suppose you could describe it as Balearic. Really it’s just a club classic, with one hell of a piano riff and sprinkling of good old acid bass.

Now this is included, not only because it’s a great tune, but because it’s one of those that has constantly been released and re-released with the addition of completely unnecessary and often shonky vocals plonked on top.

It stirs lots of memories of me harping on to anyone that will listen that it’s musical sacrilege, that there is no point in meddling with a classic, and wondering where has all the originality gone these days… etc etc.

Passion – Gat Decor on Last.fm

Walk this Way – Run DMC ft. Aerosmith

Really this could be any Aerosmith track, but I chose this one because at least Run DMC are in it.

Aerosmith are Claire’s favourite band, so pretty much any of their tracks make me think of her.

So it’s not all bad ;o)

Walk This Way – Run DMC ft. Aerosmith on YouTube

Foxy Lady – Jimi Hendrix

Obviously there is the Wayne’s World connection, but it’s a song for me and Claire too. Always brings a smile to our faces, and memories of drunken dancing to mind…

You can’t go wrong with a bit of Hendrix.

Foxy Lady – Jimi Hendrix on YouTube

Take Me Out – Franz Ferdinand

I’m not sure why this one sprung to mind quite so readily, but it does hold a pivotal role in my musical history.

You might have guessed from what I’ve written so far that I’m a big fan of bleepy electronic music. Up until about the time this record was released I didn’t really do music with guitars. Well apart from going to indie nights in Liverpool due to lack of competition. OK I didn’t really buy indie music…

It was about this time that indie music started to do thing slightly differently than it did in most of 90s – for one it embraced the dance floor and kicked in touch a lot of the mopeyness that had been prevalent for quite a while.

After hearing this on Soccer AM it was the first guitary track that really had me interested in a long, long time… and from then on I took more and more interest.

Take Me Out – Franz Ferdinand on YouTube

Woman – Wolfmother

This track sums up that change more than any other, and it makes Claire chuckle every time it comes on. When Claire met me I was still DJing Dance Boy, now I’m someone who cranks up Wolfmother to 11 when coming home from Scotland.

A lot of that is down to her.

It also has a lot to do with a lot of things. Wolfmother have come from my liking of the White Stripes (damn forgot them for the list…) and hearing them on Project Gotham Racing 4… and firmly cemented by my love of Guitar Hero.

Woman – Wolfmother on YouTube

Say Kids What Time Is It? – Coldcut

This could actually be a lot of Coldcut’s early work because it all quite interchangeable really.

The memory is really linked to one section of this classic piece of cut-n-paste magic.

It was at Creamfields (the first one that was actually in Liverpool) that I witnessed Coldcut performing live in a massive tent at some stupid hour like 3am. We’d been there since 1pm, my mate was basically having a kip at the back of the tent. I wandered off just soaking up the audio visual onslaught that the duo put out… then they dropped the section of the the tune which mixes ‘I’m the King of the Swingers’ from the Jungle Book over the Funky Drummer break – complete with video – and the place went mental.

I should go and see them again.

Coldcut Live on YouTube – go to about 6min 30seconds for the Jungle Book!

As – Stevie Wonder

Some of Stevie Wonder’s music is unbelievably good. As much as it shames me, I have to confess that the first time I heard this tune is when it was when it was being butchered by bloody George Michael.

That aside this gorgeous slab of soul was played at the fantastically sweaty Electric Chair in Manchester by the Unabombers one night… it was just one of those times where everything was just right.

It’s a class tune, but at that moment in time it was perfection.

The Electric Chair produced a unique atmosphere, and the Luke and Justin (the Unabombers) where the creators of it. We used to travel the 80 mile round trip regularly to sample it, mainly to just see the Unabombers play. It wasn’t only ‘As’, there were loads of tunes they played that just worked – New Order, Aretha Franklin, Kool and the Gang, The Clash all interspersed with more standard electronic house, funk, hip hop.

Good times. ‘As’ always brings those memories back as it soars to it’s crescendo…

As – Stevie Wonder on Last.fm

Jayou – Jurassic 5

Finally, we have one of my favourite hip hop tracks.

The memory that this brings to mind is playing pool in the student union bar… something that was done very regularly.

Despite looking like a heavy metal reject, with my shoulder length hair, I was well into my DJing and danceable music. The jukebox didn’t offer me an awful lot, but the J5 LP offered an oasis of respite.

Jayou is a jaunty little number, and is one of the few hip hop records I know all the words to. The Cut Chemist produced beats are worth the entry fee alone.

Jayou – Jurassic 5 on Last.fm

There You Have It

There you go, ten songs that mean something.

I could have added loads more… Hotel Yorba by the White Stripes comes to mind, Les Fleur by Minnie Ripperton, Get a Move On by Mr Scruff, and millions and millions of others…

but I hope you’ve enjoyed the ten I came up with. It was certainly a good way to come out of my hibernation.