Saturday, 25 June 2011

time to get ready

So, I like to party.

A simple statement that has so many different connotations. I like going out and enjoying myself. Hardly alone in this, I hasten to add. Over the course of my life this has taken me to many interesting, fun, scary and sometimes disquieting places. Both physically and mentally. I have been completely in my element and very far out of my depth on many many occasions.

As with many things, one of the most appealing aspects of going out is the anticipation. As you will be far less shocked to hear, I like to put on some music before I go out or as I get ready. Much the same way as every person does. I would like to think though that some of the music that I do put on is at least a little different from the average teenage girl putting on the latest bit of corporate fed pop music.

I often feel that one of the best ways to prepare for what is certainly going to be the best night of my life is to get a bit aggressive. This is not about getting aggressive in order to get into fights. Nothing wrong with a bit of fisty cuffs if the need arises, but I do not go looking for it, and in fact am often the voice of reason in calming people down and taking them back from the place where they are about to get a kicking.

Getting a bit aggressive for me often means listening to something a bit faster and heavier, with a bit of attitude. This is a great version of a song that does this for me quite well:

I wrote before in Punk  that I think that is a brilliant version of the song, and it is. They look like they are having a huge amount of fun. There is the funkiness to that song and the fast paced rhythm and bass guitars that get the blood pumping a little bit more - in anticipation of what is about to come.

Another song that I have written about before but that I think has a little bit of aggressive mischief to it, is this song by The Cult:

I think it is the lyric:  'Mayhem children take no lip, rev your engines from the hip' - not exactly an Oscar Wilde witticism, but none the less, when melded with the guitars and that cool riff, it gets its message across. It is about having a bit of swagger, and we are nothing when we are out, unless we have some swagger.

Of course, not all nights are the same and sometimes it calls for a completely different mindset. Aren't we lucky that the great musicians that have enhanced our lives also realised this and have given us more than Rock around the clock . . that is harsh actually. Did you know that Rock around the Clock by Bill Haley and the Comets is still the second highest selling single of all time? Higher than the Beatles, higher then everything else in fact than Candle in Wind. (and that is only because Candle in the wind was released at least twice in different versions) .

As usual , I digress. I do like a bit of good trance to go out to as well. It has all to do with the beat and the association with being in a big club, and feeding off the energy of the people.

I love that track. That is an awesome track. It makes me want to go out. That is the point of course. But it is more than that. It is not a track that you would put on to listen to at home whilst you were idly doing something else. It is a song that demands to be listened to, and perhaps that is the point. You are put in a good mood because it grabs your attention a little bit more and perhaps focuses the idea that you are going to do something different from the norm, something that might just break up the monotony.

With that in mind, sometimes the mindset that you need for this is much more restrained and perhaps , dare I say, a little sophisticated. . the horror . . . ha. I think this song is a great going out song for the sophisticated areas of our lives . .

Ha ha , midgets with skateboards and fat people dancing . . . very sophisticated I think that you will agree.

There are a huge amount of songs about going out, getting ready and all that sort of stuff. These are just a few, the point being that when we get out, then it tends to end up a lot more like this,

...than the image we had when we were getting ready.

What gets you going for a night out?

Friday, 24 June 2011

I hate U2 addendum

So, it seems that Bono, oh he of the 'I am so much holier than anyone else',  is the subject of a protest this weekend at Glastonbury.

Why you ask? Well it seems that the avenger for the poor and equality to everyone in the world, has , at the advice of some no doubt extremely well paid accountants , moved the bands tax domicile to the Netherlands, because it works more in their favour. i.e. they pay less tax.

I am sorry but please defend that at a time when their homeland is basically on the edge of defaulting and being plunged into a financial abyss.

It seems that everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others . . . . .

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Music for sex

Almost every band you hear interviewed say that they got into playing in a band so they could meet girls, and or boys. That is pretty understandable, Most are teenagers when they start making music, and pretty much all you think about as a teenager is sex. However, so much of the music is about breaking up, or getting together, very little is about actually being together and even less is made for actually getting the mood right. Obviously this is because of the social mores and the taboo to do with sex.

I get that, but it does seem very puritancial doesn't it. I mean everyone is doing it, well I hope so for your sakes . . . Some of the stronger stronger artists have no issues about singing about it, like this from the ever sexy Joan Jett

That is a great anthemic song, not sure if it is great for setting the mood though. Perhaps it is a little more of an animal thing. I was and am a big fan of Ms Jett. I was a little young to get into The Runaways when they were a going concern , but they and all of Ms Jetts subsequent music has played up the innate sexual appeal of a beautiful sassy woman with a guitar. Yet, in one of those unusual things about the media, she refuses to discuss her own sexuality. Not that it matters, the fantasy is usually enough for most of us.

So if that is not a great song for getting the 'mood' right. then what is? Well depending on which way your bread is buttered, which parish you come from, end you bowl from (loving the euphimisms) this is a song that broke a lot of ground

I can see that. Although it is a song specifically aimed at the gay target audience , I see that it has a regular beat and is long enough to be umm, satisfying . . That particular song was banned for some time, because of the overt gay sexual nature of it. Seems odd to us nearly 30 years later. I guess there will always be that in music though. What was subversive in one age is the norm in the next. Saying that though, it still seems, particularly in puritantical America and Catholic South America, that that sort of thing is very much outside of the main stream. They still love Queen though. I wonder if they know??

Back to the point, music to have whilst you are doooooing IT.

Well if you are going to be all romantic about it all , this certainly works...

That is an extremely sensual song isn' it? Well certainly the beat is. Although the lyrics seem to be a bit of the ' cant believe that you have left me' lyric. That may be a bit off putting don't you think? Not sure, maybe because you are otherwise occupied, you will not be paying attention to the lyrics. Let's hope so. So there you have a lovely sensual song.

They do say though, that you are supposed to have a laugh while you are getting busy. So maybe this is appropriate for that special mood setting:

I do not know about that, I mean how can you , ah , concentrate when you are laughing like that? You need to remember to stay classy and still get down to it. Not sure if that is the best song, still, maybe to change it up a gear and add some spice to the whole thing...

If we get a bit more serious about the whole thing, because to so many people it is a serious thing. Not something to be taken lightly, just given away, a weapon almost . . then we have this

I do not think there is a better song to get across the animal, primal nature of the whole thing. If there is then I would like to hear it. Although the whole getting closer to God is a somewhat unusual edge to the whole experience. I guess because there is so much guilt attached to the act by the prevailing ideas of the church that putting that into the song ensures that it becomes that much more primal . .kind of knowing exactly what you are doing and tapping into all the taboo in order to make it special. A bit messed up really, but a lot of fun . .

I will however say that the world of Hip Hop and R&B deals with this topic a lot better than the others. Because although Rock and Roll may be about being sexy, R&B is about having sex . . sometimes just by yourself . .

Right, with that all said , do you have a song ? I need to go and find my wife . . .

Sunday, 12 June 2011

the greatest, the best, numero uno

My friends, At the Crossroads, check them out if you are into metal and the like, posted a question - What is the greatest album of all time?

Wow, this is a huge question, and if you are into the whole music thing it is something that can be debated endlessly. Such a bigger question than the Greatest Song, because a great song can come from a reasonably rubbish album. Obviously you then get the dichotomy that if the album has a great song on it then it must be a great album , which you can go around endlessly in the argument in the ouroboros circle until the time vortex chews you up, or you go insane. As we are close enough to the whole irksome insanity thing anyway, let's not go there today, let's give those guys in white coats a break.

So then, what are the rules? Because you need rules to define this huge subject matter.

1. Album has to be on general release and cannot be so obscure that only I have heard of it (or only you have heard of it)

2. It has to be an actual album and not a best of, or a self-created album, Xtreme hardcore mix 5 is not allowed because it is made by you

3. It is not by U2 because of this

So then , although that didn't narrow down the field that much, it at least did make it clear as to where to start. It is very tempting at this stage, to start breaking down categories, best Metal, best Prog, Electronica etc. But no, not this time my obsessive music loving pals, this time we go for the top and nothing else.

Aenemia by Tool
Kid A by Radiohead
Led Zeppelin IV
It Takes a Nation of Millions by Public Enemy
Endtroducing by DJ Shadow
Nothing's Shocking by Jane's Addiction...

...are some albums that immediately spring to mind. Well if you have a mind like mine that likes this sort of stuff, I guess the rest of you are thinking about sex. That would make a good post wouldn't it, best albums to have sex to . . will do that.

Some thinking music for you

The thing that becomes immediately clear from the 6 albums above is that it is a very 'me' centric list , by this I mean that any list like this is going to be extremely subjective. Kid A is there and not OK Computer because I like Kid A more. I also think that it is a much more interesting and ground-breaking album than OK Computer. I love the lyrics in Paranoid Android as I wrote here (ADD LINK) , but does it get across the isolation and bleakness as well as this?

No it doesn't, that is a very scary song actually.

So why those albums and not say Thriller or Rumours? Well, the music is better and they are better paced and more interesting collections of music. Aenima is amazing because just about every song is brilliant. It is the same for all of them, some are ground-breaking and able to move you on every listen.

But which is the best? Well, the only way to really establish this is to dip in the first circle of obsessive insanity and establish what makes them great. How obsessive was my playing of them? Unfortunately I can honestly say I listened to them all so many times that I have at least two copies of each , and then have them digitally as well because I listened to them so much. I had Aenima on a mini disc, (anyone else go into that technology?) . and walked around Tokyo with the album on repeat to the point I was starting to lose my mind over it.

I played this song by Jane's Addiction so much , that when I hear it now I still have the same image of listening to it in a park and watching the plane go overhead at 35 000 feet and match the guitar bit after the first verse.

You get the point. How many times you listen to it is not a deciding factor.

Maybe then, we can use the ground-breaking idea. It Takes a Nation of Millions is a great album, but was it ground-breaking? Well I guess it was a bit because it took the genre to new heights, but it is a positive evolution rather than a revolution. Zep IV? Not really, although it was certainly very different from anything else around at the time. It just isn't that different from Zeppelin II and III. I mean it is, because it is better, but it isn't that much of a departure. Aenima, again, brilliant but not a massive departure. So Kid A and Endtroducing are left. Well both are different from everything else around at the time. They are also ground-breaking in their style and their concept.

I love sitting down and listening to them both. I posted ' How to Disappear Completely' above and here is Midnight in a perfect world from Endtroducing

Great, brilliant and I love it. But Endtroducing is not the best album of all time. It just isn't. It has too many samples, too many unexpected changes of pace. Kid A isn't the best either. It is too dark, not uplifting enough. Too much reliance on electronics and computer generated sounds. I know that it is the point, I know that with both of them. I really do get it. But, I know they are brilliant albums and I need to come up with reasons to convince you. It Takes a Nation of Millions is also not the best album. I am sorry say just because I said so. No, seriously, it isn't because while it lifted the game of Hip Hop, it is the best album of that genre. It doesn't have enough crossover appeal to everyone.

Nothings Shocking is too underground. I know you know it. I know it, but very few people do. Even with Jane's releasing a new album this year, they are not ever going to be mainstream enough. I am sorry to say that the same has to be true of Aenima. I would like to say it is the best album of all time. I think that it possibly is, but Tool are too underground and as such if I am going to exclude Nothing's Shocking on this basis... well you get the idea.

So there you have it Zeppelin IV is the best album ever. Not ground breaking, but the best.

I am faintly dissatisfied with this answer if I am honest. Perhaps you can suggest some alternatives?

Thursday, 9 June 2011

is it stalking me?

Sometimes things just seem to follow you around. Sometimes you go for ages without seeing or hearing something and then suddenly you just can't get away from it. It could be anything. I saw three green cabs in London in the same day. Which is scarily prosaic, but you know what I mean. It is like when you catch the train in the morning and the same person sitting next to you sits next to you on the way home as well.

One thing where this seems to happen quite a lot is with the latest song. Quite often this is some stupid pop song that I can not stand. Sometimes though it is a good song, a song I can bear , and more importantly it enables me to bear what ever shop I happen to be standing in. I do not get this as much now as I used to. This must be because I spend a lot less time doing the things I do not want to do anymore. Well I have certainly convinced myself of this. Self delusion is the cornerstone of any career though isn't it . . .

So , for today's post I thought I would write about some songs that have been introduced to me through various means that I think I would not mind hearing quite a lot over the next few months. They are, unusually for this old person, all new songs and so the likelihood that I do hear them is pretty high.

The first song is by Example and it is called Changed the Way You Kiss Me.

What I like about that song is the somewhat retro electronica beats that go along to it. It is almost hard house circa 1997 isn't it. That is cool. I can get into that (again). Is that the cornerstone of a good catchy song? Something that is reminiscent of a good memory song? There is something in this isn't there? Otherwise why would there be so many samples in modern music?

I also like this song, LMAFO with Party Rock Anthem

Again there is that old school electronica beat to it all. What is going on in the video? I think it is an ironic dance thing don't you? I hope it is , otherwise it is a bit sad. However, there are some amazing moves in that video. When does it become cool to be able to dance like that? I mean, if I ,for example, went down to the local disco and danced like some of those guys . . I think I would probably get beaten up .. maybe just for using the word disco. You know what I mean though, where do people actually dance like that , except on music videos. . .

I am not sure this next song is going to be played anywhere else except on the music video stations though, because in all honesty the song isn't that brilliant catchy type of tune. However the video makes me laugh every time I see it. Here we have Bruno Mars with The Lazy Song

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe it is the song that you will always hear. It is certainly radio friendly and it has that summer beat to it. Although I have to say I know it isn't summer for all of us. It is a bit of a summer song. It has 73 million hits already. That is amazing isn't it?

You know what, this is the song that is going to follow me around . . mainly because I think it has already started to . . . just want to say I picked this a long time ago . .

What's following you around at the moment?

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Summer time

As we come up to the solstice, it is becoming clear, in the UK, Southern UK, OK London, that summer is soon upon us. The warmth brings us out of our shells and enables us to shed our winter coats (literally) and venture blinking into the sunlight. Like we were some sort of hibernating animal. There is little better than a lovely warm day, a drink of some alcoholic description and some tunes to get everyone into a good mood.

So with that in mind, I am putting together a summer time playlist. I welcome your additions to the list as I think that it is not always a song about summer, but a song that puts you into a good mood.

That said, this is a great summer song . .

That is a great version of Janis's version if you know what I mean. The intricate playing actually gives a summer's day more of a proggy feel, doesn't it? If by some strange reason you are not a fan of Janis, I doubt it somehow, how about this version of the same song by the mighty Ella Fitzgerald

That recording has too much bass in it. I can not quite work out if that is just Ella's amazing voice hitting bass notes that they weren't expecting , or a bad recording.

All  bit too Retro? Then there is this version by Will Smith Still known as DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince when this came out

Ok , so it is a completely different song. But it is actually good to hear that song again. I think that when it came out I was a little bit too into the metal and gangsta rap thing. It is a good song to get across the vibe of summer I think.

Ok, so instead of a playlist I have gotten into a post about the different versions of Summer Time there are. Not what I intended and as such here are some other great summer songs

Take it Easy - The Eagles
Sweet Home California - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Californication - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Summertime Rolls - Janes Addiction
1979 - The Smashing Pumpkins
Get up Stand up - Bob Marley
Harvest - Neil Young

Time for a song. Out of the above it is hard not to want to hear Harvest isn't it? I am however going to taunt you a little and play some music I haven't played or even spoken about before. Ska. Ska is great for the summer time . . listen to this by Prince Buster

I had always been vaguely aware of Ska. When I was 8 or 9 the English Band Madness were huge. I had a mate who was English and his older brother was massively into them. He played a lot of Madness but then some other Ska stuff. It was cool, but I was 8 or 9 and didn't know any of the names of the bands or the songs. It then kind of dropped out of the mainstream a bit and it was a bit lost to me. When I was living in Japan the last time I was in a surfer style bar and restaurant. Surfer style , because it was in Tokyo, a long way from the beach I am afraid. Anyway, they played a lot of ska. I got my extremely embarrassed girlfriend of the time to ask what they were playing, then spent the next 3 hours talking about music to the guy behind the bar. Don't think my friend was so happy about that either.

Anyway, Ska is cool, Ska is summer and you should listen to it during a BBQ on a sunny day.

If I am honest though, the thing you need on a summer's day is a song with a cool groove and a funky beat. Something like this

I am not ever going to be as cool as Kool and the Gang. I get that. There is something about their laid back style that makes you just want to tap your foot and groove along. You know, if you get that feeling you should just go with it. Pretend you are that cool and who knows what might happen . .

Then, when the summer day is over and you want to go out you should put on this. Because KC was cool too.

So, if you could please let me know your summer tune I would be most appreciative.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011


You have possibly followed a facebook or twitter link here. The new social networking sites have made communication that much easier. A band that read post or followed a link are Ftanng!.

They followed this site on Twitter and I reciprocated. Because I am a little busy I haven't really followed them as well as I should have. Does that make me a bad follower or friend? How does that social etiquette work?  Anyway, I asked them about their music some time ago and they posted me their website link.

Before I give you that and take you away from here I want you to please listen to this . . .

How good is that? That is the song that Trent Reznor wish he wrote. They have nothing else on Youtube and so I can not share it with you now. But I would suggest going to their website and checking them out.

There are a couple more songs there. Waves is the other song I am a very big fan of.

Check out their motto and that sort of stuff.

So guys, with the idea you will possibly read this post, how about some comments on what you are trying to do and why?

Everyone else, what do you think?