As of a couple of days ago, SoundlySounds turned a year old. A fucking year! If this blog was a human child it would have stopped shitting itself regularly, would be able to mumble half-coherent words, and still look pre-cute, before, you know, the harsh realities of life inevitably take over. However, that’s enough of my nihilism. This is about my fucking anniversary man. Because this isn’t the Oscars, and no one wants to hear my bullshit laundry list of thank-you’s, I’d rather just do three Top 10 lists of my favourite songs, artists and albums. This is because for as long as I can remember, people will often judge you on your favourite music. It’s often the first thing people, including myself, ask strangers upon meeting them. It helps form an opinion, for example someone that is into Rod Stewart is probably wildly different from someone into Suicide Silence. Although this isn’t always the case, and you shouldn’t judge people solely based on their favourite music, it works as a general guideline, and is something to bond over. However, I have always had an incredibly hard time defining my favourite songs, artists, albums etc. So, because of this milestone, I sat down and really fucking thought about shit, and then hammered out these huge fucking lists. It was really hard, almost as hard as an aardvark’s shell. However, in the words of the esteemed Larry the Cable Guy, I ‘Git R’ Done’, and present you with these three articles. A quick heads up: these lists aren’t entirely accurate, as I wanted a spread of artists, and didn’t want to include any two of the same artist in any top 10 i.e a band is only legible once. So, yeah the lists are slightly warped, but it still retains all my favourite music.
First up is my favourite songs of all time. Honourable mentions (as in, I’d highly, highly recommend you check out these songs, and I would put them in the list if it wasn’t restricted to 10) go to The Avalanches-Since I Left You, The Ramones-Blitzkrieg Bop, Tame Impala-Half Full Glass of Wine, Refused-Summerholidays vs. Punkroutine, Bloc Party-Banquet, The Gun Club-She’s Like Heroin, Nirvana-Smells Like Teen Spirit/Rape Me, Black Flag-Rise Above, Modest Mouse-Satellite Skin, Primal Scream-Rocks, Snowman-You Are A Casino, The Brian Jonestown Massacre-Oh Lord, A-Ha-Take On Me, Fugazi-Waiting Room, Danzig-Long Way Back From Hell, Pixies-Hey, The Murder City Devils-Boom Swagger Room, Camper van Beethoven-Take the Skinheads Bowling, Led Zeppelin-Immigrant Song, The Boys Next Door-Shivers, Step-Panther-Fight Like A Knight, The Castaways-Liar Liar, JEFF the Brotherhood-U Got the Look/Mind Ride,, Does it Offend You Yeah?-Epic Last Song, The White Stripes-Fell in Love With A Girl, Pavement-Cut Your Hair, Gorillaz-Kids With Guns/5/4, The Cramps-Human Fly, Beat Happening-Indian Summer, Weezer-El Scorcho, Frightened Rabbit-Swim Until You Can’t See Land, The Black Keys-I’ll Be Your Man/Set You Free, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah-Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth, Seekae-Void, The Gaslight Anthem-Great Expectations, Interpol-Obstacle 2, Dinosaur Jr.-The Wagon, Jay Reatard-It Ain’t Gonna Save Me, Nine Inch Nails-Closer, White Zombie-Super-Charger Heaven, Cancer Bats-Hail Destroyer, Sebadoh-Rebound, , Grinderman-Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Men, Smashing Pumpkins-Zero, , Dan Deacon-Pink Batman, Pulled Apart By Horses-I Punched A Lion in the Throat, , Eagles of Death Metal-Speaking in Tongues, N.W.A- Fuck Tha Police, Tool-The Pot
10. LCD Soundsystem-All My Friends: This was one of the first songs that I listened to that really introduced me to depth in music. Before LCD Soundsystem and James Murphy, it was all hardcore punk and getting as angry as possible within as quick a timeframe. However, ‘All My Friends’, with it’s slow burning build that turns into a heartbreaking windswept tearjerker. The jilted piano chords that open the track act more as a warning for me to prepare myself fro greatness, than a disconcerting tension I think they were meant to resemble. Whatever, ‘All My Friends’ is a heartwarming song that can be applied to any situation with astounding results. And don’t just take my opinion for it.
9. The Bronx-Heart Attack American: ‘Heart Attack American’ contains both my tied favourite riff (with ‘Summerholidays vs. Punkroutine’ by Refused) and one of my favourite intros. Forget about slow build. The Bronx invent a nail-biter that manages to build anticipation to astounding heights in just 19 seconds, before we hear Matt Caughthran absolutely belt out a blood curdling scream. There is nothing that can create a furious maelstrom of energy in me like The Bronx’s ‘Heart Attack American’, it’s a no-bullshit, hardcore punk anthem that will live on as something that wasn’t totally shit in modern punk. Amongst bands like Good Charlotte, All Time Low and Simple Plan, The Bronx retain their badge as genuine.
8. Blur-Song 2: Another powerful, powerful riffer from Britpop’s brightest. For a long time, and I’m talking a couple of years, ‘Song 2’ was the only Blur song I knew, and (shamefully) wanted to know. For a while, I actually believed Oasis were the best Britpop band of all time. Oh, how I have been so wrong. It took time, but I eventually discovered the gems of ‘Parklife’, ‘Modern Life is Rubbish’, ‘The Great Escape’ and the underrated ‘Think Tank’. However, despite all these great albums, ‘Song 2’ will always stand slightly taller, simply due to that killer riff, the thrashing drums, and that ego-boosting scream of ‘WOO-HOO!’ Doesn’t matter if it’s cliche and meant as a light stab at grunge music, it fucking rocks.
7. Black Sabbath-Paranoid: OK, so right now, it seems like this list is shaping up as ‘best riffs of all time’. But hear me out. ‘Paranoid’ is fucking brilliant. One of the first genuine Heavy Metal songs I heard (Slipknot and Godsmack don’t count), it’s timeless riff coupled with it’s awesomely downer lyrics meant that I connected with the song instanteously. I dropped off with it for about a year, and then, when I re-discovered Sabbath, ‘Paranoid’ was right there to ensnare me again. It’s hard to explain precisely why ‘Paranoid’ is the greatest Sabbath song, but it just is. A teenage anthem for all ages.
6. Neutral Milk Hotel-King of Carrot Flowers, Part 1: There’s no denying that ‘King of Carrot Flowers, Part 1’ is one of the most beautiful indie songs ever written. Jeff Magnum is Jeff Buckley minus the pomp and hair, and plus a little bit of non-doucheness. It’s stunning from every corner of the room, from the harmonica that subtly yet drunkenly slides across the track, to the slacker acoustic guitar, to Magnum’s wailing, lover boy vocals that suck in every woman in the near vicinity with astounding and disturbing magnetism. It’s an incredibly short track, and feels like it’s over before it even hits it’s peak (hence Parts 2 and 3) but it’s simplicity and short warmth are part of what creates such a desirable notion to it.
5. Joy Division-Isolation: Sorry, ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, ‘Transmission’ and ‘She’s Lost Control’ are not my favourite Joy Division songs. Sure, they’re greater than any ditty New Order penned, ‘Blue Monday’ included, but the honour (if you could call it that) goes to ‘Isolation’. Clockwork bass lines from Peter Hook, Bernard Sumner’s jilty, slightly insane synth work and Ian Curtis’ pleading voice all combines with Stephen Morris’ compact drumming to form my favourite Joy Division songs and my 5th favourite song of all time. Insane, I know,’How the fuck did I not pick ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’? But listen to ‘Isolation’ again, and you’ll know why I have fallen in love with it.
4. Shellac-Prayer to God: I was introduced to this song by a very good friend (he also showed me the likes of Nick Cave, Fugazi, and Pissed Jeans) on the cusp of my disillusion with grunge. There could be not better song to show a disgruntled, naive 15 year old, searching for an experimental alternative to ‘With the lights out, it’s less dangerous/Here we are now, entertain us’. A reverb saturated, meandering narrative of a man who wants to kill his ex-girlfriend and her lover was the perfect concoction to my quest for new and weird music. Insanely beautiful and bloody couplets begin the track, and it only builds, swelling until it ends with Steve Albini’s tortured chant of ‘Kill him, fucking kill him, kill him already kill him!’. ‘Prayer to God’ is one of the most unique and intriguing tracks I’ve ever been introduced to, and has maintained my interest for a very, fucking long time.
3. Dozer-Days of Future Past: Although not as disturbing as Shellac, the stoner-rock of Dozer takes a poetic and drenching turn for the better on one of the oldest songs in my catalogue. A dry intro bloats itself into an unreal corpse of ungodly proportions, filling the room with melancholy riffery and bombastic sound. Dozer, a Swedish band, caught my eye out of nowhere, and although the rest of their repertoire is quite average, ‘Days of Future Past’ manages to be both awesome and endearing. It’s a rare track of blossoming possession, intriguing narrative and medieval badassery, like Marcellus Wallace in full armour, riding a skeleton horse and charging a dragon with Bruce Willis’ face on it.
2. The Hives-Hate to Say I Told You So: The last few tracks have been quite deep and meaningful, or at least as deep and meaningful as I can be without becoming Robert Smith. But my 2nd favourite track of all time goes again to the Swedes. The Hives are a bodacious bunch of fun-loving party animals, that have consistently amazing tunes. ‘Hate to Say I Told You So’ is one everyone knows, even if you don’t think you know it. It’s a song with an addictive riff that will make you shake your head in time, regardless of where you are or who you’re with. ‘Hate to Say I Told You So’ is primarily about letting loose, having fun and telling off ‘the man’. But fuck that, The Hives just want you to have fun and kick out the jams, MC5 style, and ‘Hate to Say I Told You So’ is the greatest song to accomplish that.
1. The Stooges-I Wanna Be Your Dog: One of the original garage rock n rollers, of the Stooges perfect 1969 debut, seeing this song live earlier this year made everything a slightly brighter shade of awesome. Contextually, the song goes in the face of everything that was out at the time: it’s dirty, it’s sexual and it’s primal. However, ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ has also stood the test of time, and proven itself to be a track truly worthy of all sorts of greatness. From the sing-song sleighbells that chime throughout, to Iggy Pop’s (then Iggy Stooge) drawls and grunts, to the revolutionary buzzsaw guitar that cuts through the listener like a knife. This is the song that changed music forever, brought the guts back to rock n roll, and sort of changed the whole way I though about music. Besides being the best Stooges song, besides being the best rock n roll song, it’s my personal favourite song of all time.