Get With The Times

This feature involved reusing old material of mine. To find out more, click here.

After 10 weeks, I was finding the search for 5 new songs rather taxing and decided to turn my attention to the vast array of excellent songs from years gone by. And so Get With The Times was born; a new podcast with an equally stupid name. I decided to divide this series into decades, doing a different one each week.

I was under the impression that because I really liked The Beatles, I had an above average knowledge of older music. I quickly discovered that this wasn’t the case and ended up learning as much from this series as I hoped my readers would. Looking back, it’s actually not too bad with band and song choices being fairly decent. That said, there’s plenty of glaring omissions and if I was to do it today, it would probably be very different. Again, if I said something stupid, don’t hesitate to point it out.


Episode 6 - Rock AND Roll


Episode 1 - Bigger Better Boy Bands BEATLES
Episode 7 - Definitive Compilations
Episode 12 - Of Forrest Fame
Episode 17 - Unloved Gold


Episode 2 - Rebellious Punks
Episode 8 - Legendary Weirdos
Episode 13 - Tough As Nuts
Episode 18 - Abstract Happiness


Episode 3 - The Dark Ages
Episode 9 - 24 Hour Party People
Episode 14 - The Serious Performers
Episode 19 - Early Bloomers


Episode 4 - Second Coming
Episode 10 - Made In Australia
Episode 15 - Heavyweights
Episode 20 - Second-Hand Talent


Episode 5 - Mass Murderers
Episode 11 - Catalysts For Collections
Episode 16 - Festival of Talent
Episode 21 - Good Riddance

Good Riddance (00's)

Exhausting. This one word pretty much summarises my experience making this series. Every week, devoting hours of valuable time to a task that nobody really cares about (if you’re reading this, you’re probably one of only ten). But that hasn’t dismayed me one bit, for now that I have finished, I have a completed product to cherish forever. It seems however that nobody else cares for 5 songs stuffed into one file. No, they want individual files to claim as their own and while illegality of that is even greater, that is the direction I will be taking when I go back to new music at Open Your Eyes. So in other words, I will no longer be creating, just offering. All personal involvement has been severed and at the end of the day my effort will go uncredited. It’s sad I know but the collective ‘they’ haven’t spoken…..which is speak in itself. But thankfully this series, with the timeless content it contains, will live on forever….well at least until my free web space provider gets sick of me. In this final issue, the range spreads from veteran ensembles, to newly emerging wonders and finally to stars that shone a little too bright. But what amazes me though it really shouldn’t, is that despite being the 4th episode of the decade, contained here are some of the best bands to play over this, at the time of writing this, incomplete decade.

We looked like Giants - Death Cab For Cutie
It’s kind of sad that to achieve popular recognition you pretty much need the backing of a major record label. The ideal world would be one where record promotion was banned and all records are released on equal footing. That way the masses, well at least their MTV’s would have to listen to the songs and choose on merits, not just what the big 4 give them. However such a world does not and will not exist and unless we rally behind them, many bands will be forced to cross to the dark side. Such is the case with Death Cab For Cutie – same band, same music and yet there latest album, released on a major label, did far better than they’re previous. I choose this song not only because it’s good but to honour the material that ‘most’ failed to honour

Evil - Interpol
Interpol have the tendency to invoke feelings of darkness in me. Perhaps it’s the disturbing nature of the filmclip for this song. Or maybe the parallels in vocals I can’t help but make with Ian Curtis. Either way, most of their songs just sound depressing. I say this like it’s a bad thing but it’s not. What better way to cheer yourself up than to listen to someone who’s depressed and realise how much happier you are? Regardless, the music they create is great, with two out of two albums so far being top quality

Commissioning A Symphony In C - Cake
Cake are completely unique, no band (of notable worth) even comes close to the sound they create. The Distance, an early song of theirs, was a childhood favourite of mine and many years later I discovered and fell in love with their 2001 offering, Comfort Eagle. It’s a well-crafted, all-round album, one better remembered as a whole than for it’s individual songs, always a sign of quality. Cake have the skill of making their music funny, often for reasons I cannot explain, which is always welcomed

Go With The Flow - Queens Of The Stone Age
I suppose I should get this out in the air, this is not one of my favourite bands. But, probably to the disgust of many of their biggest fans I much prefer the newer stuff to the older. This is probably because over time their sound evolved from a self described “heavy sound, based on a solid jam and just pounded into your head” to a more innovative sound, which is what captured my interest. Rather than go for a song off their new album I’ve picked Go With The Flow, a gem off Songs For The Deaf containing the best elements of both new and old.

The Good Old Times - The Libertines
The Libertines – what a band. To put it simply, their history goes like this drugs – forgiveness – drugs/theft/jail – forgiveness – more drugs – end. The main offender on all accounts here was Pete Doherty. But believe it or not over the 4 rocky years of their existence they released two absolutely amazing albums. While the second received more commercial success, I maintain that Up The Bracket was the greatest, containing so much variety and catchy melodies it’s invigorating. But my respect for The Libertines did not come instantly. On first listen I couldn’t stand the slurred vocals and frequent lack of structure, it’s just didn’t go down well. But through determination I warmed to them and really began to appreciate their style. This song is particularly suitable, a prelude to their later demise and plus it sounds great.

This was written May 10, 2006. What? Why?

Second-Hand Records (90's)

Living through a decade really helps when you’re looking for music during it. The list of artists I want to include isn’t endless, but it doesn’t end here. So had I the time or patience I could easily have done another episode, but well I don’t. To all those great artists out there that I missed, you know who you are, keep on loving yourself. Now just because I lived through it, doesn’t mean I got to know all the music along the way. In fact had it been left purely up to me my knowledge would undoubtedly be limited and poor. However that is the advantage of an older brother. While later I would discover his tastes were only the tip of the iceberg, a better start than nothing it was. About a year ago, I discovered his plethora of mix discs, filled with the many songs I loved, yet I had no idea who they belonged to, let alone what they were named. So I underwent the tedious, yet successful task of matching what I heard to online lyrics databases through the ever-handy Google. Now I can call all those songs my own and enjoy them at my leisure. While this doesn’t apply to all songs here, it applies to most and the other two are favourites of others, recommended to me anyway so the common theme still holds.

Bitter Sweet Symphony - The Verve
This is simply an epic song. I don’t know why I feel this, perhaps the orchestral sound, but whenever I listen to it, I always feeling that it is being sung for a reason and having some profound effect somewhere in the world. It’s stupid I know but it’s true. Richard Ashcroft played this song at Live 8, backed up by Coldplay, where Chris Martin introduced him as ‘the best singer in the world’. While this is a ridiculous claim, it’s gotta count for something. A truly sad story, but which I find hilarious is that they were sued for including a Rolling Stones loop in this song and subsequently didn’t make a dime from by far their biggest song.

Gold Soundz - Pavement
Pavement never achieved mainstream fame, but meet a fan and you’ll realise just how big a cult following they had. This following includes many high profile bands and they are quoted as influential far more than their success would suggest. Similarly they were one of the first indie (independent (not the genre this term somehow spawned)) bands to make a mark without the help of a major label, inspiring many more to do so. I personally took a while to get into pavement, the timely onset of my realisation of their quality coming only after a few listenings of Crooked Crooked Rain. This song was the first I warmed to and subsequently my favourite though, Cut Your Hair, which for some reason invokes thoughts of Weezer, is threatening to take it’s spot.

You Held The World In Your Arms - Idlewild
This song has always been one of my favourite ‘single songs’. While I would normally call myself an album collector, I also have a small number of songs which I either don’t want to get more of the band or simply never get round to it. I would put this band in the latter category for while I know little about them it appears this wasn’t just a one hit wonder. I especially like the energy of this song and while I’m thinking about it, I guess you could say the long drawn out vocals in the chorus go really well. The quality of this song is a bit off in the file, I tried fixing it but apparently it just doesn’t like being at 80kbps.

Last Stop: This Town - Eels
My memories of Eels consist of pleasant vocals and well crafted film clips. This song definitely brings back such memories. The sound here is also rather unique which makes even better. Mr. E, I would just like you to know that I enjoy your blend of catchy tunes and soothing vocals

More Life In A Tramps - Stereophonics
While I actually don’t mind their latest offering, that is almost irrelevant, for it feels that their older stuff, especially this, is by a completely different band. It seems so much more intelligent, in many ways. It is more complex, there’s more variation and the lyrics are well, they’re about the same. Most notable the voice sounds very different; I personally like this sound better

This was written April 6, 2006. What? Why?

Early Bloomers (80's)

Isn’t it funny that more songs in this episode were released in the seventies than eighties? Yes, three 1978 songs are featured in this suppose-ed eighties snapshot. Why you don’t ask? Well why not? My standards have dropped already, so why not push them further? No I think the main reason is debut-album syndrome. The condition so many bands have where they struggle to beat the quality of their first album. So while most of the artists here would belong best to the eighties, they’re best song may be found elsewhere. Now previously I would have picked a different song or stuck them in a different decade but as you can imagine, being so far into the series, this luxury of options is no longer with me. Right then, that’s out of the way. Having to pick my 20th artist for this decade, I really struggled. You’d think that in the allotted 315360000 seconds (plus many more thanks to lax standards) there would be more than enough artists eager to fill these coveted spots. Well there is. It is my own tastes and striving for quality that makes my life so hard but thankfully it pays off and the music you see here today is still some of the best this decade has to offer.

She Bangs The Drums - The Stone Roses
Being awarded #1 British album of all time is a pretty impressive honour. Even if Artic Monkeys did come 5th and the list was compiled by NME, it still means it’s a pretty good album. Well this honour was given to The Stone Roses’ debut album and it is indeed pretty good. While I wouldn’t rank it as the best, it contains many quality songs including this. It is a catchy tune, with a great sound reminiscent of the Britpop that came after it.

Roxanne - The Police
The Police have an odd blend of genre’s - rock and reggae. However popularity will prove that it works and it is perfectly represented in this song. Starting off with a slow Rastafarian melody, it’s launch into the faster chorus is great. Though not a favourite band by any means, I actually know a few of their songs quite well. The same I can’t say for lead singer Sting, whose solo career has led me only to know of, not to know

Pump it up - Elvis Costello
This is an extremely popular song for obvious reasons. Its catchy synth riff is surrounded by a solid rock tune, dripping with toe-tapping goodness, making it virtually ununlovable. It’s so catchy it seems that a recent artist, too horrible for me to know the name of, decided to rip the riff off verbatim. It almost ruined this song for me, but thankfully the film clip prevented this. Costello’s dancing ability is so unorthodox it’s simply hilarious, a must see for all.

24 Hour Party People - Happy Mondays
Here by popular demand is 24 hour party people, a weird song by a weird band. The slurred vocals, barely recognisable as singing would normally never make it to the studio. The dirty mix of 80’s synth, slicey guitar and pounding drums are great but would not normally be seen as anything special. No, what makes this song so good is the people who made it, the Happy Mondays. Never a moment not on one drug or another, these guys got up to some pretty crazy stuff. Best of all, a permanent member of the band does nothing but dance. That’s right, on stage, every performance, just dancing. For proof of these antics, watch the film by the same name, perhaps the most well-crafted documentary I’ve ever seen.

Rock Lobster - B-52s
Now I’ve heard people claim that this song drags on. If you are one of the people who feel this, you are missing the point. For not only is this the king of party music, but it is laced with a deep and moving narrative. So next time it sounds like it’s about to finish, don’t regret that it’s only halfway through, revel in the prospect of hearing the next chapter in the legendary Rock Lobster story.

This was written April 26, 2006. What? Why?

Abstract Happiness (70's)

Four episodes in and the love keeps flowing from the seventies’ jar. Not only the love but also the big names. That said, you should probably be told that this will indeed be the last 70s episode I do. Yes it’s sad but options are getting a bit thin and besides, I’m sick to do death of this whole series. But fear not, in my self-righteous quest to help those less fortunate than myself, I will continue to the end. As I’ve mentioned before and probably never needed to, the 70s was experimental and confusing time (yes it IS possible to classify such a large (well no larger than the standard) decade with an endless (only an approximation of course) list of diverse people and happenings in such a simple way) and the result was the emergence of some odd musicians trying to find and portray meaning in their own special way. While this doesn’t apply to all here it applies to some and that’s a highly probable fact. Actually I don’t think I’ll try to explain the connection and bond between these artists and leave it up to each of you to discover it for yourselves. But take my word, it exists, it exists in all of us.

Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
For some reason I seem to associate Lynyrd Skynyrd with a person, but no they are many. Also my knowledge of them extends no further than and stems only from this song. But oh what a song it is- as classic as they come and must know for all. This would have to be one of my favourite, and therefore best, songs of Southern USA stylings.

Money - Pink Floyd
I am slowly but surely warming to Pink Floyd. It’s not that I dislike them; I just don’t get excited by them. However I’m beginning to uncover their genius, primarily through Dark Side of the Moon. What I can tell you about the band is rather limited. Though in order to maintain my cherished illusion that I’m all-knowing I will do it anyway, spreading mistruths and offending fans in the process. While they could probably be described as rock music they had a wide variety of styles, usually characterised by the lead singer at the time. They are also well known for their musical experimentation, elaborate live shows, philosophical lyrics and abstract cover art. Listening to this song, I can’t help but draw parallels to John Lennon but of course this is nothing but good, a statement true to the whole song.

Piano Man - Billy Joel
You can’t go wrong with both a harmonica AND a piano. Billy Joel, predominately through this song has greatly contributed to my love of both mediums. Other than its great sound, in instrument and voice, the other strongpoint of this song is its lyrics. As a true ballad should be, I am truly interested in lives of each character as they’re introduced which serves to make this song a well balanced pleasure.

Crackerbox Palace - George Harrison
The problem with my one-song-per-artist policy is that while these post-Beatles are deserving in their own right, I’d probably pick more Beatles’ songs over their solo work. Looking at it in a positive light, at least it’s a chance to present some lesser-known material. I thought it a bit much to include three ex-Beatles and while Paul may have done more in the together-era his contributions since are less notable (in my humblest of opinions)….there was a fourth member you say?....... George, the late-bloomer, preferred quality to over quantity or possibly he just struggled to write but either way he has produced some great songs. I was tossing up between this and All Things Must Pass and while the latter may be great, the fact he was successfully sued for copying another artist with it weakens it just a tad. Instead you are presented with the equally great, if perhaps a tad silly, but still great, Crackerbox Palace.

Joy To The World - Three Dog Night
While many notable pieces contended, I could not find a song I was completely happy with for this coveted fifth spot. That being said, which it surely has been, this is still a great song. The tune is unique, the intro exciting and the remaining positively uplifting. It nicely contrasts the serious nature of the songs before it, for as you all know; I can sometimes get a bit depressing with my song selection.

This was written April 18, 2006. What? Why?

Unloved Gold (60's)

Doing this episode has been a shameful experience for me, as it has made me realise how little I know about these excellent bands. I’ve had their music for ages and known all along that they’re good, yet never given them the time they deserve. So when I went to pick songs to use, I was repeatedly slapped in the face by my ignorance. Going through their catalogues of great music to find the best would simply take too long. Similarly using other people’s suggestions would be a shallow representation, as it would just be pushing my bullshitting skills to an all-new height. Instead I’m going to present the songs that I have always known, in many cases the popular favourites, which while not be the best, are great nonetheless. And for the future I encourage you to go out and listen to these artists in more depth for while you may think you know them you…er…might not….so do it!

You Really Got Me - The Kinks
This song is known far and wide yet it really is a misrepresentation of the main musical stylings. But then come to think of it no song could sum them up due their rather wide variety of output. So ignore what I just said and note this – The Kinks are silly. Listening to many of their songs you can imagine them being seamlessly integrated into a playschool skit. Thankfully we all know that genius can often be found in the simplest and silliest music, something The Kinks manage to pull off, creating some truly compelling listening.

Get Thy Bearings - Donovan
For so long I knew this song and nothing else, for so long I Knew Dononvan but didn’t really. For while this song is great and remains cherished, listening to his other music has shown me how good he is. While I never previously thought it plausible I would have to say that Donovan is one of the top 5 60’s artists you NEED to know. A list, that for reasons that should not be taken for granted, could never really be compiled. A truly great songwriter and/or storyteller is he.

Fortunate Son - Creedance Clearwater Revival
This band is the absolute favourite of my uncle. Why would a man, at prime listening age during the golden 1960’s have picked this band out of the many?
Well because they’re good. Releasing six great albums in just two and a half years they managed to include just as much quality as they did quantity. John Fogerty, to which most credit can be accredited had a knack for creating clean and simple American rock n roll. Not only do they have many well-known hits such as this but they have so much more just waiting to be discovered.

Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones
Arguably the one band big enough to pose any challenge to The Beatle’s spot at the top of the ladder, they are more of a cult favourite thanks to their dark and dirty, ‘in your face’ nature in comparison to the generally family-friendly latter. However their underground status has become more mainstream in recent years with Mick Jagger appearing left, right and centre despite his stereotypically ugly British appearance. While he may be big and influential, I really can’t see the justification behind knighting him, what with all his glorification of sex and drugs and not to mention sympathy for the devil. Though one thing’s for sure, they are indeed big and influential, made clear by their ability to sell a stadium’s worth of tickets starting at prices higher than even the biggest bands would ever dream of. You don’t want to know how much it costs to both hear AND see them.

Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan
My decision to use this song came seconds before all decisions were set in stone with it taking the place of the more upbeat “Highway 61”. For I feel this is a much betterer summation of what he’s about. The folk legend, the documenter, the commentator and often the epitome of American unrest is Bob Dylan. His voice may not be the greatest and he defies all the pop conventions but this what makes him good. Well actually a better voice wouldn’t hurt but this is irrelevant, his musical craftsmanship and lyrical genius allow him to make the strangely pleasant music he’s renowned for. This song in particular is great example of his deep ballads laced with brilliant melodies and a lovable straining voice.

This was written April 11, 2006. What? Why?

Festival Of Talent (00's)

As seems to be happening more often as the weeks go by, this episode has absolutely no theme. These artists have nothing in common other than they made music in the current decade. But of course, in this instance it is a positively good thing. There’s a wide spread of musical styles, everywhere on the globe that matters is represented and there’s a mix of beginning, flourishing and dying bands. What more could one ask for? Grab a refreshingly smooth Vanilla Coke and you’re life will be complete

Banquet - Bloc Party
It’s often the first song you hear that becomes your favourite, whether it’s the best or not. This is the case with Banquet by Bloc Party, everybody’s favourite multicultural band. It took me so long to get into these guys it isn’t funny. I liked this song and a couple others but the album just bored me. Every chance I gave it just resulted in disappointment. Once I stopped trying however, it slowly warmed to me. This song has such a catchy beat I challenge you not to tap along!

Royal In The Afternoon - The Whitlams
Have you felt disappointed when a harmonica solo’s come in? No, no one has, it’s just one of those weird musical facts. The same goes for piano, you rarely hear it done badly and so is a pleasure to hear. The Whitlams, most notably Tim Freeman, have captured this piano-y goodness over the years and made some lovable songs in the process. It’s ironic then that with this intro I’ve gone with a song that doesn’t really centre round the piano, a great song none-the-less.

Float On - Modest Mouse
From the moment of that drum intro you know you’re in for a good time. Modest Mouse aren’t exactly the most accessible band around, with rough vocals and unorthodox melodies however this is an example of what they’re capable of. If you enjoy this I encourage you to explore their earlier stuff but I should warn you, it’s a jungle in there.

Penguins And Polarbears - Millencolin
Not many bands can claim the title of my first live band. Well in fact only one can, and Millencolin is they. Their fast paced, catchy music was perfect for my impressionable young mind and to this day they remain a favourite. Come to think of it, I can’t think of a band that I’ve paid to go see since this that hasn’t been part of a festival. That really is a horrible record, but being the unemployed, underage chap I am, I’ll take all the value I can get. In a months time things won’t have changed either, other than that I’ll have to live with the fact that I legally could have gone and seen that band at the metro last night but was simply to poor. It’s a hard life.

Wake Up - Arcade Fire
If they used this song to wake people up in the morning then the world would be one active place. The energy they create with their strong voices and grand orchestral backing is simply uplifting, exciting even, no invigorating! I really am beginning to understand why this album was raved about so much around the world. It gets better with every listen. I eagerly await the next instalment and/or a tour of Australia, for I would not hesitate to tap into my precious funds for them.

This was written April 6, 2006. What? Why?

Heavyweights (90's)

Any compilation containing both Nirvana and Belle & Sebastian clearly isn’t portraying one single genre. No, this episode spreads from one end of the music spectrum to the other to give a taste of some of the biggest bands of the 90s. If you don’t agree that these were all big bands than you’re stupid. In perhaps a less offensive manner, if you don’t recognise these bands as big, I encourage you to listen to their music for clearly you haven’t done so in enough depth. If you’re still not convinced, I revert to my first comment

El Scorcho - Weezer
Unfortunately for Weezer, the longer they last, the worse they get. While I’m yet to listen to their latest offering, even the most diehard Weezer fans admit its inadequacy. It’s a story all too common but thankfully we can enjoy their first two albums which were absolutely awesome. Come to think of it, I really didn’t like Pinkerton, the 2nd album, containing this song when I first heard it. Neither did Rolling Stones readers who voted it worst album ever……but its charm grew on me and many more over time. So perhaps there’s hope for there latest offering yet.

The Grouch - Green Day
Before the days of makeup and MTV exposure, Green Day made great music. Not that there latest album is horrible or anything, but it’s so soaked in commercialism I can’t bring myself to like it. The reason these guys got so popular is because they make great punk music, which you don’t need to be a punk fan to like. Or perhaps it was the deal they signed, for we all know the world is full idiots who’ll blindly like anything they’re told to……but that’s another story. I’d definitely quote Nimrod as my favourite album and no I do not like this song for it’s insistent swearing, I am well past that age, it’s just a damn catchy song

Paranoid Android - Radiohead
Radiohead are their own genre, and whatever it is it’s weird. They definitely take a bit of getting used to, but once you do, you’re hooked. His voice just grabs you takes you away into a land of magical flying monkeys who don’t like being stared at, well perhaps you might go somewhere. What I mean is, you just wanna close your eyes, not because you’re bored but because you want to be completely immersed and they definitely deliver on the immersion. This song changes in so many ways it covers nearly all the things that make them great.

Jonathon David - Belle & Sebastian
How do you choose one song by your favourite band when they have 7 albums and 12 EPs, each special in their own unique way? With much pain. But there’s a story behind this band and my associated affinity which I’m sure you’d like nothing more than to hear. For years I’d known of them, through a couple of songs my brother had, however I first got into them myself through the song “I’m a Cuckoo”. From here I moved onto its place of origin, “Dear Catastrophe Waitress”. I unimmediately fell in love with it and began craving more gold by this catchy Scottish troop. So I went to my favourite CD store, Soulseek and began acquiring their other albums. Each one I got, I never really liked and yet I kept on going. The last one I got, “Push Barman…” a collection of all their singles, I absolutely despised. I wasn’t really into the slow, quite style of the other albums but they were still alright This, however was just so horribly boring. I continued to listen to Dear Catastrophe and the others just gathered dust. Then one night, I was watching some friends’ band play and a girl playing before them played an early song of theirs, “waiting for the moon to rise”. It was just her and her acoustic guitar and she didn’t know half the words, yet it made me realise how much I liked that song. I went home and began paying more attention to their older albums. To cut a long story short…………wouldn't be fair. At first I got into “Tigermilk” as it contained the two songs I already knew from my brother’s collection but I quickly moved on to “If You’re Feeling Sinister” and fell in love with it. Now throughout this time, I had a friend who was discovering Belle & Sebastian in tandem with me. When I told him how I was getting into the older albums he said he was doing the same, except that he liked “Boy With The Arab Strap” and Push Barman, the two albums I liked least at the time. But now I realise what happened, he was further along in the evolution than I. For as I listened more to Arab Strap I came to love it and listening to his recommendations on Push Barman completely changed my opinion of it. While it is still weak in places I would now say that it contains many of their best songs. These days I like their old stuff just as much as Dear Catastrophe, perhaps more and am really getting into their newest offering “The Life Pursuit”. When they come to Ozzieland in a few short months it will be the happiest moment of my life. It sounds stupid but this is the extent of my love for this band. This song, the first song I got into off Push Barman is celebrating my spectacular journey, one which so easily could never have happened.

Smells Likes Teen Spirit - Nirvana
Nirvana’s music is so soaked in angst that it comes as no surprise that Kurt Cobain committed suicide. The fact that their waning popularity soared when it happened may be the reason behind it. Though that’s not fair, to his credit it was more likely out of boredom or drug-related issues. I really don’t mean to offend those who are big fans for they did make great music and he was rather influential, whether good or bad and for that he should be respected. Also choosing to end things on the day of my sisters second birthday must have SOME significance.

This was written March 29, 2006. What? Why?

The Serious Performers (80's)

I always thought the 80s was gonna be one of the easier decades to do. However I got to this point and found I’d used everyone I knew. But with a little a digging I unearthed a wealth of 80s music lost in the depths of my mind. I decided this week to celebrate those who you can’t help laughing at, for one reason or another. The 80s had its fair share of these, with film clips being an especially hilarious outlet. The sad thing is that they thought they looked hip. However sadly the worst dressed were the worst sounding, so I could only scratch the surface of ridiculousness in order to ensure quality. But fear not, the silly are well represented here.

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!ABBA
How can you respect them when they launched their career from Eurovision? How can you respect them when they named themselves after their initials? How can you respect them when they’re just two music playing men and their singing wives? How can you respect them when they’re horrible dressers (Google Image Search will confirm this)? How david bowiecan you respect them when they’re Swedish? Well because their music is so damn catchy and their lyrics so stupid – the perfect pop combination. After all, who doesn’t want a man after midnight?

CarsGary Numan
I don’t think I’ll go into respect for this guy. The film clip for this song will show just how serious he is - emotionless, staring into the camera and…….standing in a giant cube. The scope of this song is pretty huge actually, being one of the most popular songs of the 80s. I’ve actually got his ‘best of’ and my two most recommended would have to be Cars and Cars (remix). Apparently he had more but I don’t believe it.

Billy JeanMichael Jackson
What can I possibly say about Wacko Jacko that hasn’t been heard before? He went from cool little black kid with a cool afro, to the ugliest white man alive. Meanwhile his music went from high pitched pop music, to slightly less high pitched pop music, to just as high pitched political pop music. Controversy-wise he changed skin colours, outbid Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono for the rights to The Beatles’ songs, spent his money like an idiot, hung his baby over a balcony, was accused of sexual molestation of a child (acquitted of course), need I say more? Looking at or hearing him these days, it’s hard to do anything but make fun of him, however the fact remains that he was one of the greatest singers of the last 25 years and produced some excellent music. Not only this, but we was probably the coolest on stage dancer of all time. He single-handedly made it cool. No amount of stupid behaviour can tarnish this reputation, though he sure has tried.

Let’s DanceDavid Bowie
The amount of musicians this guy is helped out is innumerable. He seems to be friends with everyone in the industry. I really don’t how I could describe his music other than that in stark contrast to the artist above he has a really deep voice. I think that must be his attraction, as we all know nobody can resit a deep voice. He too has a great collection of music, though to be honest I’m not the biggest fan. Perhaps it was the copious amounts of makeup he liked to wear. Not that there’s anything wrong with that….

Shout To The TopThe Style Council
This is just one of those songs you have to jump to. There is no choice in it you just do. That marks the end of my knowledge on this song. I know nothing about the band and stupid they were, but singing this song and calling yourselves The Style Council won’t help people take you seriously

This was written March 22, 2006. What? Why?

Tough As Nuts (70's)

To be honest (as so I often am) I have been putting this episode off as it really isn’t my speciality. Despite it not being a favourite genre, I was always going to do it due to the importance of many of these bands. Though some may hate me for doing it, others would hate me more for not. While it may be defined as metal, it bears little resemblance to some of the heavy metal infecting our modern ears today, which I would happily put under the category of noise rather than music. No these are the ‘classic metal’ bands from before the metal name (in my humblest of opinions of course) was tarnished and the musicianship here is tops. On that topic, this genre put a lot of emphasis on the guitar ranging from simple, addictive riffs to the ultimate in guitar craziness. Many of these bands gathered huge followings and even reached the point of being worshipped, thus it is very sacred territory I’m treading here. I may not really be into it but that doesn’t mean I can’t see quality when presented with it. Yes here are some great songs which even non-fans of the genre should enjoy, a rather bellisimo collection if I may say so myself.

Smoke On The WaterDeep Purple
Dare I say the most well-known song in this group. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t recognise the riff and harder a guitarist who can’t play it. It may be simple but it’s a classic

Immigrant SongLed Zeppelin
Definitely a favourite song from this genre and a song from this genre that’s a favourite (there’s a difference). With friends that love this band, I really tried to get into them, however an unfortunate occurrence put me off. In my typical fashion, I already had about 5 albums of theirs waiting to be explored on my music player so I decided to embark on a random Led Zeppelin session. However one of the albums I had happened to be a live album, containing a 20 or so minute drum solo. When it came on, I sat patiently; waiting for something, anything, to join these lonely drums, but it never came. The frustration of this turned me off I think, as well as the fact I don’t think they’re really my type. This song however, is definitely my type.

She Shook Me All Night LongAC/DC
One of the biggest bands of all time came out of Australia? Yes, believe it or not, we produced something decent. Their records have sold millions and their influence deep-seeded. Again my knowledge of them is rather limited, not spreading much further than TNT however for this special occasion I thought I’d go out and find something different. Like a true Australian, I’ve shown no faith in home-made products and picked a song by the replacement, yet equally influential lead singer, Englishman Brian Johnson.

Iron ManBlack Sabbath
Everybody knows Black Sabbath, they’re the band headed by the infamous Ozzy Ozbourne who was known for biting the heads off bats on stage….True or not, it’s a nice image. One of the earliest and most influential metal bands, they’re music was often associated with darker areas such as drugs and the occult. My listening to them was no more than listening to an unknown CD once or twice however upon hearing this I instantly recognised it for some reason - more than enough reason for using it. Generally I’m not a fan of long songs but with Black Sabbath there really isn’t much choice.

PanamaVan Halen
Van Halen are known for their guitar solos, which, while pretty mild in this song, can get pretty crazy. I don’t mean to criticise but this song sounds awfully similar to ‘jump’, released in the same year, though both are good songs. Speaking of release dates, I’m shocked to discover this was actually released in the mid-eighties, so much for my usual rigid checks. Ah well, it’s too late now, and besides, they belong more to this genre than any eighties category. So just pretend for my sake

This was written March 15, 2006. What? Why?

Of Forest Fame (60's)

As the name suggests, these are all songs from the movie, Forrest Gump. It’s not that I have any particular love for the movie, I think it’s alright, yet the music on it is what makes it special. I actually listened to the soundtrack frequently before I ever saw the movie, my parents clearly seeing its quality, making this album one of my earliest exposures to music of the past. And so when it came to finding my favourite 60s songs, I found quite a few to be off this album, so much so that I thought it deserved an episode of its own. It actually covers many more decades than just this meaning I had to cut some great, non-60’s songs. It also contains 60’s artists which I couldn’t use as I’d either already done so or am holding for the future. So the fact that I could still find 5 great songs gives an insight into the enormous scope of this CD. It is simply the best soundtrack ever released. If you only buy one Original Movie Soundtrack this year, buy this!

San FranciscoScott Mckenzie
Raise your hands people and sway. This is one of those songs that is unimaginably pleasant. The harmonious music is a perfect backing to the soothing voice. It is no surprise then that this song became an anthem for hippies in America. It makes me happy and I’m sure it made Scott Mckenzie happy enough to forget that the rest of his music was ordinary.

Land of 1000 DancesWilson Picket
I needed a jazzy song and I needed an upbeat song, two reoccurring themes of this album. Thankfully this song fitted the bill perfectly. It’s a rather simple-minded song, but that’s the beauty of it.

Turn! Turn! Turn!The Byrds
I haven’t heard much of The Byrds but from what I read they seem to be very much of the build The Beatles. Highly popular and accomplished yet somehow lacking the genius of their English counterparts especially as most of their biggest hits were covers. However they put their own style into the music they played, producing many memorable pop songs, this included

California Dreamin’ The Mamas and the Papas
I can hardly criticise them for their name by today’s standards however I’m sure in their time it was rather extraordinary. Musically they were a vocal group rather than a band with the instruments playing the back seat to their vocal harmonies. Harmonies more than present in this song. I think my affinity with this song comes from the hilarious version I heard on a sketch show once. This is good none-the-less

Mrs RobinsonSimon & Garfunkel
This song is in the same vain as the first one, pleasant. It’s hard to describe it in any other way. This song actually started out as simply a few snippets, written for a movie, however its popularity prompted it to be turned into a fully fledged song, a #1 song at that. But enough of the history, just sit back, close your eyes and enjoy.

If I were you I wouldn’t take much notice of the very brief briefings I’ve given here as to be honest I don’t much about any of these songs other than the fact I like them.

This was written March 8, 2006. What? Why?

Catalysts For Collections (00's)

Back in January 2004 I attended The Big Day Out. It was my first music festival, with my only previous live music experience being a Millencolin gig. Coming into it, my knowledge consisted only of a couple of songs by The Strokes who I enjoyed along with a couple of other bands I hadn’t heard of. Overall I had an alright time. Afterwards I borrowed cd’s of bands I hadn’t seen but had been there and was horrified by how much I liked them. So many bands which I now loved had been playing just metres away and I’d neglected them. Never would I allow such an atrocity to happen again and so my crusade for musical knowledge began. I digitalised my whole collection however was not content with this. I began borrowing other peoples collections and adding them to mine. I got my hands on every cd I could and ripped it. By now my collection was growing and my tastes diversifying yet I was still not satisfied. There was so many cd’s I sought yet none of my friends owned them. It was here that I was introduced to soulseek, a heavenly program, which opened the floodgates to my heart’s desires. It amazes how ignorant I was just two years ago and this episode is a celebration of some the bands that sparked me onto this path of radiance.

Inertiatic ESPThe Mars Volta
To be honest I’m not the biggest Mars Volta fan. Their tendency to play ‘music’ rather ‘songs’ turns me off, due to the periods of procrastination between pieces. However this song (combined with the intro) goes against this formula and so is just my type. It features the energy they’re famous for along with incredible vocals. Absolutely awesome song. Those with a sharp ear will notice it got a bit of treatment in the editing room.

Get Your Hands Off My WomenThe Darkness
Speaking of great voices, this guy is unbelievable. He’s so high pitched it’s almost laughable. However it’s this high-pitched-ness which makes them so good. I have loved this song from the day I heard it and will continue to practise my high notes on it cause that’s just the cool thing to do….

Do You Realize??The Flaming Lips
The Flaming Lips probably just beat the Darkness as the band I’m most disappointed about missing. Not because I like their music better but because a whole heap of people came out on stage in big animal costumes. I think this accurately sums them up – weird. I have pleasant memories of trying to synchronise their 4 disc experimental album, Zaireeka, with very little success. However in recent years they have settled down and are producing more standard music, including this absolute gem, arguably their best.

Molly’s ChamberKings Of Leon
Most of the time when I’m reading a book, I listen to music at the same time. However it occasionally occurs where the two creative materials merge and become one. Back when I was reading ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’, about two years ago, I still used a cd player and being my lazy self would listen to the same thing over and over again and so listened to nothing but Kings of Leon’s first album whilst reading this and so now they are inherently linked in my mind. However both being overflowing with southern USA goodness it hasn’t really deterred from either one. I imagine the word Leon stands for cool cause that’s exactly what they are. Great album all round but I picked this as a nice distraction song and because I’ve already used Red Morning Light somewhere.

Apocalypse PleaseMuse
The title of this song gives an indication of what Muse like to sing about. Thankfully they manage to back up their grand subject matter with an even grander musical style. You get swept up in every song which are all epic in their own way. That said, I’m not the biggest nor most knowledgeable Muse fan however I know them well enough to get sad when I think I could have seen them so easily

This was written March 1, 2006. What? Why?

Made In Australia (90's)

Looking back at my early musical tastes, I was surprised to find that despite being horribly limited, they were also very Australian. Why this happened I have no idea, especially seeing as 90% of the music I listen to these days is international. Thankfully the Australian music scene in the late 90’s contained some rather big names and I don’t need to be ashamed of my first interests. I’m proud and impressed that I was taping Silverchair off the radio at the age of 9. The list goes beyond these 5 including the likes of Eskimo Joe, The Whitlams and The Living End however for various reasons they had to be cut. One distressing note I should make about many of these bands is that they have gone astray. For many of them, their turning sour (in my eyes) came at the same time they became popular, not because they were no longer cool to like but simply because they’re style changed, for the worse. Why the Australian public decides to like them when they’re music goes bad is beyond me. However this doesn’t subtract from the beauty of their early material which will always bring me a pleasant sense of nostalgia.

The Door - Silverchair
Silverchair were one of, if not the first ‘band’ that I ever liked. As I mentioned earlier I came across them on the radio and would listen to their current song habitually however due to the somewhat darker nature of they’re lyrics, I was unable to convince my parents to let me get their cds and alas they weren’t my first. These days I’m still a fan of Silverchair and while I like songs from both their earliest and latest offerings, I find them a bit heavy and soft respectively and so have picked a song from ‘Freak Show’, a nice in between for me. It’s also because this song was one of the first songs of theirs I got to know.

Mr Charisma - Frenzal Rhomb
Jay and The Doctor have made themselves rather (in)famous since taking a spot on Triple J radio with their rude and outrageous antics. I can perfectly understand why some people hate them, but me, I love them. They have the ability to effortlessly insert their humour into their songs and at the same time make great music. I can’t remember when I came across this song, it wouldn’t be their best however it was one of my first and I’ve always liked it.

Harpoon - Jebediah
With all the fast paced music in this I figured I better mix it up a bit. Jebediah’s first album, ‘Slightly Odway’ would have to be one of my favourite albums ever. Unlike their future albums, which usually contained one or two great songs, this was top quality the whole way through. They’re an awesome band to see live, though I think this may be a bit late as I’m pretty sure they’ve given up. This song is a nice slower piece, great to sing along to

Buy Me A Pony - Spiderbait
Seeing Spiderbait live recently was a bit of a disappointment. Most of the other fans were only hanging out for ‘Black Betty’ and most of what they played was off that album, which to me sounds boringly repetitive. What I like is a mix of Kram’s fast paced rock ballads (such as this), Janet’s delicious, highly glossed pop songs and the electronic/dance in-betweens, the likes of which found mostly on ‘Ivy and the Big Apples’ and ‘Grand Slam’. This song was actually voted first in Triple J’s Hottest 100 one year, about the only time I’ve liked the winner, so much so I somehow know all the lyrics off by heart.

Just Ace - Grinspoon
I have mixed feelings towards Grinspoon, from both the fat and skinny era. However overall I think I like them, especially this song, a short and sweet, early childhood favourite.

This was written February 22, 2006. What? Why?

24 Hour Party People (80's)

This is the music only the 80s could produce. Synthesizing goodness you just can’t help but dance to. These are some of my favourite ‘new wave’, ‘synthpop’, or ‘whatever you want classify them as’ songs, some of them new-found, others always loved. They are songs you can put on at any occasion and they’ll be universally loved. Sitting here writing this, I can’t keep still, they’re that infectious. Those familiar with songs, sit back and enjoy, those new to them, welcome to the 80s.

Bizarre Love Triangle - New Order
The band that spawned out of Joy Division, who nobody gave a chance of success, yet went onto create a new brand of music, making them bigger than they’re predecessor ever managed. Yes it’s New Order, the early pioneers and kings of electronic dance music. This song is a great example of such music, damn pleasant to listen to.

Take On Me - Aha
One of the first 80s pop songs I fell in love with, it will always be special. Such a simple yet uplifting song, I just love listening to it. The band, a-ha to be precise, were launched with this song and it’s undoubtedly their best, though apparently they had more. Another attribute of this song is its very different film clip, which while I’m yet to see it, the creators of Family Guy with their excellent taste in music, were kind enough to give me a preview.

Forever Young - Alphaville
I very much am a fan of Napoleon Dynamite, to where I came upon on this song. I am SO disappointed that Youth Group had to cover it, tarnishing its underground reputation. I can’t be seen liking OC music. Thankfully the original is superior in a number of ways, namely its deviation from the formula. And so I can continue liking it, making sure people know which version my allegiance lies with. Song-wise this is the slowest of the lot, very soothing, sung by a great 80s voice.

Anyway You Want It - Journey
The intro of this song alone could get any party started. Referred to as a power ballad, it’s really is invigorating. Journey were a rather prominent and popular group in the 80s. Especially great about them is lead singer, Steve Perry’s voice, compelling you to sing along

Tainted Love - Soft Cell
Owning Soft Cell’s greatest hits CD, I can pretty confidently say they were one hit wonders. But that being said, they’re hit, Tainted Love, is one of the most famous and loved songs of the 80s. No disco is complete without it. I’m trying to think what makes it so attractive and I’d have to say it’s a combination of catchy music and involvement of the listener who again, feels the need to sing along.

This was written February 15, 2006. What? Why?

Legendary Weirdos (70's)

It seems that every famous or talented person has something decidedly odd about them. It’s as if the better they get, the weirder they must act. Perhaps it’s their way of standing out from the crowd. To me the seventies seams like a rather bare decade. I covered the punk stuff and most likely will go on and do the metal, but otherwise my mind draws a blank, most of my favourite old time songs are either 60s or 80s. But despite all this, I’ve managed to scrape together this group, a respectable (mostly) group of artists, each of them very much unique and more so talented, even if they are a bit weird.

Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
Freddie Mercury is so gay!! It’s absolutely hilarious. Not that I find gay people funny, it’s just that watching him strut around on stage in such an outrageous manner, I can’t help but be entertained. Combine this with one of the best voices in history and quality song writing and you have one excellent band. This song is so grand I sometimes skip it in favour of the more standard ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, however this is an injustice I vow never commit to again. The sheer magnitude of it and the variety of styles within make it one of the best songs EVER.

Tiny Dancer - Elton John
Perhaps I should have done a gay episode, as it seams to be the theme going here. But of course that has no bearing on musical talent, if only I could say the same about fashion. For Elton John is renowned for his wacky dress style almost as much as he is for his music. The biggest trademark of all is the novelty giant star glasses which sadly he thought looked good. Back to music, Elton John was THE piano man, with songs ranging from slow love songs to fast pop perfections. This song, Tiny Dancer, I found rather ordinary at first however it has really grown on me and I now see why it’s so popular

Strutter - KISS
For years I knew about KISS and for years I avoided them. By the looks of them they’re music was probably something along the lines of slipknot (unaware that I actually knew a few of they’re songs). Then one day I listened to them, my only response was wow. Wow because it was nothing like I expected and wow because it was actually good. Instant accessibility is always a plus. This experience is probably the reason I like and have chosen this song, for being the first song on the CD, it introduced me to them.

The Passenger - Iggy Pop
Iggy should not be performing any more, he is simply too old. Yet on stage he is just about the most active of the lot. Seeing him on stage was definitely an experience, humping the speakers, kicking cameras, calling twenty people up onto stage, I wanna be your dog! However this song is from a different era, post-Stooges where Iggy shows he is more than just an actor and can make great music.

Mother - John Lennon
To put it simply, John Lennon was one of the biggest, best singer/songwriters of all time. While personally I prefer his Beatles days, he still managed to produce great music right up to his premature death, probably more so than any other Beatle. Song choice was extremely hard here, should I go for the popular yet murder prompting ‘Imagine’, the soothing ‘Real Love’ or any other from his sizeable repertoire? Instead I’ve got for the reasonably unknown ‘Mother’, full of raw emotion and John Lennony goodness

This was written February 8, 2006. What? Why?

Definitive Compilations (60's)

This week we have a variety of left-overs, which while I like them, don’t really fit into any of the sets I’ve used or plan on doing. Shouldn’t I be doing the left-overs last you ask? Yes. But I’m lazy and under prepared and this seemed like the easiest thing to do. A few of these songs are ‘one hit wonders’ in that the artists never did much more however seeing as the songs themselves were never really ‘wonders’ I can’t like really call them that. No, this is a just a few songs from here or there that I’ve always known or have caught my…er….ear. A nice presentation of the variety musical styles going round in the 60s. Also as the title suggests, these are the types of songs you’d find on the supposedly definitive sixties compilations, the ones that can’t afford to pay royalties to the ‘big’ artists – a sometimes ugly yet integral part of everybody’s favourite decade.

1) Wild ThingThe Troggs
This is a nice mellow rock song which practically everyone knows. This is definitely deserved of the ‘one hit wonder’ title, with most of The Troggs’ fame being based around it however that doesn’t deteriorate from its quality. Considered a sort of anthem in the day it has been widely covered and like just about everything else had an influence on things to come.

2) House Of The Rising SunThe Animals
The Animals were another of the big 60s bands going round however I never really got into them. I wouldn’t really compare them though as at least some (possibly all) of their hits weren’t written by themselves. They have a nice sound and Eric Burden’s voice is great but most of their songs don’t really appeal to me. This song however, which was probably their most known, I’ve always found interesting, with a nice building, epic sound.

3) He’s Got The PowerThe Exciters
One prominent style of music in the sixties was girl groups. There was nothing much differentiating them other than the songs they were given to sing. If you happened to get a good one then you were famous for a while. This may be a bit stereotypical but oh well. I found this song on a compilation of such music and though listening to so much of it together was a bit overwhelming I managed to find this song, which whilst whiney at times is one of the better ones I’ve heard

4) No Milk TodayHerman’s Hermits
While hardly a masterpiece this is just a well-rounded, catchy and overall soothing song. My brother bought a best of CD of these guys, 2 CDs of reasonably dull, similar songs broken by a couple of good ones. I don’t look forward to hearing the songs that didn’t make the best of….. However this is the story of so many bands and we should just ignore it and enjoy their good stuff, simultaneously appreciating those bands that went further and managed to produce a constant flow of quality music for us to enjoy.

5) Wooly BullySam the Sham
Best. Song. Ever. Yes ladies and gentlemen I said it. Though I probably don’t mean it, it’s hard for me to explain just how much I love this song. Sitting dormant at the end of a compilation, it exploded onto me changing my life forever. I would have to say this is the funnest (not funniest, FUNNEST) song I’ve heard. Half the fun comes from jumping around to this absolutely awesome tune and the other comes inventing and screaming your own lyrics as it’s anybody’s guess what he’s actually saying.

This was written February 4, 2006. What? Why?

Rock AND Roll (50's)

While we may have ‘rock’ today, rarely do we see ‘roll’ anymore. The swingin’ rhythm and blues side of rock ‘n’ roll that helped make it so popular. This week features the early pioneers of such music. These guys inspired the inspiring, they influenced the influential, they instigated the instigators, and well you get the point. One major reason for this influx of great music is that despite being at the height of racial tension in America, black singers were finally being recognised for their talent and listened to mainstream. In fact, out of this five, Elvis is the only white guy. If only they could channel their R&B skills back towards this kind of music instead of the crap they give us these days. It should be mentioned though, that a lot of credit should be given to the poor songwriters behind the scenes, who sometimes wrote the music that made these guys big.

1) Maybellene - Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry was one who wrote his own songs, most of it great. However it always seemed to be others who made money off his material. Two Beatles favourites of his are ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ and ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Music’ which I love and would have included had I not much preferred The Beatle’s version. Also the Beach Boys ‘borrowed’ the music to ‘Surfin USA’ from Chuck Berry’s slightly less successful ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’. He also wrote the very popular ‘Johnny B Good’ which come to think I probably should have used…..Either way he no doubt had an influence on rock music to come, being inducted in to the rock n roll hall of fame by Keith Richards, a long time fan. This song in particular was Chuck Berry’s first big hit and one of the first rock n roll songs ever recorded.

2) Let The Good Times Roll - Ray Charles
The majority of my Ray Charles knowledge comes from the movie ‘Ray’, which by the way I highly recommend. A blind, heroin addicted, womanising, genius piano player is an odd combination yet that was Ray Charles. He was another to write his own music, producing great songs all the way to his death, just a few years ago. He is not only renowned for his incredible piano skills but also for his screaming singing that made him so exciting to watch. In fact, during his performances the most excited person was probably himself, nearly falling of his chair.

3) Good Golly Miss Molly - Little Richard
Talking about inspiring the inspirational, Little Richard did his fair share. He had up and coming bands, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones supporting him on tours and at one point had Jimi Hendrix playing in his band. His songs epitomise your early rock n roll sound which I can’t really describe anymore than say this is it.

4) Hound Dog - Elvis
So often named the ‘King of rock n roll’, Elvis was BIG. He was the one to make rock n roll mainstream and turn it into the craze it became. In an odd twist Elvis was inspired by black singers such as Chuck Berry and Little Richard yet it was his explosion that made room for these singers. The obsession with this guy was incredible, the likes of which wouldn’t be seen again for…..well just a couple of years. What Elvis did do however, was milk his popularity, with seemingly enough Elvis movies to fill a year of Sunday midday movies. Music-wise his many many hits ranged from rock n roll gems to romantic ballads. But it was his performances that made him biggest with his irresistible charm and crazy onstage antics taking audiences by storm
5) Ain’t That A Shame - Fats Domino
Now if that isn’t the coolest stage name ever, I dunno what is. Fats represents the Jazz side of rock n roll that was still prevalent in the 1950s. The heavy influence of piano and trumpets is rarely found in rock n roll today. Just like all the others he has great voice and is a pleasure to listen to.

And the best thing about all this music is that it’s short and sweet! With every song under 3 minutes this is by far my shortest ever episode. Why does this please me?

This was written January 25, 2006. What? Why?

Mass Murderers (00's)

They may be common but they’re good! What sets these songs apart is that they have survived popularity and (in my mind) remained good. So often a band becomes so big that they change for the worse, leaving behind the fans that got them started. The other major problem is a song we like becomes so popular and overplayed we no longer like it. We really shouldn’t do this, it’s still the same song, however seeing some idiot liking YOUR song is guaranteed to turn you sour. What makes a good song is when it goes through this process of sourification (I have to make up at least one word per episode) and comes out unaffected. Here is a collection of such songs. Most of the songs I picked are the ones that made the bands big, something I usually don’t do, however in line with this week’s theme I figured it’d be appropriate.

1) Take Me OutFranz Ferdinand
The critical moment in this song’s career came when some idiot music clip show, So Fresh or something, went round asking people who they’d want to ‘take out’……on a date…..settle down Peter, they don’t know any better, they’re just retarded failed actors doing their job, brainwashing today’s equally retarded youths…..I know who I wanna take out……Anyway this experience didn’t taint the song enough for me to stop liking. I really don’t need to do any explaining of it as pretty much everybody already knows it. To put it simply these guys make songs for girls to dance to….and I like

2) Hate To Say I Told You SoThe Hives
No amount of exposure could ever stop “Howlin” Pelle Almqvist from being the coolest front man ever. “Our lowest level is so high….most bands are left behind” – this guy has the best collection of arrogant quotes. But of course it’s all backed up when they come out in they’re stylish white suits and Pelle jumps round yelling in his funny voice. As you can guess, they’re one of my favourite live bands. Just listening to the energetic vibe of this classic song explains why.

3) Autumn ShadeThe Vines
For some reason I never got into The Vines at the height of their craze. Everybody at school was talking about them yet I never bothered to go out and investigate. By the time I finally did listen (and love) they were releasing their less impressive second album and about to implode. Even though they’re really not a band anymore it’s great to listen to their first album and reminisce. While they’re most renowned for fast-paced, explosive music, I decided to pick a slower song, which they were equally good at producing

4) Fell In Love With A GirlThe White Stripes
Jack White is undeniably weird. In the context however this is a good thing as it means he is much less likely to conform to public gayness. It definitely hasn’t stopped him and his “sister” (ex-wife) Meg rising to the top in a few short years. Their music, whilst straying a bit in recent years, is typically bare bones rock. They are also renowned for the liking of the colours red, white and black. This song would have to be they’re biggest and to top it off it has a great film clip

5) Hard To ExplainThe Strokes
Back when I was blind to the majority of music (not that long ago) this was the only Strokes song I knew, the ‘song where the guy sings in a slurred voice’. Isn’t it unfortunate then that I saw them with this knowledge alone, when just a few months later I could have enjoyed them SO much more? For I would go on to discover that not only is EVERY one of their songs sung in a slurred voice but they’re pretty much all great. This is off their higherly acclaimed first album, though I like them all

This was written January 18, 2005. What? Why?

Second Coming (90's)

The best thing about the previous decades is that over time, the dust has settled and a select few are crowned as the best. Now either this is yet to happen for the 90s or the talent was a lot more spread, because looking at my list of must-include bands, I’m gonna need at least 4 episodes. This also isn’t helped by need to categorize my episodes, thus including bands that may not be must-includes yet fit perfectly into a category, such as in this week. It is a celebration of Britpop – where a new brand of music (really just a rehash of 60’s pop) took the world by storm. Battling for top spot were Oasis and Blur yet all of these featured bands played equally important roles. Not only are these bands all from the UK they are all exclusively from Britain. I could probably do another whole episode of Britpop bands not quite British and another still of British bands not quite Britpop but we’ll see. For now, just sit back and enjoy

1) Animal Nitrate - Suede
Probably the first big Britpop song was ‘there she goes’ by ‘the la’s’ (you know the song, perhaps not by name) which sadly had to be cut. However the first big Britpop band was Suede (known as London Suede to the Americans). They are less known than many of the other Britpop bands as while they made hit records throughout the 90’s, their heyday was arguably before Britpop’s peak (1995). Regardless of this, my reliable sources tell me they were pretty huge. To be honest I’ve never listened to them until now however I only had to download two songs to find a worthy one. So for all I know they could have way better, I shall definitely be investigating.

2) AcquiesceOasis
As I mentioned before, 1995 was the big year for Britpop. It saw the release of big albums for Blur, Pulp, Supergrass and many more, however nothing compared to Oasis’ ‘[What’s the story] Morning Glory?’ (what a funny title). This is what shot the Gallagher brothers (and the others….) to the super-stardom they still enjoy today. Isn’t it strange then that I didn’t pick a song off it, nor their (arguably) equally good debut album ‘Definitely Maybe’? Well this song was actually the B-side of ‘Some Might Say’ their first #1 single and has become quite a fan favourite. It’s one of only two of their songs to feature both brothers as lead singers and is rumoured to be about brotherly love – awww. Anyway it’s a great song that any Oasis fan should know. On that note you should also know their aforementioned first two albums – but then that’s assumed. Unfortunately their song-writing talent kind of dwindled after these albums and they never became the ‘next Beatles’ so many hoped they would.

3) Common PeoplePulp
Pulp was another of the great Britpop bands. While in Britain they were just as big Blur and Oasis, they failed to gain the needed international recognition. For this reason they never really received the lasting fame of the other bands. However this didn’t stop them from making great music, with their 1995 album ‘Different Class’, cutting it with the best. This song off it is a rather epic tune and probably their most well known

4) AlrightSupergrass
The energy with which this song comes on is just amazing. As they state, these guys we’re young, and it was this youth that made them so exciting. They gave Britpop a boost of happiness. This is one of those songs where it takes a lot of self-control not to jump around like idiot. You should also check out the video for this song as it perfectly captures the mood of this song – complete silliness

5) Coffee & TVBlur
While Oasis may have had the biggest moment, they were unable to maintain their success. This is where Blur excelled. They managed to produce great songs before, during and after Oasis’ reign. It is this that probably makes them the most successful Britpop band. This makes them perfectly suited (unlike Oasis) for a best-of album which I recommend to anyone who doesn’t know them. They had a variety of styles however they are probably most famous for their slower, harmonious songs, such as this. So many good songs to choose from, however this won out in the end.

This was written January 11, 2005. What? Why?

The Dark Ages (80's)

The 80s gave birth to a lot of dark natured songs. This episode is mostly a celebration of such music. Again I’ve been plagued with bands crossing over decades – mainly The Pixies – however I’ve battled through to create a nice, well-rounded and downright fantastical episode. By dark, my general meaning is lyrically, talking of sex, drugs and death in a slightly less positive tone than days gone by. This music is the morning-after of the pop, rock and punk that it followed. This of course doesn’t stop it from being some of the best music around and to be honest most of what I just said can probably just be ignored as I’m really just pulling analogies from thin air in order to fill space…

1) Why Can’t I Be You?The Cure
Listening to The Cure they appear upbeat and happy, yet pay attention to their lyrics and you’ll find them quite depressing . In fact this darkness is part of their image with lead singer, Robert Smith, being renowned for his pale skin contrasted against dark clothes and lipstick – a look that had the unfortunate effect of contributing towards the gothic image. On the subject of looks, I advise everyone to watch a collection of their film clips and notice how he gets fatter as the years go by. Back to music, they manage to transcend above their own gloom to create classic music

2) Debaser - The Pixies
This is an extremely underappreciated yet influential band. They are slowing filtering into the conscience of my fellow schoolmates which pleases me greatly; I hope this sentiment is mirrored elsewhere. Being a, if not the, favourite band of my brother’s, I’ve been exposed to and liked them for a long time. Their heavy sound and rough edges is perfectly balanced with underlying melodies. Their style is starkly contrasted to what I usually like however they managed to write many songs I love. The fact that they predominately spanned between 87 and 93 gave me a lot of grief in choosing a song. It wasn’t a matter of using a song for the preferred decade but rather a matter of using the decade of my preferred song…….. I have a million apologies to make however if going for a 90s song I probably would have ignored the obvious choices and gone for the slightly less known “distance equals rate times time”.

3) This Charming ManThe Smiths
Morrissey – a god in his own eyes – manages better than any other to disguise horrible lyrics in beautiful music. My favourite Smiths song for a while now, “Bigmouth Strikes Again”, demonstrates this perfectly – “Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking when I said I’d like to smash every tooth in your head”. It is this beauty that makes them one of the great 80s bands. I would normally have used this song however due to overuse and popular demand I have gone for “This Charming Man”. It’s only very recently that I’ve listened intently to this song and I can see why it’s so popular. I wouldn’t be surprised if the charming man was himself….

4) Moon Over MarinDead Kennedys
Despite its absence from their compilation album, this is by far my favourite Dead Kennedys song. It’s got a nice tempo and rhythm and epitomises them well. Looking at their name, their political nature is evident, listening to their music shows their punk roots – it’s as if they’re from the wrong decade. However that really doesn’t matter, their quality music and confrontational lyrics made them deservedly big

5) Golden BrownThe Stranglers
Such pleasant and soothing music is fitting for a song about the incredible high gotten from taking heroin. Rather oddly I got conformation of this on ABC radio whilst listening to the cricket today. Yes, Hugh Cornwell, the lead singer came into the commentary box as a guest and confirmed the reference saying “it puts you in a state of euphoria, you don’t need sex, you don’t need alcohol, you have everything you could possibly want – though I wouldn’t recommend it”. Yes I’m sure that’s gonna turn people off….Technically this band belongs to the punk movement of last week however I couldn’t resist holding them back in order to use this song

Whilst making this episode I’ve come to the startling realisation, that other than The Stranglers, I came across every one of these bands in skateboarding movies. In fact apart from The Smiths the songs I picked were the very ones I first heard. Oddly enough just about every other Smiths song I contemplated has been used (and chances are, so too this one) and I’ve got a feeling Golden Brown was used somewhere; I just can’t put my finger on it. It is clear then of just how great the skateboarder’s choice in music is – take note

This was written January 4, 2005. What? Why?

Rebellious Punks (70's)

The first 1970's installment, largely featuring the late-seventies punk movement. I probably should have done the earlier stuff that this replaced first but I know this a lot better. Like so many other genres it seems, punk was actually good back then. The explosion of dissatisfaction spawned this trend of simple but catchy music. It took the youths by storm and left little room for other styles of music. Here are some of the intergral players in this anti-establishment movement, showcasing a variety of types of punk-rock. Unfortunately, this is one of those movements which happened between two decades so my song choice is rather limited....

1) Blitzkreig Bop - The Ramones
These guys are often credited with kicking things off. They were just about the only US band in predominately UK movement however it was they who inspired the rest. Their songs were stripped-down and straightforward both musically and lyrically however are still great to listen to. They remain popular and influential to this day. My favourite song of theirs is actually 'Howling at the moon' however that's an 80s song

2) Do The Dog - The Specials
These guys fused the energy of the punk-scene with a mix of orchestral and reggae sounds to give a new face to ska music. Their seven-man, instrument-filled band is similar to many of the ska bands today. Their message was more of social unity, rather than anarchy

3) Anarchy in the UK - Sex Pistols
Despite such a short existence, the Sex Pistols were one of the UK's most influential punk bands. They exploded onto the scene, calling for anarchy and destruction. They were notorious from the start with record stores banning them on account of their name. However this didn't stop them from reaching the public and fuelling the social unrest of the time. Their angry yet accessible music is some of the best

4) Train In Vain - The Clash
The Clash were another band to incorporate elements or reggae into punk-rock with great success. Lyrically, they were more sophisticated and political than other punk bands, which helped distinguish them. They also had more musical skill than others, releasing a number of hit songs in a variety of styles. Choosing a song for them was hard as not only did they have many great 80's songs but there was also a lot to choose from in this decade

5) Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
Don't be fooled by their name, this band was one of the darkest of the era. The name 'Joy Division' is actually taken from a rumoured group of underage Jewish woman used in sexual slavery by the Nazis. Whilst this song was technically released in 1980 it was a favourite of their 1979 live shows and was first recorded in November and therefore I call it 1970s. Some perceive the lyrics to represent his failing marriage and frame of mind leading up to suicide in mid 1980. Regardless, it's peaceful and melodic style make it great song, justly receiving many accolades over the years.

This was written December 29, 2005. What? Why?