Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Top 6 Songs Named After Girls

This little scene in Family Guy made me think about all the songs written about chicks, and how awesome they are. Aside from the 31 listed in this clip, I thought of about 15 more. I really, really tried to chisel them down to five, but in the end I had to make it six. Just couldn't decide which one to cut. Which is surprising, really, because the first one I am going to name just so happens to be by...


Not really sure why/how I can like this song. Let's be honest, MCR suck balls, but I just like some of their songs. The catchy ones. And I suppose I can never get away from the fact that Gerard Way looks like one of my mates, on whom I used to have a rather sizeable crush. That shit's hard to escape.

But the song itself is passable, as it's catchy, it's got some hooks, and the guitarist is not terrible. He's NOT TERRIBLE, is all I'm saying.


Rubber Soul was the first Beatles album I bought, and that was only about a year ago. I may get some hate from this, but I used to loathe The Beatles. Reeeeally hated them. But then I met Karl, a mate of mine who worships them, was thrown into his world and came out the other side with a new respect for those Liverpoolian bastards.

This song is particularly sweet for me because my second language is French. You know how I feel about lyrics that confess love so powerfully, and in this song the love is so strong it's in another language. That shit's deep, brah.


I know I should probably have the original one here, but I like this version better. Jack White sings this song with more power than Dolly Parton ever could have, it's more emotional, it's more raw, and he sings like it hurts. Everything he contributed to this cover made it better.

I'm not really a fan of The White Stripes otherwise. I have always angrily dismissed them as living proof that you don't need talent to be famous, but that was more aimed at Meg than Jack. That bitch can hit a snare a hundred times and call it a beat, but I don't know how the rest of us can call her a musician. Laaaaaazy.


Okay, it's another cover, but WHATEVER.

CCR reminds me of my parents. And The Big Lebowski. But mostly my parents. There were many family holidays in the car when I was younger, and there was usually a set playlist, dictated by my mum and dad's cassette collection. Usual suspects were John Williamson, The Commitments soundtrack, and Creedence.

"Suzie Q" is one of my favourites by CCR, mostly for the bluesy guitar mixed with the gruff Fogerty vocals. Despite its repetition, which I usually find annoying (lack of imagination, come on guys), it's interesting to the end with the solos and the general awesomeness that music should always provide.


I love this song mostly for its subject matter. Clapton was good friends with George Harrison back in the day, and unwittingly fell in love with his wife, Pattie Boyd. This song was his plea for her to not dismiss him, despite the difficulty of them being together. Well, ultimately it paid off and they got married after her divorce. But before that happened, Clapton was just a man on drugs and in love. And they're both pretty much the same thing.


This version of the Them original was interspersed with one of Patti Smith's poems, "Oath", opening with the memorable line, "Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine." It was created one day when Smith was reading the poem to her guitarist and friend Lenny. He picked up the guitar and started playing "Gloria" in time with it.

The song retains most of the original, but adds a punk edge with her spoken word and anarchist themes. Smith's voice also gives the whole song new meaning (not just from the new lyrics). In comparison to Van Morrison's original, where he simply says the words in sprechgesang with his gruff, gravelly voice, Smith's version is feminine and emotional, but keeps a rock sound by pairing it with hard music and edge. A simply unforgettable song.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Top 5 Songs of the Zombie Apocalypse

Pick your weapon, mode of transport and soundtrack for the zombie apocalypse. I like this debate, because when you know what someone wants to sing while brutally killing someone, then you truly find out what kind of person they are.


Weapon: Machine gun
Mode of Transport: Jeep

This song needs to be played while driving really fast through a mass of zombies, firing madly into the crowd while trying to escape. Get the adrenaline pumping, y'know?

I think that's all Rob Zombie is for. Not the slaying zombies, but the pumping adrenaline thing. I mean, I can't think of a single time that I put on Rob Zombie because I wanted to listen to it, but because I was going out or doing something that required me to get pumped in a certain way. Like, pre-gig kinda thing. You know what I mean. His music is very Stage Challenge, don't you think?


Weapon: Grenades
Mode of Transport: None

This song is kind of the end-of-the-battle, giving up song that plays for the guy who stays behind as bait, then explodes himself rather than submitting himself to an afterlife of brain-feasting.

I like the sombre tone of Cash's American albums. They're miserable and full of regret, and his voice sings pain so well. I know that doesn't make the songs sound too appealing, but they fit together so well that his songs are despondently beautiful.


Weapon: Desert Eagle
Mode of Transport: Motorcycle

I know I could only pull off the DEagle/Motorcycle look if this song were playing and if I were perhaps 4 - 5 times sexier. But my god, it's what I'm aspiring for. Riding through the desert, pulling off at abandoned gas stations looking for supplies, killing zombies and acting like such a badass that the survivors I run into know not to ask me to stay with them. I'm a lone wolf. Outlaw. Milla Jovovich.

But yeah, Danzig are cool. Even though they spawned from the same mind that spawned the Misfits (such a shitty band IMO), I am willing to overlook that fact because I can embrace the idea of a musician "growing". If Danzig was Glenn Danzig in his adulthood, the Misfits were him in his adolescence, when he was stealing his parents' ciggies and getting in trouble at school for trying to give his mate a tattoo with a compass.


Weapon AND Mode of Transport: MO'FUCKIN TANK

Man, that shit would just be awesome. Ridin' a tank through zombies with Zeppelin cranking through the speakers. Do tanks have speakers? This tank would have fucking speakers. The only thing that would beat it would be having some Wagner playing.


Weapon: Machete
Mode of Transport: My own two feet. Or a horse, if possible.

Yeah, so, I'm gonna run head first into those bitches with my machete and slice at their necks while screaming at the top of my lungs, "KILL WITH POWER!! DIE, DIE!!" I can't really imagine a better way to go. 'Cos yeah, if I'm left on my feet, I'm just gonna die. I'm not swift.

I always forget how much I love this album until I put it on. I claim Gods of War or Louder than Hell to be my favourite Manowar albums (yes, I love Manowar, what of it?), but Hail to England is pretty genius as well. "Army of the Immortals" would be a good zombie song too... hmmm...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Top 5 Songs I Love by Artists I Hate

I like a lot of music. There's a friggin' raaaange of shit in my collection, from pop to metal to jazz to hip hop to whatever - if I like it, I like it, no matter what it is. There is also a hell of a lot of music that I hate, to the very depths of my soul. However, I can admit when a song is good - even when I really, really don't want to.


This was Cilmi's debut single, and it made me fall in love with her voice. I immediately 'acquired' her album, and I immediately regretted it.

This particular song is a smooth, soulful tune that compares her to Amy Winehouse. It's edgy, it's jazzy, the lyrics are nothing spesh but the hooks make it catchy enough for that not to matter. Even more enticing, this chick was only 16 when this song was released. Fuckin' talent.

Downside? The rest of her album suuuuuucked. Just suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked. I mean, it had a couple of songs that were okay, but they were on the bad side of okay. Only a couple more smooth, soulful tunes, and the lyrics were so awful that they were hard to bear. And the rest of the tracks were just pure, bad pop (see "Messy" for the worst example of the lot). Thoroughly disappointing.


First single off their second album. I was already not a fan of Maroon 5, I suppose simply because I was a rocker, and they were not. Then this song came out, and I thought everything would change.

However, it didn't.

I guess the thing that I love about songs is the hooks. If it's got a good hook and the lyrics are fun to sing, I'll love it, and this song is full of friggin' hooks that I can't resist. Following the release of this song, I thought maybe I should give Maroon 5 another chance, maybe their second album is better than the first. Maybe, just MAYBE, I could be a fan. But I'm not. The rest of the songs were too pop for me, but this song still gets me dancing when I'm drunk.


My excuse for loving this song is that I was 15 when I first heard it. 15? Maybe 14. No, I'd just turned 15. I think. Maybe I was 16... nah. Nah, I was 15.

The guitar riffs are simple but memorable, the lyrics are punchy and repetitive, the guy's voice is ... not all bad. Not all bad. But then they slowly turned into just another rock band. You know the ones. Alterbridge. Daughtry. Hinder. Finger Eleven is no different. They all make the same music, and it's never good enough to enjoy.


HOOKS, mother fucker. And this song is full of them. My mate Jenny bought the third album by these suckers when we were 16, and while she found a warm spot within it, I did not. I guess I'm not much of a metal fan, save for Manowar and the occasional song by occasional bands. I prefer melody to malice, and that's all I really hear in metal.

This song, however, is catchy and full of earworms. That is to say, it gets stuck in your head. Also, I can't resist a good throwback to awesome movies. I don't really understand why I like this song and no others by them. If I were to guess, it may be solely because of the Fear and Loathing... references. I just can't find any appeal in the rest of their songs.


I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I actually love this song. It's so g.d. catchy. But, shit, man. What the fuck do you expect me to do with the rest of the MCR catalogue?

I suppose I have to admit here that I do own Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. It's not even the album that had this song on it. But if we're going to compare here (and we are, 'cos this is MY blog), Three Cheers... was better than The Black Parade, but "Teenagers" was better than any song released from Three Cheers...

But this song is good enough to be memorable. It has everything a popular song needs: identifiable lyrics, a tune that'll stick, a guitar solo that will take more than 40 seconds to learn. Just note that I said a "popular" song. Not a "good" song.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Top 5 Albums from 2007 - 2011

I do not listen to a lot of recently released music, and this is for two main reasons: firstly, I am always broke, so I can't pay for new CDs or downloads. Secondly, new music tends to be a little on the shitty side. Just sayin'. I trolled through nine Wikipedia pages telling me all of the albums released in the last five years, and I whittled the list down to ten albums that I'd heard and loved, then easily culled them back to five. That, in my opinion, stands for a shitty, shitty, shitty five years of music. But I digress. Here are the five albums that stuck out, like shining jewels, in a pile of shit.


The fourth studio album of my favourite band of all time, Black Gives Way to Blue was welcomed by fans who had waited almost 15 years for a new album, and was the first album with William DuVall on vocals.

DuVall, in my opinion, sounds enough like the late, great Layne Staley to pay great tribute to him, but sounds different enough that he's not impersonating him. The songs on this album matter just as much to the avid listener as the songs on Dirt or Jar of Flies or any of the other albums -- they kept their roots while they explored their new limits.

What the album is lacking, however, is that extra sound that bands can only achieve from hard drugs. Think of all the great bands at the peak of their trip, then think about the albums they released after they got clean. I'm not saying that they're bad off the drugs, I'm just suggesting that maybe they were better on them.


Third album from indie folk band The Shins, and has just as much bubblegum pop as should be expected from these guys.

Of their three albums, this one is ranked second on my list, with Oh, Inverted World placing first. Wincing... was great, of course, but I found the appearance of too many songs like "Black Wave", "Spilt Needles" and "Pam Berry" to be off-putting. The harsher, cutting sounds are not what I was expecting from the usually very upbeat and perky Shins, and I found that kicking off the album with one of those particular songs to be very hit and miss. That said, however, the rest of the album plays with the joyful tones known, loved and anticipated from The Shins.


(actual music video cannot be embedded, but is worth a watch)
The debut album from Swedish indie pop singer Lykke Li, a shock to my system that made me question if I really am a tomboy, or if deep down, I actually have girl parts.

The album was a dreamy mix of pop and indie. She has a sweet voice and an innocence to her lyrics that made the album beautifully serene, with the occasional danceable track thrown in so it's not too boring. The first song I heard was the above, "I'm Good, I'm Gone", and it kindled a small passion for the sweet lyrics and punchy tunes. Other songs like "Breaking it Up", "Complaint Department" and "Little Bit" have the same upbeat zeal, whereas other songs such as "Tonight", "My Love", "Window Blues" and "Dance, Dance, Dance" are slow moving and emotional. The songs are all so different while at the same time they have a lot of similarities - it's a great album, is all.


Debut album from rock supergroup starring two fantastic musicians and one guy that I'm willing to admit has talent, but I personally think it a moussed-up douchebag. I'm not naming any names, but let's just say that the Foo Fighters can suck a dick.

My mate Ryan recommended this album to me shortly after it came out (very shortly - maybe a couple days after it came out), and then I thrashed it for the next two or three months. I love the grungy/garagy sound they have, the perfect mix of Nirvana and Queens and Zeppelin (hmm I wonder why... great analysis LDG).

I think if I were to make any criticism about this album, it would be that the order of the tracks is not quite right. To some people this wouldn't matter, but to others (and that is to say, to me), this is one of the most important parts of an album. If the songs don't flow, then the whole album is off - a song can be completely ruined by what song follows it, what song precedes it, and sometimes, if one song is ruined, the album can be ruined, too. The problem with the order on this one is that all of their best and most memorable songs are at the beginning of the album. Luckily, this does not ruin the album, because the album is great. I just think that if the later songs were ordered differently, splicing the rest of the best, perhaps they would be more known to me. Perhaps they may even sound better.

This is entirely my opinion, of course. Don't send hate mail. Though I don't know who I'm talking to, no one reads my blog.


Fifth album from blues rock duo The Black Keys, resulting in my immediate conversion to Blackeysology, a new religion founded by the alien living inside Tom Cruise.

This is just a fucking fantastic album. It's just awesome. I can't listen to one of the songs without wanting to listen to the whole thing. I don't even know what to write about it right now, it's just too good, I don't know where to start. The lyrics, the guitar, the vocals, drumming, the random extra instruments that they shove in (listen to "Same Old Thing" featuring drummer Patrick Carney's uncle on the flute). The whole album is one, big, emotional heroin trip that ultimately results in eargasm. I want to have their babies.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Top 5 Songs that I Constantly Hear in the Supermarket

There is a certain genre of songs that I call the Supermarket Genre. These songs generally span the late 80s to almost-late 90s and are usually easy listening rock or alternative. They're the songs that I know all the words to, but almost never know the artist or the title. And I certainly wouldn't admit to listening to them outside of the supermarket. You all know the songs. You all secretly love the songs. So here are my Top 5 Supermarket Songs.


I have a lot of respect for Annie Lennox. She's one of the world's best-selling musicians, she's won shitloads of Brit awards, and I'm pretty sure she hasn't changed her hairstyle since Eurythmics.


I found out the following things about this song today:
- it is NOT actually called "Thunderbreak of Dawn"
- those aren't the lyrics, I've been singing it wrong for almost 15 years
- it's by Eagle-Eye Cherry
- Eagle-Eye Cherry is actually a dude's name, not the name of the band.
Who knew?


This song was recently voted one of the worst songs of the 90s. I wholeheartedly agree, but that didn't stop me from dancing in the beer fridge when it came on the other day.

2. MATCHBOX 20 - "PUSH" (1997)

This is maybe a supermarket song that I would actually listen to by choice, but not when anyone else was around, because I wouldn't want them thinking that I like Matchbox 20.


This song is the ultimate supermarket song. I actually remember listening to it in the Write Price in Hawera. And that shit's been closed for yeeeeeeeeears.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Top 5 Songs About Drugs

I am not advocating the use of drugs. However, if you are using drugs, I recommend listening to these songs while doing so.

Not that I ever have.


The buildup and peak of this song make a perfect concoction for a multitude of possible trips. The music itself is dark and twisted, jumping from soft drumbeats under melodic vocals to strong, thumping riffs with shouted vocals, but the lyrics themselves are calming and poetic. The juxtaposition of soothing lyrics and their raw vocalisation (listen especially to the bridge with the lyrics, "The whisper is but a shout / That's what it is all about / Yes, the ecstasy, you can pray / You will never let it slip away"), and the difference in energy between each verse and bridge -- these two aspects perform together perfectly to make an unforgettable experience. Being able to portray all of this in the form of a song is a pretty incredible feat.


There is always the dispute of what this song was originally about when Reznor first penned it -- is it a suicide note, a song for depression, or a song finding reason to live? There are definitely references to self-harm, and the poignant lyric, "The needle tears a hole / The old familiar sting", allows the song to be relevant in my list.

I, like many, many people in the world, prefer this version to the original N.I.N. version, and it's all because of Cash's voice. His baritone gives an extreme melancholy to the song that was less apparent in the original, and (my apologies) the lack of Reznor's whining gives it a lot more feeling. I do hope you know what I mean by that -- in no way am I insulting Trent Reznor, 'cos I think he's very talented, but you must admit that his voice gets a little bit of a whine in there sometimes. Without it, it makes the song better. That's all I'm saying.

Something else that gives Cash's version that little something extra is the minor change in lyrics. The N.I.N. radio edit had the line "crown of shit" changed to "crown of thorns", a change that Cash kept when recording his cover. This change reflects his strong Christian beliefs, and his request for forgiveness from his sins. It adds an extra element of sadness to a song that is pretty much already weeping.

This is quite obviously a song for a low-energy trip, uppers and hallucinogenics not recommended unless you want to kill yourself.


There is a lot less for me to talk about in this song: it's the same melody for five verses, no change in tone or content and... well, actually that's it. But it's a song about how much she loves weed. I don't see how that's a problem.


"[Purple Haze] was all about a dream I had that I was walking under the sea." - Jimi Hendrix.

Of course, this is the quintessential psychedelic drug song of the 60s, possibly of all time. For all intents and purposes it should be number one on this list, but since I'm writing about my favourites, it's taking second place.

The song is a trip inside your mind to a place of uncertainty, and rides on the feeling of infamiliarity that comes from copious amounts of LSD. 'Purple Haze' has been a term for acid since as far back as the 19th century, so there is no denying the drug influence in this song ("Purple haze all in my brain / Lately things just don't seem the same"). Starting off quickly on a simple but upbeat note before accelerating into Hendrix's trademark mind-bending guitar solos, the song plays with what would already be an altered take on reality, allowing the listener to fully understand what mastery is -- whether under an influence or not.


"Sometimes you feel you need [somebody] ... the whole universe tells you that you have to have her, you start watching her favorite TV shows all night, you start buying her the things she needs, you start drinking her drinks, you start smoking her bad cigarettes, you start picking up her nuances in her voice, you sleep in safe sometimes the most dangerous thing... this is called Mojo Pin." -- Jeff Buckley.

Buckley at first wrote the song as an interpretation of his addiction to a woman he dreamed about ("black beauty"), and through a mass of lyrical images, he sings about the pains of addiction in all forms.

A common feature in the songs in this list is the rise and fall, leading up to the peak of both the song and the high. This song is no different. The beginning of the song is melodic with beautiful guitar in the background with Buckley's emotional singing voice, building up to a pained and impassioned final chorus ("Don't want to weep for you, don't want to know / I'm blind and tortured, the white horses flow / The memories fire, the rhythms fall slow / Black beauty, I love you so"). He is expressing great love for his addiction, while at the same time his frustration and wish to be unburdened is clear as well. The song is both love and hatred, for both his addiction and himself.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Top 5 Songs by The Doors

Yesterday was July 3, and 40 years to the day since Jim Morrison died. So, here is my top 5 tribute to the Lizard King.


(Also, one of my favourite songs to listen to in the car. Just some useless info for you there.)
This song was released in 1971, shortly before Morrison died. What I like about it mostly is the piano's timbre, which is soft and delicate, yet it manoeuvres the sound around the guitars, bass and drums to fit in with their 70s psychedelic rock music. I have a feeling that I am the only person who knows what I mean by that.


I love this song because I desperately want to be this girl. I even went so far as to google map Love Street and find the one that would be most feasible for me to live on (probably the one in Chester, UK, because that's also my dad's name).


My love for this song stems directly from this one time I got drunk with my mate Frank and we sang it really loudly in his lounge. There's definitely also something about the way Jim uses his voice in this song - he oozes charisma and animal magnetism. Impossible to resist.


The mix of the guitar riff as well as the piano and the harmonica create a classic pub song that can't be resisted by anyone within the boundaries of their right mind, and for anyone outside of those limits, this song is a mindsplosion.


I'm not a romantic person. I'm just not. But, music with lyrics about how much someone loves someone else? They make me melt. "I'm going to love you 'til the heavens stop the rain". I can only hope that someone loves me enough to say things like that about me. I'm pretty sure I've said that before. That's not important. The important thing is, this song is my absolute favourite Doors song for the lyrics, and for the energy. It's a pumpy kind of song, upbeat and joyous, while also very carnal and lustful.

FUN FACT! The last four words in the song are "Stronger than Dirt", the slogan for Ajax cleaners.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Top 5 Live Songs (out of bands I have seen)

My list of live acts is a short one. I have not been to heeeaps of concerts - have been to a shit tonne of gigs but concerts are different - but in every act there's one song that I am dying to hear. And it always gets played. And when it does, it's an astounding moment for me and a little piece of me is given angel wings. The following songs are examples of this: songs that I was dying to hear, and then I did, and life was good.


I saw QotSA open for Smashing Pumpkins in '08 and they ultimately blew the pumpkins out of the water. It's since been very disappointing to me that I hadn't really heard much Queens before this - I was going solely for Smashing Pumpkins - but the concert was more amazing than I was expecting and I came out a bit of a fan.


Muse was the first really big band that I saw live. It was in November 2007 when I was 18, and my mate Maelie and I flew down to Christchurch to see what was at the time our absolute favourite band. While The Checks were opening, Maelie and I were in the mosh pit being pummelled and battered by larger men with dreads. Ultimately, Maelie fainted before Muse took the stage and I dragged her out to get some water (punched a bitch on the way out too). We watched the whole show from the back of the arena, but magically we managed to see more from there than we could from armpit-height in the mosh pit.


Something that I love about concerts is the fact that it's just thousands of people, thousands of people, coming together for one shared love of music. It is for that reason that I love songs like "Run"; it's like Shihad common ground - every fan loves this song. So when it's playing live, thousands of people are singing, screaming the chorus, it's all perfect, it's all in time, and it's awesome to be a part of.


Of course, because I'm such a diehard Green Day fan, I had Bullet in a Bible, so when I went to see them live in December 2009 I was expecting them to play this crossover song. Still, pretty amazing to hear live. Billie Joe Armstrong has such an amazing stage presence, he sings with such vigour that seeing him prance around and hearding him singing about being a crossdresser, before launching into a pretty fucking fantastic cover of a way-too-covered song - it was quite sensational.


Faith No More in Christchurch, February 2010, was undoubtedly the best live act I have ever seen. I was never further than five metres from the stage. I could see individual bits of stubble on Mike Patton's face. This song is my favourite by FNM, so that's largely why it's ranked as number one here. Hearing thousands of people singing this song in unison was phenomenal. And I didn't get trampled in this mosh pit. Nope, there was not a thing wrong with this performance, and especially, this song.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Top 5 Really Shitty Yet Ultimately Awesome Chick Songs

So, tonight, it's 1:47am, and I'm curled up in bed eating candy corn, watching chick flicks. I just finished Whip It, now I'm halfway through He's Just Not That Into You, and next I think I might watch 10 Things I Hate About You. Any judgement? I don't give a shit. And so here is my list of Top 5 Chick Songs. PS - I'm completely aware that these songs are balls. Absolute balls.

5. "Supermodel" - JILL SOBULE

This is entirely my opinion, remember. In fact there may be chicks out there that don't know this song - at least, anyone that hasn't seen a film from the 90s. There is a time and a place for chick flick songs: in isolated circumstances, this song can either be really shit or really rad. In the car on the way to work? Fuck off, Jill Sobule. In the lounge after 2 shots and a vodka tonic? FUCK YEAH, JILL SOBULE!

4. "Livin' on a Prayer" - BON JOVI

This song usually kicks off a party night, but I don't know a single male that actually likes this song. I know, sure, guys will be like, "yeah I like Bon Jovi, it's a good song, whatever", but seriously, do you actually like the song? If you're making a compilation CD to listen to in your car, do you put this one on it? Or is this song reservered solely for when you're having a party and you're hoping a girl will get on your table and sing this song, loudly and badly? Hence, chick song.

3. "Pour Some Sugar On Me" - DEF LEPPARD

I KNOOOOW this is Def Leppard, the heavy metal pub rock English legends, but there is no denying that this song is played primarily while hot chicks in cowboy boots are dancing on a bar pouring shots of bourbon into the mouths of semi-attractive business men. And it's never good bourbon, either. But the song itself is pretty good.

2. "Just a Girl" - NO DOUBT

What happened to Gwen Stefani? At first she was a pretty good poster girl for pop rock, and No Doubt put out a couple of good songs... from that one album... But then she became this pop princess, strutting around in her clothes, singing about being a hollaback girl. I mean, what the fuck is a hollaback girl? What happened? Ignoring all of that, however, this song is acceptable.

1. "Bad Reputation" - JOAN JETT

Joan Jett is like a gateway drug. A gateway rocker, if you will. I started listening to her when I was 15 (probably this song, in fact, and if I'm completely honest it's probably because I heard it on movies like 10 Things) and it opened up my world to other chick rockers. I was in a band from age 15 through 17, lead singer and bassist, and I idolised chicks like Joan Jett, Brody Dalle, Morgan Lander etc. And now that I'm older and wiser, I know that bands The Distillers and Kittie are... kinda shit. But Joan Jett and the Heartbreakers have always been good.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Top 5 80s Bands

A friend of mine, James, and I were having a discussion the other day over a couple drinks about 80s music. He seems to like and enjoy all of it, whereas I have a very specific taste for the 80s. He then asked me to name some bands I liked from the 80s, and, embarrassingly, I couldn't - because I didn't know what bands started when and who could be classified as "80s". So, off the top of my head, without knowing if these are actually bands from the 80s, also without knowing if there are other bands that I love more, but don't know they're from the 80s, here are my top five 80s bands.

5. Genesis

Sure, Genesis actually started in the 70s, but they got their mainstream success in the 80s, and their music is deliciously 80s, so I'm calling them 80s. I don't know what it is about Phil Collins, but he's got charisma and I've got a bit of a musical crush on him. All of their songs so easily slot in as background music in a pub or at a party, and enough people will know the words well enough to sing along and make dicks out of themselves.

4. Tears for Fears

I've got a bit of a soft spot for love songs with beautiful lyrics, and also, men with bad hair. I like a lot of Tears for Fears songs, and a lot of them I liked without even knowing that they sang them. They have a genuinely 80s sound - you can imagine them playing at the prom in a Molly Ringwald movie - but they are also almost timeless, in that I am pretty sure "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" played at my prom.

3. The Cure

(Actual music video is here, I suggest you watch it instead because it is much better. Robert Smith is such a sweet wee thing, and he kind of looks like my friend's ex)

I like The Cure. I liked their early years. I liked their gothic stuff. I liked it when they started to go a little pop. I just like The Cure. And I like that they occasionally sing about cats.

2. Pixies

This is my favourite Pixies song, but strangely it isn't on my favourite Pixies album (Surfer Rosa, if you're asking). Anyway, I like the Pixies because their sound was always interesting - they had their own take on alternative rock, in my opinion, and they portrayed it in even more different takes. I mean, listening to "Broken Face" followed by "Where Is My Mind?" followed by "Buick Is Red" followed by "Gigantic" followed by "Caribou"... you'd think you were listening to entirely different bands, if it weren't for Black Francis' distinguishable voice.

1. UB40

There's always a very special place in my heart for UB40. It's that kind of music that everyone knows, everyone loves, everyone wants to hear and will be forever. It's kind of impressive that they managed to keep that sound going for as long as they did - it's hard to please everyone forever, you know? Yeah.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Top 5 Song Choices in Film (well, films that I like)

Not musical numbers, but song choices. Before you read this, you should not read this, because you will disagree with it. I'm pretty sure that even I will disagree with this list once I've finished writing it, but right now, these were the best song choices I could think of in some of my favourite films. So lezgo!

5. The ear-cutting scene in Reservoir Dogs (song: "Stuck in the Middle With You" - Stealers Wheel)

I think Michael Madsen (Mr. Blonde) plays an asshole better than he plays anything. I love how he dances and sings along to this song, a happy little clam, while he's torturing this poor guy whom he knows is innocent. It's definitely not a song that you would expect to hear while being tortured, and that's why it's so great - the juxtaposition of the horrible ordeal and the "Dylanesque, pop, bubble-gum favourite from April 1974" is a masterpiece.

4. The printer scene in Office Space (song: "Still" - Geto Boys)

(The original Office Space clip has been removed from YouTube due to infringement. This is from the Family Guy episode, "I Dream of Jesus")

Possibly the best thing about this scene is that each of these dudes are so... white. They're so white. And they're putting a beat down on a printer. Yes, I know that technically Samir is not white, but you know and I know and we know that that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that they're crackers. Honkies. And they're listening. To Geto Boys. But it's an excellent scene because you could imagine them in a dark alley and the printer being some douche that owed them money. There's anger in their eyes, and this is the kind of song that would be playing in that scene. It's wonderful.

3. The copious amounts of ganja scene in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (song: "Police and Thieves" - Junior Murvin)

I don't think I've ever seen anyone look as peaceful as when Jay is walking through those luscious green plants, smoking a blunt and listening to this song. I like this scene, mainly because they could have used a more mainstream reggae-stoner song, perhaps one that everyone was expecting, maybe some Bob Marley, maybe some Chaka Demus, but instead they used the one and only good song that this guy recorded, back in '76 - quite likely an artist unbeknownst to those watching this movie in 1998, then BAM! Junior Murvin releases his new single. A very sneaky exchange.

2. The final scene in Fight Club (song: "Where Is My Mind?" - Pixies)

The Narrator and Marla Singer end the movie holding hands and watching the destruction of the world around them to a song called "Where Is My Mind?" The song is a very pretty, very peaceful one, and with this scene it is almost romantic - the two share in the end of the world, how is that not romantic? I remember I read a Rolling Stone magazine once that did the Top 100 Musical Moments in Film, and this was one of them - Black Francis said that he was watching the movie and then suddenly his song came on, but he didn't recognise it because it was so unexpected at such a pivotal moment. Or something. Don't quote me on that, it was about 7 years ago that I read this.

1. The "Gutterballs" dream sequence in The Big Lebowski (song: "Just Dropped In" - Kenny Rogers)

It was very tough for me to pick between this song and the other dream sequence, with the Bob Dylan song, and the flying through space, but ultimately, this scene is much better. The song itself is about taking LSD, so how could you go wrong? I just love how so quickly, you can see the scene taking place - suddenly, you're in a dream - then again, you're running down the middle of the road and getting mugs thrown at your face. Just like an acid trip. Perfect placement, perfect song.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Top 10 Deceased Musicians

This has been the hardest list I've had to write so far, and you may be thinking "oh, come on, you've only written five", but the truth is that actually, I write these lists in my head, all the time. I'll be walking down the street, and think, 'top five songs that I heard from Scrubs!' 'Top five songs that I've heard in the last 3 months!' 'Top five songs starting with the letter S!' But only sometimes do I write them up. But, this has been the first time that I've had options leftover, so for this reason, I've made my first Top 10.


It is very difficult not to fall in love with Bradley Nowell. I've been doing it whenever I hear Sublime for 10 years. The musically talented stoner is kind of a unicorn in my eyes, I guess.

What I love most about Nowell is that his voice is effortless. He's just chillin', just singin', just doing whatever the fuck he wants, and he's still got sex appeal oozing from every note he jams. He knows how to work a crowd, and it's unbelievable.


It's the voice and the poetry that does it for me with this dude. He is melodic and powerful in his lyrics, and, you know, he was one of The Beatles. That's kind of tough to beat.

I quite like this song. Not only are the lyrics sweet and emotional - they have love behind them - but also, his voice sings in a truthful way that allows anyone listening to completely believe what he is singing, and that he must be singing to me.


The day this dude was killed - and I say killed, please note - was a sad day for grunge music. And for the 90s. It was a generally sad day, is what I'm saying.

This is my favourite Nirvana song. I think it best suits Cobain's voice - pained, gruff, yet also easy and calming. And singing about being locked in a heart-shaped box (fun fact, originally heart-shaped coffin) is the perfect subject matter for such a voice. It's a sound to fall asleep or fall in love to, whichever floats your boat.


His was a tough road to follow, but my god, some great music came out of it. And not just the songs he helped to create, but the ones he inspired afterwards as well are some of the greatest songs known to man.

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is whimsical and psychedelic and amazing. The lyrics, though drug-addled, give the songs an innocence that aren't matched again, while at the same time there is a sinisterness (it is a word, I googled it) behind them as well. Not an obvious one, that's what makes it so sinister. They're sweetly creepy.


I challenge anyone to listen to Bob Marley and not want to dance a little bit. Dance, sing along, have a smoke - I promise you, no one can resist.

There is always a beauty behind Bob Marley. The music is hard to interpret the way that I usually do, because, being honest, there is nothing - NOTHING - to reggae music. It's all in the message and the voice, and this voice? This voice just sings beauty.


This guy... this guy. This guy has more sex appeal than any other man that ever existed. I'm pretty sure anyway.

There is no innocence, no beauty about Jim Morrison's voice. His voice is raw, it's power and it's passionate and it's edgy. He creates a trail of lust in every word he speaks. He's magnetic. He's magnificent.


I grew up listening to Johnny Cash; he's my dad's favourite artist and slowly became a personal favourite of mine as well.

This might be an interesting song to pick as the tribute on this list, since it's more recent, not really one of his classics and it's a cover, but it's my favourite Cash song. It's actually a traditional folk song, usually performed more upbeat than this version, and it sings as a warning to sinners that God will ultimately judge them. That's why I love this version - it's a warning that sounds like a warning. It's dark, it's vicious but it's also lyrical and melodic - despite it being the same tune over and over. Never gets old, though. Love it.


Hendrix. HENDRIX. No real need to say more.

This is yet another cover, but again, my favourite Hendrix song. A beautiful story about a man fleeing the country because he's killed his wife. And yes, I mean beautiful. Jimi's voice and the music behind it is so melodic that even a tale about adultery and murder is intricately pleasing. That is an unbelievable understatement, but those are the best words I could think of to describe him. Intricately pleasing.


We all know how I love and feel about Jeff Buckley. His voice is the perfection that his genre needs. And he's just so damn good looking.

This song is so melancholic, so debilitatingly sad and heart-wrenching, but oh, how beautiful his voice is. Every word he sings, he sings with exactly the emotion that you know he must have felt when he wrote the song, and his performances portray those same feelings, which is so important for someone to be as great an artist as he was.


Layne. Fucking. Staley. There is no secret to my love of Alice in Chains, so I may just be biased here but I will always and forever proclaim that Layne Staley is the best male vocalist in alt rock.

What I love most about his songs is the use of his voice, and how perfectly it suits the music behind it. Couldn't imagine his genre without it. This song is about a friend of Staley and guitarist Jerry Cantrell, who had recently died of a heroin overdose. The way Staley sings, you can hear his anger and sadness at the loss of his friend. It's a powerful and touching tribute, I guess, and fantastic to listen to while smoking in the middle of the day.