>What were you thinking?

>This week’s blog might not excite and delight you as much as my usual dazzling array of tantalising tunes. My pre-Mancunian derby nerves has brought out the negative in me so I’m choosing five tracks I loathe by artists I love. I could of course make this easy and choose middling bands who I can take or leave, or dip into the catalogue or once great bands on the slide (yes I mean you Rivers Cuomo). Each track is by an artist released at the peak of their powers which contrasts sharply with the rest of their brilliance. (more…)

Published in: on 12/02/2011 at 11:55 am  Comments (2)  

>Middle class white boy discusses music from da streetz

>First blog in a little while and I’m going to keep on with the Five choices format. Today’s choice reveals me as a massive cliché but so be it.

Hip Hop

I’m well aware that arguments continue to rage over whether a distinction exists between rap music and hip hop music. For the purposes of this blog there isn’t – as you will notice from my choice I am far from a purist in this area and will happily embrace the mainstream when the results are good. I won’t divert to a tangent but quite honestly I haven’t heard a genuinely exciting mainstream hiphop album for as long as I can remember. Not even the return of Jay-Z has challenged my view that the genre is in a rut as despite good moments even the ‘greatest of all time’ has failed to recapture the brilliance of times gone by. In light of this my choices may appear a little dated and undoubtedly reflect a time when hip hop was far more prominent in my musical consciousness than it has been in recent years.

Fu Gee La by The Fugees
This is where it all began for me. A football mad, Oasis obsessed early teen sat down to watch a basketball show and was blown away when NBA 24/7 spent five minutes focusing on a trio of rappers who were making waves in the states. The track they focussed on was Fu Gee La and I was immediately hooked. I remember chatting excitedly at school to my good friend Joe who had long since embraced the hip hop/basketball culture and was good enough to humour me as I rambled on about my ‘discovery.’ Everything about this song is exciting – the subdued intro crashed into by Wyclef demanding attention, the simple yet hypnotic hook, the complimentary yet dramatically different lyrical delivery and of course THAT chorus which once in the brain never lets go. The crucial element of any rap song is the lyrics and it was the subject matter that most excited this thirteen year old British white boy from a northern backwater. It is safe to say that Brit pop tales of Mancunia or Essex surburbia never included lyrics like ‘Stevie Wonder sees crack babies becoming enemies of their own families.’ The confirmation that this discovery was going to have a huge impact on musical palette was my Dad’s furious reaction when I put The Score on in his car. I am proud to have inherited my Dad’s musical taste and was fortunate to have a musical upbringing of Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Despite this though every teenager is keen to find their own identity and distinguish themselves from their parents – Lauren, Pras and Wyclef had shown me the way.

That’s your lot, please comment whether praise or criticism.

>Dance, dance, dance the night away

>Swift blog today as much to be doing but I thought I’d kick off a mini-series of five great tracks from a chosen genre. I’m conscious that my love of North American Indie could come to dominate this blog if I’m not careful and as there are other bloggers who do it far better ‘everybody cares, everybody understands’ and ‘I am fuel, you are friends’ are two great examples.

So genre one, and it’s not one I am especially knowledgeable of so apologies if my choices are highly offensive:


I love a good dance. I have very little rhythm but what I lack in technique I make up for in enthusiasm. All kinds of music can be great for dancing – Motown and Northern Soul being the best – so I’ve always taken issue with the label of dance but I’ll stick with it for this.

Heads will Roll by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

I accept that YYYs are far from a dance act and perhaps suggest I am immediately cheating but for me this is a straight down the line dance music and is all the better for it. There is something exciting about a band exploring a new genre but so often it falls flat and frankly embarassing (yes I mean you Bloc Party). However Karen O and friends manage to produce a relentless, pounding track which is humanly impossible not to at the very least tap your foot to.

U Don’t  Know Me by Armand van Helden

This is a slice of unashamed commercial dance which topped the charts at the top of the charts when dance was king. 99% of commercial dance at this time was garbage and forgettable – Wamdu project, Toca’s Miracle, blah, blah. This however had a hook which sticks in your head without getting incredibly annoyingly. I think the trick is to follow quite a conventional song structure in terms of verse and chorus thus avoiding the hook becoming repetitive. Analysis aside, it is a brilliant track that livened up many a Kendalian night out.

Aerodynamic by Daft Punk

It would be quite wrong of me not to include a Daft Punk track in the five and I plumped for Aerodynamic for a reason. Discovery was the first ‘dance’ album I ever fell in love with. As only a cliched 18year old could I played the mini-disc (!) the moment I crossed the border into France when inter-railing and along with Air it formed the soundtrack to my enlightenment which is so often tread by guitar loving indie kids. Aerodynamic stand out because it begins with an unintentional homage to ACDC and boasts one of the finest guitar riffs of any song. Magnifique.

Setting Sun by The Chemical Brothers (feat. Noel Gallagher)

‘Noel Gallagher on a dance record? Oasis’ Noel Gallagher? My beloved Oasis’ Noel Gallagher on a *spits* dance record?’ It is fair to say that as a frankly obnoxious fourteen year old the prospect of the man who made me learn guitar and want to be in a band teaming up with some drug addled ravey types was not a happy one. My immaturity was exposed yet again as the result was a track which sits happily alongside any of Gallagher’s other output and most pleasing of all may have contributed to Oasis’ bold decision to experiment with loops on Fucking in the Bushes to great effect. Setting Sun has an apocalyptic sense of desperation with Noel’s vocals placed cleverly low enough in the mix to create the feeling of an all encompassing storm led by the driving drum loop. The two artists would collaborate again on the enjoyable but less exciting Let Forever Be and not to be outdone Liam lent a terrific guest vocal to Death in Vegas’ Scorpio Rising. Death in Vegas were even recruited to produce Don’t Believe the Truth which promised a dramatic change of direction but proved a step too far and the sessions are now confined to online rarities.

Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles

I know doubters still exist but they are ignorant fools, The Beatles are actually underrated to the extent that trash like Hey Jude is considered by the majority to be their peak yet their innovation and pushing of musical boundaries is appreciated by comparitively few. It has been said before that you can chart a person’s musical awakening by which Beatles songs they enjoy. Like most I grew up loving the perfect guitar pop of Hard Days Night, etc but it is only when you delve into the delights of the Eastern infused tracks and experimentation of the White Album and Revolver that you recognise their true majesty. One accolade that is rarely bestowed upon The Beatles is their invention of dance music as we know it but Tomorrow Never Knows is exactly that. If you don’t believe me listen again to Setting Sun and tell me there isn’t a nod to The Beatles in the use of loops. It is something of a quirk that even when stepping out of his comfort zone Noel still managed to supply a hefty nod to the Fab Four.

I’d love to know your favourite dance tracks or critical slating of my choices so if you read, please leave a message. After all, just like Chrissy the Witch says, I’m you.