Quick List: 2016 in 5 (Gut reaction)

While every sane and right-thinking person on this planet greets this morning’s news with a collective “WHAT THE FUCK?!” I received a “Top 5 songs that reflect 2016” message.

In the spirit of ‘think less, post more’ here are those that, in no particular order, leapt to mind.

Tool – Ænema

The lyrics… the timing signatures…

Bob Dylan – A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall

REM – It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) 

The Rolling Stones- Gimme Shelter

Has there been a better apocalyptic song than this? Or album than Let It Bleed?*

Eels – End Times 

“Crazy guy with a matted beard, standing on the corner. Shouting out “end times are near” and nobody noticed him”

 

 

*No. No there hasn’t.

Quick List: Out of Europe

What a terrible, terrible result greeted those of sane mind on Friday morning.

I’m still in a state of shock and find myself hoping that somehow this nightmare can be halted, the damage curbed and sensibility prevail. As Bob Pollard says “Everybody’s got a hold on hope, it’s the last thing that’s holding me.”

So I’ve been in a state that I can only liken to a hangover, a walking dream of fuzzy-headed lack of comprehension. Life has had some real positives since but I was locked down by the impact of what Out could mean. I’m starting to shake that off, step away from the bar and get some distance, level-headedness again and so to try and push that along and get back to something resembling normality I pinged a message to a friend: “Out of Euope; Top five songs by European Artists”.

A sort of ‘here’s what we’re gonna lose’ type thing.

This was mine:

Sigur Ros – Starálfur

I could’ve gone with practically anything from this band. At the top of the tree, though, would be either this or #1 Untitled from () which gives me goosebumps each time I hear the start but this one, with it’s palindromic strings, means a whole lot to me.

Refused – New Noise

Can I scream?

Noir Desir – Un Jour En France

There’s a huge amount of controversy about whether it’s still ok to listen to this band. I’m not going to go into it or even dare to pretend I can offer an opinion as it’s one of those that leaves me startled.

For myself, though, Noir Desir represent something of a happy memory. When my now-wife and I were dating and living in Paris I remember being stuck in traffic on the périphérique and then, amidst all the usual dross on the radio that was removed from what I could tune into, hearing a heavier, rocking sound. It was this. I came to hear them after Bertrand Cantat was already in prison so my enjoyment of them (songs like Lost or Le vent nous portera and Tostaky (Le continent)) is more tied to my own time in France and with my wife than anything else.

Girls In Hawaii – Misses

Girls In Hawaii are a Belgian band and another that remind me of my time in France as it was my wife who get me into them while she was still living there and we’d played their first album almost non-stop on our first holiday together while driving around Normandy – you can kind of get the idea as to why the Leave vote is such a hard one to bear. They’re a cracking little band who sadly lost their drummer in a car accident after recording their second album. This track, the first new material they released some years after his death, is undoubtedly connected and all the more affective as a result.

Cardigans – My Favourite Game

Because this was everywhere at the tail end of the 90s and re-introduced the band that everyone was tired of after the overplaying of Lovefool. A great album too.

So that’s my list. It’s not perfect, and it was a spontaneous one. If I’m in an editing / revising one I know already I can saw there’s two Swedish acts there, no Last Days of April, no Air and no Nouveau Western which deserves more than an honourable mention of only for its video. But then I could, and may, just as easily do a Top 5 for some of the EU countries alone.

However, yes, along with Nouveau Western I’ll add some honourable mentions for:

Last Days of April; Feel The Sun Again (see my previous post on Aspirins and Alcohol for more)

Eric Serra / Arthur Simms: It’s Only Mystery (if you’re going to watch Subway don’t get the dubbed version)

Quick list: Top Five Second Albums

Following the Top Five Debut text, I recently texted  two of my most music loving, list-compiling friends another simple message: “All time top five second albums?”

Only the one cross-over across the lists (Nevermind popping up on two of the three). Here, however, are mine (in no particular order, that’d be too hard):

Pixies – Doolittle

Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin’

In all likelihood still my favourite Dylan album.

Nirvana – Nevermind

Yes, I know; this is such a commercial choice… blah blah. Commercial, sell-out, whatever – the importance of this cannot be denied.

My Bloody Valentine – Loveless

Foo Fighters – The Colour and The Shape

I still don’t think they’ve bettered this. Yes this makes my list a bit Grohl-heavy but what can you do?

 

The second album is important. A debut album tends to be more of a compilation of songs that the artist has been living / gigging / tinkering with for years prior to a deal. A second finds them more established, a bit more at home with the idea of recording and who they are and building on those foundations laid by the debut. I think….

Quick List: Top Five Debuts

Five

I recently texted two of my most music loving, list-compiling friends a simple message: “All time top five debut albums?”

It was interesting to see a couple of cross-overs on the lists. Here, however, are mine (in no particular order, that’d be too hard):

Pearl Jam – Ten

Jeff Buckley – Grace

The Clash – The Clash

Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left

Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced?