All-Time Top 25 Tunes (post 15)

The fifteenth track in my All-Time Top 25 Tunes is number twenty-two, ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ by The Smiths.

31st October 1963 is a red-letter day in not just the history of Manchester, but the whole of the musical world.

31st October 1963 is the day that Johnny Marr was born.

Morrisey’s emo/angst-riddled teenaged lyrics and charmingly stylish delivery are the cake on this track. Johnny Marr’s guitarwork is the filling and the icing on top.

Nothing else to add.

All-Time Top 25 Tunes (post 14)

The fourteenth track in my All-Time Top 25 Tunes is number eight, ‘Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors’ by Editors.

There are a couple of reasons why this far-too-often overlooked gem of musical excellence made it in to my All-Time Top 25.

The opening lyrics is one reason:

‘Pull the blindfold down,
Until your eyes can’t see.
Now run as fast as you can,
Through this field of trees’

Mean anything to you?

To me they perfectly describe a brilliant yet haunting scene in the 2001-released, Spanish film ‘Intacto’.

And that film – Intacto – is one of my all-time favourite films.

Hearing those lyrics sung transports me back to the cinema where I sit, engrossed in/shocked by that film.

In equal measures.

Aside from chiming with a thought-provoking film, ‘Smokers  Outside The Hospital Doors’ has much to recommend it from a musical angle too.

I love the way the track subtly builds to an almost noisesome yet easily overlooked crescendo.

The subtle backing vocals play a brilliant supporting role, often hidden by the screaming guitarwork.

It’s a work of underlying subtlety which has to be mined.

I do love the film Intacto.

I also love this track.

All-Time Top 25 Tunes (post 13)

The thirteenth track in my All-Time Top 25 Tunes is number eleven, ‘Will You’, by Hazel O’Connor.

The 1980s have been called (by me and probably by others) ‘the decade that taste forgot’.

And how true.

But amongst the lip-gloss, big hair and over-stuffed shoulder pads (and that was just the boys), the 1980s gave us some musical gems.

Taken from an otherwise unremarkable soundtrack to a wholly unremarkable film (Breaking Glass), ‘Will You’ is a simple story of boy meets girl, boy and girl go back to the bedsit, boy and girl drink non-alcoholic beverages, boy and girl (eventually) snog.

But Oh My God, the saxophone solo cuts through the 1980s cheese like a musical meat-cleaver.

Possibly the greatest sax solo of all time lies here, tucked away in this track, waiting for you to discover it.

Waiting for you to play air-sax.

And you will.

Will you?

(see what I did there?)

All-Time Top 25 Tunes (post 12)

The twelfth track in my All-Time Top 25 Tunes is number twenty-four, ‘Ára Bátur’, by Iceland’s greatest export,  Sigur Rós.

Yes it’s sung in Icelandic, but who has to have faultless Italian or perfect German to enjoy opera?

This is a beautiful song, performed for you in Icelandic.

Get over it.

It’s gorgeous.

All-Time Top 25 Tunes (post 11)

The eleventh track in my All-Time Top 25 Tunes is number nine, ‘Novocaine For The Soul’ by those Californian, off-the-wall, anarcho-rock, lo-fi funsters, Eels.

In my head, ‘Novocaine For The Soul’ is the antidote to so many forms of mainstream music that is punishingly guilty of taking itself far too seriously.

The scratchy start, tricky break-backs, unexpectedly-long pauses and yet an absence of loops, buzzes, clicks and technology mark this as an exemplary piece. It’s nothing other than well-played straight-to-amp guitars… this is music, pure and simple.

 

All-Time Top 25 Tunes (post 10)

The tenth track in my All-Time Top 25 Tunes is number seventeen, ‘The Special Two’ by Missy Higgins.

You can stream the track and official video for it here.

I find the heavily-accented tones of Australian singer/songwriter Missy Higgins are as delightful to listen to as they are distinctive.

But aside from her voice, the stories she tells – despite usually focussing on the less sunnier side of life – are beautifully-woven tales of failed love, broken romance or human frailties.

All of Missy Higgins’ songs are emotional insights to the human condition. All of them are poignant. All of them are set against surprising melodic depths. All of them are gorgeous.

If I could have just one Missy Higgins track in my Top 25 it would be this.

It is beautiful, and the story is as poignant to me as the song might be to you.

All-Time Top 25 Tunes (post 9)

The ninth track in my All-Time Top 25 Tunes is number three, ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy’) by The Beatles.

Where were you when JFK was shot? Where were you when the first man walked on the moon? What were you doing when George Michael was caught trying to give someone a blowjob in a Californian toilet?

These and many other trivia questions bounce around the communications fora.

All meaningless.

Where were you the first time you heard ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’? Now that’s a question of heft; a pointer of real weight.

I was sitting in a car.

And even on a car stereo I knew I was listening to something that would define the shape of *future* music.

And how right all people who felt the same way were.

For without this one track, Eric Clapton’s seminal album 461 Ocean Boulevard might not have happened.

And his iconic signature track ‘Layla’? We might never have heard it without this Beatles track.

It is too easy – oh, far too easy – to forget the utter dregs of musical quality that washed around this planet in 1969.

Nineteen Sixty Nine!

Yes, that’s when ‘Abbey Road’, and through it, ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ was thrust upon the grateful ears of a music-listening public.

Nineteen.

Sixty.

Nine.

That’s the context.

Now listen.

And enjoy.

 

All-Time Top 25 Tunes (post 8)

The eighth track in my All-Time Top 25 Tunes is number seven, ‘Still DRE’ by Dr Dre.

I’ve been a fan of Dr Dre since his NWA days (the album ‘Straight Outta Compton’ is a piece of work that redefined the burgeoning rap genre).

The first time I heard ‘Still DRE’ I recognised the easy partnership between Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg, but more importantly, I recognised the massive amount of production values that went in to bringing this quality piece of music to this listener’s ears.

Forget the cars, the over-driven suspensions and the girls with massive backsides and even more massive tits.

Listen to the production values.

All-Time Top 25 Tunes (post 7)

The seventh track in my All-Time Top 25 Tunes is number nineteen, ‘Famous Last Words’ by My Chemical Romance.

It’s far too easy to get sniffy and write off teenage angst-ridden emo music. After all, they’re only kids and what do they know about anything?

Kids like young Lennon and McCartney, you mean?

So sit down and give this a good listen.

I’m confident that you will discover, once you’re past the melodramatic introduction, that ‘Famous Last Words’ is a fast-paced rock-n-roll number that screams deliciously tight vocal and instrumental harmonies, and sounds as if it could be the illegitimate child of Jim Steinman and Phil Spector.

Really.

All-Time Top 25 Tunes (post 6)

The sixth track in my All-Time Top 25 Tunes is number thirteen, ‘Kandahar Road’ by The Winchell Riots.

You can stream the track by clicking on this link.

The Winchell Riots are an unsigned Oxfordshire band. No. The Winchell Riots *were* an unsigned Oxfordshire band; sadly they no longer exist.

When you listen to this track, it will be too easy for you to get caught up in the hauntingly melodic tones of Phil’s voice.

But if you dig below the surface of this song, you will uncover a beautifully intricate web of melody that screams of such explicitly gorgeous quality, that to *not know* this song is to carry a small, musical hole in your soul.