Wednesday, 15 June 2011

30 Day Song Challenge (Gareth's Edition)

Alrighty, so those of you who're on Facebook are probably well aware of the 30 day Song Challenge that's floating about at the minute. Being the impatient sod what I am (and potentially lazy too) I can't really be bothered doing it one song a day, so instead I'm doing it one massive burst, with a Spotify link to each song, and a link to a full uninterrupted playlist at the end. Owing to the fact it centres around Spotify some choices reflect that. I'd love to be able to put in a Felt song but as none are available on the aforementioned streaming service I'll have to do without. Oh, and for those wondering why I've out my name in brackets in the post title, it's because I've no idea if anyone else is doing one, so to leave it merely as 30 Day Song Challenge could, in time, confuse. Yes.

Song 1: Your favourite song - I don't really have an all time favourite song, so I'm going with one of my favourite new discoveries. It's called Sunset by Selebrities and it sounds like a corss between OMD and Wild Nothing. Which makes it brilliant, naturally. I've yet to introduce this song to someone who hasn't enjoyed it. Selebrities – Sunset

Song 2: Your least favourite song - There are too many to choose here, but I'm going to go for Mika's Grace Kelly. There aren't many musicians (sorry, 'musicians') that I'd want to clobber in the face with a spade, but if I was keeping a list this bubble-perm'd sod would be high up it. Especially after this abomination MIKA – Grace Kelly

Song 3: A song that makes you happy - I'm going to cheat ever so slightly on this one. The song itself is a sad one lyrically ('Emma's house is empty, so why do I call it Emma's house?') but musically has a set of great jangly guiar lines that keep it just the right side of melancholic. But in reality my reaction to it is linked to memories: discovering it at 17, hearing a friend drop it on NYE (the first time I'd heard it in a club), the fact another friend always seems to play it when I go to his clubnight. All happy wholesome stuff. In fact, such is my unbridled joy at hearing it on nights out that I now get told 'Gareth, the DJ's just uttered the magic words!' (the magic words being that he's about to play this song) The Field Mice – Emma's House

Song 4: A song that makes you sad - Again, it's to do with association. I recently asked for people's suggestions for songs about friendships for something that may or may not see the light of day in future. One of them came from someone's who's rapdily become one of my best friends but is soon to move further away. This, coupled with the beauty of the song and its ruminations on friendship combine to mean it's something of a challenge to sit through it all. Lovely as it is. Adem – These Are Your Friends

Song 5: A song that reminds you of someone - Growing up on Anglesey, there weren't many people I knew who cared about music as much I did/do. In fact, I knew but one person. Then he went to live in Vietnam for a year. This song is full of references to Ho Chi Minh city (where he lives) so it always makes me think of him. That and the fact we were both huge Clash fans when he was still here. Just before he went we went around the pubs of the nearest University city in fresher's week just after MIA's Paper Planes came out (which for those who don't know, samples Straight To Hell), and kept putting on the Clash song and watching everyone get confused. It sounds like a twattish thing to do, and it probably was. Still funny though. The Clash – Straight To Hell

Song 6: A song that reminds you of somewhere: I can remember listening to this in my final year of university, sat in the library during the Autumn months watching the rain-battered windswept courtyard out the window and revelling in how warm and dry I was inside. This song plus the library's calming atmosphere always put me at ease James Yorkston – When The Haar Rolls In

Song 7: A song that reminds you of an event - I've never been a massive White Stripes fan, but I can just remember going apeshit to this at the last night of last year's Indietracks, surrounded by the myriad of people I'd met and who'd later go on to become great friends and thinking the world was a great place. Which for that sub 2 minute period it was. The White Stripes – Fell In Love With A Girl

Song 8: A song that you know all the words to: David Tattersall's always had an odd way with words, so deciphering the pyrics to Wave Pictures songs has never been the easiest of tasks. When the song is this good, and this catchy, it was/is worth the effort. The Wave Pictures – I Love You Like A Madman

Song 9: A song that you can dance to: Anyone can dance to this. Hell, even the title implores you to. David Bowie – Let's Dance (Single Version)

Song 10: A song that makes you fall asleep - Eno's stuff is always pretty dreamlike at the best of times. Chuck in the fact it was made for a film about the Apollo missions and it's a bonafide snooze inducer. It's pretty haunting and beautific if you stay awake through it all, though. So you win either way. Brian Eno – An Ending (Ascent)

Song 11: A song from your favourite band - I don't really have a favourite band but Orange Juice would probably be right up there. I keep looking back at their old press photos (especially around 1980/81) and wishing I was that suave and dressed that well. A man can but dream....Orange Juice – Rip It Up

Song 12: A song from a band you hate - This one is stupidly vague. Am I meant to just post a song from any band I hate, or a song I like from a band I hate? I have no idea. I'm going to go with the latter. In 2008 in a rare moment of weakness I got sucked into the Glasvegas hype. Even bought the album. Over time, i realised it was a load of bobbins, except for this track. It posesses all the elements that I dislike about Glasvegas (not least James Allen's ridiculous over-wrought vocals) yet it somehow survives the chopping block. Glasvegas – Geraldine

Song 13: A song that's a guilty pleasure - Let's face it, glam rock was a lovely bit of pantomime that added colour to a dour period culuturally, for a few years in the 1970s. However, its musical legacy hasn't really stood the test of time. Why then, do I still find it fun to flounce around to this, imagining I've got bell botoom flares on and stars stuck to my face? Sweet – Blockbuster

Song 14: A song no-one would expect you to like - Another daft one. No-one as in no-one at all? Half the people I associate with don't even know I like music, never mind what kinds I'm into. I don't know, I'm a bit stumped by this one to be honest, so I'll just go with this. Stupidly good fun to go apeshit to in a club. Motörhead – Ace Of Spades

Song 15: A song that describes you: The first two lines do the trick perfectly. The way they get sneered with no hint of self-pity or sadness is just brilliant. The second line might actually be my epitaph in due course, I'm not sure. Magazine – A Song From Under The Floorboards

Song 16: A song you used to love but now hate - The first couple of times I heard this I thought it was nice enough, but the more exposure I got to it the more I realised it was nauseating, disposable piffle that came perilously close to being beyond twee. I've not heard it since 2007/8 and have no intention of doing so again. Ever. Noah And The Whale – 5 Years Time

Song 17: A song you often hear on the radio - Time for another dose of spin. I (criminally) very rarely listen to the radio. The last time I did put in a concerted effort to do so was when 6music was in danger of being shut down. In the midst of what was quite a dark time for the station Lauren Laverne played this, and it seemed to be like a clarion call to resist the BBC's calls for closure. The station was saved and the song has stayed with me since. The Chameleons – Up The Down Escalator

Song 18: A song you wished you heard on the radio - Ironically, the first time I heard this song *was* on the radio. Lawrence from Felt (yes, that band again) played it on his show for the week of Domino radio that went out not long ago. It's Ian Broudie's pre-Lightning Seeds vehicle and it shows he was pretty handy at writing a song even back then (the early 80s). I've already decided that if I ever get in position to DJ on even a semi-regular basis this will be my signature song/joker up my sleeve. It's utterly magnificent. Care – Flaming Sword

Song 19: A song from your favourite album - As with bands, I don't really have a favourite album. There are those that are ever present at the top of my list but nothing ever really makes the top spot. This song's parent album will rank quite highly though, so I'll go for that for now. Hefner – Good Fruit

Song 20: A song you listen to when you're angry - These days I try not to listen to 'angry' songs when I'm pissed off. I either try and wait it out before putting on music or put something on that puts things in perspective and makes me snap out of it (more on that later). There was a time where I'd put this on though. It just seems to have this inherent pent-up rage waiting to burst out of it. Joy Division – Shadowplay

Song 21: A song you listen to when you're happy: I know this is probably too twee for some, and to an extent I agree with that sentiment. BUT, you have to be a heartless bastard to not have any element of happiness shine through when the recorder solo kicks in Belle & Sebastian – The Boy With the Arab Strap

Song 22: A song you listen to when you're sad - Let's face it, when we're sad we tend to want to wallow in it for a bit before picking ourselved back up. What better way to wallow than with 8 minutes of mournful Scottish melancholic pop. I picked this album up at a gig in March, then forgot to put it on until May and was blown away by it. It's a great album, and it's well worth listening to the whole thing. State Broadcasters – Archie's Tears

Song 23: A song you want played at your wedding - This is a tough one. Really, really tough. I've chosen this because it's about the notion of taking your partner's mundane quirks and foibles that most other people would find irritating, and turning them into something endearing and worth celebrating. Surely that's what love's about, right? Pelle Carlberg – I Love You, You Imbecile

Song 24: A song you want played at your funeral - This one started off as a joke and is now at a point whether I'm not actually sure if I'm serious or not. It would be gloriously daft, and I've always wanted my funeral to be something happy, not mournful. Getting people to dance in the aisles to this would encapsulate that idea perfectly. Electric Light Orchestra (Elo) – Mr Blue Sky (As an aside, other parts of the service include starting the service with my casket being crowdsurfed through the church to Born To Run, and at some point having Sid Vicious' cover of My Way blaring out. Again, I'm not really sure how serious these ideas are at this moment in time)

Song 25: A song that makes you laugh - It's a song about 1970s print pronography, told in a dry Mancunian accent. It's beyond funny. It's hilarious. JCC doesn't always cross that well over the North/South divide, but give it a spin anyway, you might enjoy it. John Cooper Clarke – Readers Wives

Song 26: A song you can play on an instrument - This has been a bugger to think of. I can't play an instrument save for an abortive attempt at the drums about 8+ years ago, and I was shit at them at the time, let alone now. Nonetheless, still reckon I could give this a good go given a bit of practice This Many Boyfriends – I Should Be A Communist

Song 27: A song you wish you could play on an instrument - I keep threatening to take up the ukulele, mainly because I'm too lazy and impatient to take up the guitar and figure it's a million times easier. I place the blame firmly at MJ Hibbett and Allo Darlin for this notion. If/when I get one/learn to play, i really want to learn the Allo Darlin song cannon. Such as this one Allo, Darlin' – Dreaming

Song 28: A song that makes you feel guilty - I touched upon this earlier during the 'song that you listen to when angry' entry. Not that long ago I was angry at some friends over some imagined slight (I can't actually remember the exact details, not that you need them), and went for a walk. While on a walk this came on, and it made me realise my petulance and put things in perspective. Having friends who're without exception far away (and some who will soon be even further), the line 'and it struck me to say while so far away you are with me today, you're here in my head, in my heart' always - without fail - kills me. Elbow – dear friends (See also: Scattered Black & Whites. That song always makes me guilty about people I've wronged and lost touch with over the years)

Song 29: A song from your childhood - I remember this coming out in 1996, and thinking it was pretty good at the time. I think it's even better now. Clearly 8 year old me did have something approaching taste. Sleeper – Sale Of The Century

Song 30: Your favourite song from this time last year - As I've said countless times, I've never really done out and out favourite songs at any point in recent memory, so I'm just going to post one of 'there or thereabouts' top songs for your listening pleasure and end this on a high. Nigh-on7 minutes of glockenspiel led Budweiser advertising pop perfection/mayhem anyone? YES.  Los Campesinos! – You! Me! Dancing!

And put it all together and what've you got? No, not the Bitsa theme (cool though that would be) but a Spotify playlist, in its entirety. Here you go you lovely, lovely people 30 Day Song Challenge


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  2. I am going to JAG my own version of this:

  3. I'll do one of these at some point.