My compressed 30 day music challenge – the first ten days

Impatience is just one of my many faults, and when I was kindly sent the link to this month-long challenge, the first thing I did was look ahead to the questions that I wanted to think about and to write about. They say that good things come to those who wait, but I like to grab things I like the look of rather than wait for them to come to me. I know that if I have too long to look forward to something, I’m guaranteed not to enjoy it when it finally comes around due to the length of the build-up. This is also a great thing to blog about, because I don’t really mind if no-one reads it; it’s fun to do, and therefore has some value to me. I think that people’s musical choices can say a lot about them (it can certainly tell you whether or not they actually like music) and because my tastes are fairly varied and I get bored easily, I’m always interested in what other people like and why they like it.

I’ve not spent 10 days on the list below, but I have spent a little time thinking about them, so here goes:

day 01 – your favorite song:

I’ll take this to mean my favourite song of the moment, which is ‘the age of the understatement’ by The Last Shadow Puppets. That’s Alex Turner (of Arctic Monkeys fame’s) other band. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to the lyrics in any detail, but I love the title of the song, its epic feel and the fact it sounds a little bit like Bowie. My favourite songs ever, and by this I mean the only ones that I’ll never skip on the ipod are ‘Sugar Kane’ by Sonic Youth, ‘Davyan Cowboy’ by Boards of Canada and ‘A Day in the Life’ by The Beatles: I don’t believe that there’s any song that you can hear somthing different in every time that you listen to it, but these ones go as close as any. I remember listening to ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ by Nirvana when I was 15 and feeling like this was the kind of music that I’d been waiting to listen to, but this sounds so pathetically teenage that I won’t mention it.

day 02 – your least favorite song:

Toss-up here. My first ‘least favourite’ would be the ‘comedy’ song, like the ones done for comic relief (yes I know it’s a good cause but they always make me cringe, when a band and some comics get together for something that isn’t funny, but it isn’t really music either). ‘The Stonk’ by Hale and Pace was probably the nadir. This tripe ties with pretty much anything done by Robbie Williams. This man makes music for people who don’t really like music. It’s not that it’s awful to listen to (apart from his rapping) but that it’s so anodyne, and so obviously designed simply to be ‘un-hate-able’. For that very reason, I hate it, even more than the Stonk. I don’t like Kings of Leon or The Killers either, but that’s mostly down to the people who feel that this really really standard music is something that borders on genius.

day 03 – a song that makes you happy:

‘Barbra Streisand’ by Duck Sauce. It’s simple, funny, upbeat and reminds me of happy times with Victoria. What’s not to like? Can’t imagine I’ll be listening to it much in a few years time, but it’ll always have happy memories.

day 04 – a song that makes you sad:

Waterloo Sunset by the Kinks. It reminds me of my parents, though it’s worth pointing out that this is not enough of itself to make me feel sad. They lived in London in the late 1960s and early 1970s and it always makes me think of them as a young couple. I’m not sure why that’s sad, but that’s what nostalgia tends to do to me, even if it belongs to someone else.

day 05 – a song that reminds you of someone:

Most songs remind me of someone. Anything by Steve Brookstein reminds me of my brother, who decided that his album represented a sound purchase. ‘Crazy’ by Let Loose reminds me of him (we have a routine) as does ‘Still Take You Home’ by the Arctic Monkeys, which was the precursor for a very entertaining night out on the West Coast of Ireland. The ‘King of Carrot Flowers’ by Neutral Milk Hotel is my choice though, because it’s one of my favourite songs of all time, and reminds me of my favourite person too.

day 06 – a song that reminds you of somewhere:

‘Has it come to this’ by The Streets. The beat reminds me of the rhythm of the tube, and the song reminds me of London, even if it’s not quite the London I know. Mike Skinner’s first album was truly original, and I like the fact that his music provides an ironic antidote to American rap. He speaks about greasy spoons, public transport and going to blockbuster, rather than guns, bling and hos.

day 07 – a song that reminds you of a certain event:

‘Chasing Rainbows’ by Shed 7. Euro ’96 will forever be remembered as halcyon days. I spent much of my time in the garden in Durham watching the football and not worrying about my degree. I remember every day as being very sunny, and even remember England playing some good football at times. We seemed nailed on to win the tournament, but were then robbed by the Germans on penalties in the semi-final. It’s far more English to laud the plucky losers than the eventual winners, so I think that it’s fitting that it happened like it did. This song is from 1996, and sums up how I felt about England then, and still do.

day 08 – a song that you know all the words to:

‘Gold’ by Spandau Ballet. This used to be my karakoe song, until my brother informed me just how bad I was at doing it. It probably didn’t help that we were in a dive bar in Texas at the time, and I thought it would be humorous to wear a short-sleeved checked shirt with top button done up and then give a load of hicks some real 80s new romantic stuff that they just knew they wanted to hear. I’ve since experimented with ‘You Can Go Your Own Way’, ‘True’ and ‘The Reflex’, all with limited success.

day 09 – a song that you can dance to:

I’d like to think that I can dance to any song, but even if that used to be true, it’s certainly not now. My dancing is now confined to weddings, and though I maintain my strict rule never to dance on carpet, I’m sure I still look as much of a prick as the people I’m dancing with. For this reason, I suppose I should choose (ironically) ‘U Can’t Touch This’ by M C Hammer, if only because I think my patented dance moves that come after ‘yo ring the bell, school’s back in’ are very special. The fact that ‘Out of Touch’ by Uniting Nations would have come a close second proves that any credibility I may have built up through any of these answers has now disappeared entirely.

day 10 – a song that makes you fall asleep:

‘The Shining’ by Badly Drawn Boy. It’s the first song from his album ‘The Hour of Bewilderbeast’, and when I was staying in Boston with my friend Ryan in 2003, I slept on his couch, and fell asleep each night listening to this song. It’s a real slow-burner and the lazy ‘cello at the start is such a lovely song for late at night.

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