Tag Archives: all time

Love Rears Your Songs. (Part 6 & 7)

When asked who my favourite band is, I am pretty quick to answer.

Although I have dozens of ‘favourites’, when it comes down to it, there are 2 bands that have always  had a massive effect on me.

Back in high school, I joined the school band. Sure, I was playing the dorky trumpet, and then tuba, but the point was that music was a constant in my life. Even way back to primary school when my mum encouraged us (me and my sister)to play piano, music has always been around me. And although those piano lessons didn’t get me much further than the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, it did teach me to read music and appreciate that music comes in many forms.

In the school band I was surrounded by young, but talented musicians. Through them I discovered music that I probably would not have otherwise. One album that fell into my lap in 1989 was from a relatively unknown band called Living Colour. The first song on that album was a little gem called ‘Cult of Personality’. What stood out for me initially was the musicianship in this song. You see, I don’t hear lyrics generally, I hear the music behind them. If someone asked me to recite the lyrics to a song I’d heard a dozen times I’d probably struggle, but get me to hum a few bars and I’d be fine.

Vernon Reid on Guitar, Will Calhoun on Drums, Muzz Skillings on Bass and the enigmatic Corey Glover on vocals. They are all massively talented, including Doug Wimbish, who replaced Skillings from the Stain album. Each album they’ve released has progressed on from what they were on the previous. I love listening to soulful songs on their first album, Vivid, and then banging the head to ‘Go Away’ on Stain. They are anything but predictable.

It’s one of their more chilled and probably most popular songs from their 2nd album, Time’s Up, that always does it for me. Love Rears Its Ugly Head ranks as one of my favourite songs, from my favourite band of all time. Now, please don’t confuse the original version of this song with the ‘Soul Power Remix’. I actually dislike the remix version. It does not do the song justice at all.

If you haven’t heard it, do yourself a favour right now.

Check out the original film clip (can’t embed) or the live version below.

The 2nd part of the answer to my favourite band, is this band. My favourite Australian band. Regurgitator.

Again, it may be an unusual choice, but bear with me. I have a lot of bands I enjoy listening to, but it’s those bands that continue to re-invent, evolve and release material that isn’t necessarily in your Top 40 that really leave their mark with me. Regurgitator have evolved from being a thrashy rock outfit from Brisbane to a newage/electro/funk/rock/pop band. How did that happen? And which category do they fit in?

Me & Quan

Me & Quan from The Gurge

The biggest thing to happen to Regurgitator was the making of their 2nd album, Unit. This album should be remembered as one of the best Aussie albums of all time. Not only did it define the direction that Regurgitator were going, it went on to show what was possible for Aussie bands in using a mixture of electronics, rock and funk. And it’s so goddamn fun.

I really don’t know how to describe my love for Regurgitator, but it grew even more after their ‘Band in a Bubble‘ concept which saw them locked inside a glass house in the middle of Melbourne for 3 weeks. I addictively watched that shit on Channel 802 of Fox as much as I could. Quan, Ben and Pete are just so damn real. Not rock star, not ego-maniacs and not fussed at their own fame, or lack of. They just do what they do and they love it.

So, which song of theirs did I pick? It was not an easy job.  I was going to go for the first big hit, Blubber Boy, I was thinking about Everyday Formula. Even their thrasy Track 1 was a contender for pure bouncing rocky goodness.

But, no I went with a song that really has no name other than ! or The Song Formally Known As. It’s the song that epitomises Regurgitator. Quan’s quirky lyrics. Modded Bass Lines from Ben. Synthesised Poppy Rocky Perfection.

So, that’s 7 down. Only 3 to go, and only a few days to vote.

I think I’m gonna make it!

I Spoke in Class Today. Time to VOTE! (Part 5)

Ok, I’ve gotta hurry this up.

Voting for the Hottest 100 of All Time finishes on Sunday, which means I have 7 days to reveal my last 6 songs.

I still haven’t actually finalised the list and in fact I’ve been doubting my last pick. Was I too hasty to pick that one? I think I prefer ‘Beat It’ or maybe even ‘Smooth Criminal’.

But there’ll be time to debate Wacko Jacko later.

It’s time to get back to grunge.

Yes, back to my roots. Back to the music that shaped my musical tastes forever.

This song had a couple of big impacts on me. For one, it was the anthem of my 10th grade at school. You know how school years have songs that seem to represent their class? You get ‘Time of Your Life’ or ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ or ‘Beautiful Day’ or something. Our grade at Ginninderra High was suitably represented by the bleak grungey outlook that this song portrays.

The song is ‘Jeremy’ by Pearl Jam. And you can’t tell me that most people who love Pearl Jam can’t say this isn’t one of their best ever songs. Sure; it’s not as rocking as ‘Even Flow’, as popular as ‘Alive’ or as driving as ‘Corduroy’ or ‘rearviewmirror’, but for pure grungey 1991 goodness, you can’t go past this downbeat sad song.

This song, and video clip, were so damn powerful and was met with so much controversy that Pearl Jam decided not to record another video clip for any of their songs for 10 years.

It may surprise you to know however, that the Pearl Jam clip we know and love was not the original clip. A little known director funded and filmed his own clip first, which can be seen here. It was ultimately rejected by the record label.

The ironic thing is that I love this song for the song, but I also love the clip. However, once Pearl Jam decided to boycott videos and effectively boycott MTV, I took on a similar view. I made a conscious effort for a long time to either not watch video clips, and not be influenced into liking or disliking a song because of the clip. I think that there was a time where so much effort went into making a fancy, over the top clip that the actual music became secondary and this, whilst healthy for the mainstream TV watching public, was to the detriment of music lovers everywhere.

That’s not to say that I don’t love a good video clip, or that a video clip can’t enhance a song. I am just against a song becoming famous because of its video clip.

Case in point; OK Go’s ‘Here it Goes Again’. Yeah, ingenius and original film clip, but the song is not really anything to write home about.

Ok, I am warbling on a lot here. I don’t mean for each of these votes to be such a marathon effort, but once I get going on something I am passionate about, I find it hard to stop (Just ask LaLa :))

The bottom line is. It’s a top song. It’s in my Top 10. So there.

Go check out the video clip again. Just look at how intense Eddie Vedder is in the clip. I can’t find the unedited version anywhere and I can’t embed it, but you get the idea.

I’m only halfway there, but I haven’t picked Rick Astley yet….guess I’ve only got 4 left..

Wanna be Startin’ to Vote for the Hottest 100 of All Time (Part 4)

So. Rock and/or Roll has dominated my list so far.   It’s obvious to say that it is my favourite genre, but that’s not to say that I don’t like a wide range of music.

Lately I have definitely been getting in the synth electro goodness of bands like MGMT, Empire of the Sun and Pendulum. I really just love anything with a good beat and good hook.

In the last part of the Hottest 100 of All Time compilation, I discussed the importance of a good opening to a song. Now we’re going to take that one step further. To the opening song of an album.

Personally, I am all about the album, as opposed to the single. I am of the school that if I hear a good couple of songs from an artist, I will get the whole album. It is ultimately the way that artists mean for their music to be heard.

It must be a tricky task for bands to decide which song is going to be No.1 on the album. Do you pick the first single? The title track? Your f avourite tune? I think it’s pretty damn important that the first track be something that really sucks the audience in, because if you’re just listening to the album to decide whether you want to buy it or not, that first track could be make or break.

Let’s look at some of the better opening tracks.

Drive – R.E.M. – Automatic for the People – A current contender for my top 10 list. Love this song. Moody, dark and R.E.M’s best.

Welcome to the Jungle – GnR – Appetite for Destruction – What a way to introduce a band, let alone an album.

Cochise – Audioslave – Audioslave – Such a big opening track. It gets you in the mood for rest of the rocking album

Hells Bells – AC/DC – Back in Black – As soon as you hear those bells. Baby, you know who it is. Big track for a massive album

Testify – Rage Against The Machine – The Battle of Los AngelesThey don’t get much bigger and gruntier.

Faded – Ben Harper – The Will to Live – Another contender for my Top 10 list. Such amazing guitar work in this song. Love.

Don’t Panic – Coldplay – Parachutes – Heard this after I heard Yellow and love it from the Garden State soundtrack. Chilled and cool.

Open – The Cure – Wish – Such an amazing opening song. Sets the scene for my favourite Cure album.

Stinkfist – Tool – Ænima – Powerful and loud. The best way to play this killer opening track.

Battery – Metallica – Master of Puppets – Speaking of powerful. Killer track!

Beds Are Burning – Midnight Oil – Diesel and Dust – Stands as one of the greatest Oils tunes written and kicks this great Australian album off well.

Which brings me to my No.4 pick for the Hottest 100 and it again takes me back to my childhood.

I don’t think my parents owned the Michael Jackson Thriller album on record, but I had a copy of it on tape and a photocopy of the lyrics sleeve. I remember putting that tape into one of those little old tape players (see right) and listening to that album over and over again.

Obviously, because it was on tape, I would listen to the opening tracks a lot more than the later tracks.

I guess this is why whenever I hear the start of  Wanna Be Startin’ Something, it still takes me back and gets me moving. Such a funky song.

And how about the ‘mama se mama sa mama koo sa’ What the hell is that? Who cares. It fits!

Ok. It’s actually an African chant, according to Wikipedia.  “taken directly from the music of Cameroonian saxophonist Manu Dibango” Interesting.

I used to also think it was funny how Jacko was talking about vegetables. I mean, why is he saying ‘You’re a vegetable’ anyway?

Never quite got that.

What are your favourite opening tracks? Discuss.

I’ve been trying to find the video somewhere, but I guess Jacko’s lawyers are pretty vigilant. All I could find were fan vids, live versions and the Akon remix (blech)

But here’s a live version to check out