Sunday, 13 November 2011

In Which I Attempt a Musically Related Top 5 List

Sunday, 13 November 2011
Recently, I caught a Twitter gauntlet thrown at me by the always delightful @WriteOnNZ in a conversation with the equally congenial @BretInVancouver. The challenge: to come up with a Top 5 list of songs/books/films, etc.


“IMPOSSIBLE TASK / ONLY FIVE? IT CAN’T BE DONE / THIS IS THE STUFF OF MADNESS!” quoth I; my protestations resolute and many varied.

And yet – here we are: never one to shy away from a contest, I thought I’d have a go. I figure the odds of sending myself to the loony bin could be significantly stacked in my favour if I did a Top 5 of a category of a category of song or something.

So without further ado, I give you:


TOP FIVE SONGS WHICH I CAME UP WITH OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD THE ORDER AND CONTENT OF WHICH MAY CHANGE IN THE NEXT FIVE MINUTES WHICH HAVE A KILLER OPENING 30 SECONDS
SUBCATEGORY: GOOSEBUMPS
SUB-SUBCATEGORY: WHICH MAKE YOU CLOSE YOUR EYES AND SMILE GOOFILY SUB-SUB-SUBCATEGORY: IN WHICH REWINDING THE SONG TO THE BEGINNING AGAIN JUST TO HEAR THE BEGINNING AGAIN IS NOT ONLY COMPLETELY PERMISSABLE BUT KIND OF EXPECTED

Waterfall/Don’t Stop – The Stone Roses
Really, the opening 30 seconds of Don’t Stop depends very heavily on your ability to identify the ending of the previous track - Waterfall - which, if you’re a Roses fan, you know kind of meld into one another. You know how it goes: you’re grooving on the trip of the end of Waterfall, and you notice the track number on your CD player has changed so you know Don’t Stop has started, but you’re not sure exactly when. So I’m about 1:24 into Don’t Stop and here’s where you must pay attention: listen to when Reni (drummer) switches from hi-hat to whatever that other cymbal is called.... are you there? I make it about the 1:40 mark. And then? They all come together – Squire’s swirly guitar, a tambourine comes in on the 2 and the 4 and everyone follow Mani’s ascending bassline for what – five notes? It kind of goes da-da-daaaa, da-daaaa, da-daaaaa.... just before the vocal comes in? Are you there? That – that right there MAKES ME DIE.




Sweat – Tool
I have a very distinct memory of how I came to appreciate the beginning of this song: I am 16, maybe 17. I am waiting for the bus to take me to school – I am late, as usual, so I have missed the bus I should have caught, and quite possibly the one after that. I don’t care – I have a Sony Walkman. Remember the yellow one with two earphone jacks, that claimed to be waterproof? That one. I have a backpack full of Bic pens (to help rewind tapes and conserve double AA power) and loads of batteries. I’ve got the volume cranked all the way up, and this song comes on. Now, as you may or may not know, everything on headphones is intensified anyway, so while what I am about to introduce may just be one solitary strike of one solitary part of one solitary instrument, it had an eyes-rolling-into-back-of-head effect on the young bus stop me, and I wore out the buttons on that bloody yellow monstrosity all the freakin’ way to school just so I could hear it again and again and again. I’m talking about the single, solitary, smack of the drum (it kind of echoes) at about the :21 second mark before the song really starts. Love, love, love.



So Says I – The Shins
Nothing fancy about this one – another headphones discovery. The first 5 seconds I love; the guitar just trickles down, sneaks up on you and then WAH-BAM the song gets on with itself. Slick, jangly, attention grabbing.

Where the Streets Have No Name – U2
Controversial – I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. But they were the first band I properly lost my shit over, when I was a young, impressionable girl. I first saw them in 1992 and the introduction to this song is what I heard in my mind when, I was sitting in the back of my Dad’s Toyota on the way to the big city to see them for the first time. Ontario friends – you know when you get off the 427 by Lakeshore? The introduction to this song is the noise of the view of the majestic Toronto skyline coming around that corner.



 Can’t Stop – Red Hot Chili Peppers
CONTROVERSIAL AGAIN. I love, love, love the first 30 seconds of this song, and then I fucking HATE this song. (Yes, Jason – it was necessary to swear there.) This song will also feature in an upcoming sub-category called UNIMAGINATIVE MELODY WHICH COMPLETELY RUINS AN OTHERWISE BELTER OF A TUNE. I am from the Freaky Styley Uplift Mofo Milk Magik school of Chili’s fans and this ‘new’ music they put out doesn’t grab me like it used to. But this song? This song did. I heard it one day and thought HEY, WHAT’S THIS? IS FRUSCIANTE BACK ON SMACK AGAIN, BECAUSE THIS IS GOOOOOD!!! And then Keidis comes in and covers up all that guitar divinity with a completely parallel line of melody. 2006’s biggest musical let down. Get thee to the naughty step, Anthony.





There you have it. That’s what I have produced (with the aid of my current iPod playlist). Undoubtedly there will be more, but I am spent. I need a lie down.


Honourable Mentions (Bands I Like Because of the Introductions of These Songs)
Let’s Dance to Joy Division - The Wombats
Date With the Night – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Blue Orchid – White Stripes
Never Let Me Down (Again) – Depeche Mode
Patti Smith Math Scratch – Thurston Moore
Dogs of Lust – The The
Would – Alice in Chains
Pearl Jam – Porch
Going Up (To Portland) – Swell (can't find a link!!!)
Superstition – Steve Wonder
Take the Money and Run – Steve Miller Band
The Criminal – Sons of Freedom
Dirty Boots – Sonic Youth
So Far Away – Social Distortion
How Soon is Now – Smiths
A Side Wins – Sloan (the lyrics of this will be part of my next tattoo, incidentally...)
Well Thought Out Twinkles – Silversun Pickups
Crank – Catherine Wheel


GAH! I can’t do any more. I was right the first time:  THIS CAN’T BE DONE.