Did Eurovision mess with your musical mojo? Fear not, let Jack Titley set you straight with this playlist
After the operatic vampires, moustachioed pensioners and adorable Maltesers at Eurovision, I feel an upbeat, summery playlist is needed to help soothe hangovers and heal mental scars from certain performances (not mentioning any names, Romania).
Here is what I’ve been listening to recently. Try our Spotify playlist and add your suggestions for the next tracks in the comments below.
Burning Down The House
Tom Jones and The Cardigans
A revamped, brassed-up cover of the Talking Heads funk classic, this unashamedly over-the-top tune will root itself into your head by the second listen. Tom’s iconic voicebox is stretched to the max which can make for some entertaining lyric delivery (watch out for ‘MY house’ at about 1:50) and Nina Persson’s pitch perfect vocals compliment the Welshman’s roar very well. The backing track, a mix of synth, leccy guitars and brass, does a good job of making you want to dance, and whilst the lyrics don’t make much sense, they fit well with the melody, creating a rhythmic, fun song that cleverly reinvents the 1983 Heads original.
This 1998 Catatonia release is a slow builder, with a fantastic, uplifting chorus and hypnotic vocals from Cerys Matthews that really make this song. Possibly based on the Tracie Andrews/Lee Harvey murder case at the time, the ‘You give me road rrrage’ line sends tingles up the spine at the climax of the song, Matthew’s voice soaring to effortlessly hit each simple, perfect note. The International Velvet album from which it is taken is one of the best albums of the ‘90s, with Mulder and Scully also outstanding. The album version of this track is also worth a listen (if only because it‘s a minute longer!).
Black Country Rock
This fabulous rock fest from Bowie’s 1970 classic album The Man Who Sold The World (which also contains the famous title track and the equally brilliant Running Gun Blues – have a listen) smacks of T Rex and his later Spiders from Mars work. This song is my favourite of his at the moment though I could do an entire playlist of his stuff (watch this space), due to the western bluesy undertones, the guitar ostinatos, the duets between Bowie and legendary sidekick Mick Ronson and the Marc Bolan-alike vocal in the latter half that he included, according to producer Tony Visconti, because ‘he ran out of lyrics… and we all thought it sounded cool.’
Pump It Up
Elvis Costello and the Attractions
No matter what the subject is, this is another track with a fantastic beat from Costello’s 1978 album This Year’s Model. Simplicity is key, and songs don’t get much more simpler than this – THAT riff, a drum beat and Dec MacManus’ striking but straightforward vocals, almost a rap until it reaches the chorus. It makes you want to jump around wherever you are – from the front room to the front row at Glastonbury, the thumping rhythm never fails to rouse your body into something resembling dance.
Some Kind Of Nature
Gorillaz ft. Lou Reed
Very, very addictive stuff from two legends of different eras, who combine to perfection with Lou Reed’s astonishing voice edited and produced cleverly by Damon Albarn and his team. The track is not very well known due to its lack of release as a single from the great 2010 album Plastic Beach, but in my opinion the best tune on there. The ‘visual video’ is also well worth checking out on YouTube. A toe-tapping beat and an extremely catchy melody make this one of my preferred songs for this summer.
Country Boys And City Girls
From one of my favourite ever albums, this is a joyous outburst of musical brilliance from the Fratellis. They could have written three or four different songs with the number of catchy ostinatos in here, but they are stitched together effortlessly to create a wonderful explosion of happiness and an intense party atmosphere. Costello Music is, for me, a criminally underrated album and the list of great tracks from it goes on and on (Whistle For The Choir, Henrietta, Chelsea Dagger, Creepin Up The Backstairs – I could go on) and this one epitomises everything good about it. A stunning summery anthem.