Giving up on the song a day challenge

What can I say I’m not very good at obligations.

If you’re interested, here is the list of songs I had planned for each day with a reminder of the relevant criteria:

Day 1  –  The best you’ve ever heard
Day 2  –  The happiest you’ve ever heard
Day 3  –  The saddest you’ve ever heard
Day 4  –  From your current favorite band
Day 5  –  From your favourite ever band
Day 6  –  You know the lyrics like the back of your hand
Day 7  –  That perfectly opens an album
Day 8  –  That perfectly closes an album
Day 9  –  Describes your life better than you ever could
Day 10 –  Makes you think of a certain event
Day 11 –  Impresses you with its crazy guitar
Day 12 –  Impresses you with its technical skill
Day 13 –  You used to love but now hate
Day 14 –  You used to hate but now love
Day 15 –  Makes you want to dance
Day 16 –  No one would expect you to love
Day 17 –  From your favourite 90s album
Day 18 –  From your favourite 00s album
Day 19 –  You want played at your funeral
Day 20 –  You wish you could play on guitar
Day 21 –  You play all the time on guitar

1. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
2. Gorillaz – 19/2000
3. Hope Of The States – Me Ves Y Sufres
4. The National – Secret Meeting
5. Radiohead – There There
6. Frightened Rabbit – The Modern Leper
7. Arcade Fire – Tunnels
8. Bon Iver – Re: Stacks
9. TV On The Radio – Ambulance
10. Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart
11. The Smiths – The Headmaster Ritual
12. Joanna Newsom – Good Intentions Paving Co.
13. The Killers – All These Things That I’ve Done
14. REM – What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?
15. LCD Soundsystem – Daft Punk Is Playing At My House
16. Tricky – Black Steel
17. Radiohead – Subterranean Homesick Alien
18. Portishead – Machine Gun
19. Pink Floyd – Shine On You Crazy Diamond
20. Grizzly Bear – On A Neck, On A Spit
21. Modest Mouse – Gravity Rides Everything

Day 9 – Describes your life better than you could

This is what I like most about lyrics, their ability to articulate what I’m thinking. Crazy metaphors for reality that I could never think up myself and yet feel so apt.

TV On The Radio – Ambulance

On top of being one of the most beautiful a capella songs ever (the video I’ve posted doesn’t quite do it justice, but the beatboxing is certainly an interesting alteration to the original), Ambulance has the kind of lyrics that seems like an intro course to psychoanalysis, setting up the protagonist as in desperate need of saving, with one last chance for survival. Heartache in a nutshell.

Day 8 – Perfectly closes an album

The natural companion to yesterday’s song, closing an album is important firstly so that a lasting impression of the album is left in the listener’s mind after it has reached its conclusion, and also to give a sense of finality that lazy bands who think the second half of an album is for filler and filler alone cannot hope to acheive. It has a very important role to play, and as an opening track is the birth of an album, so the last track is the death. And death is so much more exciting than birth, don’t you think?

Bon Iver – Re: Stacks

Moby called this the best song of the 00s. This is all the reason you need for my selection.

Day 7 – Perfectly opens an album

Arcade Fire – Tunnels

Purify the colour

Purify my mind

Day 6 – You know the lyrics like the back of your hand

So I’ll be double-posting today to make up for my failure yesterday. I don’t intend on giving up on this, although there will be some minor downscaling. These pleasant prologues that lead up to a big reveal of what song I have selected may have to go, in fact, on days where time is short, I’ll just be posting the name of the track I chose and a video, probably accompanied by a lyric or something (see below).

So anyway, this is a very interesting set of lyrics, for me, and I love the self-hate that forms the core of this song. It’s very easy to remember lyrics when they carry so much emotional weight.

Frightened Rabbit – The Modern Leper

Well I crippled your heart a hundred times

And still can’t work out why

You see I’ve got this disease that I can’t shake

And I’m just rattling through life

Well this is how we do things now

Yeah this is how the modern stay scared

So I cut off all the good stuff

Yeah I cut off my foot to spite my leg

I think the Scottish accent helps.

Day 5 – From your favourite ever band

Imagine if one band was removed from existence. One catalogue of music and following influences wiped out. Which artists couldn’t you live without? For me, there is only one, straight away I knew that was how to determine my favourite ever band. The only band that I simply couldn’t imagine not existing, and not making the albums they need, and not creating the subsequent influence.

Radiohead – There There

Didn’t discover this band until about five years ago, after the urging of friends and Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Albums, but I quickly worked my way through their records, followed by EPs, B-sides, demos, live versions… probably the only band whom I can conceivably made a top 100 favourite tracks about, and still love number 100. They are constantly inventive and not afraid to change their sound and they have dictated the mainstream for over a decade. Claims that they are the only band to have dominated two decades are fair enough, they would be no complaints if they were named both band of the 90s and band of the 00s. The only reason I would not put them as favourite current band is that they have not put out a really good record in seven years (a contentious opinion, I understand), and because what I have heard of material for their eigth album is not particularly promising. But nevertheless, the sheer volume of interesting music that this band have created is more than enough to warrant their position as my favourite band of all time.

Day 4 – From your current favourite band

The selection of my current favourite band is maybe more difficult than I first thought. If I say what band do I most want to listen to right at this very second, well, it  could be any number of bands, depending on moods and what I’ve recently listened to. If we take the band I’ve listened to the most recently, that would be Arcade Fire, but that’s only because they’ve just put out a new album. And if I take the band I think is the best, Pink Floyd, can I say that I enjoy them a lot right now? I can’t, because my interest in them has slowly waned in the two years since I first heard them. So the question is, which band have I consistently enjoyed the most over the past few months, and I am guaranteed to continue enjoying in the months to come?

The National – Secret Meeting

So in the end, not that difficult, and in fact the obvious choice. But what can I say? I love this band.

I used this song of theirs mostly because it feels like the perfect starter song from this band. It’s a Litmus test, if you find the vocals and lyrics catchy and interesting you will love the whole discography, if you find it grating and willingly oblique you would be better off not bothering with the rest of their material. The Smiths-esque arpeggiated guitar sounds as light as air above such gems as “I’m sorry I missed you, I had a secret meeting in the basement of my brain”.

Best news of all, I have tickets to see them play Brixton Academy at the end of November.

All together now, it went the dull and wicked ordinary way…