Top 100 singles of all time: from Bjork to the Beach Boys

367px-Björk_Rock_en_Seine_2007_by Bertrand

It’s an almost sad feeling as I wrap up this list – bundling in the top 40 in one final swoop – before tomorrow’s grand finale. I don’t even know what was going through my mind as I wrote the original list, beyond how far I agreed (or disagreed) with the traditional entries on such charts. Perhaps what surprised me was how orthodox my tastes are – perhaps simply because those songs are undeniably good – though I hope my more detailed individual postings have entertained, imparted a bit of trivia on your favourite songs, and maybe introduced you to something you hadn’t heard before.

With that in mind, I’m going to skip over the ones you already know well – Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir (which always sounds oddly weedy compared to the bowel-shreddingly heavy version in my head); River Deep, Mountain High; House of the Rising Sun, etc. (my top 40 is dominated by songs from the 60s). I’ll pause to mention Higher Than The Sun, because however many accolades have been awarded to Screamadelica, it still does not have the recognition such an otherworldly, transcendental song deserves.  Continue reading

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Pop vs Rock

Written for Collapse Board

Before they switched off Pandora in the UK, I found its deliberately anti-genre stance interesting because it would place frivolous ‘pop’ songs next to ‘credible’ artists. It’s probably stretching it to call any of these ‘rock’, but they’re of the type admired by people who don’t generally buy records by Beyonce, etc.

Stripped of the genre tag, note for note, there’s really not much difference between the songs. Wallace Wylie pointed out what’s wrong with the package of pop. If you take that away, you’ve got some great music that the middle-aged chin-strokers would probably like if they just started thinking of it as music. For example:  Continue reading

Great Mixtapes: Select – Red Tape

Following yesterday’s delightful free mixtape, I was reminded of one of my all-time favourite compilations. Red Tape came free with issue 4 of Select Magazine, in October 1990 (I was turning 14). It had a fairly major impact in forming my music tastes at the time.

I’m going to embed all of the tracks (where available) because it’s definitely worth hearing in its entirety, and I’ve put links to anything I’ve covered elsewhere. It covers a wide range of music so there should be something here for everyone.
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Producers that make (or break) the band

New on Collapse Board

Band-members are like the ingredients of a cake: get it wrong, and the result is bland or sickly. It’s about getting people together who make each other feel comfortable, who can inspire the audience, and who can deflate the ego of an overindulgent songwriter. The producer is the mould. If you pour cake mix onto a baking tray, you’ll end up with a flat, sticky mess. Some producers are like old-fashioned round cake tins, providing a strong but subtle structure that simply allows the flavours to emerge. Others make fancy shapes, so vibrant and daring that its cakeness comes second to its art-form. Like the line-up, the right producer for your band is the one that fits your personal dynamic, and brings out the best in what you, uniquely, have to offer.

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#trendingtopics – Music Shuffle

From Facebook:
Time for another one of these.
Write down the first 25 random songs that come up on your MP3 player, iPod etc. I used Last.fm set to My Library station.
No cheating!
No editing!

I thought I’d give it a go, using Last.fm, just to see what would happen. I found it interesting because it was forcing me to listen to things that I hadn’t heard in a while or given a particularly fair listen, and playing things out of the context of how I usually hear them. There’s some good songs here …

1. Foetus – Verklemmt

Bit of a no-brainer for me, considering how much I’ve been listening to this lately. I find the video hard-going (made by Alex Winter from Bill & Ted, it’s got literally thousands of cuts), but it’s a great song from the album GASH.

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2. The Kinks – Dead End Street

Ah, I never tire of this song. I used to play it a lot when I was unemployed and starving-broke, living in a miserable bedsit in one of the rougher parts of South London.

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