October was a scary month (pun most certainly intended) with several big changes coincidentally converging into the final few days. New things always seem to come along in waves, and November is shaping up to be an exciting and refreshing month of fresh starts and new beginnings. Cue the Japanese 80’s advert…
I initially started this list almost immediately after posting last months playlist. The songs came to me so quickly and I just couldn’t wait to put them together. I’m really enjoying the rediscovery of this hobby, I’ve loved making playlists since I was a kid. I even hosted a playlist themed birthday party a few years ago (I’m sure my friends loved me for giving them ‘homework’ before a party!). Everyone picked 5 songs each, and we mixed them all together into a massive playlist which lasted the whole night. It was really cool, and I loved hearing what everyone chose (we all took it very seriously in the end! The collective time spent curating them isn't worth calculating!).
This month opens with a James Brown -esque anthem from British band ‘the Heavy’. You will definitely recognise this song from its use in countless adverts and movie soundtracks. ‘How you like me now’ (Track 1) packs a punch with funky horns and a fighting attitude. Continuing the high, we transition into ‘Headlines’ by Drake (Track 2) which is an upbeat, self-confidence booster. Basically he bangs on about how awesome he is, which is an uncomfortably foreign concept in Scottish culture!
This song might be lacking in musical production, but it is lyrically very clever. The original album version of the song ends with a short spoken word which brings us back down with a profound message about the realities of success, and how every journey has sacrifices which we often don’t talk about. A very relatable subject in modern society, with the increasing pressure to only share (and see) the good times. It is beautifully told in his very listenable silky voice. (It is worth searching for the original album version to hear the spoken word, unfortunately it isn’t on all steaming services).
This new gentler pace eases us into the beginning of ‘The Chain’ (Track 3) by Fleetwood Mac. A few months ago, my father in law took us out for a run in his convertible before selling it, and to set the scene he played the album Rumours through the car stereo. My wife Joy has been playing Fleetwood Mac on repeat ever since and this particular song is an epic journey of passion, struggles, relationships, and probably the most famous bass line of all time.
Onto another incredible bass line we begin ‘I dont know anything’ by Jamie Lenman (Track 4) probably his happiest sounding song! (It makes me want to dance so badly). The lyrics are very deep as always, and my favourite line from the album “But it’s hard to survive as an unshakable rock I know I’ve got to move to stay alive” sums up my last 3 years of self-employment in one sentence. It features a brilliant (but brief) violin solo, and ends with a thrashing drum beat which sets us up for the next track.
Straight into ‘1 Thing’ by Amerie (Track 5) we have one of the catchiest drum beats E V E R. There are two schools of thought from drummers when it comes to this song. The first group love and respect how incredible a pop song it is, while the other group scauld it for being simple and repetitive (ultimately because they wish they had written it!). In my opinion this song is an absolute beast. Moving swiftly onto a slightly unusual sample, we have ‘Hell of a life’ by Kanye West (Track 6) where interestingly he borrows the melody from Black Sabbath’s Iron Man, speeding it up and creating a really trippy version. It isn’t an easy task to find a ‘happy’ Kanye song, but I think this is as close as we’re gonna get.
The next song comes from one of my favourite EP’s called One Day As A Lion. The 5 tracks were recorded by Zack de la Rocha after leaving Rage Against the Machine, alongside Jon Theodore (drummer from The Mars Volta). These 5 songs are a revelation of sound from just two musicians. The EP is short and sweet, and each song kind of blends into the next. ‘If you fear dying’ (Track 7) is a ferocious bombardment of techno noise which sums up the EP as a whole.
(Track 8) has been remixed so many times, you are bound to recognise the catchy rhythm. ‘Mundian To Bach Ke (Beware of the boys)’ by Punjabi MC (& in this version) Jay Z, is a ridiculously catchy song in poppy Indian Bhangra style. Interestingly the bass line was inspired by the theme tune from Knight Rider, starring David Hasselhoff. (I bloody love an 80’s themed fun fact!).
(Track 9) ‘Rubber Lover’ starts with an addictive Billy Joel sample featuring a gorgeous cut of piano which lifts my spirits and makes me want to dance again. The only flaw with this song is how short it is. Featuring vocals from Simon Neil, it comes from his very niche side project Marmaduke Duke.
The last song ‘Bibia Be Ye Ye’ (Track 10) is from Ed Sheeran’s newest album ÷. The lyrics tell the age old story of being worse for wear, waking up the next morning with the sinking feeling of dread as you remember more and more from the night before! The melody and guitar are so infectious, they make my hips involuntarily move in a way I didn’t know previously possible!
Enjoy em, hate em, laugh at them, whatever you do check back next month for another 10 studio favourites.