Last month was all about graft. We had a tonne of work on in November being pretty much booked solid. As well as a full schedule, we had our first ever sponsorship agreement, which needed to fit into evenings and weekends. Churning out a high volume of drawings over long days and weeks required consistent focus (something not always easy to come by!).
In these circumstances I work best with some good and loud music in the background, specifically songs that I know well enough not to distract. They also need to be upbeat enough to keep the momentum flowing, and happy enough to keep my spirits up! In times like these, playlists are just too short, and I rely heavily on albums to get me through. I’ve always been into albums that take you on a journey, where the songs bleed into one another, and the running order serves a purpose. All killer, no filler kind of albums! Luckily I have a wealth of favourites that fit the bill, and a good few of December’s tracks have been plucked from great albums.
This month starts with a catchy guitar riff with a country twang. I can’t say I’m a big fan of this artist, I know him better from the movies he’s starred in, but this song was all over the music channels when I was growing up and I always stopped to give it a listen. Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, puffy, diddy, dafty, whatever he’s going by these days, ‘Bad boy for life’ (Track 1) has a great pace for bobbing along to.
In non-music related news, I was away recently for my mate Will’s stag-do. We stayed in this amazing house right on the water. The location was beautiful, tucked away in the middle of nowhere. So remote in fact that the Sonos system struggled with the wifi. At several points over the weekend, ‘Party in the U.S.A’ (Track 2) got stuck on repeat, playing the opening guitar over and over. Since it’s his birthday this month, I dedicate this song to William Bernard. Miley Cyrus’ NO.1 Fan. (He’s honestly obsessed).
‘Shimmy’ (Track 3) is a short and sweet track by System of a Down. It’s fast, loud, and has a dancey vibe to it. I’ve been listening to a lot of System this month to keep me motivated. They’re one of my all time favourite bands, and their albums definitely fit the ‘take me on a journey’ criteria. I couldn’t imagine any individual song fitting into one of these playlists, but I decided to pick this track as a ‘less metal’ metal song (if that makes any sense at all?!).
The next song is a Spy themed instrumental from ‘Shenanigans’, the Green Day compilation album. ‘Espionage’ (Track 4) was used in the movie sountrack of ‘Austin Powers: The Spy Who Sha**ed Me’. It’s a perfect background motivator with no distracting lyrics, just a good rolling bass line and some horns to keep you flowing. Next up ‘She’s Creeping’ (Track 5) by Royal Blood has a whiny ‘Queens of the Stone age’ guitar vibe going. It’s a more relaxed pace and rolls along nicely.
Royal Blood are another great band for albums that keep you motivated. A perfect high energy combo of funky drum beats and full sounding guitar. Next we bleed into ‘Spread your Love’ (Track 6) by the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. This track is a classic uplifting song with quite a relaxed undertone to it. (Track 7) ‘Come and get your love’ by Redbone is borrowed from the movie ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. The soundtracks for these movies are unreal, and this particular song is my favourite. You might assume that I’d have some Christmas songs in here being December and all, but you’d be wrong. This song is pretty much as close as you’re gonna get I’m afraid, but you’ll definitely feel merry after listening to it! (go on, have a wee dance).
‘Sunday’ (Track 8) is a very chilled Iggy Pop song from the incredible album ‘Post Pop Depression’. The album was produced and recorded by Josh Homme and is a real triumph for both artists (one of their greatest pieces of work in my opinion). This track is about feeling overwhelmed by the working week, yearning for a sleepy Sunday to get some respite. It ends with a signature weird instrumental part which regularily appear on Josh’s albums.
(Track 9) ‘A day in the life’ is a kind of a cappella sea shanty by Jamie Lenman. It continues the theme from ‘Sunday’ and sums up working through the winter months. Waking up to darkness and looking for things to do in the cold gloomy evenings. He reminds us how lucky we are despite the bleak weather, and describes his dearest friends and family as winter compadre’s. It’s a really fun song with instruments set aside, and stomping feet keeping the rhythm.
The finale (Track 10) is a strange one this month. Due to Jay-Z not being on Spotify (for licensing reasons) I’ve had to make two versions of the playlist. On Apple Music you will hear ‘Public Service Announcement’ by Jay-Z rounding things off (as initially intended).
On Spotify you will get a different experience from ‘Smimmy Shimmy Ya’ by Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Both were considered for this months playlist which is why I decided to split them off. Jay-Z’s ‘The Black Album’ has been keeping me going with this particular track standing out. ‘Shimmy Shimmy Ya’ has a simple little piano loop, and is the opening track of the movie ‘Knocked Up’.
Enjoy em, hate em, laugh at them, whatever you do check back next month for another 10 studio favourites.