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1001 Songs Challenge: Day One-Hundred! (The Grand Finale)

It’s here! The final day of the challenge, and the only day with more than ten songs on it! I am so excited for today’s playlist because it is the end. Only eleven more songs to go…

1. Viva La Vida – Coldplay

I can prove my neediness in saying that when this song came out, I proclaimed it the centerpiece of my history homework playlist….and anytime I read a book about history (because I love history), this song gets put on. Not only are the vocals amazing, but the lush music and the way it seems to capture this aspect of history and legend just makes this stand out. It’s easily one of Coldplay’s finest songs.

2. Dog Days Are Over – Florence & The Machine

This is a song I play typically when I go for a run (“Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father, run for the children, for your sisters and brothers…”). I love the power behind this song. Florence Welch has vocals that are beyond enviable, and the range she expresses on “Dog Days…” is incredible. Add in the gorgeous music and unique personality brought out even further by every line and every note, and this is a classic.

3. The Fear – Lily Allen

Lily Allen has many great songs, but I must admit, The Fear is hands down, one of my favorite songs she has ever come out with. She is great at providing social commentary, but this song really pushes the limits that little bit further, with sarcasm oozing out of every line. It’s brilliant. In fact, It’s Not Me, It’s You may have been the best album she ever released.

4. Summertime Clothes – Animal Collection

Well, you can’t finish off the 1001 Songs Challenge without at least one more “Do I like this or do I not?” track. I’m pretty sure I like it. The introduction is a bit bizarre, but once the vocals kick in, there’s something intriguing about that does draw you in. It doesn’t seem to fit in with the songs on today’s playlist (so far), but I suppose it stands out in a good way.

5. Rain Dance – The Very Best ft. M.I.A.

I’ve never been a big M.I.A. fan; nothing personal against her, it’s just not my cup of tea. However, I do quite like this track for how unfamiliar its sound is to me. I like songs that strike me as different, and this definitely fits the bill. Of course, the vocal harmonies of The Very Best are really what kept me entertained throughout the track.

6. Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z and Alicia Keys

One of the only Jay-Z songs (that isn’t with Linkin Park) that I will ever say I love. The pounding piano melodies and electric vocals, the rapping that seems to fit perfectly, and the anthemic tone of the song are amazing. This is why this song has become the song in New York (next to “New York, New York” of course). Add on to the fact that without this song, we may never have had Katy Perry’s “California Gurls.”

“It’s so great that ‘Empire State of Mind’ is huge and that everybody has the New York song, but what the fuck? What about LA? What about California? And it’s been a minute since we’ve had a California song and especially from a girl’s perspective. We took the references of Prince, which is always a great reference, and we took a lot of the ’90s, … almost that house music, some of those references.” – Katy Perry to Rolling Stone, April 2010.

7. Tenalle Chegret – Tinariwen

Apparrently, this means “The Long Thread.” What I like about this is the obvious blues influence. It almost strikes me as odd that the American market wouldn’t pick up on this, if not at least for film soundtracks, especially as they could have remixed it to be an even cooler track. It has obvious appeal to it. Musically, the blues aspect is incredible, and the vocal harmonies are even more impressive. There’s definitely something to be said for Tinariwen’s sound; they’re strong and consistent in their style, not wavering in overall tone either.

8. Harry Patch (In Memory Of) – Radiohead

Radiohead have this profound ability to haunt and inspire. On “Harry Patch (In Memory Of),” there is a lush melody that sounds fit for something like Les Miserables. It is truly gorgeous. Thom Yorke’s soft, brinking on high-pitched vocals add extra dimension to the track overall, further presenting a melancholy, but heroic tale, penned to be from the perspective of a WWI soldier in the trenches (Patch). It’s probably one of the best tributes I’ve ever heard, being both deeply heartfelt and inspiring. This is more of what should have been put into the 1001 Songs… book; more songs that made people feel something.

9. Go Do – Jonsi

I remember hearing this a lot when it was on trailers for films and such, and I loved it. I am happy to say that I still do. It is a great track. Jonsi has an amazing vocal range, and when paired with such stunning instrumentation (worthy of a whimsical score), I feel like he cannot go wrong. There is something about this song that seems to mix a million emotions into one, covering a full spectrum and illuminating my headphones with pure power. In many ways, the thing that makes this track stand out best is the way it accomplishes so much without sounding like it’s been overthought. The arrangement of the whole thing sounds so natural and beautiful, it is hard to resist.

10. Me & The Devil – Gil Scott-Heron

Bluesy with an ominous tone that will both haunt and delight you. Gil Scott-Heron has a really gruff quality to his voice that makes it sound both fresh and classic, if that makes any sense. There is also a very well-written/delivered spoken-word poem at the end of the song, which just adds to the pure quality of the overall track.

 

And last but not least (well, maybe least, we’ll have to see what the song is…):

The 1001st song:

Stylo – The Gorillaz

This is supposedly about over-population, which I can kind of get from the lyrics. Bobby Womack and Mos Def appear on the track, which probably helped it in terms of popularity amongst people who weren’t already into The Gorillaz. It has a funk undertone to it that really gives it an edge that may not have previously existed. However, the same could probably be said for the vocals, which all meld wonderfully. I also like the classic hip-hop style that is easy to kind of pull from the track. Pretty good way to finish off the challenge, especially as this has been an OVERLOAD of songs.

 

 

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And that’s all for the show folks! G-g-g-goodbye now!

Just kidding (kind of). This week, I am hoping to make a video about the 1001 Songs Challenge and what I liked, hated, and wish I’d seen more of. I will also be going back through every entry and piecing together a list of my favorites from the overall challenge.

If you’ve followed along with me, please #1001SongsPS and let me know what you thought about the whole damned thing. 😉

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1001 Songs Challenge: Day Ninety-Nine

It’s so weird to think that tomorrow is the last day of the challenge. I am curious as to what the next twenty songs will be, but I think there is already an entire genre I can subtract from the list of possibilities (but more on that when I post the video with my loves/hates/etc.). However, I’m still on a bit of a happy, Just-Went-To-Warped mood, so no Monday blues for me! Let’s get this done!

1. Paper Planes – M.I.A.

Whenever I think of this song, I just remember the film Slumdog Millionaire (brilliant film, by the way), and I think that may be the only reason I really enjoy it. The beats are catchy and the lyrics aren’t awful, so it’s definitely not something that will make you want to rip your ears out. I don’t mind it, anyway. It’s similar to some of Lily Allen’s old stuff, so how can you hate it? The only thing I don’t like is the cheesy sound effects (gun shots and cash register dings).

2. Mercy – Duffy

Oh wow. Do you remember when everybody and their mother was completely obsessed with Duffy? Seriously, I used to go to the Virgin Megastore (man, that feels like a million years ago…), and this chick’s poster and albums were everywhere.  In fairness, I completely get it. She has this mod sound to her that gives you chills for how brilliantly she sounds classic, but also how Duffy’s style has the attitude that the 21st century needed. I love this song in particular. It is so good, and her vocals are perfection, especially when you add in the epic instrumental quality. This is just an overall stellar track.

3. Sabali – Amadou and Mariam

Explaining this song is impossible, but to say I didn’t enjoy it would be a lie. I love the vocals and the overall style of it. I am so surprised I’ve never heard this before (that I know of). With a melodic flow of words, subtle beats, and techno influence, there’s little to dislike. This is a happy tune.

4. Divine – Sebastien Tellier

The 80s influence is either endearing or horrifying. I haven’t decided yet. I like how boppy it is, and how strange it is, to be honest. As soon as it begins, it seems to be over, but it’s really just the song changing. For a beat, it becomes more driven by the piano and has a softness to it reminiscent of a small, intimate live show. The more the song plays, the more I like it.

5. Mykonos – Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes aren’t everyone’s taste, but I’ve always liked them personally. It’s that folksy sound that I really enjoy. This one reminds me of a CD my Uncle Peter gave me of old gypsy stories. As a kid, I listened to all of them all the time, because they fascinated me. They had gorgeous, steady beats behind them, and a musicality very similar to Fleet Foxes’ “Mykonos.” However, Fleet Foxes do add a bit more of a rock and roll vibe, especially with the inflection of the vocals.

6. Time To Pretend – MGMT

I remember the first song I heard from MGMT; it was “Electric Feel” and I hated it. My cousin Ashley, on the other hand, thought it was “mint.” However, I didn’t mind this one. I don’t know why. Mainly, it’s catchy and it’s pretty much a facetious jab at the industry as a whole I think (make music, get rich, marry a model, etc.). Maybe it’s a jab at the way we all operate, I don’t know. But I do know that most people know the transient sound in the introduction of the song.

7. Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap

Such a great song! There is something so beautiful about this track, and I don’t know whether it’s because it’s a mixture of soothing and exciting or what, but I will own up to playing this on my iPod on a regular basis. The vocals are gorgeous and soulful, and the instruments don’t overshadow that. In fact, neither the vocals or the instruments overshadow one another; they seem to work together very well, collaborating, as opposed to the typical competition you can almost sense on other tracks. This is the anthem for being so content in a moment, you don’t want to leave.

8. L.E.S. Artistes – Santogold

I really enjoy how “snappy” (pardon the pun) this song is. With excellent timing and vocals that just make you want to sing along, it is impossible to go wrong with this track. I could listen to this again and again, just because I do find it so enjoyable. The chorus has a great, infectious energy to it.

9. Sex On Fire – Kings Of Leon

Ah, the rock and roll edge of this track, the guttural vocals, and the whole damned thing just make this song stand out of the pack. I personally think “Use Somebody” is slightly better, but that’s just because I love how melodic it is. “Sex On Fire” still hits people with it’s classic rock inflection and blunt tone. It’s a song that you’re meant to rock out to; each chord on the guitar encourages it. Seriously, try and tell me you haven’t sang along to this at the top of your lungs.

10. One Day Like This – Elbow

I love the fact that the vocals on this track aren’t distorted by what people expect. The vocalist’s Mancunian accent is still ringing out loud and clear on this song, and I love it. Lush instrumentation, fantastic lyrics, and just a whole sound that makes it easy to adore. I personally will be adding this to my playlist in the future. I cannot believe I have never heard this song before; this may be a new favorite of mine.

 

All in good spirits this Monday as I get back to the wind and grind, but my Warped Tour grin is still on my face. My voice is also slightly gone, but that’s all that talking and singing! Lots of water to be drank today and lots of music to help me unwind and rest up. Who’s excited to hit the end of this challenge? I am!

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1001 Songs Challenge: Day Ninety-Eight

So today is Warped Tour for me and I am so excited! As I get all of my camera stuff ready to go this morning, I really just want to listen to all of my amp-up songs, but I figure I won’t have time for the challenge today unless I do it right now.

1. Ovun que proteggi – Vincio Capossela

A beautiful, Italian, piano-driven ballad. I could listen to this all day. Capossela’s voice is pure quality, with a slight rasp to it familiar to The Pogues’ frontman, Shane MacGowan. However, Capossela has a softer tone overall, which makes this track like a lullaby of sorts. It really is stunning.

2. Please Read The Letter – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

A soft, sweet song that consists of consistent rhythm and well done vocal harmonizing. In some ways, there is an indie-country vibe going on here, which probably is the reason I find it so irresistible. Lyrically, it reads like a poetic letter itself, almost pleading for closure.

3. Crank That (Soulja Boy) – Soulja Boy

Really? This made it onto the list and Fall Out Boy, Dashboard Confessional, My Chemical Romance just vanished into thin air? Really? I didn’t like this song when it came out and was played at every middle school dance, and I don’t like it now. It’s just never appealed to me. I appreciate that Soulja Boy was sixteen and trying to make rap about having fun again, but I’m sorry, this song has always been a total miss for me.

4. My People – The Presets

The Presets are considered “electro punk,” but I think they just sound like an 80’s band with 90’s dance beats. Of course, lyrically, it has more depth, looking at Australian immigration from a new perspective. It’s not on my list of favorites from this challenge, but at least I don’t want to pull a Van Gogh.

5. Flux – Block Party

The muted guitar is probably my favorite thing about this track. It’s striking, because it works so well with the techno beat, and the vocals that sound like something from the 90s. With a definite rock-pop style, this is actually a pretty fun song to listen to.

6. My Moon My Man – Feist

Feist has such a distinct sound when it comes to her vocals. “My Moon My Man” has an instrumental brilliantly made up of multiple instruments, with the piano being the driving force. The lyrics capture a yearning feeling, which Feist delivers with nothing but excellence.

7. D.A.N.C.E. – Justice

Paying homage to Michael Jackson, Justice brought out this flashy track in 2007, and to be honest, it’s not that memorable. With a chorus of children singing alongside synth beats and bass-driven funk, it just sounds like everything else. It doesn’t stand out to me in any way.

8. re: Stacks – Bon Iver

Much more memorable than Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E.” is the first way I will compliment this song. The next is by praising the indie, soft, smooth quality of Bon Iver’s vocals. I loved this song from start to finish. It’s melodic and so well-made, it’s impossible to resist.

9. With Every Heartbeat – Robyn with Kleerup

I love how Robyn’s vocals deliver on this track. She pours her heart out on every line, which, when paired with a stunning string arrangement, make for a fantastic song. Despite it’s sad subject (a breakup) and melancholy tone, the song features an upbeat pop rhythm that makes it a song that is both nice to listen to, but still makes you bob your head.

10. Someone Great – LCD Soundsystem

Speaking of songs that are on the sadder spectrum, but still have a good dance beat, “Someone Great” easily fits that bill. The techno music and the way the lyrics fit in feel very 80’s, but it’s the lyrics that make this song what it is; something intriguing to listen to.

 

Okay, so I’m going to finish getting ready for Warped. Today’s playlist was decent, but I am so ready to go to Warped that listening to  these songs has left me feeling impatient. I feel like someone has given me twenty energy drinks at once and any second, I’m going to go flying through the door, leaving a me-shaped hole in it like a cartoon.

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1001 Songs Challenge: Day Ninety-One

Sunday funday…and I am wiped. I’d like to think that this playlist could energize me just a little bit. So far, as much as I am enjoying some of the tracks for the 2000s, I am a bit disappointed. Again, I will bring up how many amazing tracks have been missed, and possibly at the expense of putting in ones that have no merit.

1. Romando y tomando – Lupillo Rivera

There is a classic Mexican feel to this song. I love how well Lupillo Rivera manages to merge the music of his culture with modern, L.A. topics (look up what his lyrics are about, seriously). It helps that his voice is wonderful to listen to.

2. New York City Cops – The Strokes

The Strokes have a sound that is classic rock mixed with the grunge flavor of the 90s. It’s almost disconcerting to hear, if I’m truthful. The rawness to the song is what makes it stand out; it’s not as polished as many of the songs so far have been. It was as though they reverted to older technology/methods (a la The Maine) to accomplish the single.

3. Fell In Love With a Girl – The White Stripes

There is a frenzied, chaotic quality to this track’s sound, and it is perfection. It builds up the attitude of the overall song. Between Jack and Meg, I don’t think you can go wrong. The vocals are howling, loud, and powerful, and the drums just capture this feeling that explodes like a bundle of energy.

4. Get Ur Freak On – Missy Elliot

I remember hearing this song often as a kid (not because of my family), and I really didn’t like it. It’s a bit repetitive, and I know people say it’s a dance song, but I just can’t get into it. Sorry.

5. 21 Seconds – So Solid Crew

What I like about this is that it’s ten different people from the UK who work together to produce a song that they’re all proud of. It might not be my cup of tea musically, but I can respect how it all came about.

6. Stay Together For The Kids – Blink-182

A song for the generation of Divorce Kids in the world. As someone who has been raised by a single parent, this song really hit me, and still does. Blink-182 have always been one of my go-to bands for goofy, amp-me-up songs, but I can remember hearing this and just freezing. The anger, the frustration, and even the hurt, is perfectly captured in this song.

7. Schism – Tool

The lyrics are surprising, the instrumentals and overall tone are haunting, and leave me feeling slightly intrigued as to the inspiration behind the song. It’s definitely one of the harder songs listed since the 80s, so at least genres are extending a bit, and a little bit of the larger musical picture is being shown.

8. Rock Star – N*E*R*D

Rap and rock finally come together an interesting way. I like the fact that this is two people who saw the potential to blend genres in an uncommon way and make it successful. It’s also the perfect “F-you” song for anyone who feels like they’re being put down.

9. Fallin’ – Alicia Keys

I loved this song as a kid. Even then, I knew it had a soul to it. I still believe that it does. I also think that it perfectly captures the feeling of wanting someone who you know is no good for you. Alicia Keys not only delivers on the piano and lyrically, but just in the way she performs the song. She truly tells a story.

10. More Than a Woman – Aaliyah

The sad thing is, whenever I hear this, I just think of being a little kid and news of Aaliyah’s plane crash being all over the news. Her vocal range was wonderful, and she opened herself to being seen as more adult in a smooth way, as opposed to the way many Disney/Nickelodeon stars are doing today.

 

I thought Sundays were supposed to be restful…oh well, I figure that the more you work, the more time you have to rest later on.

What music do you normally listen to on Sundays? My playlist for Sunday normally consists of a lot of country.

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1001 Songs Challenge: Day Ninety

So now that I’m all caught up, I am all ears, without distraction, on today’s playlist. Now that the end seems very near, and I can actually see the end, I am both excited and sad. I am excited to get an hour of my day back, as well as to have completed this challenge. However, I am also sad, because now the challenge is over, and I won’t know what to do with myself (total lie: working hard, more writing, and maybe even picking up my guitar or key-board again….). Let’s begin!

1. F*ck The Pain Away – Peaches

Yup. We’re starting today off with the F-bomb. It is hard to believe that this is actually a one-woman band. It’s not to say this song is awful, but it’s really not my cup of tea. Don’t get me wrong, I like that she promotes staying in school, but I couldn’t listen to this on a run or something…or imagine what it would be like in concert. Do I even want to?

2. Feel Good Hit of The Summer – Queens of The Stone Age

I remember my cousin playing me this song; she was going through a bit of a rocker stage, and when she showed me Queens of The Stone Age, I was monumentally confused as to why a group of men were calling themselves “Queens” (“…But they’re men! Shouldn’t they be ‘Kings of The Stone Age’?”) Let’s keep in mind, I was between the ages of five and seven when I asked my cousin this question to which she really didn’t have an answer. This is one of those songs I’m not overly sold on. I love how catchy the instrumental is, but the vocals don’t really do anything for me.

3. Ms. Jackson – OutKast

Okay, it took me a few minutes to remember this one, because I really just wanted to listen to Panic! At The Disco’s “Ms. Jackson,” that is so frigging catchy. OutKast’s version is memorable, to say the least. I think most people remember it for it’s “I am for real…” line, but I’m really not crazy about this song. I’ve never really been into it either. However, I do like that it is a man’s plea to the mother of the girl he has hurt, with an apologetic tone.

4. Romeo – Basement Jaxx

While the vocals on this track are very well-done, I found the song to be a bit too repetitive, especially with a forgettable instrumental. I find this to be a bit of a shame, because I do like the overall feeling behind the song; “letting go” of a breakup and moving on.

5. Can’t Get You Out of My Head – Kylie Minogue

With a mom who was a big Kylie Minogue fan, I had to listen to this song more than once. It is pretty catchy, in all fairness, with it’s memorable dance beats, “la la la”s, that surprisingly has held up well over the years. Of course, it launched Kylie Minogue (and the rest of her family, funny enough), into the global spotlight, and influenced a plethora of dance-pop artists.

6. Vuelvo al sur – Gotan Project

A very well done instrumental. I was impressed by the quality of the music, the visual it painted with each note, and just the overall style it had. After a lot of songs that haven’t really suited my listening tastes, it was nice to hear one that had a real feeling behind it. When the vocals eventually do kick in they are velvety smooth to perfection. What I love about Gotan Project is that they produce brilliant tango music, adding beats to it that you would never even think of placing in a typical tango track. This is an innovative group.

7. Clandestino – Manu Chao

The singing featured in “Clandestino” are lovely to listen to, and almost make the topic of immigration sound pretty. Despite only being about two and a half minutes long, it immediately packs a punch musically.

8. Iag bari – Fanfare Ciocarlia

“The Big Longing,” I am told this means. Starting off with hearty instrumental, added in with muted vocals that seem to build, this is a surprisingly catchy tune. In a similar vein as Gotan Project, there is definitely a dance element there, just thrown in with more of a traditional feel. However, I find that the blending of the multi cultured members all bring about a track that is just as innovative as something Gotan Project would put out.

9. Oica la o Senhor Vinho – Mariza

Beautifully done, with plenty of melodic style and gorgeous, controlled vocals. Not only is this lovely to listen to, but it has a classic feel that I can barely imagine the 2000s being capable of producing. It is a wonderful tune that I imagine being suited to many generations. That’s what makes a true classic; when it can cross generations the way this song can.

10. You and Whose Army? – Radiohead

Never a bad thing to finish off a playlist with some Radiohead. “You and Whose Army?” is both wonderfully melodic and truly haunting. It has a presence to it, which is no easy feat when it comes to penning a song. The vocals definitely add to the eerie feel of the song. I could listen to this for hours on end without a problem.

 

And so ends Day Ninety of the challenge. I feel like today was half a good mix and half…not so great. It probably doesn’t help that I am completely exhausted and just want to listen to one of my own mixes, but I just really didn’t think tonight’s playlist was on par with previous nights. The main disappointing thing is that so many great songs have been missed out, and most likely at the expense of putting in some really awful ones.

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1001 Songs Challenge: Day Eighty-Nine

My last one for today…thankfully, I am now all caught up. I’m excited for this one, because it’s the last one in the 20th century. There’s going to be lots of familiar, nostalgia-producing tunes in the next few days…if this book doesn’t miss them out, as it has for so many of my favorites already.

1. Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad? – Moby

Sampling an upbeat song and making it melancholy, utilizing a gospel choir and creating beats to go around it, Moby managed to produce a song that was both modern and soulful. Of course, add in that over the years, we’ve heard it in one or two commercials, and of course you have a hit.

2. I Try – Macy Gray

An iconic song by a lady with a scary-distinctive voice. Even listening now, I am in awe of this song. It just pulls you in, even if you’re adamant you won’t like it. This is the crying, feeling lost part of a breakup; Macy Gray captures a very human part of the breakdown of a relationship. It’s the humanity of the song that makes it as popular as it is.

3. U Don’t Know Me – Arman Van Helden

With an obvious disco sample, I wasn’t into it at first, because it just sounded cheesy. Disco in the disco era is one thing, but disco in the 90s is imitation. Duane Harden’s vocals are amazing, and lyrically, he manages to play the victim who gets tough with his biggest critics. The disco sample starts to make sense when blended with a modern sound, changing delivery from the cheese-fest at the beginning. If I could just make that intro a little bit shorter, for the sake of my sanity, I would play this song again and again.

4. Race For The Prize – The Flaming Lips

The last track of the 90s, and the 20th century (on this list, at least), “Race For The Prize” gives some indication of where today’s modern-hipster bands may have sampled their latest sound. Wayne Coyne has a soft vocal, filled with enunciation that any English/Speech teacher would praise. Lyrically, it doesn’t seem like much at first, but as the song develops, there is a definite depth featured that stands out amongst The Flaming Lips’ other songs, and definitely worth the listen.

 

WELCOME TO THE NEW MILLENNIA!

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5. One Armed Scissor – At The Drive-In

Only one song into the 21st century, and I already see a shift towards the style that highlights the early 2000s in my mind. There is a reason my iPod kind of looks like it got in Doc Brown’s time machine, coming from 2006 (2007, at the very latest); early on, we got some good shit. This is one of the many songs that I include in that. With tight riffs, entrancing, rhythmic style, and vocals that are not only powerfully full of angst, but also emotion, I could listen to this all day…even with the fake spacey sounds at the end.

6. Hate To Say I Told You So – The Hives

Obvious classic rock influence, but done with some originality. I was pleased to hear a sound that wasn’t necessarily unique, but definitely had an unforgettable quality to it. There an angst-ridden teenager vibe to it, which is seldom a bad thing. I dare you to listen to this track without bobbing your head or at least feeling an incredible urge to get up and jump around the room (we don’t dance, we moshercise).

7. Frontier Psychiatrist – The Avalanches

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I am a film buff–I love movies. I will (and often have) watched movies to the point that I could probably reenact them single-handedly (if not at least the dialogue). However, this song is just irritating, sampling left and right, taking out snippets of movie dialogue, and even going as far as sampling Madonna. I just wasn’t into this at all. At first, thinking it might just be a bizarre introduction, I listened with open ears. Towards the end, I was really considering putting ear plugs in. The video is also weird as hell…

8. One More Time – Daft Punk

Here is a tune I hear at the gym all the time. It is definitely catchy and after the last disaster of a track, very much welcome. I would say most people know this one (if not by name, definitely by sound), but even if you do, go give it a listen, maybe make yourself smile or dance around for a little bit.

9. Stan – Eminem ft. Dido

Ah, the Real Slim Shady…one of the few rappers I honestly can listen to a full album from. This song, featuring bits of Dido’s “Thank You,” is brilliant. It tells a crazy narrative about a fan that becomes obsessed with Eminem, sending him tons of letters, and the tragic ending to the obsession. The video is brilliantly pieced together, and brings the song to life.

10. Oh My Sweet Carolina – Ryan Adams ft. Emmylou Harris

This song holds a special place for me. I wanted to visit North Carolina from being about nine or ten years old. When I got to go last summer, I fell in love, and didn’t want to leave. Before my life was thrown into a bit of disarray, my three year plan was to get out there to live. It really would be my ideal home. But I digress. This song is the narrative of a singer who leaves North Carolina and goes from city to city, never feeling satisfied, as he thought he would, before he eventually decides to return. Like a love song to the state, each line and chord featured on the track are packed with emotion. I could listen to this all day long…and probably will. It is definitely a song for a rainy day or a lazy, hot summer day outside.

 

So, the challenge is almost over, if you can believe it. Now that today is done, only 11 entries left, and then it’s all over. We are also into the early 2000s. What songs are you looking forward to hearing? What songs are you hoping to be spared from?

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1001 Songs Challenge: Day Eighty-Eight

My 4th #1001SongsPS for the day…I don’t know if I have the energy to catch up to Day 89, although it is just one more post.

I am not really sure what to expect with this playlist. Some of these are songs I have never heard before, but thankfully, there are a few familiar ones! I am working on getting the 90s video up and running. Hopefully, I will have it up by next week.

1. Erase/Rewind – The Cardigans

Something about this sounds slick, like a city street in winter. Granted, there are some melodic moments, but this song seems to consist mostly of a tortured tone, set to an edgy pop instrumental/style. It’s a clever song, and definitely a great addition to the 90s playlist. It is difficult to describe though. This is definitely a song about a romance that enraptures the feeling of changing your mind and being torn by the struggles that have arose in a relationship.

2. Teardrop – Massive Attack

Hauntingly beautiful, to say the least. There is a darkness to this track that pulls listeners in rather than encouraging them to shy away. The soft vocals along with a steady rhythm and the pounding feeling of the music adds to its character, and possibly how likable it is.

3. Iris – Goo Goo Dolls

I am a huge Goo Goo Dolls fan. Sadly, when I list any of their other songs, people just stare at me. As soon as I say, “The ones that sing ‘Iris,'” they all seem to go: “Ohhhh! I know who they are!” …and fair enough, this is the band’s biggest song, by far. It helps that it’s also beautiful. The emotion in every line, the raw power to the overall tone of the song is incredible. Seriously, give it a listen. I guarantee this song will spark the GGD’s fan-bug in you.

4. Bok Espok – Kepa Junkera

Even though this isn’t traditionally what people might listen to, there is something about this track, perhaps the brilliant rhythm, that makes you want to dance or just puts you in the headspace of being a listener, and nothing more. It’s a strong, bold track.

5. Save Me – Aimee Mann

Lyrically, this song packs a punch, reading like a poem filled with a crazy mix of cynicism and hope. Melodically beautiful, with imagery and allusions to popular heroes. Once again, this track illustrates the rise of the more indie-sounding music that slowly began to find a stronger voice among the Top 40s. I was impressed by the style this song has, as well as the way it tangled in a circus-like instrumental very subtly in the background.

6. No One Will Ever Love You – The Magnetic Fields

This is a bittersweet love song, illustrating an emotionally detached relationship as it begins to fall apart. Lyrically, this comes off like a plea at first, but it soon becomes a narrative for how this person copes with the breakdown of a love that had once seemed solid. Even though it is such a sad concept, there is an element to it that seems almost content, if not accepting, that this is life. It is that tone that gives this track an edge amongst other breakup anthems.

7. Surfacing – Slipknot

I won’t lie; this is a bit too extreme for me. Maybe if I were super pumped with anger and adrenaline right now, this would be perfect. But I think this is the type of song you have to be in the mood for. It’s loud and aggressive, with every other word seeming to be the “F-bomb.” It’s not to say it is a bad track, because it isn’t, but it definitely has its place in a person’s day; it’s more for either when you’re doing a hard workout or someone is sincerely pissing you off.

8. Scar Tissue – Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have one of the most distinctive sounds going, and I honestly believe that. The laid-back vibe of this song adds to the enjoyment in finding how sarcastic it really is, underneath it all. You want to talk about clever lyrics, with an edge only a rebirth of sound can produce, this is that track….and listen to that guitar sing.

9. Ms. Fat Booty – Mos Def

Oh, cliche`s, how I love you. This song starts out in the stereotypical hip-hop fashion: boy meets girl at a club, boy likes girl’s butt, boy asks girl out (then gives her the name “Shorty,” regardless of where she is 4’8″ or 6’2″), boy raps and plays a sample of a classic tune in the background. Of course, that’s not to say this song isn’t original in some way: Ms. Fat Booty (a.k.a. “Shorty”) plays the grandiose player and he is left in heartbreak. In all fairness, the sample of Aretha Franklin’s “One Step Ahead” adds a little bit of spice to the otherwise predictable song.

10. Caught Out There – Kelis

Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo may have penned the song, but Kelis gave it life, and gave an anthem for any woman who had been lied to by their partner. With an anger that could sink a thousand ships, Kelis captures her hatred (and probably millions of other women’s) extremely well, giving breakup anthem writers, like Alanis Morrissette of Taylor Swift, a run for their money. Kelis perfectly puts out the idea that you can cry all you want and miss a person like crazy, but anger usually is one step behind.

 

Wednesday’s mix was a strange one. I enjoyed most of the songs listed today. There was definitely an entrancing vibe to the playlist overall. Which song was your favorite?

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1001 Songs Challenge: Day Eighty-Seven

1. Come To Daddy (Pappy Mix) – Aphex Twin

This is just a creepy song in and of itself. The beats added in are decent, and, once again, reminiscent of a 90s film, specifically a chase scene in one. Vocally, it’s nothing to write home about, but that’s just me. I wasn’t too crazy about this one, as I found myself a bit bored.

2. Never Ever – All Saints

My mom introduced me to this song as a kid, and it was one of the first tunes I purchased on iTunes. I love it. The soulful group dynamic with the emotionally open (yet strong) lyrics just make it a stunning addition to any 90s playlist. The best way to describe All Saints is to say they are a more grown up version of the Spice Girls, in all honesty.

3. Song 2 – Blur

Iconic. From the “woo hop” to the guitar parts that featured a Nirvana-like vibe, Blur produced an iconic track that set fire to their career. This a great, catchy song that will amp anybody up, even if it sees ridiculously short. That might be the only problem I have with it.

4. Time Of Your Life (Good Riddance) – Green Day

Yay! More Green Day! Not that there’s a bad one, but this is a very good song from Green Day. This is one that would come on the radio and my grandad would actually hum/sing along. I love listening to it. It’s a softer side of punk, making it a wonderful stand-out tune. It is a ballad, first and foremost, but also shows that breaking up and getting over someone doesn’t have to be all about being angry. Shout out to my friend Nat The Cat, who is Green Day (and Glee) OBSESSED!

5. Broken Heart – Spiritualized

The instrumental on this track is so wonderful and lush, I can’t even begin to tell you. I am mad about this song (mad in the sense that I’m crazy about it, not angry). This came right out of left field. I just didn’t expect it at all. The vocals are beautiful, but it really is the feeling behind the music that makes this song what it is. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a song with such a powerful instrumental before. People talk about music making you feel without words, and I’ve only heard that once or twice, but this is definitely it.

6. Into My Arms – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

I am starting to think that the creators of this book are a bit Nick Cave obsessed. I mean, more power to ’em, but I kind of feel like I should just listen to an album and call it a day. On “Into My Arms,” Cave seems to take a bit more of a spiritual turn in his music, and his vocals seem less hazy (whether or not that is just down to the producer, I don’t know…). Out of all of the Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’ tracks listed throughout this challenge, this is easily one of the better ones.

7. Doo Wop (That Thing) – Lauryn Hill

Who doesn’t love Lauryn Hill’s soulful, strong vocals? Not only does she explore a more 60’s vibe, but she also includes the slowly dominating hip-hop sound of the 90s, rapping and singling with ease. It helps that the video is spectacular, comparing the 60s and 90s.

8. Kelly Watch The Stars – Air

Spacey, to a degree. In fact, if I’m honest, it reminds me of playing video games on my GameBoy as a kid. Hopefully, I’m not the only one drawing that comparison. Sadly, I found it a bit repetitive, although there is a guitar part in there that makes up for this a little bit.

9. You Get What You Give – Radicals

Who doesn’t love this song, honestly? I don’t know if it’s how weirdly melodic it is or just that it is so catchy, but it honestly is amazing. Add in with the fact that it really acts as a social commentary, and you’ve got greatness. I won’t even lie and say I don’t sing along to this, because I always do…and I tend to dance. Considering what a shitty week I’ve been having, this makes me happy.

10. Music Sounds Better With You – Stardust

Not a bad tune. It definitely has the vibe of a good remix, and the vocals are strong. My favorite part? Not repeating the same line again and again…this one adds a little bit of the variety I need.

 

Still getting back up speed, but at least this playlist has cheered me up a little bit. This one has more a more consistent style, in my opinion.

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1001 Songs Challenge: Day Eighty-Six

I know, I’m catching up all at once. Tuesday was the day from hell. It was a day where I experienced loss in a way I never had before–with weepy eyes, sore muscles, and the desperate urge to sleep the days away. Thankfully, I am getting out of my funk, and ready to go again. The 90s are flying by, and before I know it, I will probably have to make a video for the 2000s.

 

1. Block Rockin’ Beats – The Chemical Brothers

While the beats on this track are good, if not reminiscent of a spy-film from the early 2000s, if I had to hear the same line again and again (which this song does), more than once today, I think I would sooner stick in ear plugs all day. I need more variety lyrically, if I’m honest. However, as said, the beats are good, and there is definitely something cinematic about the instrumental portion of this song.

2. Breakdown – Mariah Carey

I was wondering when Mariah Carey would pop up on this list, with her high pitched vocal runs and diva-style. “Breakdown” definitely has an original sound, although it doesn’t seem very original now that we’ve got Ariana Grande on the scene, with most people pointing out she may be Mariah 2.0. Either way, there is a vulnerability and honesty to this song that garners it easily half, if not all the respect that it deserves.

3. Chan Chan – Buena Vista Social Club ft. Compay Segundo

Beautifully unexpected from the 90s. I honestly didn’t see a song with such a classic feel to be on the list. The guitars and vocals on this track are stunning; the instrumental is lush, while the group dynamics of the vocals really round out the song overall.

4. Between The Bars – Elliot Smith

Soft, but a stand-out track. Elliot Smith puts forth a style that is both endearing and haunting. I really liked this one, and I think it is a perfect fit in the 90s, showing the rising popularity of the more indie sound and scene.

5. Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) – Backstreet Boys

I’ve grown up with this song playing, but the one memory that clearly stands out to me when I hear this is when I was doing my personal training course. One of the guys in my class had great mixes that he used to play when we all worked out. One day, this came on, and we all just kind of froze. Not this guy though; the person you’d least expect knew every bit of choreography and danced his little hear out, singing as loudly as he could. This song is one that everyone knows, showing the rise of the boy band. Most people dance to this like it is the dance anthem of the century, but what do you think?

6. 4, 3, 2, 1 – LL Cool J ft. Method Man, Redman, Canibus, and DMX

Not my least favorite hip-hop track by far. Mind you, I tend to enjoy LL Cool J, and I do think this song is pretty catchy, although that could be the subtle reggae beats that paint the song with a bit more character.

7. Simarik – Tarkan

Very dance-friendly, laced with rhythm. Tarkan’s vocal ability is strong, and even if you don’t understand what he is singing about, it’s easy to become a bit entranced. Of course, most of us are probably more familiar with Stella Soleil’s English cover, “Kiss Kiss.” However, as good as the cover is, it comes off a bit like a dish that seems to be missing just a little bit of something.

8. Spice Up Your Life – Spice Girls

This was a childhood anthem for me. My cousin and I loved to dance to this as kids…and watch The Spice Girls Movie on repeat. No matter who you are, you have to admit that this is a fun song to use act goofy to. The group vocals are fantastic though, and the Spice Girls were also a complete machine. They weren’t just a band, they were a BRAND, redefining marketing for other acts/artists.

9. Given To Fly – Pearl Jam

At the start, this seems as though it has the potential to be quite melancholy. However, as that music comes crashing in with a power, there is a euphoric musical epiphany that opens the song up to be a lot more than it is. Every time I hear this song, it reminds me why I love Pearl Jam, and why this song is so well done; it shows a shift in their sound, while also managing to still sound like a Pearl Jam track. Of course, most people will comment on the obvious Led Zeppelin influence, but I think it still manages to hold its own against the classic rock band.

10. Paranoid Android – Radiohead

Radiohead seem to produce eerily creative tracks with ease. “Paranoid Android” is definitely a perfect sequel to “Creep,” with just as much attitude and style. The guitar is impressive as hell, but it’s the general vibe of the song, and the way it seems to slip in and out of different tones that make it such an intriguing, powerful listen.

 

While I really enjoyed listening to this playlist, I know I could not have listened to it on Tuesday. I just didn’t have the energy, or even the patience to listen. I know for fact that the more boppy tunes would have been spoken about with a melancholy tone, which is not what this challenge is about.

Overall, Tuesday’s playlist more fits my memories of the 90s, but also s0me of the songs I enjoy the most on my iTunes. What did you think?

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1001 Songs Challenge: Day Eighty-Five (And a Sad One At That)

Yes, I am behind posting this. No, I do not care.

On Monday (the 14th of July), my Uncle Peter passed away. As you can easily imagine, my family was/is devastated. I didn’t feel up to posting anything about the 1001 Songs Challenge. Monday was awful. Tuesday was worse, but I digress.

Anyway, now that I am continuing on with the challenge, I would like to dedicate the rest of the challenge to my Uncle Peter, who was also a writer. He always encouraged me to write whenever I could and about whatever felt right.

 

1. Nancy Boy – Placebo

Filled with whining, pent-up angst, Placebo made a statement with this one; the criticism in this track is loud. At first, I didn’t think I liked it, which surprises me, because I typically like Placebo. However, as the song wore on and I began to understand its meaning, my respect for the song increased. Lyrically, it might not be genius, but at least it has a deeper content than “Yeah man! Sex, drugs, and something that kind of sounds like rock and roll!”

2. Devil’s Haircut – Beck

I was surprised that I liked this one. It definitely has a familiar vibe, showing that Beck does have a reasonably consistent, if not distinguished sound. Lyrically, it might not seem like Beck is saying much, but there is a definite narrative of the fear many artists have of becoming so mainstream that they lose originality or “become a sell-out.”

3. I’ll Be There For You… – Method Man ft. Mary J. Blige

This an example of sampling another track done right. Granted, when Mary J. Blige is involved, there is little room for error, but a hip-hop love song hits like a refreshing breeze when it’s hot as hell outside. I appreciate the fact that there is a hip-hop song that doesn’t sound soft, but also doesn’t toss the “n” word around like crazy and talk about shooting people. This is much more my style. Anyone who is looking to sample from another track, please look at this as a prime example.

4. The Beautiful People – Marilyn Manson

The original, more aggressive, biting version of the one song people seemed to like from Burlesque (don’t hate on that soundtrack either, it’s pretty good). Marilyn Manson has so much attitude and an almost-eerie quality about him that makes him stand out on sound alone; there’s a reason he still scares conservatives. I love him on this track. Totally raw, with a ridiculously catchy vibe on the guitar.

5. Criminal – Fiona Apple

Here is a song that is so much more sophisticated than you would honestly expect from someone of Fiona Apple’s age (at the time obviously). The then-eighteen year old artist released this dark, provocative track and basically took the world by storm. I love it. It’s a great tune with a soulful vocal and powerful lyrics, brining jazz and blues with an edge, and giving it an audience.

6. Crash Into Me – Dave Matthews Band

I love the Dave Matthews Band, and this song has always been a favorite for me. I just love the soft sound that builds towards the end, with smooth vocals guiding it along with a cinematic instrumental. The more I hear “Crash Into Me,” the more I enjoy it. I’m a fan of simplicity, and this song seems to possess that, to a degree.

7. On & On – Erykah Badu

It seems obvious, but this Billie-Holiday-esque tune is perfection, with a smooth, jazzy feel vocally, and then a R&B/hip-hop edge slipping in. There is a sleek method behind the transitions in the track, and it’s hard not to like the way it sounds. It’s so laid-back, but there’s a surprising amount of power behind the track.

8. Woo-Ha! Got You All In Check – Busta Rhymes

No thank you. It’s not awful to listen to, but it just kind of gave me a headache. I don’t even have the patience to talk about the little things that I did I like about it and explain further why I didn’t enjoy listening.

9. No Diggity – Blackstreet ft. Dr. Dre

Here is a track I like. It’s such a great tune, with a soulful style, with a riff that is ridiculously memorable. This song really just embodies a narrative with attitude. More of this please. It also features my favorite thing ever—group vocals. Now if only there was clapping/stomping parts.

10. Woke Up This Morning – Alabama 3

A bluesy, country-esque narrative jam-packed with a raw edge. There is an almost-villainous quality to the track, but it’s also very easy to distinguish from the other 90’s anthems. Incorporating elements of techno, Alabama 3 created something that stood out for all the right reasons.

Monday’s playlist is a seemingly strange collection that doesn’t appear to go together, but surprisingly does. I feel as though each of these tracks could represent a different character in a novel; all these different personalities meshing to create a story line. Maybe I’ll look into that a little more later.

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