My Favourite 96 Beatles Songs – Part 2

Lets continue with my favourite Beatles songs, in alphabetic order until the top 26 or so. Here’s Part One if you missed it.

beatlesofrock31

56. All You Need Is Love

I always laugh at the ironic intro to this – the trumpet anthem blaring, before reminding the listener that maybe war isn’t good and all you need is love. It does come across as a little preachy and I’ve never liked the droopy brass which plays after the title vocal. Otherwise it’s another wonderful anthem, syrupy enough to charm the staunchest cynic.

55. Baby It’s You

There’s about a million great versions of this song, so credit to everyone involved in creating it in the first instance. I’m not a huge fan of Beatles covers, but this one stands out thanks to the harmonies which suited the band’s early sound, along with the slightly harsher edge to the vocals.

54. Don’t Let Me Down

I love how this goes straight into the weary, wrenching chorus almost immediately. Both the live and studio version of this great, the funky organ, the single note percussion versus the smashing in the chorus, the bass in the second verse, and how the vocals get increasingly strained. If there was a bit more variety here it would be one of my favourites.

53. Day Tripper

My first memory of this is from some Amiga game one of my friends had in the 80s or early 90s. I had no idea it was The Beatles until I heard the song much later. It’s a fine example of a terrific riff which doesn’t become repetitive even though it’s played constantly, and the feel-good verses elevate it to a higher ranking – it’s only the chorus which lets the whole down.

52. Free As A Bird

I know this song and Real Love get a lot of hate or disregard from Beatles fans… for me it doesn’t stop them from being good songs. I remember the fuss about this from when it was released and I remember watching the premiere on TOTP. I remember wondering what all the fuss was about too. The song stayed with me though, and I’m pretty sure I only heard it that single time until years later when I started listening to the band in earnest. It’s still too slow and dreamy to get me fully on board but I love the ideas and melodies.

51. Good Day Sunshine

Pure McCartney cheese, but this is Revolver we’re talking about so everything is gold. Everything is flawless from the introduction and withdrawal of each instrument, to the super happy friends vibe of it all.

50. Golden Slumbers

I’m not a huge fan of the last couple of Beatles albums – they sound too tired and out of ideas for too many songs, but then they unleash gems like this and wish the rest of the said albums could have been as strong. This is very simple, though the backing orchestration lifts it to near heavenly heights – I’m one of the few who loves McCartney’s voice here – I only wish it was longer.

49. Here, There, And Everywhere

As mentioned above, on Revolver almost every idea paid off brilliantly – what could have come off as boring and dreary avoids the pitfalls and ends up as another touching, insightful ballad.

48. I Need You

This isn’t a song you’ll see on many fan’s lists of favourites. It works for me, even if it is a simple love song. Once again I revert to my love of engaging melodies, and the little volume knob guitar trick keeps things interesting. It’s not a great song, but there’s something here which makes me enjoy it more than other better regarded songs.

47. I’ll Follow The Sun

It’s always interesting to me how The Beatles could write so many perfect pop songs and keep them so short. This is an endearing ballad which is barely over 90 seconds long. It gets to the point immediately, it cuts away the chaff, it even finds time for a guitar solo, and you’ll be singing it long after it has ended.

46. I Saw Her Standing There

The Beatles rarely rocked as raw as they did on their debut – this is the opening track from their first album and it remains a breakneck, rollicking statement of intent. I much prefer these original compositions to the blues covers that they used to bulk out their early sets. There’s nothing extraordinary in the writing here, but it’s the combination of energy, talent, melodies, harmony, and how tight the group feels which marked them as special from the start.

45. If I Fell

This one threatens to be overly dreary what with those minor chords and vocal drawls, but then it builds up to a very sweet chorus. That chorus though, turns out to not in fact be a chorus but the entire rest of the song – the intro is a trick start – the band already playing with conventions and expectations.

44. I’ll Be Back

Another one of the very many Beatles songs I find very underrated. It’s one I had no idea existed until I started working through the albums. I love the interplay of the harmonies, between major and minor, seemingly giving a sense of conflict, pain, and indecision.

43. Let It Be

From underrated to overrated. I was close to not including Let It Be at all – it’s one of their songs which is constantly played, constantly covered, and one we all know long before we ever listen to one of their albums. I can’t doubt that it’s a great song, but for me it suffers from being dull. I’m in the minority.

42. Love Me Do

This is another song I had heard countless times before playing a Beatles album in full, this one differs because it still gives me that sense of youthful fun. It’s child like in its simplicity and in effect becomes almost like a nursery rhyme – you learn it at birth and never forget it. The band did melody like no other group at the time.

41. Lovely Rita

McCartney up to his old tricks again – jaunty rhythms which would sound trite and overly saccharine in the hands of almost anyone else. Somehow all the literal bells and whistles and comedy sounds and Carry On lyrics don’t feel overly dated here – nope, they sound like a band having fun, experimenting, and taking the piss without giving a crap.

40. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Like in the aforementioned song, only a handful of artists could take a bellyful of drugs and rhyme off nonsense but make the overall product compelling and not laughable. Even The Beatles would fail at this trick in a few short years, but here everything they touched simply worked. It doesn’t matter who or what Lucy is, it doesn’t matter what they may or may not be singing about – they’re singing, they’re playing, just enjoy.

39. Magical Mystery Tour

Some will say it’s sacrilege ranking this song higher than the one before. While it’s true that the ranking here isn’t important, I think I do prefer this one to Lucy. It feels more fun to me, almost like the band realised all the crap that they had been spouting and decided to go along with it anyway, without the faux-seriousness and philosophy they had previously attempted.

38. Norwegian Wood

The song taken from one of my favourite books. Heh. Just making sure you’re paying attention. Murakami was inspired by this piece of lovelorn whimsy, one of their love songs that touches genuine honesty instead of a blast of catchy homilies. A mixture of acoustic guitar and George’s Indian antics, it’s a lumbering, simple song but with unavoidable melody dripping like the sweat of a college student getting home with his girl on their first date.

37. Octopus’s Garden

If it was good enough for the rest of the band to be off their faces on goofballs, then it was good enough for Ringo. Enter Octopus’s Garden. As it’s Ringo, you already know what the rhythm will cbe and what the vocals and overall tone will be. It’s a lot of fun and it’s perfect for kids, and hopefully not even the most sour and cynical adult (me) will hate it.

36. She’s Leaving Home

McCartney experiments with a harp, a string section, and a story about a sad family event from the perspective of parents. In another’s hands this could feel like a bad Hallmark movie, but he and the band imbue it with enough real emotion and smarts that it succeeds. The chorus dual vocals and melodies are glorious and the strings are tasteful and emotive.

35. Tomorrow Never Knows

The production on some of The Beatles albums is such that they feel like they could have been recorded today, not half a century ago. This song sounds perfectly modern as well as clearly being a 60s event. The backwards arsing about, the various sounds and techniques, and my god the drumming, all feel super-modern even now to the extent that most current artists releasing music today sound stale and behind the times when compared with this.

34. The Night Before

Back now with more streamlined, straightforward pop rock, and therefore it’s all about the melodies and harmonies. Few albums have generated so many instant classics as Help! and this is considered one of the lesser ones from that album. It’s so pleasingly simple, it borrows a lot of the harder edged R’n’B of their earlier days but adds a bopping rhythm and electric piano to give it something unique.

33. With A Little Help From My Friends

I grew up with The Wonder Years version of this – a song that I disliked so much that it put me off that show. I was never a huge fan of the show anyway, but something about the joining of song and show left me very depressed. I bet it was always on TV here on Sundays. I knew it was a Beatles song originally, but I don’t think I actually heard it until the first time I listened to Sgt Pepper in full. It completely changed my opinion of the song, it’s just so much more fun and honest than Cocker’s senseless grumbles.

32. Within You Without You

Probably the peak of the band’s messing around with Sitars and the like but still the first thing it makes me think of is Mario burning his ass on lava and hopping around in circles yelping like a… well, a burnt Italian. Usually I wouldn’t like a song like this – too sleepy and the vocals too slurred and dreamy, everything shimmering and wavering too much. Yet it works for me, the vocal melody comically follows the sitar, there are strings backing things, the band has the audacity to make half the song instrumental, just jamming away in dreamlike, mystical fashion. There’s so much going on here that I wouldn’t even hazard a guess as to the numbers of musicians and instruments involved.

31. When I’m 64

At first listen for me at least, this sounds purely comical – like a joke recording. Then you hear the words and the sincerity and remember that it’s McCartney and it takes on its own special life. There’s no getting away from how funny those opening notes and instruments are, but the song gets better as it goes along that you’re converted from cynic to believer. The only part I can’t forgive is the ‘Vera, Chuck, and Dave’ which makes me cringe inexplicably every time.

30. Why Don’t We Do It In The Road

McCartney unleashing a raw slice of of late blues rock, early proto punk. I mean, not really, but it has that snarling vocal and that angry guitar and simplicity that it’s easy to make such comparisons. The Beatles rarely cut loose and recorded something so overtly sexual and heavy – maybe they should have tried it more.

29. Yellow Submarine

Another Ringo special, more pure nonsense, and another one for the kids. You’ll be whistling it for days.

28. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away

You could always rely on Lennon to go to the darker places when singing about love. This being on Help! though, you can be sure it’s infectious. The percussion is much softer with tambourine and brushes on the snares, we have a flute ending, and all the guitars are acoustic.

27. You Never Give Me Your Money

I’m fairly critical of the last two albums the band made, or at least as critical as you can be, but this underrated ballad is one of their best – that opening just sounds so sad. When I first Abbey Road and how all the last songs merged into a whole I thought this song was only a minute long – it wasn’t until later I realised the heavier second section and the ‘one sweet dream’ part etc were all part of the same song. They do all feel like separate parts but they hold together – I do still prefer the first section though.

Join me next time for my final post and to find out what my all time favourite songs by The Beatles are!

 

My Favourite 96 Beatles Songs Part 1

beatlesofrock31

Greetings, Glancers! It’s the one you’ve been waiting for – and for quite some time, apparently. According to WordPress, the last time I looked at this post was May 20 2011. Back then I basically wrote the names of the songs I knew I really liked from each release off the top of my head. At time of writing this introduction, it is August 21, 2017. What I will do between now and the time of publishing is check back through each release, add any song I’ve missed, put them in order, and add a little bit about why I like each. Hopefully that will not take another six years (oops).

So, everyone knows The Beatles, right? They had a few hits, played a few gigs, before disappearing into obscurity. We know they need know introduction. I’ll give some personal stuff instead. I never listened to a complete Beatles album until I was roughly 19 – I was at University at least. Obviously I knew all their hits – who makes it to 19 without knowing at least twenty Beatles songs off by heart? For whatever reason though I had just never listened to an album. It’s like the famous question – ‘Who do you prefer, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones’? My answer – ‘Led Zeppelin’. At some point though I acquired the albums and blasted through them, finding that treasure trove of unknowns that so many others before had. So now I present (to anyone reading this in the future), my own personal favourite Beatles songs. I’m being a little more liberal than usual with this list – on previous lists I’ve tried to include only my absolute favourites, but as it’s The Beatles I’m also adding some fringe ones that I really like but wouldn’t include if I was being more strict. If you’re looking for a more detailed and insightful ranking of every song – try this link.

Just one final note – I didn’t worrying about the ranking up until my very favourite songs – the top 26 – everything else is sort of alphabetical, with tracks 96 – 57 being the lower tier and tracks 56 – 27 being the middles. Enjoy!

96. Any Time At All

Any time at all is a good time to listen to The Beatles, or indeed read some fool on the hill’s listathon about them. This one is a straightforward rocker from A Hard Day’s Night with Lennon growling through the vocals and a simple piano middle which was left without vocals when the band couldn’t be arsed adding any lyrics.

95. And I Love Her

I love the Spanish feel to this one, one of the very few songs the band recorded which sounded like this. It has a terrific, simple 4 note Harrison riff and veers between melancholy and happy easily.

94. Ask Me Why

Even on their first album the band’s influences were clear, not only old R’n’B but the likes of Smokey Robinson. It’s the harmonies and the simplicity and the little unexpected notes which marked them at this early stage as something special.

93. All I’ve Gotta Do

It’s Smokey again, this time on their second album. Another simplistic song of love and yearning it still showcases the majesty of writing a hit melody.

92. All My Loving

One of the only songs where McCartney wrote the lyrics first. We know the early Beatles songs don’t have the most complex lyrics – usually repeated expressions of love for 90% of the albums they were featured on, but that was standard for the industry at the time. Still, it was all about the music and the vocals in the early days – the jangling guitars of the verse contrasted with the stuttering of the chorus, and of course McCartney’s ‘oohs’.

91. Because

We jump all the way to Abbey Road now and we can see how both the lyrics and music have changed. Maybe most notably it’s the production, with Martin employing all of the tracks he had picked up and honed over the previous six or seven years to create something haunting and angelic. The voices of Harrison, Lennon, and McCartney were recorded multiple times to give a more epic feel and Martin plays the Harpsichord intro against the same guitar part. We even get some synthesizer – perhaps hinting at the direction the band may have taken had they stayed together another few years. It’s lovely, but they have lovelier.

90. Birthday

One of those songs I knew for years but had no idea was by The Beatles and then seemed obvious once I found out. The White Album is a strange one – filled with good songs and disasters. I’ve always felt it lacked even one truly great song, though this comes as close as any. It’s a song made on the spot and it shows in the lyrics – basically lets take and idea or a word or phrase and write any old crap to fit the music. Naturally it works, and lo another classic ‘occasion’ song is born. It’s all about the riff.

89. Fixing A Hole

On to Sgt Pepper – celebrating its 50th birthday this year, remember. While McCartney’s music hall stuff sounds rubbish on The White Album it somehow works wonderfully here. There’s a lot more to it, it feels like there is more honesty and ingenuity and the experimentation is pulled off successfully. The lyrics are not as drug crazed as others on the album – simple, but suitably open to simple interpretation and examination – what hole exactly is being fixed?

88. For No One

A slice of McCartney cheese on Revolver – that of course means all of the cheese has been removed – the lyrics are bleak, dark, insightful, and the marching band beat gives a plodding monotony to echo the lyrical sentiment. It’s one of McCartney’s saddest songs, yet it’s so damn catchy and the little horn piece in the middle almost makes it feel happy. I also enjoy the sudden unexpected end – a trick the band pulled off more than once in their career.

87. Getting Better

Notable for its clinking intro and chilling lyrics which can easily be missed given how optimistic the song sounds. Lennon writes about his violent past, fighting, abusing women – all true – but that things are getting better (or can’t get no worse). I’m not sure how anyone is meant to feel about such things, but the music’s great and even has some tanpura from Harrison.

86. Got To Get You Into My Life

Back to Revolver and we have this massive horn section led rocker. I like how the chorus is held back by a double verse, giving it greater impact when it finally arrives. McCartney belts this one out, increasingly so, Harrison lets rip with a great, short solo, and the brass keeps growing – you know I’m not a fan of brass, but I love it here.

85. Good Morning Good Morning 

And back to Sgt Pepper for this piece of weirdness. Ringo is perfect here, epic, furious guitar work too. The timing is all over the place, the lyrics are great fun, and again I love the brass. There’s a bunch of sound effects too – all those integral pieces of a Great British morning and more.

84. Happiness Is A Warm Gun

A contender for best name of any Beatles song, and also a contender for the best Beatles lyric, Happiness Is A Warm Gun doesn’t even feel like a Beatles song. There’s a new direction here, with lots of downer melodies, droning, and even though the song moves through several different parts, the downbeat sense runs continuously from start to finish. Lennon gives a terrific vocal performance and that distorted rumbling guitar solo is pretty great too.

83. Helter Skelter 

As the sixties drew to a close a number of bands and artists were crafting much heavier, louder, angrier music – The Beatles wanted a piece of that. Helter Skelter is the answer. It’s pure nonsense of course, but the lead riff, the ferocious drums, McCartney’s vocals, and the sheer wall of noise mean it contended (temporarily) with the likes of The Who and The Kinks. It’s also notable for the double ending where a pile of distortion and drums fade in, thump for a while, then out, then back, then out, then blisters on my fingers.

82. It Won’t Be Long

Back to the beginning now, and a slice of R’n’B from With The Beatles. It’s just another early, fun, harmless track with a lot of killer harmonies and calls and repeats.

81. I’ll Get You

This one didn’t appear on any album so it was a while before I ever came to hear it. Of course it was a blessing, like uncovering a hidden treasure from your favourite band’s favourite period. An early song it has all the hallmarks of those days – the melodies, harmonies, simplicity, the energy and coherence, and the way it urges you to sing along. Featuring some of their best ‘oh yeah’ work, it remains a bit of a hidden treat.

80. I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party

Even though their sound was changing by For Sale, the basic ideas were the same – simple songs of love and yearning and hurt with a smartass twist. It’s yet another song from the early half of their career with great melodies and playing that you can stick on at any time and have any person tapping their feet and humming along.

79. I Should Have Known Better

Super harmonica work opens this classic from A Hard Day’s Night. Once again there is nothing difficult here, it’s nothing more than pulling down an immortal hook from the ether and putting it out there. The guitars are almost in the background with vocals taking complete lead – aside from the nifty solo of course.

78. It’s Only Love

A slower one for now, notable for some tambourine, and some weird tremolo guitar work from Harrison. Lyrically it’s as basic as you could hope – whatever words fit the space and idea, slap them in, but it doesn’t matter when the tune is so infectious.

77. I’m So Tired

Even slower now, as Lennon makes us all as drowsy as he claims to be. Travelling, fame, seeing the same people and not seeing others – it’s hard man. Still, I like the difference between the verse and chorus yet how they are so flawlessly intertwined.

76. I Am The Walrus

I wasn’t going to include this one, mostly because it nonsense dressed up in importance. I’m not a fan of the drifty, dreamy vocal effects yet the performance is great, the central melody is good, and it has lots of interesting stuff going on in the background. I’m not as huge a fan of this one as many are in other words.

75. I’m Looking Through You

A soft rock ballad which almost becomes genius but instead just circles the edges. As always it’s mostly about the melody – verse, chorus, middle – all good. My favourite piece though is the hurried guitar line which bridges the parts.

74. I’m Only Sleeping

Another sleep song. I prefer this one to I’m So Tired. It’s another which almost makes it into my higher tier – the lyrics feel as if they were written by or for me, and I love the little pauses for bass. The backwards stuff is great too – there’s just something about these drowsy feeling songs that never quite sits right with me.

73. It’s All Too Much

It’s starts with some nonsense before that main organ riff kicks off. I love how the guitar follows that riff and then the vocals mimic it too. My favourite though is the drums -not just how crumbling tumbling they are, but the way the pace and volume subtly changes even as the beat remains the same.

72. Love You Too

It’s Harrison, it’s Revolver, so you know that means sitar. And because it’s me, you know that means all I can think of is videogame lava levels. Lots of throngs and rumbles and persistent, consistent beats, and best of all that sitar solo.

71. Martha My Dear

More music hall cheese from McCartney raised by strings and melodies. Even the brass somehow works, and you know how much I hate that stuff.

70. Mother Nature’s Son

There are so many songs on The White Album which I think would have been much better had they been written and recorded a couple of years earlier. This is a prime example – a lovely idyllic song which comes off as cold and distant instead of something truly beautiful. It’s a song I should adore, but that weird something that pollutes The White Album stains it too much. Listen to John Denver’s version – not necessarily better, but it takes things in the right direction.

69. Pepperland

Well, it’s not technically The Beatles, but as Martin was so integral to the group we’ll include it anyway. It’s another song that reminds me of something from a videogame, maybe a cut scene where the hero is finally reunited with his lover. I’ve no idea.

68. Revolution 1

Revolution 9 is not on my list. This one is – listen to that brutal guitar in the intro, then laugh as it gives away to such a gentle blues riff. It’s another of their songs which feels like it was written in a stoned haze off the cuff by a group of friends and performed and recorded right there and then. Except the production reminds us of the work which went into it. Lyrics, melody, bla bla.

67. She Said She Said

Revolver again and another classic guitar line. More great work from Ringo and interesting lyrics which recount some funny times with Peter Fonda and others. I think it’s the timing in this one which stands out for me, along with the guitar, the song slowing and arcing and stopping and starting.

66. Something

Though it appears on Abbey Road it feels like a White Album composition, having that same empty feeling. Even though it’s beautiful, catchy, and all the rest, it still has that dreary, sleepy feeling that puts me off somewhat. Again, the fact I like it in spite of this is enough to prove how good it is.

65. Tell Me Why

More fluff from A Hard Day’s Night – but like almost 100% of their fluff, the hooks are inescapable.

64. There’s A Place

More McCartney innocence – a song that seems like it was written for dreamers and for children, but it’s also fairly sexual so we’ll credit Lennon for that. Great harmonica, lovely melodies.

63. The Fool On The Hill

McCartney again, and more dreamy stuff. He also does all the recorder and piano stuff. There’s some psychedelia going on and a stumbling rhythm – it does veer a little too close to the dreary stuff mentioned above but manages to keep away from the edge.

62. Think For Yourself

I’ve always loved the free-form, bouncy nature of the bass, the tonal shifts, and the general variety brought around by Harrison striking out as a writer. The song feels like it avoids a standard verse and chorus structure (even though it doesn’t) and the lyrics are ambiguous enough to act as both a love song and a more personal attack on something larger.

61. Two Of Us

The opening track from Let It Be is a charming, folksy affair and a rather poignant love song. The lyrics mingle romanticism and nostalgia, hope, and although they feel personal they are entirely universal. The whistle end suggests an ease and sense that everything is good, which seems to oppose the mood in the band at the time.

60. Wait

There’s something weird about a lot of the songs on Rubber Soul – they’re still pop/rock commercial songs, but they veer off in unexpected ways from the norm, whether it be a strange melodic turn or a sudden momentary shift in tone or pace. Wait has all of these, my favourite the sudden change from ’till I’ and ‘come’ in the same line, leaping up the scale for a much higher note out of the blue. Harrison’s guitar is good too, bringing little pauses so emphasis the notion of waiting.

59. While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Back before I really started listening to The Beatles, this is one of the songs I was most intrigued by – it had the coolest name and I wondered what it was all about. Certain friends who already knew the song and the band more than I did would always say how good it was, so it was quite hyped in my mind. Naturally when I first heard it, it didn’t live up to my expectations. I always assumed it was going to be either a bad-ass rock song, or some gripping ballad with blistering solos. What we get though is a downbeat pseudo ballad, minor key versus which pop away as the chorus comes. The guitar is subtle and introspective, matching the lyrics and themes. Maybe if I’d heard it before I’d heard about it, I’d like it more.

58. What You’re Doing

This is all about the nice riff and the sweet melodies running from start to finish. It’s not going to change anyone’s life, just another album track proving their non-hits could be hits too.

57. You’re Going To Lost That Girl

A great example of expanded call and repeat, it almost feels like something from a musical – you can just imagine the lead singer backed up by a group of cheesy, haranguing teens singing the repeat section. Those harmonies are epic, melding nicely with the melodies, but there isn’t a lot more to it.

Return in a few days for Part Two of my rundown, and feel free to add your favourites in the comments!

Nightman’s Top 38 Songs By The Music!

220px-Themusic.themusic.albumcover

Greetings, Glancers! It’s been a while since I’ve done a ‘Favourite Songs By X’ list, so I thought I would bring it back with a band I’m assuming most readers won’t be familiar with. Regular visitors to the blog will know that one of my missions is to try to recruit readers to the Manic Street Preachers army – my never-ending posts about them hopefully gaining the band a few new fans. However, one of my greatest hopes in music is that The Music gains has a much larger audience. The Music was, to my mind, the best British Band to emerge in the 2000s. In an era filled with ‘The’ bands and poncy solo singers – the so called saviours such as Franz Ferdinand, The Libertines, The Kaiser Chiefs, The Strokes, The Killers, were all shite to me – vain, watered down indie which appealed as much to the Michael Buble crowd as they did to rock fans ashamed to admit they liked guitar based music. The Music fully embraced their guitars and rock history with an unmatched swagger and no fucks given approach, while fusing stadium pounding choruses and earth shattering riffs with a funk/dance combo. Nobody else sounded like them, and nobody has since. They should have been the biggest band in the world.

It all started out promisingly enough, with a string of Top 40 hits in the UK and a debut album which peaked at Number 4. The four lads were regulars on the festival circuit and while touring burned them out a little, they managed to record what I consider to be the best album of the decade – by some margin – their follow up Welcome To The North. While the more grandiose, less dance-oriented approach garnered less acclaim in the critical outlets, it has become a cult fan favourite. The grueling schedule would take its toll, along with some substance abuse recovery, but four years later the band would release their third and final album – the darker, less inspired Strength In Numbers. While still containing a number of great songs, it seemed like the band were in a transitional stage. Sadly, before we would learn what would come next, lead singer and write Robert Harvey announced he was quitting the band in the midst of writing for their fourth album. Fortune, in this instance, had not favoured the brave but instead the bland, and while rock around the world slipped into obscurity, one of its final great hopes – never given the attention they demanded – played for the final time together, and vanished.

Fans were delighted to receive a Double Album collection of singles and rarities shortly after the group disbanded, but it wasn’t conclusive; there are plenty of songs which the band played and recorded which were left off, and who knows what other delights the fourth album could have given us. Harvey went on to work with noted knob Mike Skinner on a couple of minor projects and can now be found on Youtube releasing the odd acoustic song. He still has the pipes and the talent, but I haven’t believed in the latter portion of this decade that any great new material would be coming from the ex-members. My hope now is that people can find what they did release, that the band will be re-evaluated, re-discovered, or encountered for the first time. In today’s knitted, don’t walk on the grass, sit down concerts, empty smiled, doped up on yawns, world in which music is gradually heading backwards to a pre-Beatles era of back-patting, song sharing, anti-creativity, The Music ruptured the very core of passion and stomped their songs all over the bodies of any activists who stood up for bland rights.

Here is my rundown of my favourite songs by The Music, complete with helpful links so that you can become a fan. As always, much of the ranking is changeable. This is music to make you attach alligators to your arms and go punch some bears. Click the links and enjoy some absolute belters.

38. Disco (Debut Album)

Why not start with probably the strangest song the band ever recorded, just to alienate anyone who sheepishly clicks the first link. It’s a song of two halves, the first being a dirge-like crushing rock song which picks up pace swiftly before exploding into a truly manic second half. That manic second half is led in by increasingly ridiculous and funky drums and Harvey’s vocals getting more bizarre with each line. If you’re not busting out your most over the top, wall slamming dance moves by the end of this, then you have no business being alive.

37. Let Love Be The Healer (Rarities)

Every so often the band through all subtlety out the window and went all in on an old fashioned driving rock song – or at least their version of such things. The distorted chaotic riffs are still accounted for and the pounding drums are more streamlined into a single arrangement – with all the trappings of their usual style removed it’s refreshing to see that they can still deliver the goods.

36. Fire (Strength In Numbers)

Very few songs on their final album sound like what was on the band’s debut – this is one of the most obvious callbacks. It doesn’t meet the euphoric heights of their best work from that era but it shows that they were still perfectly capable of knocking out another hit in the vein of what made their name. There are two great colliding riffs, the drum and bass work is exquisite as always, and Harvey’s vocals are hovering somewhere above the Mir Space Station.

35. Hands On Fire (Rarities)

Never going down the standard or acoustic ballad very often, and typically only on B-Sides, Hands On Fire feels more like a Harvey solo effort – such is the influence of the rhythm section. The verses are nice enough, but the chorus brings the drums and a bigger melody. It’s not a song I feel the need to listen to much, but every so often I give it a blast as a nice riposte.

34. Too High (DA)

There’s only one way to close out such a wild and over the top debut, and that’s with this mini slow-building epic. Although things start out quietly enough with more of the wonderfully toned guitar riffs we’ve come to expect, things become more insane as we near conclusion. Not quite to the extent of the album opener, or indeed Float (not included on this list), but enough to make you take notice. Seeing them perform this (or any of their songs really) live is an awe-inspiring experience and another where you just have to give yourself over to the band and go with it. The greatest rhythm section since Zeppelin? On this evidence it’s pretty damn close.

33. Body Or Soul (Rarities)

An early unreleased demo which showcases everything the band would come to be known for – effects on the guitars, bass and drums to make you get your tappers on, vocals stunning vocals, freestyle instrumental chaos, and melodies to send you sailing to the stars. The only thing really missing here is big budget production, more work on the lyrics, and something extra to justify the 5 minute running time.

32. The Truth Is No Words (DA)

One of the band’s biggest single consequently has one of their biggest riffs – run alongside the drums it makes you groove like a loon. The sub-hippy lyrics and sentiment set the tone but allow Harvey to belt out the melodies – stadium stuff this, and how this isn’t still regularly being played to crowds of thousands is a complete mystery. Who needs Dance music when you have this?

31. Drugs (SIN)

There’s this dark synthetic tone and style which runs through the band’s final album, recalling something like Depeche Mode or the more dance-oriented moments of the Goth movement. The vibe is so consistent that some of the songs become indistinguishable from each other, but every so often one of them has a belter of a chorus – Drugs being a prime example. Harvey is more restrained for much of the album but he lets loose here. We get a neat little bridge too – another piece lacking from the album as a whole is them not twisting songs to the next level by adding a code or a bridge or something extra. Great lyrics throughout too

30. Vision (SIN)

The aforementioned synth tone runs through this one, a throbbing beat and a guitar which sounds like a DJ has tinkered with it setting us off. This one is a little of an opposing force to Drugs – here we have a fantastic verse but a more mediocre chorus.

29. Get Through It (SIN)

The band at their most WipEout. This sounds like it was straight out of a futurisic video game, the background synth like a guttural force driving the verse before the beast of a chorus which will see any listener howling ‘COME ON!’ with no care for who’s watching.

28. The Rain (Rarities)

I’ve always felt like some of the B-Sides of SIN should have been on the album instead of what did make it. They don’t have that dark synth tone and are on the whole more positive sounding. Then again, these lyrics include choice cuts like ‘there’s nothing I can do to stop the violence’. The band have never had an issue making anguish sound euphoric. While the verses are decent enough, this is all about the chorus. Even the guitars take a less prominent seat and let the melodies speak for themselves.

27. One Way In No Way Out (Welcome To The North)

It says a lot about Welcome To The North that this is my least favourite song on the album – and that it falls inside my Top 30 yet every single other song on the album also makes the list. This is what…. Doom Metal mixed with Mad Max Three? It certainly marches along with the confidence and speed of a T-Rex after a belly-full of Triceratops. Like basically every other song on the album the chorus is a joy, peaking with a recap of the thunderous riff and a short bridge. If this is the album’s weak-point, you know you have a world conquering record on your hands.

26. Traps (Rarities)

Scratchy distorted waves and another dance-laden beat give way to a shimmering mock riff before the dual vocals work their way through a simple verse. There’s a lovely transition into a gorgeous pre-chorus all while the background distorted noise swells into some sort of recognisable shape before a brief explosive, yelling chorus. That’s the essence of the whole song, though we do get an instrumental and expanded take on the pre-chorus as the bridge. Not a song many know, but another which I think would have helped their third album.

25. The Price (Rarities)

Another song cut from their last album, this one has the dark synth which helps it fit tonally – where it differs and excels is having a constantly successful melody. The verse is just as strong as the chorus while both serve their traditional purpose. It’s one you can see being blasted in a club alongside any piece of rave music or Master Of Puppets. This is a fine example of why metal fans and ravers come together in support of the group – vicious guitars and vocals and a beat and melody to pump up any crowd.

24. The Last One (SIN)

Once more with the dark synth; we fade in with what sounds like it’s going to be a straight dance track. Then some slightly ominous guitar joins in. The verse takes us straight back down the dance route and I love the single note bass throughout. Then we get another gripping pre-chorus, the bass changes ever so simply, and we blast off for yet another epic chorus, Harvey’s vocals wailing like a siren. Everything else is a repetition, but when your core is this good you don’t need to add any frills.

23. Ghost Hands (Rarities)

The band released this song to the public shortly after splitting, saying it was a song they had recorded for their abandoned fourth album and that it was too goo to not share. They were right; the song showcases everything they had accomplished and learned to that point – the mixture of tasty beats, scratchy guitars, massive riffs and ever bigger choruses. There is a touch of the dark stuff from SIN, a sense of the jubilant majesty of WTTN, and the brazen confidence of their debut. It’s an instant classic and makes you wonder what could have been, even if the song has no business almost reaching six minutes.

22. Welcome To The North (WTTN)

The title track and the opening track of the best album of the last twenty years has quite a lot to live up to. Of course, we didn’t know that at the time. As the opener of their second album it still had a heavy burden given the success and delights of their debut. Naturally those fears are gone in moments. With exquisite production and a more focused attack the song swells insidiously from the first second, leading into a riff heavy and melodically unusual verse. The chord progression and vocals shouldn’t work so well together, yet they do, and the chorus has some of the stomp and pomp of the debut. You get the sense that this song, like others on the album, could easily get expanded out to eternity for an all- night rave session, although the tone here feels much more serious than the lighter more simplistic upbeat nature of the first album.

21. I Need Love (WTTN)

Maybe the simplest, straightforwards rock song on WTTN, I Need Love doesn’t quite dispense with the quirks and dynamics which always raised the band above everyone else. As usual there is a hypnotic riff which encompasses everything else, but this is really a showcase for Harvey’s vocals. The best part of the song is the double bridge which first slows things down with a mournful melody as Harvey apologizes before exploding into a ridiculous vocal refrain.

20. Strength In Numbers (SIN)

The opening track and title track of the band’s final album was also the first single. It all sounded good – a blistering riff set to thumping beat and leading to a huge chorus. While it may not have been a sign of how good or bad the album was going to be, it certainly got a lot of good press and got my hopes up for more of the same. Harvey lets his vocals go to all their high points – something not done enough on the album – and the usual flair for adding in additional bridges, riffs, and casual swift corners before bringing it all around is there. For what would turn out to be a swan-song, it’s a damn good one.

19. Breakin (WTTN)

Replacing a guitar riff with a cheesy vocal hook pays off here, largely because the rest of the song is so heroic. I love the transition from the cheesy riff into an altogether different verse tonally, and again how the verse builds it back up to the riff and chorus. Some nice hand drum stuff and wonder vocals all round. The little drum middle section is groovy as hell and leads to some classic Harvey ‘skeep ba da ba dee’ vocal ticks. Every great single needs something like that, sham on.

18. Freedom Fighters (WTTN)

A drum intro more funky than a tramp’s sentient jock strap gives way to a ripping series of riffs and chugging chords. Flawless verse, pre, and chorus melodies once more – everything the debut had in spades but here with just that increased know how and maturity. Lyrically it’s on the ‘lets join together and dance for freedom’ side of things, but it’s done with such sincerity and swagger that you’d have to be even more of a cynic than I am to not get down with it.

17. Cessation (WTTN)

I remember reading once how the band, or Harvey at least, didn’t know what the hell they were doing when they wrote this. It’s maybe the band’s fastest, most furious song, and it’s just as awesome as that sounds. There is a fiery urgency in the delivery from each of the four lads, and while it’s musically simple and the verse melody is short on notes, the chorus is damn great and another double bridge section (particularly the Mastodon-esque drums in the final part) raises it to headbanging levels of insanity. So much layering on the vocals too

16. Alone (Rarities)

We’re back in ballad territory. An acoustic song with a few electric moments and studio layering. It’s all about the melody and depending on how you feel about Harvey’s vocals you’ll either love it or hate it. He reaches some crazy notes on this one. A short, contemplative song for drifting away too.

15. The People (DA)

The balls. If there is any true hallmark of the band’s early days, it’s the balls. To start a song with a snippet, cut and paste riff in an era of nu-metal and Euro-pop, and have the whole song be better than anything either genre has ever produced takes some balls, but to do it seemingly without a care in the world and with a V-shaped Gallagher swagger really takes the biscuit. It’s all a call for change too – to better ourselves. And then throw in a mostly wordless chorus which is still more memorable than most choruses from the past twenty years – genius. We’re not done yet – lets chuck in once of those cliched dance break build ups before the final chorus – once again, who needs DJs when rock music does stuff like this?
14. Bleed From Within (WTTN)

An eerie, sultry riff with a darkness which would fit more neatly on their next album this anti-violence ode is as perfect a power-pop rock song as you can get. The cacophony of drums is lethal, the riffs combined with Harvey’s emphatic howls are chilling, and just when it sounds like they’ve drained the well by the second minute, one of their best bridges comes in from nowhere and leads the song down the rabbit hole to an underground orgy which spreads it to past the six minute mark, with not a second to spare.

13. No Danger (SIN)

You should know by now how I feel about instrumentals – even when my favourite bands do them I generally don’t enjoy them. I love each of the instrumentals The Music recorded, and the two on this list are exceptional. That’s all the more interesting when you remember how integral Harvey’s vocals are to the group but a confirmation of just how strong the rhythm section is. This was a hidden track at the end of their last album, a near 8 minute epic which runs the gamut of emotions and feels even more haunting now that we know it would be one of the last things we’d ever hear them record. It takes its time, starting out with a series of repetitions of the same riff, growing and growling with each loop and being joined by more layers of chords. Somewhere around the four minute mark it branches off into good old buck nuts territory for a mosh session, elbows in throats, fists going everywhere. Then it gives us a breather before one final push, a confident strut towards glory. Thank the Gods for whoever first noticed these guys, and fuck the world for taking them away.

12. Raindance (Rarities)

I didn’t hear most of The Music’s B-Sides until the release of their rarities compilation. While a lot of the songs there were remixes of existing hits, there were a number of superb songs I was stunned to have never heard. This was the first of those which really made me sit up and take notice and wonder why it hadn’t made an official album. This song would have been a great fit on their debut, though maybe it would have slowed the tempo too much. A ballad at its core, it really comes alive around the halfway mark, once we’ve gone through the simmering verse and chorus a couple of times. The bridge kicks in, Harvey once again pushes his vocals to stupid registers, and the various elements of the song come together – for fans of the first album, this will be one you’ll enjoy.

11. The Walls Get Smaller (WTTN)

The other really great instrumental narrowly misses out on my top ten. It’s another hidden track, this time coming at the end of Welcome To The North. A funny thing is that it mimics a riff I’d had in my head and which I used to play years before the band even existed. Sometimes those things happen. Maybe that’s why I like it so much. Or maybe it’s because it’s so feckin’ good. It couldn’t be any simpler – a very easy riff (if I was good enough to write and play it when I was 12 years old then it can’t be that difficult) given a demonic presence thanks to the drums and tone is repeated over and over. That’s mostly the whole song – except additional layers are added to the riff, it is played at different positions on the neck, and it has a little second riff wraparound to give it a cyclical nature. The drums continue to thrash and shift and then halfway through they play an ascending even more simple version of the riff before a slight pause, then an explosive return to the main riff again. It’s so simple, yet so effective, and like their most popular songs is another you’ll want to jump about like a maniac too – regardless of whether you’re in trackies or leathers.

10. Turn Out The Light (DA)

The main ballad/slow song from the debut, Turn Out The Light is lead off by one of the most seductive, shadowy riffs I’ve ever heard. It’s soft and simple, lonely, and as is their style, it repeats throughout the song with additional snippets and inflections which give it subtle differences each time around. The lyrics take the form of a late night conversation, the type of which will strongly evoke nostalgia and familiarity in anyone who’s had one. Harvey gives it a lungful with each line, and the band are maybe at their most restrained. They leave enough room to jam and rock out towards the end of the song, but at its heart this is a sumptuous soulful ballad.

9. Fight The Feeling (WTTN)

Most people would choose the previous song over this one, but I don’t think this gets the credit it deserves, being at least on par with Turn Out The Light. It does the same job, but for the second album. If anything this is more lonesome. It has that same shadowy tone, the same seductive atmosphere. Man this album is so underappreciated. This love song is very subtle and wholesome, with lovely lyrics which could be about love, hate, depression, and a less repetitive nature than the one above. Verse and chorus melodies are both peerless, the brief guitar licks beautiful, and that final vocal blast in the final chorus cements Harvey as one of the best singers we’ve ever had.

8. The Dance (DA)

Wow, what a way to open your debut album. It’s everything the band is, across their three albums, condensed into a single song. As if the title didn’t give it away, this is a song you can dance to – you’ll find it hard to resist – but it’s also smart, inventive, and heavy. Lyrically it covers most of their favourite subjects, and tonally it has atmosphere in spades. It features one of my all time favourite song introductions, building and building and building until the epic verse and eventual collapse. The song literally collapses under its own weight as riffs stutter midway, pause, swirl, come back in another form and the digitized beats fumble and fragment. Yeah, that ending is probably one of my most favourite too. Everything in between is equally great, Harvey howling in agony and ecstasy. I will never tire of those first few seconds as the distortion surges in melodically. Then the tribal drums pop off around the minute mark and I’m lost in another world. Few bands have the ability to transport me anywhere – these guys did it with the first song on their first album and I haven’t landed again since. Music for the best headphones or biggest speakers you can find.

7. What Am I (Rarities)

One of the last songs I got around to, this one never appeared on their compilation album and I only found it years after they split. It’s a B-Side from Strength In Numbers and my lawd, what a belter. Man, this could have replaced almost anything from that album and made the whole stronger. It’s the band at their most urgent and stripped back. It’s a song which relies almost entirely on melody and emotion – the two top-most things I look for in a song and after I heard it for the first time I couldn’t get it out of my head for days, not that I wanted to. It’s far from their most adventurous or experimental song, but unquestionably one of their best from the melodic standpoint.

6. Inconceivable Odds (SIN)

The opening and closing songs from Strength In Numbers are arguably the best songs on the album – everything else in between is hit and miss. This closer is fantastic in every way and a stark departure from the tone and sound of the rest of the album. I still remember the first time I listened to the album – when this song finished I was in a daze and sat asking myself why – why didn’t they take the approach of this song for the rest of the album? Why didn’t Harvey ‘go there’ with his vocals like he does here? Why couldn’t they have made a couple of other songs as good as this one? In truth, this almost feels like a solo effort, such is the barren instrumentation when compared with 90% of their other work. It’s mostly Harvey’s vocals and an acoustic guitar. Gorgeous melodies as you would expect, crisp vocals, clear poetic lyrics with a hint of desperation. The barest hint of bass. Some light synth stuff going on. I’ve always said that the sign of a great song is if you can strip it all away to just the vocals, or the vocals and a single other instrument, and lose none of the impact. This is as stripped away as the band have ever been and it ends up being one of their finest tracks – you get the impression that they could have surrounded this with riffs and drums and all the rest and that it still would have been good, but why bother?

5. Getaway (Debut)

This is the one; if you’ve heard a song by The Music, this is it, and it’s probably their quintessential song. No other band in this generation has so brilliantly fused rock and dance, no band has so flawlessly brought together the opposing elements of dancing and headbanging, and no song perfectly embodies this better than Getaway. Subtle pounding bass and a sinister guitar line get things going before Harvey’s vocals present the central melody. Then the cliched drums for a laugh, then more chugging guitars, all building and building. And it never really stops building until the roof is torn off. It’s funny how the verse and chorus melody is essentially the same thing – different lyrics of course – but it all aids in that building. We get the extra ‘oooohhh’ hook to spruce things up and we get that rave/dance trope of pulling the music away almost like you’re hearing it from under water, before building it all up again to one final 1000 hit combo to the face. It’s so simple – but this is how you make a rock single in the new millennium.

4. So Low (Rarities)

The final B-Side on my list is another that I didn’t know existed until they released their compilation. You can tell immediately it’s from the WTTN era. It starts innocently enough with a sweet, shimmering riff soon joined by a single beat. A second guitar joins playing single notes and Harvey brings a warm, sunny vocal. But wait, the lyrics are a bit of a downer so why and how are the melodies so brutally gorgeous? The bridge sees the vocals straining and the melodies reaching, then holy gawd the chorus – what a piece of art. I mean, it’s just the title sung with a noose around Harvey’s nuts, but it’s incredible. I admit that a lot of this isn’t going to be for everyone, but for me this ticks exactly every box and sweet spot. Show me another singer who can sing that chorus in that way, and with so much raw emotion. Please, really do, because that’ll be someone I want to listen to. This B-Sdie utterly wipes the floor with anything any British or US rock band was putting out at the same time. Or since.

3. Into The Night (WTTN)

These top three songs represent another level beyond anything else The Music has done, and they all appear on Welcome To The North. I had the impossible task of choosing between them so really they represent a joint number 1. As impossibly amazing as So Low is, this is God Tier shit. In essence it’s your typical rock structure, with riff, verse, chorus, bridge etc, but it’s the heart, it’s those melodies. It all speaks directly to me, which is one of the things I’m constantly hunting for in music, and it’s just…so…happy. I’m not usually one for songs which are overtly joyous, but as I’ve said before when one of my favourite bands does it the results are usually glorious. This is glorious and I almost don’t want to share it with anyone else.

2. Guide (WTTN)

More of the same. It’s just iconic, anthemic stuff, and barely anyone knows it. This isn’t the sort of song to be played in a stadium to 50000 people, this is a song to be played from the sky to an entire continent using the yet to be made-alien technology-largest speakers in the universe. Of course, the combined force of 100 million people jumping and singing together to the song with the power of the speakers will cause the very Earth to rupture and us all drop into hell, but who gives a fuck. If you’re gonna go, it may as well be while listening to this at the end of the world. Is this the greatest chorus every written? Maybe not, but it’s right up there.

  1. Open Your Mind (WTTN)

This is how to end an album. This is how to end one of the greatest albums ever. Every ounce of this song is dripping with goodness and I tear up every time. I want to be able to sing like this, without suffering a prolapse, and I want the world to hear this. How can a song be so understated yet grandiose at the same time? I have no clue how this came into being, how it’s so epic yet simple. Why do I love it so much? Quite simply one of the best songs of all time, yet only about twelve people have ever heard it. Man, they changed the world of music and nobody noticed or followed on from their lead. It’s not to late – get out there and buy it.

Well now, that was a saga of hyperbole. But honestly, I fail to see how anyone who genuinely loves music, wouldn’t love The Music. They’re called that for a reason, people! From sardonic jaded metal heads to pill-pooing ravers, and every generalization between, there’s no reason why you won’t like this. For someone like me who was bewildered as I watched a lot of my friends praising much of the indie rock from the Noughties and was dumbfounded by the critical praise those crappy little bands were getting, while this band was increasingly being ignored, The Music felt like my band. They took the best out of genres I didn’t really like – dance, disco, madchester stuff, added in Led Zep vocals, grunge aggression, and groove metal riffs, and mashed it all together to make their own thing. They’re long gone, but if you have a spare four minutes to spare, if you happen to stumble upon this lowly site at any point in the future, go click one of the songs above – it may just change your life. At the very least, you might go ‘hey, that wasn’t bad’.

Let us know in the comments how you feel about The Music and what your favourite songs are!

Ranking The Manics Songs – Know Your Enemy

manicsknow

If many of the band’s traditional fans jumped ship after the release of their previous album, most of their new found fans left after Know Your Enemy. The band’s sort-of return to a more abrasive punk sound alienated those expecting another If You Tolerate This while the hardcore fans were disillusioned by the lack of musical focus and new-found experimentation. I’ve typically been a supporter of the album, as I am of each, but I’m not so jaded so as to not recognise its many flaws. It’s just so damn long – its sixteen main tracks making it even longer than their debut. Many of the songs repeat the same sentiments, quite a few are interchangeable musically, while the more experimental moments often fail. Apparently it was supposed to be two different albums, something which likely would have been the better option, but the record company wasn’t playing ball. So we have sixteen songs, plus one hidden track, but thankfully a few B-Sides worthy of replacing what did make the cut. First, my ranking:

  1. Epicentre
  2. Ocean Spray
  3. The Year Of Purification
  4. Found That Soul
  5. Let Robeson Sing
  6. Freedom Of Speech Won’t Feed My Children
  7. Baby Elian
  8. My Guernica
  9. The Convalescent
  10. Intravenous Agnostic
  11. So Why So Sad
  12. His Last Painting
  13. We Are All Bourgeois Now
  14. Dead Martyrs
  15. Miss Europa Disco Dancer
  16. Royal Correspondent
  17. Wattsville Blues

Then, a better edit of the album:

  1. Found That Soul
  2. Ocean Spray
  3. Intravenous Agnostic
  4. So Why So Sad
  5. The Year Of Purification
  6. My Guernica
  7. The Convalescent
  8. The Masses Against The Classes
  9. Epicentre
  10. Baby Elian
  11. Freedom Of Speech Won’t Feed My Children
  12. We Are All Bourgeois Now

Finally, my ideal version of the album, restored to 17 tracks – it’s still a bit excessive and I’d probably drop Track 17 altogether, but it’ll do:

  1. Found That Soul
  2. Ocean Spray
  3. Intravenous Agnostic
  4. Locust Valley
  5. So Why So Sad
  6. The Year Of Purification
  7. Fear Of Motion
  8. My Guernica
  9. Just A Kid
  10. The Convalescent
  11. The Masses Against The Classes
  12. Epicentre
  13. Masking Tape
  14. Baby Elian
  15. Little Trolls
  16. Freedom Of Speech Won’t Feed My Children
  17. We Are All Bourgeois Now

What is your ranking of the songs on Know Your Enemy? What songs would you drop or replace? Let us know in the comments!

Ranking The Manics Songs – This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours

77eb7c17cafe5503c36d150d166c3ddba64564c2

I’ve always had a strange relationship with their fifth album. I think I appreciate the songs more than I enjoy them, beyond the ones I genuinely love. I love the craftsmanship and the ideas, but the lack of energy and the fact that most of the second half just feels like dirge after dirge creates an unfair view of the whole. Few of the songs are outright bad – they’re just not songs I choose to listen to repeatedly, not over the many many better songs they have. Here’s my list:

  1. Ready For Drowning
  2. If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
  3. Tsunami
  4. The Everlasting
  5. Nobody Loved You
  6. You Stole The Sun From My Heart
  7. My Little Empire
  8. Black Dog On My Shoulder
  9. You’re Tender And You’re Tired
  10. Born A Girl
  11. Be Natural
  12. I’m Not Working
  13. SYMM

The bottom five songs – those I feel mostly ambivalent about and their ranking could change dependent on the weather. SYMM I’ve softened more on over the years, the other four I still like as standalones – when listening to the album as a whole though, it’s during that second half run where it drags. Like Everything Must Go – there aren’t a slew of great B-Sides to replace those with. Most of the B-Sides, while nice experiments, aren’t appealing to me. The band’s recent revisionist re-releases of their own albums has seen them replacing their own songs with B-Sides they preferred – TIMTTMY being one of the victims of this. Because of that, I’m going to nick a song from the previous album’s era and slap it in here. Here’s my take on what they album could have been:

  1. The Everlasting
  2. If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
  3. You Stole The Sun From My Heart
  4. Ready For Drowning
  5. Tsunami
  6. My Little Empire
  7. Prologue To History
  8. Sepia
  9. Born A Girl
  10. You’re Tender And You’re Tired
  11. Black Dog On My Shoulder
  12. Montana/Autumn 78
  13. Nobody Loved You

There you have it, my take on another great album. What’s yours? Let us know in the comments!

Ranking The Manics Songs – Everything Must Go

220px-EverythingMustGo(1996album)Albumcover.jpg

Like The Holy Bible before it, the task of rearranging Everything Must Go to make it better (in your own personal opinion), is unenviable. That was never the main intent of these posts, and just something which happened along the way. More on that later. The task of ordering my favourites is still difficult, but much easier than on their previous album. Here is my list:

  1. A Design For Life
  2. No Surface All Feeling
  3. Small Black Flowers That Grow In The Sky
  4. Further Away
  5. Elvis Impersonator: Blackpool Pier
  6. Interiors
  7. Removables
  8. Australia
  9. Enola Alone
  10. The Girl Who Wanted To Be God
  11. Kevin Carter
  12. Everything Must Go

It’s another case of me wanting to drop the title track, but you can’t really do that without needing to come up with a new album title. With this album there are quite a few songs which people would want to switch out for others – just in my case it’s some of the more well known tracks I would maybe replace. The main problem here is that most of the B-Sides of this era I rank as similar to the album tracks I would want to replace:

  1. Elvis Impersonator: Blackpool Pier
  2. A Design For Life
  3. No-One Knows What Its Like To Be Me
  4. Enola Alone
  5. Hanging On
  6. Small Black Flowers That Grow In The Sky
  7. First Republic
  8. Removables
  9. Interiors
  10. Australia
  11. Sepia
  12. Further Away
  13. All Surface No Feeling

Let us know what, if anything, you would change about this classic album and what your personal ranking is!

Achtung! Posting Update! (?)

talking-nonsense-managers-politicians-empty-peptalk-69735726

Hey. This post is more of a reference for me than anything else, but it’s probably beneficial to you lovely glancers who regularly stop by to shield your eyes from whatever gobbledicrap is spewing from my maw. I try to post the same sort of features on the same sort of days each week, so for anyone who is interested, below is what I will be trying to post each week going forwards. As always, if there is anything you’d like to see me type about or comment on, let me know. I have absolutely nothing better to do.

Monday: Manic Monday posts – some choice lyrics. On the first Monday of each month, I try to post a blog update – usually some random online crap I’ve found, a ‘get to know me’ piece, or what I’ve been up to recently.

Tuesday: Either a list of some sort (favourite movies in a given year/by a director, favourite songs), or a music/movie review.

Wednesday: Oscars day – I post my personal nominations and winners for a given Oscar category in a given year. We’re up to 1976 now.

Thursday: Another movie/music review.

Friday: Typically this is another movie/music review day, but in the future I will be publishing a second Oscars post, just so I can get through the series more quickly.

Saturday-Sunday: Usually I don’t post anything as I’m not near a Computer.

Regulars may be aware that I write many months in advance of actually posting, so here are some of my upcoming posts:

Lists:

Favourite George A Romero movies (coming later today)

Favourite 96 Beatles Songs

Favourite 38 Songs By The Music

Ranking The Manic Street Preachers Songs – Everything Must Go and TIMTTMY

Oscars

Continuing the 1976 Oscars series

Movies

Nightman’s Introduction To Foreign Cinema – A, B, C

Completing the 2019 Preview Series

Reviews Written when I was a young’un: Scream 2, Scream 3, The Seven Samurai, Spiderman 2, Street Hawk, Tears Of The Sun.

Reviews Written now that I’m old: Sanctum, A Quiet Place, The Innkeepers, 11/22/63, Zombie Creeping Flesh, Captain America, The Sand

The Lowest Rated Movies I Like – IMDB Edition

Music

Continuing My Favourite Songs Posts

Nightman Listens To Bon Jovi’s Lost Highway

Nightman Listens To Madonna’s American Life and Confessions On The Dancefloor

Nightman Listens To David Bowie’s Tonight and Never Let Me Down

Nightman Listens To Roxette’s Crash Boom Bang and Have A Nice Day

Nightman Listens To The Beach Boys’ Surfin USA and Surfer Girl

Nightman Listens To The Rolling Stones’ Debut and Number Two

Nightman Listens To Iron Maiden Solo Input – Steve Harris’ British Lion, Samson’s Head-On, ASAP’s Silver And Gold, Urchin’s High Roller

Nightman Listens To Disney Soundtracks – Saludas Amigos, Make Mine Music, The Three Caballeros, Fun And Fancy Free, Melody Time

Chart Music Through The Years – 1983, 1995

Top 1000 Albums Series – Talking Heads (Speaking In Tongues), The Stone Roses (The Second Coming), Marvin Gaye (What’s Goin’ On), Steely Dan (The Royal Scam)

Continuing my posts on every Manics song

Other

My Favourite Season Six Buffy Episodes

More Unpublished Screenplays for The Walking Dead

Unpublished Magnificent Seven Screenplay

Unpublished Screenplay for John Carpenter’s Batman

There is also a lot of surprise stuff in the works – some things I’ve been working on for a couple of years on and off, others more random one-off posts. I do have a new long term movie series coming up, an expansion of both the Foreign Cinema and my Favourite Movies By Year posts if you will (but they’re a pain to write). And because I have apparently lost my mind, I have multiple new music series coming up – listening to more artists whose discographies have been a blank for me, and a couple of other series to rival the Top 1000 series. It’s a busy time, so I hope you’ll join me for the ride, or at least a few of the twists and turns along the way!

 

 

Ranking The Manics Songs – The Holy Bible

20090329_jenny_saville_the_holy_bible

Well now, what the balls am I meant to do with this. It would be like trying to rank the songs of… no, there is no comparison – this is the greatest album of all time, ranking is futile. There’s really only one song I don’t think is on par with the rest, but it has the quintessential sound and tone of the album so it’s not one I can really drop. I’m going to do that in my own version of how the album should look, but I don’t expect anyone to agree with me. Here is the album ranked in terms of my personal favourites – at least 7 of these could be my number 1 on a different day, three others aren’t far behind, and the last three are still better than anything most bands could dream up:

  1. Faster
  2. PCP
  3. 4st 7lbs
  4. This Is Yesterday
  5. Archives Of Pain
  6. Mausoleum
  7. Yes
  8. Die In The Summertime
  9. Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayitsworldwouldfallapart
  10. The Intense Humming Of Evil
  11. Of Walking Abortion
  12. Revol
  13. She Is Suffering

As I said above replacing any of these is pointless, and no other songs from the era really fit musically. However, I think they could replace She Is Suffering with Too Cold Here – a version specifically recorded for the album (I don’t believe any such version exists) as it is a much stronger song. Judge Yrself could work better musically, though it’s not great lyrically, some might opt for Sculpture Of Man. I’d nominate Love Torn Us Under over those two, but under Too Cold Here. In any case, it’s perfect as it is.

Let us know your ranking in the comments!

Ranking The Manics Songs: Gold Against The Soul

81HD+Dun3ZL._SX355_

Did you enjoy my first post? No? Go read it again. You did? Excellent, now we can proceed. Gold Against The Soul is unfairly maligned in my mind – fans, critics, and the band themselves aren’t the biggest fans. But what to do they know, it’s not like they had a hand in making the thing. Here’s my ranking of the songs from the second album:

  1. Life Becoming A Landslide
  2. Roses In The Hospital
  3. Sleepflower
  4. From Despair To Where
  5. La Tristesse Durera
  6. Drug Drug Druggy
  7. Yourself
  8. Symphony Of Tourette
  9. Nostalgic Pushead
  10. Gold Against The Soul

Those last five tracks are fairly interchangeable. Now, here’s how the album could, nay, should have turned out:

  1. Sleepflower
  2. From Despair To Where
  3. Hibernation
  4. La Tristesse Durera
  5. Are Mothers Saints
  6. Us Against You
  7. Comfort Comes (replace this with Donkeys if you so desire – I’d be more inclined to have neither and keep an even ten tracks)
  8. Life Becoming A Landslide
  9. Roses In The Hospital
  10. Are Mothers Saints
  11. Patrick Bateman

Let us know your ranking in the comments!

Ranking The Manics Songs – Generation Terrorists!

terror

Here we go again. You’ve read me harp on about the band long enough on the blog. But it’s still. Not. Sinking. In. My beautiful subscribers – it’s down to you to make the band big – bigger. Click the links. Buy the albums. Tell your friends. Lets Make Music Great Again! The more attention bands like this get, then the more bands like this will surface and the charts with be changed forever! Or more likely, none of that will happen. Still, give them a shot – you might like them. Probably not.

I’ve listed my favourite songs by them. I’ve reviewed their albums. I’ve been going through every effing song they’ve ever made and dedicating individual posts to those. I post my favourite lyrics by them most Mondays. As I look out the window at the uncharacteristically blue Belfast sky on the 15th of July 2019, I wonder what other scrapings are left at the bottom of the barrel. And it comes to me – ranking each song from each album. It’s just pointless and clickable enough to make for a five minute read on the shitter, and a frothy response in the comments. Please do both.

Below I present my ranking of the songs of Generation Terrorists. It’s not definitive, but shows my general feelings about the thing. There’s only one song here I don’t like – Repeat USA – and it’s barely a song anyway. I’m going to do the same for each album, at least until I get bored. Make sure to scroll to the bottom for a bonus list! Blisstus!

  1. Condemned To Rock And Roll
  2. Motorcycle Emptiness
  3. Little Baby Nothing
  4. You Love Us
  5. Crucifix Kiss
  6. So Dead
  7. Repeat UK
  8. Stay Beautiful
  9. Spectators Of Suicide
  10. Another Invented Disease
  11. Slash N Burn
  12. Damn Dog
  13. Born To End
  14. Methadone Pretty
  15. Natwest Barclays Midlands Lloyds
  16. Tennessee
  17. Love’s Sweet Exile
  18. Repeat (Stars And Stripes)

Next, my list of how album as a single rather than a double:

  1. Slash N Burn
  2. Motorcycle Emptiness
  3. Motown Junk
  4. You Love Us
  5. Little Baby Nothing
  6. Stay Beautiful
  7. So Dead
  8. Repeat
  9. Spectators Of Suicide
  10. Suicide Is Painless
  11. Crucifix Kiss
  12. Condemned To Rock n Roll

And finally, my list of how the album really should have looked in all its 18 track glory:

  1. Slash N Burn
  2. New Art Riot
  3. Motorcycle Emptiness
  4. Motown Junk
  5. You Love Us
  6. Little Baby Nothing
  7. Never Want Again
  8. Stay Beautiful
  9. Democracy Coma
  10. So Dead
  11. Repeat
  12. Spectators Of Suicide
  13. Suicide Is Painless
  14. Starlover
  15. Crucifix Kiss
  16. Sorrow 16
  17. Dead Yankee Drawl
  18. Condemned To Rock n Roll

Let us know your rankings and extras in the comments!