Shufflin’


xI’m taking a break from reading about the intricacies of High and Low Cultures and their subsequent applications to the study of literature to bring you another three delicious rump steaks of juicy musical goodness from the sacred cow that is my iTunes library. Can you tell I’m hungry too?

Mountain – Mississippi Queen (YSI)

Ah, Guitar Hero. I really wouldn’t have found a lot of brilliant old school rock music if it wasn’t for the amazing addictiveness of a game that essentially stops me from wanting to learn to play a real guitar. This song is all about the rumbling boulder of a riff that tumbles throughout the song, whilst the interjections of vocals and lead guitar just add to a song that never fails to garner some rockin’ air guitar from me.

Bob Sinclair – Love Generation (YSI)

This is another one of those, well not quite guilty pleasures. Of course, Bob Sinclair got very annoying after this, but this was a shot of unbridled pop joy to the sagging arm of the charts in the UK. Plus, the whistling will never leave your head once you’ve heard it.

Cold War Kids – We Used To Vacation (YSI)

I am so glad this song came up, because it probably ranks amongst my favourite songs ever. This is the original EP version (it was ever so slightly polished up for the album release) which retains all the elements about it that I love most – infectious use of the piano, the merest shake of a rattle at the beginning, a wonderfully discordant guitar outro and Nathan Willett’s hauntingly beautiful lament to the problems of alcoholism. I’ve already listened to it four times just writing this post, and I could listen to it for just as long again. If you haven’t heard it yet, I implore you to give it a spin, it’s incredible.

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Why yes, I am out of things to meaningfully talk about, so I return to my habit of shuffling three songs on my iTunes and talking about them. Enjoy!

Franz Ferdinand – Eleanor Put Your Boots On
This probably the most understated and sedated song from Franz Ferdinand’s underrated (unintentional rhyming overload!) second album, and also one of my favourites. Alex Kapranos’ straining voice lilts over tripping piano and gently strummed guitar. I don’t know what it reminds me of (quality music journalism there), but there’s something almost nostalgic about this song.

The Streets – Your Song
I had a lot of trouble understanding who decided that Mike Skinner should cover this Elton John classic when I first heard it. It’s immediately obvious why he approaches his lyrics in a spoken word style. He can’t sing. At all. But for some reason, after a couple of listens it became apparent that that’s almost why this song is so beautiful, it sounds like an everyman just making up a song for his love, it almost makes the message of the song more real.

The Cribs – Our Bovine Public
A definite difference in style here from the last two. This is an onslaught by the boys from Wakefield, an earthquake of guitar and drum action whilst Ryan Jarman explodes with vitriolic lyrics over the top. I’m not sure he breathes for this entire song. Simply awesome.


So here I am again, what sunken treasures or murky evils can I dredge from my sea of tunes?*

The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely
The title track from
Jack White and Brendan Benson’s mighty rock ‘n’ roll side project‘s second album sums them up wonderfully. Odd changes of tempo and style, blues influences, guitar wizardry, dual lead vocals and some seriously catchy elements make up one of the best tracks from the LP (it even has a lone bass part that sounds like “No One Knows” by QOTSA). I just can’t get enough of these guys, they were amazing at Reading, both albums have been top quality, and they give me all that I want from proper rock. Keep it coming.

Razorlight – Up All Night
Razorlight – the fallen heroes of Noughties indie, and another title track. I can remember exactly just how much I loved “Rip It Up” for the first time, and just how much I liked this album after I bought it based on that single (which is always a risk, but when it pays off it’s wonderful). This track isn’t as immediately engaging as some of their other early songs, but it shows why they were exciting at the time – slow burning, drawled vocals that lead to a very Bloc Party-esque strike of screeching guitar and a big finish with a slow, winding comedown. why did they have to do anything else after this?

The Offspring – Original Prankster
Wow, this is delving even deeper into my young musical tastes. I know how many people hate them, and I know they’re vacuous, artless nu-punk, but I still can’t escape the fact that I get all nostalgic when I hear Dexter Holland’s ever so slightly too-high vocals and nearly-screams. This song is the perfect example of their brand of music – brash, stupid and fun.

*That was a very laboured analogy, and for that I apologise.


There comes a time in every blogger’s life when you have no inspiration whatsoever. And that’s what the shuffle function was created for. Here’s another three random cuts of my iTunes library for you to mull over.

Pull Tiger Tail – Mary Jane
As much as I loved their older stuff (see here for example), I never quite took to PTT’s newer singles, before they fell apart due to label tyranny. This was their last (and possibly last ever) release, and sums up, for me, what went wrong for them. Unlike their earliest stuff, it just lacks the punch, the energy, that made them special. The vocals seem a little laboured, and everything seems a little Athlete-y in places (not to say I don’t like Athlete, I think their first album was awesome, it just isn’t right for PTT). That being said, this is an enjoyable song, just not their best work.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Wet Sand
Ah the Chilis. The first band I ever saw live. Of course, this wasn’t actually released at the time, the whole Stadium Arcadium period was the beginning of my slight loss of faith in them (along with the colossal damp squib that was their 2007 Reading set). I mean, a double album? Really? Not only is it lazy, it’s just too long and full of filler. However, I do like this song. Antony Kiedis’ vocals start off all “Under The Bridge” and then grow with the music to a funky crescendo of an anthem ending, and John Frusciante’s solos never fail to bring a warmth into my soul, remembering all those times I idolised them.

Friendly Fires – Photobooth
I know it’s nothing new, and it’s all been said before, but Friendly Fires really are brilliant aren’t they? I haven’t heard their album yet (annoyingly), but I just haven’t heard a song they’ve done that I haven’t liked yet. This early single is a prime example. Straddling the lines between pop, dance and indie effortlessly, it’s just perfect. There are enough lyrics for it to interest me, but there’s enough repetition and a prominent bass line to make it perfect for dancing to. Just amazing.

Well, I thought to create some semblance of professionalism in this, my own little corner of the big bad web, that I’d start a regular (and by regular I mean, ‘I will do this again at some point’) feature. And so this is it. Are you enjoying it yet? Basically, I’m going to put shuffle on my iTunes, and write about the first few songs that come up, maybe you’ll get a small sense of my music taste, maybe you’ll get some absolute arse. Who knows? It’s Shufflin’ Time! (*Copyrights*)

Beck – Hell Yes
Beck; everyone’s favourite genre-hopping, hip-hopping, language-hopping musical maestro. This song, from his album Guero (also my first venture into his music, due to the success of E-Pro, I’m afraid to say) was one of my favourite tracks when I first bought it. I don’t know what it is about it, it could be the odd robotic voice used throughout, or the sparseness of it all, using the bass as the driving force, but there’s something so enchanting about the whole thing.

Led Zeppelin – Dazed and Confused
Ah the Led, sometimes they irritate me so much, their flamboyance, their wankery, but I don’t think it’s possible to get over their general genius at creating what they did, when they did. This song shows off so much of what makes them great and so much of what gets on my nerves all at the same time. On the plus side, it really shows off their blues roots, and Robert Plant’s wails never sounded better than on a track like this. His opening lines are perfect. But the shifting styles do tend annoy, even if the guitar work is amazing towards the end, it does go on just a bit too long. But it’s still an awesome piece of work.

Fatboy Slim – Weapon of Choice
This is easily my favourite Fatboy Slim track of all time. Slim was always a master of buildup, and this song makes it look so effortless. Each layer of sound works so perfectly, the faux-brass fanfares are executed so well, and with Bootsy Collin’s deep vocals over it all, it’s just a lovely listen. Plus, have you seen the video? It’s got Christopher Walken flying in it! Bloody hell!

So there you are, a few songs from my library for you have a little gander at, nothing too obscure this time, but enjoyable nonetheless. Have fun!