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Archive for the ‘2008’ Category

63. Polka – Yves Klein Blue

So it happens like this; a small Australian band releases an EP in 2008 and one of the songs becomes massive, and I am talking f***ing huge! ‘Polka’ made it’s way onto national car advertisements and alternative radio, but no one knew anything about the band. But of course, that doesn’t matter, because the song holds it’s own and keeps up its popularity.

The song is a fun little ditty about drug use and the repercussions of such. But the references to famous musicians, the seemingly run of the mill experiences for drug users and the overall bouncy and enjoyable vibe to the song made the song so catchy. And in a style similar to Third Eye Blind’s ‘Semi-Charmed Life’, no one ever realised the drug references and the song became huge.

The song has an amazingly fun feel with jazzy, polka style chords that add to the bouncy rhythm of the song, and the singer’s voice has guts, real power that has great potential in terms of heavier songs. But the song itself is so raw and fun, that no one ever seemed to mind loving a song about drugs, they were too enthralled by how clever and amazing the song sounded.

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This song has a very nice charm to it. I don’t know whether it’s the heartfelt honesty in the lyrics or whether it’s the fun rhythm that makes this song sound so nice, but whatever it is, it does a great job in making this song a classic.

The song starts with a simple guitar riff before a thumping beat comes into the song. The vocals start and then a lovely handclap beat starts coming into the song. The fun in this song is obvious¬†it’s not funny. But the lyrics are beautiful, with one of the chorus lines being “Dead lovers salivate, broken hearts tessellate tonight”, the sense of love and loss is very apparent, and once this is added to the style of the singer’s voice, another emotional aspect is seen. The dedication is seen and its clear that you can almost feel what he is singing about. This song is beautiful. I want a sequel.

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With this song, my faith in garage rock is renewed. This young band from Victoria made a significant impact in the world of alternative music in 2006, but it wasn’t until 2008 when they released their debut album, did they begin to receive great recognition.

Put simply, these guys sound like a rock band. No freaked out solos and inventive drum beats, but pure plain and simple rock and roll. Even their songs, well at least this one is, are about the rock and roll lifestyle. Vocally, their singer has a clean voice that suits any rock band out there. But it is the way the band manages to put their music together that makes this song work.

As I said before, the vocals are quite unique. By unique, I mean there is nothing unique about them. They are quite plain, but this works to the advantage of the song. The chorus shows an awesome ‘vocal riff’ that would get some rather loud attention at concerts, but the way that their singer expels the energy out as he sings it shows dedication as a musician and that is one very admirable thing.

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73. Pork And Beans – Weezer

Ah, the ol’ ‘middle finger’ approach to songwriting, it’s bliss. Generally these types of songs come when the songwriter is royally pissed off. In this case, Rivers Cuomo was told by his record executives that Weezer needed more commercial material. That being said, Cuomo wrote this song about standing up for himself, about the triviality of the record industry and above all, defiance.

It’s ironic really, and slightly annoying to me, how bands can be told they need to be more ‘commercial friendly’ and instantly write a hit song. It makes me wonder, “Why couldn’t they do that before? Why did they wait to be told?”. But it also makes me realise that there is a reason these songs were written. By any measure, this song is wonderful. The music is typical thumping Weezer and the lyrics are once again, typical Weezer. You could not get a more Weezer-ish song if you tried.

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There are songs that exist only to be enjoyed. That does sound like a stupid statement, but most songs are made with a purpose; some songs are political, some songs are intended to be serious, and in this case, People Say is intended to be optimistically fun. While the song tends to focus on the necessity of war, or the lack thereof, there is an optimistic tinge to this song which can drag a casual listener into the song and not let go until the end.

The song is in the key of C, which means it is a very straight song that lacks in experimentation, but it somehow manages to be incredibly interesting. With obvious blues influences and jazz-based chord styles, the song manages to present optimism through the breath-taking lyrics. The song predominantly focuses on the human cost of war, but the lyrics are able to trivialise that aspect so well that it feels as if the song is about something totally different. The thing about this song that makes it stand out though, is the fact that not only does the music maintain an upbeat feel, but the fact that this is one of the few songs in this countdown that follows the standard ‘verse chorus verse’ structure and manage to maintain originality and interest. This song does not get boring quickly, and if you think it does, well that’s your loss.

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As I said with the last song, I’m not a real techno/drum and bass fan, but when a song comes along that is almost the epitome of that genre, I begin to reconsider my musical tastes. The band that made me reconsider my taste is Pendulum with their song Propane Nightmares. I was aware of Pendulum previously due to their song Tarantula,¬†and frankly, it didn’t do anything for me. And then also the same year I had heard their collaboration with Freestylers on the song Painkiller, and yes, that song did sound quite enjoyable. But it wasn’t until last year when I first heard Propane Nightmares did my appreciation for this genre change. Admittedly Pendulum have moved away from the stereotypical drum and bass genre and have taken a more rock based approach to this song, but it still packs one hell of a punch. The songs structure is quite well made as well. It starts with a Latin influenced brass section playing the intro before the vocals start. After about 20 seconds of vocals, a thumping beat acts as a precursor to what is about to come. This beat goes on while the vocals are still running in an example of perfect musical coupling. But then, the vocals reach a crescendo and the main part starts. It’s the synth driven riff that sounds strangely reminiscent of Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water that draws you into the song and keeps you wanting more. The song breaks down about 3: 20 in and results in some synth arepeggios right before the thumping beat comes in and once again transforms into the monster riff. There are hardly any other drum and bass tunes that incorporate such styles of rock and techno into the same song and still manage to make a song that features such sheer amounts of awesome.

Close Competitors

Painkiller

As I stated before, my first experience with Pendulum came in the form of their Painkiller collaboration with Freestylers. That same song features a very similar structure to Propane Nightmares in the way that it opens with a very differently styled tune, in this case, a hip hop influenced synth beat. But this only goes for about 40 seconds until the words “Reaching in my pocket for a painkiller” signify the incoming presence of the new thumping rhythm and repeating, melodic riff. I only chose to include Propane Nightmares as opposed to Painkiller due to the fact that Painkiller is too hip-hop influenced to my liking. Admittedly, I do have exceptions to every genre which is quite clearly seen due to the fact I’m writing about these 2 songs, but Painkiller was far too focused on being a hip-hop song than a drum and bass song. And frankly, with a song like this, you can only have one and not the other.

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