You can listen to “Broken Horses – Santo Domingo Edit” by Twin Shadow here.
When I was a kid, before I understood what cultural appropriation was, I wanted cornrows. It’s probably David Beckham’s fault. Anytime I played a video game where I could design a character I would give them cornrows. The album art for “Broken Horses – Santo Domingo Edit” reminds me of a player I might have designed in FIFA 2003 when I downloaded the creation centre.
That’s part of the general home made vibe to “Broken Horses – Santo Domingo Edit” that I like. The track itself is quite low-fi. It feels like it could be written on an old Casio keyboard. The drum beat has that pre programmed feel. It’s the type of thing that could sound cheap with a different artist, but Twin Shadow is such a tremendous songwriter that instead it just highlights what he does so well. His voice and his lyrics are great and it’s a brilliant song. His songs are often heartbreaking and sometimes it feels like the sad boy equivalent to the Olivia Rodrigo song “Good 4 U” for angry heartbroken girls. The songs are so emotive that you forget that you’re not heartbroken. That’s a powerful thing.
You can listen to “Wait (Chromeo Remix)” by Maroon 5 here.
Maroon 5 are a real weird band. Their music is so varied across that pop band space that they end up not really having any kind of identity. The truth is they have some good songs- they had a very good first album, but the good songs punctuate a lot of very lame, very clinical, very grating mega hits. The only two consistent things about them are the volume of music they produce and Adam Levine being intense.
However, if you pull the data from my Spotify, you might think I love Maroon 5. What I actually love is Chromeo’s remix of the Maroon 5 song “Wait”. The Chromeo remix has a totally different feel. It’s got disco guitars and bass. It’s got French house kinda production. It’s a song you can dance to. They seem to keep the main vocals very similar to the original which is bizarre to think about because it’s otherwise completely changed. The last minute or so are probably the highlight. The outro starts with a spacey kind of dripping keyboard added to the main riff. Then they add a classic Chromeo funk keyboard riff with a little more of an echo than they usually use in their own songs. It feels like a cover that really makes the song their own.
From a music industry angle, it’s interesting because this is the official remix. So somebody involved in the Maroon 5 universe pitched it to Chromeo. I think a Chromeo remix of “Wait” would always have gone in this direction so presumably they knew that the original song had the potential to be this good. And they stuck with it anyway…
“Babies” by Pulp is a great song. I’ve never got too into Pulp, but I like what I’ve heard lyrically from Jarvis Cocker. He’s an odd man.
Musically, it’s interesting. There’s two guitars. Both have a dreamy sound. One has a country music vibe to it. The combination of the guitar, Cocker’s voice and the keyboards create what I think country music in space would sound like, but only space how it was imagined in the 90s.
“Babies” is a demented song really. I like the narrative element of it. I like songwriting as a mode of storytelling in general, but this is a bizarre case. The speaker, who I imagine to be a shrunken version of Jarvis Cocker, has a female friend. Female Friend has an older sister. Shrunken Jarvis Cocker hears the older sister having sex and kinda gets hooked on that and it escalates to the point where he hides in her wardrobe and watches her. Meanwhile, he’s in love with Female Friend, but doesn’t communicate it to her so she moves on to someone else. And then he’s back in the wardrobe up to his old tricks and tells us, across two of the greatest verses of lyrics of all time:
“Well, I guess it couldn’t last too long I came home one day And all her things were gone I fell asleep inside I never heard her come And when I opened up the wardrobe And I had to get it on, yeah
Oh, listen Oh, we were on the bed when you came home I heard you stop outside the door I know you won’t believe it’s true I only went with her ’cause she looks like you, my god!”
I love the idea that anyone would write this song and record it and the rest of a band would be onboard with it and then a label would get behind it and then it would be on the radio and on TV. There’s the nonchalant perverse voyeurism. There’s the idea that he gets caught being a pervert and things work out for him. There’s the use of the excuse that they look similar so it’s almost a compliment. There’s the idea of telling someone you love them by telling them you want to get them pregnant. It’s deranged. It’s arrogant. It’s ignorant. It’s deluded. But these things make it a wonderful song.
You can listen to “House Of Holy” by Client Liaison here.
I’ve tried to avoid repeating artists and picking new music as my song of the day for as long as I could. I wanted to avoid repetition for as long as I could to keep things varied but it was inevitable that we’d return to Client Liaison sooner rather that later. “House Of Holy” is an incredible song. Sufficiently incredible for me to pick a new song as my song of the day. I wanted this list to be my all time favourites, but it’s been a long time since I’ve loved a song as much as I love this one, so “House Of Holy” makes the cut.
Client Liaison are one of my favourite bands. I love the 100% commitment to being what they are. I’ve seen them live twice, once in Dublin and once in London. It’s pure entertainment. The music is as important as the visual and the clothes and the overall vibe. It all comes together perfectly.
I love “House Of Holy” first and foremost because it a great song dance, as you’d expect from a Client Liaison song produced by Richard Littlemore (of Pnau and Empire of the Sun). I think it’s what I wanted that last Daft Punk album to be when I heard “Get Lucky”. There’s an obvious Nile Rogers influence in the guitars and the keys. The bass is funky. Monte Morgan is an incredible front man and a singer and “House Of Holy” really utilizes his voice in the layered vocals. I love the art for the single as well. It’s like retro futuristic meets The Book of Kells. The whole vibe is happy and hopeful and that’s exactly what I need going into this summer.
You can listen to “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over” by Lenny Kravitz here.
I don’t know why, but the romantic songs that I like the best are the songs about heartbreak, relationships that don’t work out or relationships that seemed destined to fail. One of my favourites is “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over”. I’ve always really liked the sentiment behind it, even if it didn’t really work out for Lenny Kravitz. I like the acknowledgement of problems but the recognition that they were still together despite everything they’d been through together. I think romance needs hope and optimism, otherwise it’s either doomed or cynical.
Lenny Kravitz seems like an odd man and wearing leather trousers is a red flag, but “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over” is a gem. The opening drum roll gives it a dramatic introduction. The strings give it a kinda clichéd love song vibe but the guitar has a lazy strumming to it that gives the song a strut. The guitar solo has a floaty lost in space sound. Lenny Kravitz’s falsetto is pretty sweet but my favourite part is towards the end when he starts to lose his mind and give it socks.
You can listen to “Fascination” by Alphabeat here.
“Fascination” is another one of my absolute favourite songs. It’s one of the songs that we used to play when my first band just played covers. When we eventually wrote songs we wanted to be Deftones or Smashing Pumpkins, but the songs we covered were always pop songs in the beginning. That was because they’re great fun to play. I think the fact that “Fascination” is fun to play as a band really comes across in the track itself. Alphabeat are just such a bunch of happy bastards that it’s hard not to love them.
The lead singers have a great combination of voices. I feel like the marketing of the band was that she was the front woman and she did most of the singing and he was like a secondary singer. He almost enters into the territory of Baz from The Happy Mondays, just dancing around as a decoration. The truth is his voice was class and the real strength of Alphabeat songs was that the two of them sounded great together.
“Fascination” is a real kids party song. It’s got that safe Danish good time vibe but it’s also based on a real understanding of building pop tunes. The drums are that upbeat soul sound that features in so many of my favourite songs like Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson’s version of Valerie for example. It drives the song and gives it a real groove that makes it a great dance song. The piano and bass create a solid foundation for the the song and the guitar licks add flair to the whole thing. It’s a belter of a tune.
Have a listen to “You Get What You Give” by The New Radicals here.
“You Get What You Give” is one of the best one hit wonders of all time, to such an extent that it might be one of the best songs of all time. It’s a wonderful blend of nonsense and contradictions. It’s a perfect pop song pretending to be a commentary of culture and society. The New Radicals are only known for this song, but the writing team of Gregg Alexander (the band’s lead singer/ frontman/ only real member) and Rick Nowels, have written loads of massive pop songs for people like Santana and Lana Del Rey
As with lots of songs on my list, I like that “You Get What You Give” is a traditional band setup style pop song. I like the pop soul piano sound. I like the one note guitar solo. Gregg Alexander has a great voice, he manages to hit some good high bits but also has a bit of gravel to him. I like that the lyrics are at times so anti corporate America, but in the most gimmicky way possible in an aggressively catchy pop tune. There’s the intentionally controversial digs at big artists of the time straight after some political criticism. All to prove that the media is focused on the superficial stuff. At the same time this is a song featuring Paul McCartney’s guitar player, cowritten by a guy who was also writing for Madonna. It’s the most music business song of all time. It’s hard to know if it’s cynical or oblivious, but I enjoy that ridiculousness.
But when the night is falling You cannot find the light (Light) You feel your dreams are dying, hold tight
You’ve got the music in you Don’t let go, you’ve got the music in you One dance left, this world is gonna pull through
I love that pre chorus and then the chorus. That pre chorus is so hopeful and then the chorus is just nonsense.
“Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac is a controversial choice to wrap up my week of Vine songs. Firstly, it’s more than 40 years old and was a massive hit before anyone was dreaming of memes. Secondly, it’s not associated with Vine. “Dreams” is one of the most bizarre viral trends that have cropped up on Tik Tok. I like the idea that my final song choice in this series would be from Tik Tok because Tik Tok viral songs are a whole new world that grew from viral songs on Vine. There’s a wonderful randomness to meme virality and a Tik Tok of a man on a skateboard singing along to this song while drinking cranberry juice is a great example of that.
In some ways, it was a perfect combination and the guy deserves props for a good song choice for a moment. “Dreams” is a real cruising song. The drum track drives it along. The bass grooves away. There’s a great combination of voices. The guitars have a real dreamy effect (excuse the pun). I think the mix of the driving drumming and the dreamy guitars creates a feeling of peaceful forward momentum that really suits the vibe of skating to work and drinking cranberry juice. And I think that’s pretty fucking cool.
Continuing with the theme of my favourite songs that are also iconic Vine songs, today’s song of the day is Usher’s “I Don’t Mind” featuring Juicy J. You can listen to it here and listen to the playlist of all the songs of the day here.
I love “I Don’t Mind” because it’s a demented song. I love that Juicy J missed the memo about this being a song about respecting strippers. I love that Usher seems confused in his wokeness. He calls this woman his bitch and assures her that being a stripper doesn’t make her a ho. The whole thing sounds like Usher is trying to convince himself that he doesn’t mind.
Usher is a bit of a wizard. He’s got a great voice for these slow jams. The song is super simple for the most part, it’s just some chords on top of beats that get more intense for the chorus. And then there’s some great nonsense ad libs from Juicy J.
And Kermit’s version is quite possibly the greatest Vines of all.