“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.
“Wrecking Ball” is a great song but its legacy has been ruined by vines, memes and people who were too lame for memes reusing memes on tv. The video was intense and odd but it escalated into some much worse. By the end of it’s mainstream lifespan, the only thing worse than seeing the video was seeing someone trying to make fun of it.
As a song, “Wrecking Ball” probably deserves to be up there with the pop ballad classics. Miley Cyrus is a great singer and she manages to make the vocals feel very raw. The build up for the chorus is massive. It’ll be interesting to see how kind time is to “Wrecking Ball” because it could end up as a classic or “Ice Ice Baby”, but I think it’s a very solid tune.
I’m on a bit of a roll with Vine tunes. “Trap Queen” is kinda the opposite to the other two songs. The other two songs were good songs that were in Vines that I liked. “Trap Queen” had billions of Vines and they were all trash. What’s interesting about “Trap Queen” is that that’s just the way viral songs work now. Of course it’s all Tik Tok now, but viral songs are parts of trends, challenges and dances.
I think the success “Trap Queen” on Vine is probably based on Fetty Wap’s use of language. As a song gets to a certain level, it crosses over into a mainstream audience and people who wouldn’t listen to hip hop begin to hear things they’ve never heard before. The end result is a lot of white people making some racially dicey jokes about things they don’t know about.
The track itself is pretty lo-fi with big synth chords. Fetty Wap’s use of adlibs and auto tune are what I really like about “Trap Queen”. The chorus is simple, lots of repetition of Fetty Wap’s classic baby and yah ha adlibs. It’s just a good time.
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.
Carly Rae Jepsen is a legend. “Emotion” is an incredible album. “Run Away with Me” is an incredible opening track to that album and the soundtrack to two of my favourite Vines.
“Run Away with Me” is just a belter and I think it’s very underrated. The saxophone intro is iconic. The drums in the chorus are massive. If I was a teenager this would be my YA fiction romantic montage song but since I’m a grown man it’s the montage in my dreams for when I win the lottery and quit my job without working my notice.
Listen to “Run Away with Me” here. Also, a reminder that you can listen to all the songs of the day together in one playlist here.
It’s been a crazy week so I haven’t had time for a film project for this weekend. I’m on annual leave this week so I’ll have more time to plan, watch and write about films.
So this weekend’s blog post is a quick round up on the song of the day posts I’ve done since restarting the blog this year. I’ve posted about 58 songs so far from 58 different artists plus featured artists. As expected, the majority of the songs were from 2009 onwards. There’ve been no songs from 2021 because I don’t think there’s been long enough for any song from this year to categorize anything as a favourite. Looking back over the list, there are artists who I’ll include again soon for other songs. I’d been trying to put this off for as long as possible but it’s probably going to come to an end in the next few weeks.
I’ve made a Spotify playlist with all the songs of the day. You can check that out here. I’m going to update it as I go along from now on.
You can listen to “Cake By The Ocean” by DNCE here.
I once had a conversation with my brother about a college course he was doing on the history of sport. He told me about the reasons for success and popularity of certain sports and games. I guess strict rules require particular skills and creative solutions.
The idea of strict rules or constraints is something that always appeals to me in challenges. In my days of FIFA manager career modes, I liked to have self imposed constraints to make things more realistic, a French football team would be more likely to buy French speaking players, English players don’t often move abroad, etc. These little constraints are challenges to make things more realistic and more interesting.
That idea has lead me to a fascination with pop bands. I can, and always will, appreciate any good song made by a person on a computer, but the constraints of using the standard pop bands instruments of the last 70 or so years make things more interesting to me. “Cake By The Ocean” is very close to achieving that. It’s got a great funky bass line leading the whole song. There’s handclaps and a drum kit involved. There’s vocals. There’s a guitar and some backing vocals. Then there’s some extra sounds that are added on top that throw things off, but it’s very close to following the rules.
Aside from my nerdy musical snobbery, I also appreciate the lyric, “I’ll be Diddy, you be Naomi. I thoroughly enjoy that somebody felt it was necessary to write that the song is about sexual intercourse on the wikipedia entry for the song. And of course, I like that the title is based on confusing the phrases “cake by the ocean” and “sex on the beach”
You can listen to “Genghis Khan” by Miike Snow here.
I went to see Flight Facilities in 2014 and at the very end of the set they played “Hey Ya!” by Outkast. Not a cover or a remix, just the standard original version. I remember talking to someone else afterwards and I remarked that it was a bit weird. They said that they loved it because it was a massive song for their friend group, like it was the equivalent of an inside joke that I just didn’t get. It was as if they didn’t realise that “Hey Ya!” is one of the biggest songs of all time and probably a massive song for lots of friend groups. I was thinking about the idea of what songs you can claim like that. “Genghis Khan” by Miike Snow is probably a song I feel that way about for my own friends. It’s been a regular feature at any occasion where there is a chance for anyone to suggest songs since we first heard it in 2015.
I think part of the appeal is the video, which is magical. It’s goofy but brilliant. There’s a story to it, which is always one of my favourite kind of videos. There’s fantastic dancing by people who don’t immediately look like dancers. A good video is a great first impression for a song. The song also ticks a lot of my usual boxes. It’s catchy. There’s lots of falsetto and sing along bits. I like the melodrama of the phrase “I get a little bit Genghis Khan”. Musically, it’s all about the piano which is punchy and abrupt throughout the song before pushing to the front towards the end of the song.
I’ve been at this for quite a while and there’s a decent bank of songs built up. I’d be interested to see the stats for the songs I’ve posted about to see what kind of time periods they’re from. I’d imagine the bulk of songs are from 2012-2015, while I was in college and spent a lot of time on buses.
“No Words” is from towards the end of that period. I remember being in college and realising that I had been mishearing the lyrics for months. I thought Erik Hassle was confessing to not being a wordsmith when he sang “I’m out of words, babe”. I liked the wordsmith lyric better. The dude has written loads of songs for himself and for people like Shakira and Rihanna so obviously he can put words together. It was like he was so disorientated by the person he’s singing to that he’s become shit at his job. And that’s what happens when you spend too much time on your own listening to the same songs. Stuff like that makes sense.
Erik Hassle is somebody I thought would be a superstar by now. He’s probably got a perfect level of success for a person, his songs have millions of plays and he’s got big writing credits, but he’s not massive. For me, he’s an incredible pop artist. His songs always have a sad disco vibe. His voice sounds like he grew up singing Prince songs. “No Words” is my favourite of his songs. There’s a great funky guitar lick throughout the song with a lot of the body of the song built up with the strings. In the verses the bass is really ominous and then when the chorus kicks in it switches up to something busier. I’ve heard him speak about the song and it was written at a time when a relationship was finished but the rest of his life was going well and he was otherwise happy. I think you really get that, because it’s a song that you can dance to, but the lyrics are obviously coming from a place of heartbreak.
You can listen to “Reborn” by Kids See Ghosts here.
I was late to the party with Kid Cudi and I’ve never been a committed Kanye West fan. With Kanye, I think he has some incredible songs and then I just can’t go any deeper. With Kid Cudi, it’s borderline embarrassing because I heard rappers doing the Kid Cudi humming around 2016 and I didn’t get that it was a Kid Cudi thing for a long time. He’s a big deal in terms of his own work and songs he’s written for other artists, but also for the generation of artists that he inspired. One thing I like about all of his own songs is that he’s very up front. I’m sure there are lots of people who had never heard an artist talk about their mental health, particularly in a hip hop context. I think there’s a lot of value in people hearing about these things from someone they look up to or can relate to.
Lyrically, I like “Reborn” a lot. It’s real hopeful vibe after coming from some dark places. I’ve always thought Kanye had interesting lyrics, I think “Y’all done “specially invited guest”‘d me out” is a great phrase. Kanye’s verse is kinda confrontational and in the context of what he’s saying it seems fair. He was having a hard time and people took the piss out of him. On the other hand, Kid Cudi’s verse is more philosophical and focused on the negative past versus the positive present and future. I like that there’s a real message but it’s also cleverly written by both of them.
“Reborn” is a nice song. It feels very gentle. The piano is nice and soft and Kid Cudi’s backing vocals add a depth. The track has a slightly hypnotic vibe. Musically, it’s quite lullaby-esque and then the chorus is like a repeated mantra. It’s like some positive mentality brainwashing and I think that’s something we always need more of.