Following on from last week, we’re onto two-letter word song titles. And, it turns out, this was possibly the hardest of the lot – certainly going on the suggestions, there aren’t many of them.
/Tuesday Ten/Short Song Titles
465//Just The One
There were just 49 suggestions (three of which had been used before). Forty unique songs were suggested, and thirty people suggested songs. Thanks, as ever, to everyone who got involved.
A quick explanation for new readers (hi there!): my Tuesday Ten series has been running since March 2007, and each month features at least ten new songs you should hear – and in between those monthly posts, I feature songs on a variety of subjects, with some of the songs featured coming from suggestion threads on Facebook.
Feel free to get involved with these – the more the merrier, and the breadth of suggestions that I get continues to astound. Otherwise, as usual, if you’ve got something you want me to hear, something I should be writing about, or even a gig I should be attending, e-mail me, or drop me a line on Facebook (details below).
A very early Bitter Ruin track – from their first 2007 EP – opens this week’s post. A somewhat forgotten track of theirs (despite seeing them many times, I can’t recall them ever having played it live at shows I’ve attended, while a couple of other tracks from the EP became longtime fan favourites), it still has all of their hallmarks – striking vocals, and stiffly strummed guitars that sound like stakes through the heart. Like all bands as they evolve, though, some songs get discarded along the way. Others get rerecorded, and reworked. That’s how things work.
Pi: the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and a mathematical constant that seems to have fascinated many for centuries. It was recently the subject a film, and Clint Mansell‘s soundtrack for the film does not have a similarly named track, as it happens – so instead, Kate Bush’s story of a man’s infatuation with finding more of the seemingly infinite number (from her deeply odd album Aerial) will suffice. Especially as Swiss researchers recently calculated π to 62.8 trillion digits.
Interestingly, Pearl Jam have two songs with similar titles. Why Go was on Ten, and then Go followed on Vs. in 1993, an album that had little promotion work and no music videos – and still set first-week sales records. Go is comprised of a killer riff, and a propulsive charge of a rhythm with Eddie Vedder imploring something or someone not to fail on him. I must confess – I’ve not listened to Vs. in full in years, and listening to this again, I probably should pick it up sooner rather than later.
/Songs In The Key Of Life
Unusually, a song that gets the title from the first word of the lyrics – as opposed to the first line or suchlike, this is of course a song from Stevie Wonder’s magnum opus, the sprawling, brilliant Songs In The Key of Life. A glorious, seven-minute gospel-soul track of unconditional love, in other hands it might sound trite, but here, Stevie Wonder is at the peak of his powers and sounds like he means every damned word. In a sign of its influence, too, it has been sampled a fair bit since…
I was rather surprised to find a lack of songs with the title Up. Surely there were more, right? Apparently not – I was clearly thinking of album titles. Anyway, current US hip-hop star Cardi B is a newcomer to this series, and this recent single is an avalanche of bass. Listened to loudly on good headphones, the bass booms through your skull, bouncing the track along with it. The lyrics? Something of a brag of how great she is, and why not?
In a total about turn – and just listen to this directly after Cardi B – here’s Italian symphonic death metal band Fleshgod Apocalypse, who sound absolutely enormous as they throw the usual guitars drums and bass alongside an orchestra and choir into the mix. The song itself is one that pours scorn on the current generation of mankind, as they blame their forefathers for the world’s mistakes without trying to offer solutions of their own. As I write this in the UK, in the midst of a self-inflicted crisis with the Government desperately trying to pass the buck to anyone but themselves, I can rather see the point the band are making…
That said, I was really not expecting the Britney Spears reference in the closing coda.
Friends know I’m no particular fan of Scooter, and this is their first appearance in this series. The person who suggested this drily noted that there is no Oi! song with the title “Oi”, so Scooter will have to do. Like many Scooter songs, this is not subtle in the slightest. Pretty much a brag from vocalist H.P. Baxxter about how great his band is (with the very Oi! chant “Oi Fuckin’ Oi” threading through the song, there is a distinct feeling – along with the video – that their tongues were deep in their cheeks for this one…
Sadly the wonderful Om by Smeg and the Heads (which, remarkably, features Jeff Walker and Bill Steer of Carcass as Gazza and Dobbin, Lister’s bandmates!) does not feature this week. But Devin Townsend does, with one of the tracks that initially wasn’t finished for Infinity, and ended up on a subsequent EP. Apparently this is only demo standard, which is weird, as this chugging monster of a prog-metal track sounds better produced than most other bands…
Death Grips are very much a group that are a product of the internet age – by using that medium to distribute their early material and create a(n almighty) buzz, by spectacularly pranking a gullible major label with a dark web album release (and promptly being dropped after being paid a hefty advance), and by using a dizzying, overwhelming array of samples, sounds and styles to create a musical sound that often feels like being strafed by heavy weaponry. But also, MC Ride repeating the phrase “Eh” through a track feels entirely appropriate. It’s a shrug of the shoulders at dissenters, and an “I don’t give a fuck” to other famous people, it seems, who want a piece of him because Death Grips are “cool”…
Before he became something of an enfant terrible and reluctant celebrity, Richard D. James was making remarkable, elegant music that genuinely sounded unique. In addition, there was a time where he used relatively “normal” song titles, too, but none were ever as short as On. His odd beat patterns and treatments are still here on this Top 40 hit, but with the delicate piano that weaves through the mix, there is a beauty here that few other electronic artists of the time ever came close to.