Anyone who follows this regular feature will know by this point that the above tour is basically my wet dream when it comes to concerts. I will do awful, awful things to get this to come to the UK.
But anyhow, here’s the five tracks that have made it onto the playlist this month.
Hypocrite – Cage The Elephant
I really adored Cage The Elephant’s self-titled debut album when it was initially released. There was a period of time around 2008/2009 where the band were all over the pop-culture content I was consuming: “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” appeared in all sorts of films, commercials and even Borderlands and I distinctly remember Matt Schultz appearing on an episode of Never Mind The Buzzcocks with Stephen Fry.
But for whatever reason, I never followed their career with the same level of devotion. I decided it was time to make use of Spotify premium to rectify that over the past month. I wanted to return to their funk/punk sound to soundtrack my summer, but I was pleasantly surprised by how their style had developed.
Their third album, Melophobia is a brilliant example of this – specifically “hypocrite”. Although the lyrics still have the same bite, musically a lot of the “roughness” of their previous work has given way to something more spacey, almost trance like. It’s as catchy and enjoyable as their debut album, but marks a significant improvement technically!
Where Did You Sleep Last Night – Nirvana
This song found it’s way onto a permanent rotation for a couple of days this past month thanks to the incredible trailer for American Gods.
This song has existed for about two hundred years, so there are plenty of wonderful covers but I settled on the Nirvana’s from their posthumous masterpiece Unplugged In New York. This album, and by extension this song, exist to prove how influential an artist Kurt Cobain could have continued to be, not only in the realm of grunge, but also as a folk artist. The guitar work here is tender and understated, the song carried entirely by Kurt’s raw emotive vocal. The song may be centuries old, but from this performance you’d think Nirvana wrote it.
Jesus Christ – Brand New
Brand New’s third album, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, is a challenging piece of art. It’s an album about loss and death (what Brand New album isn’t?) but conceptually is grapples with grander themes such as religion.
This is present throughout “Jesus Christ” which structurally is a monologue to Christ, as Jesse talks about fear of punishment for his sins, as well as his loneliness and self-hatred. It’s a song about being scared that the goodness in you is losing ground to the darkness, and a hope of redemption either from inside or from a deity. It’s a discussion on apathy and the struggle of combating it.
Lust For Life – Iggy Pop
This is one of those songs that is impossible to seperate from the context in which I first heard it – Trainspotting. It was used in the trailer for that film, it was used in the first scene, and it was used in recent teaser for the sequel. It was even used in The Simpsons parody of Danny Boyle’s film!
It’s undeniably a brilliant song; combining Iggy’s distinct lyrical and vocal styles with David Bowie’s talent at creating an iconic beat. But every time I hear it all I can see are skagheads running down a street in 1980s Leith.
Josephine (acoustic) – Frank Turner
Frank can certainly write a catchy song, but this particular one plays up his love of history. Josephine was the name of both Napoleon’s and Beethoven’s wives, both credited with allowing pushing their husbands to becoming the very best at their respective careers (well maybe not Napoleon, but he had a bloody good go).
However, I’m not suggesting Frank is singing because he seeks a codependent lifestyle. Rather he sings to a concept – a drive when you feel tired and lost. When you don’t feel sure on who you are as a person, or what you are creating as an artist, it’s easy to wish you had someone there to push you on. This song is simply about trying to find a motivating force that makes you turn into a better person, the sort of person you want to be deep down.