List Item: Listen to the 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die
That’s the Way ( I Like It) – KC & The Sunshine Band
I will probably never be able to untangle this song from it’s appearance in Austin Powers in Goldmember where it’s sung by Beyoncé as we’re introduced to her character Foxxy Cleopatra.
With this song, I think it is safe to say that disco has just burst onto the scene. The Bee Gees in the last bunch of songs was a decent signal of this, but we’re very much there now. Listening to this song outside of television and movies really helps me to realize just how much disco was an upbeat offshoot of funk that was focused on having a good time. Good song, if a little bit repetitive.
Kalimankou denkou – Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares
If, like me, you are a fan of Kate Bush – you will instantly recognise the voice of some of the soloists from this Bulgarian singing group. Three members of this group would spin off from this larger collective (much like Enya from Clannad) and end up working with Kate Bush on the amazing album, The Sensual World.
This song is haunting. It feels exotic and rather ancient, which makes sense seeing how this is part of a collection of traditional Bulgarian folk songs that have been put to choral arrangements. ‘Kalimankou denkou’ feels like something between a folk motet and ‘Ave Maria’. Again, this is haunting.
Marcus Garvey – Burning Spear
From haunting Bulgarian choral music to Jamaican roots reggae – a pretty significant genre shift. ‘Marcus Garvey’ is a song about one of the prophets of the Rastafari religion. That makes this song something that is pretty consistant with the Rastafari movement – the mix of a religious and a political message.
It’s one of those songs, however, where if you have no idea about Marcus Garvey or the wider Rastafari religion – it’s pretty much lost on you. The music has a bit more pep than other reggae I’ve heard from Bob Marley, but it’s not really for me. Still, nice to hear where reggae has gotten to in 1975.
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
Music is an emotional beast – both in the playing and in the listening. Like with the Bohemian Rhapsody movie, I’ve tried to distance my personal feelings from the actual music when listening to this. So here goes…
Taking emotions out of the equation – this is an ambitious and bombastic song. I have so much respect for being able to put together something so operatic and so unique for the time. I mean, no one has really done anything similar to the level of success that Queen had. It isn’t for me, but listening to it in isolation (and not in that turd of a movie) I can see why this struck chords and has remained in the public consciousness.
Gloria – Patti Smith
It’s been a year and half since I did my blog post on Horses and I still listen to this song and just imagine early PJ Harvey roaring to this before she seques into either ‘Sheela-Na-Gig’ or ‘Rid of Me’.
Like with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Gloria’ doesn’t really sound like anything that came before it (at least on the song list). The fact that this is the opening track of her debut album is just beyond amazing. With ‘Gloria’ it’s fair to say that the trigger has been pulled on the punk movement, and once we get some Ramones in 1976 her call to arms has been answered.
Tangled Up in Blue – Bob Dylan
‘Tangled Up In Blue’ is my favourite Bob Dylan song. It’s where he sounds his best vocally, accompanied by his lushest productions and with a set of brilliant lyrics about a failed love affair.
It’s one of the few times where I feel able to make an emotional connection with him as the singing narrator; the other times all being featured on his album Blood on the Tracks, where this track is the opener. I just really like this song; hard to really say much else.
Walk This Way – Aerosmith
Okay so all I knew of this song was the version that Aerosmith did with Run D.M.C. (and that ill-advised cover by Sugababes and Girls Aloud). I had no idea this existed in isolation. Gotta say that this original version is so good and is such a fun song – the fact that I just found out that this was inspired by a comedic bit from Young Frankenstein makes it all the better.
Another thing I heard in this song was elements of funk. It’s a funk-rock hybrid song which, again, isn’t like much that I have heard before for this list. I had a lot of fun listening to this song.
Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
It’s unusual for me to just sit through a song and not write anything down… when the song hasn’t grabbed me that is. I don’t know why, but ‘Wish You Were Here’ really did nothing for me, to the point that it really just sailed over my head. I’ll listen to the album eventually, so maybe something will rouse me then.