Here's 7 aspects of 7 songs that are currently stuck in my head like pins in the head of that one guy from Hellraiser with all the pins in his head (what was he called, anyway?) For your listening pleasure, all these songs will be available here in one big zip file for (appropriately enough) the next seven days. If you can't get them for any reason, let me know and I'll hook you up.
'I Hope I Become A Ghost' - The Deadly SyndromeWhen I sing it: To stave off mopiness.
Which bits I sing: "There's nothing sad about it."
How it makes me feel: Pleasantly wistful.
What it's about: Pretty much what the title suggests. It's about fulfilling the natural human desire to see how Everything works out, without having to hang out with transhumanists.
Why I like it: It's so quirky (plinky piano, twangy guitars, 'woo ooo ooo ooo ooo' chorus), but not in an annoying way. It's optimistic, and a little plaintive, and clever, and charming.
Who introduced me to it: I friended stereotypist for the comics, but he sometimes offers songs to download too. I bought the album on the strength of this song, so it's only illegal, not immoral.
Where to find them:
The official site of The Deadly Syndrome.
There's a live version of this song (with deeply amateur camera-work) here:
'Tell 'Em I'm Here' - Freddy FoxxxWhen I sing it: When customers or colleagues are grinding me down, and will require focused effort to subdue.
Which bits I sing: "Tell 'em I put the word back in 'word is bond'"
How it makes me feel: Invigorated, badass.
What it's about: Mr. Foxxx would like to announce his arrival and his superlative rapping ability to everyone within earshot, especially MCs with - shall we say - an enacted Oedipal complex.
Why I like it: Arrogance is not exactly a rare commodity in the world of gangsta rap, but this track seems to reduce it to its essentials: I'm here and I'm best. Freddie's angry, but only because he's pained by the incompetence of others. I can really empathise with him here, though - if his lyrics are any guide - our lives are otherwise somewhat different.
Who introduced me to it: Late night Radio 1 years ago, probably Mary Anne Hobbes. It stuck in my head from just one play, and I could remember enough to track it down on t'internet years later. As with much of the rap that I discovered in this way, I was rather surprised by how sweary the original is.
Where to find him:
The unofficial website of Freddie Foxxx (aka Bumpy Knuckles).
The song can be heard here. Dude should either fire his video director or hire one:
'Grey Clouds' - The Orb feat. Alan ParkerWhen I sing it: When I need cheering up.
Which bits I sing: "It used to rain a lot... as it does now."
How it makes me feel: Chilled, but giggly.
What it's about: The skies when you were young, if you grew up in England.
Why I like it: I love 'Little Fluffy Clouds' when I'm in a dreamy mood, and it was a perfect soundtrack to Burning Man. However, under the distinctly finite skies of Oxford it can seem somewhat inappropriate, even inane; which is where this version comes into its own. As an added bonus, it actually does reminds me of when I was young, listening to comedy on Radio 1 including 'Alan Parker - Urban Warrior' ('On your side, and in your ear.').
Who introduced me to it: bluedevi played this at one of our BBQs, and it instantly had me grinning like a simpleton. I begged for a copy straight away.
Where you can find them:
The official site of The Orb.
The completely unofficial (sort of) site of Simon Munnery (aka. Alan Parker, aka. The League Against Tedium).
'Harrowdown Hill' - Thom YorkeWhen I sing it: When I'm doing something boring and mechanical at work, and I need to become a robotic drone for a while.
Which bits I sing: "We think the same things at the same time, we just can't do anything about it..."
How it makes me feel: Melancholy, yet twitchy.
What it's about: Mr. Yorke's lyrics are characteristically cryptic and discomforting, and I hate analysing songs because for me that often sucks the life out of them. That said, I've recently realised that it's probably about the suicide of UK government scientist Dr. David Kelly. I think I preferred it when it was mysterious. I hope that the same isn't true of you.
Why I like it: The bass hook is simplistic but insistent, the lyrics mournful and sinister. It makes the hairs on the back of my neck rise.
Who introduced me to it: I've been a fan of Radiohead forever and I've happily followed them down the path of glitchy electronica, so this was one of the very few albums I bought as matter of course.
Where you can find him:
Offical site of The Eraser. I think. It's pretty confusing, to be honest.
The video starts well, but then goes all 'generic political':
'Little Mouse' - Jack Morgan (BSc)
When I sing it: At home, at the cats, when I'm in a good mood. It's lucky that tinyjo has the patience of a saint...
Which bits I sing: "Hey there, little mouse! I hope we understand one another. Hey there, little mouse! Show me what to do. Little mouse!"
How it makes me feel: Silly but happy.
What it's about: An unconventional but sincere friendship between a man and a mouse.
Why I like it: Simultaneously straight-faced yet ridiculous, in a mock-epic manner somewhat reminiscent of Queen. Ridiculously pleasing.
Who introduced me to it: Indirectly, archie. He bought the DVDs of the first series of BBC comedy series 'Look Around You' (to impress American ladies, if I recall correctly). Years later, while he was on holiday with his American wife, I was at their house feeding their cat, and the cat and I ended up watching the whole series in one sitting. A fragment of this song featured in the 'Music' episode and instantly ear-wormed me. I was overjoyed when archie told me that there was a full version of it, with video, as an extra on the DVD. Seeing that drove it even deeper into my brain, and it's been there ever since.
Where you can find him: Look Around You has a site nestling in the BBC behemoth from which you can learn more about Jack Morgan and download a (tragically truncated) version.
I would whole-heartedly recommend the video:
'You Get Mad At Napster' - Princess SuperstarWhen I sing it: To fight off fears that I'm just another IT drone.
Which bits I sing: "Anyway, as I was saying before, my screen-name is much better than yours."
How it makes me feel: Sassy, yet geeky.
What it's about: Being tech-literate and cool. Becoming a success without taking yourself (or anyone else) too seriously.
Why I like it: Ms. Superstar delivers her scattergun, pop-culture-suffused lyrics with a pleasingly choppy flow. She's sarcastic and cocky, but with a leavening undercurrent of affection. Also: I like sassy girls.
Who introduced me to it: It featured on Never Mind The Bootlegs, a 3 CD mp3 compilation of profound illegality and (hence) limited edition, released by the now-defunct mashup blog Boom Selection.
Where you find her:
The official site of Princess Superstar. Pretty nifty. You can listen to most of her stuff (including this track), download DJ mixes and all sorts.
'Clint Eastwood' - GorillazWhen I sing it: To help me relax and concentrate when I need to be methodical.
Which bits I sing: "The essence, the basics."
How it makes me feel: Calm and collected.
What it's about: The rap bit seems to be about the importance of music which, as the length of this post demonstrates, is a subject close to my heart. The refrain about having 'sunshine in a bag'? Now I've written it down, I find myself wondering if it's about drugs. I hope not, because I'd rather continue to think of it as vaguely cheerful nonsense verse.
Why I like it: Measured but relentless bass, ethereal harmonica samples, cockney-accented yelping and rich, laid-back rapping. And, as an added bonus, a kick-ass video. A genuinely unique sound, yet fiendishly catchy.
Who introduced me to it: Radio 1 again, back when I listened to it every day. It stuck in my head from the first exclusive preview play, so I guess it's been there for nearly 7 years now.
Where you can find them:
The official site for The Gorillaz. There's a whole bunch of mad shit on here if you can cope with the Flash interface...
The video kicks ass:
And now I have to tag seven people who haven't done it already that I reckon will give interesting answers. archie, art_geek, bluedevi, ludickid, londonsound, sparkymark, tinyjo; I choose you!
PS. Don't feel obliged to write as much as I have. I just got carried away.