#574: The White Stripes – I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself

Gotta say I don’t have much on the brain about this one….. Nothing on the personal side of things anyway. I think the song’s great don’t get me wrong, The White Stripes achieve a fantastic cover of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s composition (originally made popular by Dusty Springfield in 1964), but I think I just saw the music video on MTV when I was about nine and thought it was cool. And because I was only nine and still thought girls were icky, I never got the appeal of Kate Moss pole dancing and writhing on a table. The song just simply sounded awesome. That is the official music video by the way for any new readers or listeners, not my doing.

The White Stripes were alright. They have great songs but I’m not a huuuge fan… It always was a big thing when they announced a new single or album though. I recall the video for ‘Icky Thump’ being shown almost every hour on MTV2 in 2007 when it was released. Good times being 12 and everything. Good tune too. Though you wouldn’t find me being the first in line to buy their albums. Was a shame when they split though. Probably still had so much to give.

So anyway ‘I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself’ appears on the band’s 2003 album Elephant as its fourth track. This track’s tone is what pulls me in every time. There’s something very slinky, sneaky and sly in the way it’s performed. Jack White gets that ashy tone on his guitars and sounds like he’s wailing his vocals about in an empty corridor. Meg White gets all primal on the drums. The contrast between the quiet verses and the sudden release in the choruses. That triumphant ending where the song title’s repeated and everything fades out. Man. This is a great track. Whenever anyone attempts a cover of an old track, I feel they should always adapt it to their style whilst trying to capture the magic of what makes the original. The White Stripes did it here. This is one of those good covers.

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#570: Ween – I Don’t Want It

I was about 18 when I listened to The Mollusk for the first time when looking for new music to get into. That album was released in 1997 so it’s not new by any means, but you know looking out for stuff that I’d just never heard before. I got to love that album but then I never thought about really digging into the rest of the band’s discography.

Fast forward to 2015. Twenty years old, just started a new job for my placement year. Things are going good. I was at home just chilling in the evening as you do before going to work again the next day and out of curiosity I decided to listen to GodWeenSatan: The Oneness on Spotify…… There was no turning back. I dove deeper into the hole that had opened beyond my ears. I’ve been properly listening to Ween for just over two years now, and I am convinced that they might be the greatest band on this planet. No one really knows it though.

And so, the first Ween song I’m able to cover is ‘I Don’t Want It’, the tenth song on the group’s 2003 album Quebec. The album arrived at the end of a dark period during the band’s original run in which drummer Claude Coleman almost died in a severe car accident and lead vocalist Aaron Freeman (Gene Ween) going through a crummy divorce. ‘I Don’t Want It’ is the song about that crummy divorce and depicts Freeman’s feelings about the whole situation. It’s a sad song, to put it straight, perfectly capturing the moment of realisation when a breaking relationship has come to an end. It’s obviously for the best, though the love is still there that you don’t want to let go.

For the most part the track is played straight. Verse, chorus, verse, chorus. Things slow down afterwards, a short break occurs, and then suddenly a burst of guitar feedback kicks in leading into one of the most glorious guitar solos I’ve heard, drowning out almost every other instrument, echoing into the abyss and backed by some heavenly ‘aah’ vocals. For a time I did think it was lead guitarist Mickey Melchiondo (Dean Ween) doing this solo. Why not? If there’s a solo in any other Ween song, it’s usually him who pulls them off. Then it dawned on me that it could possibly be Freeman himself… Turned out that it was, which made it all the more powerful and heartbreaking to me. It’s perfect.

#569: Chris Bell – I Don’t Know

You might remember that the title track of Chris Bell’s posthumous album I Am the Cosmos started of the ‘I’ section of this ongoing song series. Well, here is Mr. Bell again with another song from that album – the tenth one on there – entitled ‘I Don’t Know’.

Earlier this year I had a phase of listening to Big Star, after really enjoying the band’s first LP #1 Record and ended up reading about the band’s history and watching a documentary detailing the group’s career which is a good watch and one I would recommend to anybody interested. Just doing the general stuff you do when you really get into an artist you’ve properly listened to for the first time.

Making a long story short Chris Bell left Big Star after their first album release, disillusioned with the lack of its success and being in a band in general, and embarked on solo endeavours. His material wasn’t released in album form until 1992, over a decade after his tragic death. Listening to I Am the Cosmos and then hearing Radio City, the album Big Star made after Bell’s departure, it becomes apparent who may have been behind the band’s large, clean and anthemic sound that made #1 Record such a bold effort.

‘I Don’t Know’ explodes right out of the gate with a soaring intro of jangling guitars, crashing cymbals and powerful drums that segue into Bell’s vocals. The track sees the man in a state of confusion as to why he’s sticking around in a relationship that he doesn’t really want to be in, but still finds himself very much attracted to his lady. It’s a song of contradiction and inner conflict, themes that appear throughout the entire album, but it’s a blast to listen to – an energetic and cathartic three and a half minute wonder.

Another strange thing to note is that this song actually appears twice on the album, appearing with a slower tempo and completely different arrangement under the name ‘Get Away’. Now why Bell chose to do this no one will ever know. Isn’t that cheating in some kind of way? Then again… he wasn’t around to pick what songs went on his album. As a result, the deluxe version of the I Am the Cosmos album contains four takes of what are essentially the same song.

Obviously, the vibes are different between the two but maybe the lyrics are to be taken differently even though their completely the same in both songs. I don’t know. Just a guess.

#568: Fall Out Boy – I Don’t Care

A lot of Fall Out Boy’s stuff I don’t care for anymore, though there was a time (as I’m sure there were for many going through their teenage years) when I thought all of their songs were great. I had friends in secondary school and we would talk about their stuff, casual sing-alongs here and there when we should have been listening to the teacher. Now I can say that some songs of theirs have aged much better than others. ‘Dance, Dance‘, ‘Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down‘, and ‘This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race‘ are three in particular which I just can’t listen to anymore. The majority of From Under the Cork Tree and some of Infinity on High I haven’t listened to in years.

Folie à Deux, however…. Man. That album still holds up today. I think it’s the band’s best one, though fans seemed to hate it when it was released in 2008. I haven’t listened to it in full for ages either, but I feel as if it was the album that the band had always wanted to make at that point in time. It has great production, the songs just flow right into each other, Patrick Stump is singing melodies all over and Wentz’s lyrics aren’t so angsty. They are actually quite funny in some places. Unfortunately they burned themselves out creatively and personally, which resulted in a break-up the following year. They returned in 2013 with a new sound and single, but by then I was listening to other stuff. Though along with My Chemical Romance and Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy will always be a source of nostalgia.

Oh yeah, the song.

So ‘I Don’t Care’ is the second song on Folie à Deux, and was released as the album’s first single. Being a thirteen year-old then, I felt the video was amazing. The band members acting like pricks and cameos from Mark Hoppus and Pharrell? Get outta here. That stuff was funny. Doesn’t really match the song which is essentially about someone who shares no compassion for other people and thinks they’re the shit. But still, the band actually looked cool and sounded slick. It marked a somewhat darker era for the group which I kinda wish they could have gone further down, but hey those are the brokes.

One thing I have against the track is that the whole call-response ‘I Don’t Care’ bridge goes on for a bit too long, but it’s worth it just for that drop into that final chorus with the ending guitar solo.

My iPod #296: Stevie Wonder – Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing

Time for a bit o’ sooooul. Weren’t expecting that were you? The D section has been very rock-oriented so far it has to be said, but it is not as if I just added this song yesterday to try and add some ‘variety’. Admittedly I have known “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” for less time than the majority of the other tracks on here. I listened to its album some time last year when I was on a ‘quest’ to listen to the best albums ever. This is a very fine song though, so I had to add it. And it deserves to have a post.

“Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” is the penultimate track on Stevie Wonder’s 1973 album “Innversions“. It has a Latin vibe to it, started off by the stomping piano and exotic percussion which occur throughout, and comically referenced by Wonder’s mock-Spanish dialogue for the first forty seconds. After those forty seconds though, it’s serious business. Wonder delivers an outstanding vocal performance becoming more passionate with each chorus and key change, rising octaves until he eventually starts belting the song title from the top of his lungs.

Essentially it’s a song about being positive. If you didn’t get that from the title. It is a classic.

My iPod #295: Coldplay – Don’t Panic

It’s always odd to listen to old Coldplay material, but there’s also something very warming about it too. I’ve seen how now the band are going to hide lyrics from their forthcoming album in library books all over the world or something. Sounds a bit pretentious to me. I think fans would be more likely to hear the songs and then type them up. Even then, some might not want to do that. But “Parachutes“, their debut album released in the first summer of the 21st century, reminds us all of the time when Coldplay wouldn’t even think of such an idea. It reminds us of a time when they didn’t try so hard to be this ‘biggest band in the world’ type thing. That was a good time.

“Don’t Panic” is the opening track on “Parachutes”. It takes a few seconds to get itself together, beginning with a few strums of a lone electric guitar followed by an acoustic. Then suddenly Chris Martin starts softly singing, telling us that we live in a beautiful world. Yeah, we do, yeah we do.

The track is one about hope and reassurance, but its short length and quick pace also make it seem like one about urgency. Almost like time is running out. It’s a strange one to make out sometimes. Honestly though, it’s probably my favourite Coldplay song. Martin’s light falsetto in the chorus, the gurgly, swirling lead guitar present throughout and the solo near the end… the song’s poignant last line before ending and fading out into silence. Everything about it sounds close and personal. Not something I can say about any recent Coldplay stuff.

Eventually released as the album’s last single almost a year its release, “Don’t Panic” didn’t even make it into the top 100. But it marked the start of a small group from London who would become the greatest band to ever exist. Or whatever.

My iPod #294: Oasis – Don’t Look Back in Anger

I don’t even like Oasis that much. I am, however, looking forward to the “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?” reissue that should be coming out later this year. “Definitely Maybe” isn’t my thing. I’ve never listened to “Morning Glory” before; I’ve never been a great a fan of Oasis to actually buy it or even download it without paying, but I know that it contains some of Oasis’ best songs and the reissue will probably include the great B-Sides that were recorded during the making of the album. I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

“Don’t Look Back in Anger” is a song from “Morning Glory”. It was released as the album’s fifth single, the band’s first to have Noel Gallagher on lead vocals, and got to number one in the charts.

Nothing much else I can say. Well, there’s nothing much I can be bothered to say. Whatever I would say has most likely been said before. The song’s good. You’ve all heard it before. It’s only like…. one of the biggest anthems out of Britain from the nineties.

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