My iPod #555: Bloc Party – Hunting for Witches

Kele Okereke was interested in the media reaction to the 9/11 and London 7/7 terrorist attacks. The lead singer of Bloc Party felt that the media had earned their trade through scaremongering and using fear to control people. His observations aided him to create “Hunting for Witches”, the second track on the band’s sophomore effort A Weekend in the City, released in 2007.

The violent ringing at the end of “Song for Clay (Disappear Here)” fades right into “Hunting for Witches”, but it is almost a minute into the latter that you hear Kele’s voice. The introduction starts with chopped-up radio samples that scatter around your ears before being overlapped by a panning alien-spaceship sounding guitar riff, the drums of Matt Tong, and finally the song’s spindly guitar riff delivered by Russell Lissack with dagger-sharp execution. The track reminds me a bit of “Helicopter” due to the interplay of guitars, particularly during the instrumental break before the final chorus, and the busy rhythm section, but with more of a processed sound and a fuller vocal performance from Okereke.

Released as the album’s third single, the song received a music video which features the band performing the track in a dark room. There it is above all of this. It probably would have been the last single too, had it not been for “Flux” which arrived a few months later.

My iPod #383: They Might Be Giants – For Science

“For Science” is a small yet dramatic track, briefly about the sighting of a UFO and soldiers being sent to meet the aliens even though it will end with their inevitable deaths but mostly about a man who begins a relationship with a female alien, knowing that he will be a slave to her love all eternity. This is all done in the name of science.

A track that was created during the making of their first album, “For Science” was first released on the “(She Was a) Hotel Detective EP” in 1988, and then re-released on the groups B-Side compilation “Miscellaneous T” (which is the album I first heard the song on).

Linnell plays the announcer at the start of the track, Flansburgh takes the role of the love-struck man, and “Lt. Anne Moore” – as she is known as on the EP – provides the female vocals.

It’s a funny little track, one that has apparently only been played live by the band three times. They’ll have their reasons as to why that is.

My iPod #382: The Killers – For Reasons Unknown

One time when I was in year seven, just starting life in secondary school, a friend of mine randomly started singing “there was an open chaaiiiiiiir” and kept on repeating that line again. This forced me to question what was wrong with him as I joking began to question him about his mental health.

It all made sense a few months later, when the video “For Reasons Unknown” started showing on MTV. The line makes up a funny second verse in the track where Brandon Flowers wails: “There was an open chaaaaaiiiir/We sat down iiiiiiiiiin/The open chaaaiiir”, before going into the pre-chorus again. Still, that track was played over and over again that I eventual began to start liking it. I had no choice to be honest; the lyrics were permanently etched into my brain to the video’s excessive air time.

The song was released as “Sam’s Town”‘s final single, before the band went away for a year or so preparing their third album. The track is different from many other Killers stuff, as Brandon Flowers actually takes bass duties while Mark Stoermer plays the second guitar (as is shown in the video). I did not know that the track was a narrative based on Flowers’ grandmother who suffers/ed from Alzheimer’s disease. Kind of brings me down thinking about it, actually. But it is a very bold and strident track, with a very passionate vocal performance from Brandon. And an overall solid performance by the four guys.

My iPod #381: The Beatles – For No One

A slow song about the gradual ending of a relationship, “For No One” written by Paul McCartney and performed by The Beatles is one of the saddest tracks in the group’s catalogue.

McCartney was going through a rough patch with a girlfriend many many years ago, and this is one of many songs that he wrote about that point in time. This seems to detail the eventual end of that ‘patch’ ‘cos from “Sgt. Pepper” onwards he didn’t write those types of songs anymore. In fact, it seemed to be getting so much better for him from that point onwards. Still, “For No One” is details McCartney’s regret and sadness caused by the situation.

Accompanied by only by drums (courtesy of Ringo Starr) which you can barely hear and a mournful French horn that gets its own solo and appears again near the song’s conclusion, “For No One” is the one track from “Revolver” that will have you tearing up and feeling Paul’s pain. John Lennon was a fan of this one too, but probably not because of that reason.

My iPod #359: Weezer – Falling for You

It’s good to hear that people are liking Weezer’s new album. Or at least they feel like it’s the best the band has done in many years. But we all know that Weezer were so much better. There are those that completely disregard Weezer’s work after “Pinkerton“, that’s how offended they’ve been. I am not one of those people. Though I have to agree that the band’s second album is the last jaw-dropping thing the band have done.

“Falling for You” has many amazing moments in itself. Too many to describe. Anything I could say has already been written, and it’s a much better read. Have fun with it. In general, there are goosebumps-a-plenty when listening to it.

It is in this track, after eight songs where the narrator has no idea why he’s so shitty when it comes to relationships, that an actual relationship finally begins – only for it to end in the next and last track.

My iPod #265: Manic Street Preachers – A Design for Life

 

Noted for being the first track the band worked on after guitarist Richey Edwards’ unexpected disappearance, “A Design for Life” was the first single released from Manic Street Preachers’ fourth album “Everything Must Go”.

I watched its video a long time ago having no idea who the band was and still left in wonder of the thing. That James Dean Bradfield is an astonishing singer. The vocals on this track are delivered with pure passion and power, and both the pre-chorus and chorus themselves are nothing short of shiver-inducing with those dramatic string arrangements. I will go on to say that it’s not my favourite MSP song. But my god you can’t say that it isn’t epic. Finding out that it was the first song the band released after a time when the band members weren’t sure if they were even going to continue makes it that bit more special too.

My iPod #231: Arctic Monkeys – D Is for Dangerous

 

It has been a year since I started doing this. Feels like it’s been a year too.

I did actually start posting on the 22nd February last year which I completely forgot about until I checked earlier on today, but it was two days later that I took on the challenge of writing about (almost) every song that I have on my iPod. Click on here to start all the way from the beginning.

Since I last posted, nothing much has gone on. Just living life and listening to a lot of music too.

So here is the return of ‘My iPod’ and the Ds. For how long, I don’t know. But I’ve seen the number of songs I have that begin with the letter ‘D’. There are many. A lot more than ‘C’ for sure.

But we begin with the third song from Arctic Monkeys’ second album “Favourite Worst Nightmare” – “D Is for Dangerous”.

I remember that this was the track when I first bought the album in 2007 that caught my ear straight away. “Brianstorm”- I had obviously heard many times before and “Teddy Picker” took me a few listens to get into, but it took me that first listen for “Dangerous” to sink in.

It probably isn’t even the best song on the album. It’s pretty short and quick, only 2 minutes and 20 seconds long if you round it up, but everything is delivered with such slick execution. Cool guitar playing, a great bass line by the then-new Monkey Nick O’Malley and vocals by both Alex Turner and Matt Helders. Pretty much all I can say.

Whether they thought of the name of the album before writing the song or vice versa, I’m not sure. But it is in there. Also watch out near the end, when it sounds like the track begins to skip. I thought something had gone wrong with my computer the first time that happened.

That album by the band is my favourite of theirs. It’s probably the last one they’ve released that I can listen to the whole way through and not become….. bored? I don’t think that’s the right word. Basically, I haven’t been as hyped for Arctic Monkey albums since then.

For many it just doesn’t compare to “Whatever” or possibly even “AM” now, knowing that a lot of people are liking that. But “Nightmare” is just really solid. Maybe it’s the production or something, but there’s something in all twelve tracks that makes we want to carry on listening to them. Can’t really say that for the albums that followed. Hate on me if you want.

Happy D-Day! The Offspring tomorrow.