‘Tenalle Chagret’, Tinariwen (2009)
Written about the fallout of the Touareg rebellion in Mali, this song is interesting due to the way it incorporates modern touches like electric guitars with modern Malian musical stylings. This is a slow, loping tune, but it is almost hypnotic as the twangs of the guitar play alongside the chorus of voices. This is about the list showing a broad scope, sure, yet it is also an interesting musical choice in and of itself.
‘Harry Patch (In Memory Of)’, Radiohead (2009)
I’m surprised I’ve not heard of this one. Recorded in an abbey with strings as the only accompanying sound, Thom Yorke used the words of the last surviving soldier from the First World War and turned it into a single (with all proceeds going to the British Legion). The scope of this, in terms of production and vision, is admirable. Realistically, Radiohead are a bit like Marmite, so if you like what they offer then this is them at near-peak Radiohead, so that will do it for you.
‘Go Do’, Jonsi (2010)
Influenced by: Wedding Dress • Samamidon (2008)
Other key tracks: Animal Arithmetic (2010) • Boy Lilikoi (2010) • Grow Till Tall (2010) • Sinking Friendships (2010)
A curio as much as anything. This is from the solo project of the lead singer in Sigur Ros, as well as being his first release in English. There is an energy about the song I admire, plus I’m not sure how many songs I’m going to hear that use the piccolo so prominently, so it has that going for it/working against it (delete as applicable).
‘Me and the Devil’, Gil-Scott Heron (2010)
Influenced by: Me and the Devil Blues • Robert Johnson (1937)
Other key tracks: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (1971) • The Bottle (1974) • “B” Movie (1980) • New York Is Killing Me (2010)
Gil-Scott Heron is a notable blindspot in my musical journey, so it is nice to (almost) end up with a chance to hear some of his work. This was his first work after getting out of prison for a parole violation, so tonally this feels about as legitimate as you can get. The background music was apparently created by Damon Albarn, which wasn’t necessarily the name I’d expect to be attached to a song like this. What the music does do is dial up the ominous feeling, as well as providing the momentum that keeps things on the tracks. A good song.
‘Stylo’, Gorillaz (2010)
Influenced by: Planet Rock • Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force (1982)
Other key tracks: Clint Eastwood (2001) • Tomorrow Comes Today (2001) • Dare (2005) • Feel Good Inc. (2005) • Superfast Jellyfish (2010)
So, to what nominally should be the end of my journey (see the next post for why it isn’t) and we have some more Damon Albarn. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to any Gorillaz beyond the first two albums, and whilst I’ve never particularly minded what I’ve heard, I’ve never felt compelled to delve beyond that. That isn’t to say this isn’t a good song, though the bulk of the heavy lifting is done by Bobby Womack’s involvement, his impassioned and soulful voice giving some heft to what had otherwise been a pleasant enough electro-indie song.