• What inspired "I Will Possess Your Heart"?

    27 mai 2008, 17h14m

    Death Cab for Cutie's new album Narrow Stairs has received a lot of deserved attention lately, spearheaded by the haunting, 8 minute single I Will Possess Your Heart.

    When I first heard the track, I was certain I'd heard it before. After some intense searching through my music library, I finally located the song it had reminded me of: People Folk by artists Tunng off their 2005 album This Is Tunng

    There are many, striking similarities: Both tracks start off with a bass line, adding more instrumentation as the songs build. The guitar theme on "People Folk" bears a very close resemblance to the piano theme on "I Will Possess Your Heart". And when the vocal comes in on DCFC's track, the piano theme is temporarily suspended, as is the very similar guitar theme on Tunng's track.

    Do you hear the same thing as I do? Download Tunng's "People Folk" here and judge for yourselves.

    Death Cab for Cutie, TunngI Will Possess Your Heart
  • I Am Kloot live in Moscow, April 9 2008.

    10 avr. 2008, 8h24m

    Wed 9 Apr – I Am Kloot: I Am Kloot got off on the wrong foot in Moscow yesterday. Frontman Johnny Bramwell walked in on stage, Guinness in hand, announcing "Prost!" to the crowd (apparently thinking German and Russian aren't that different after all). It was then five past ten - the room was half-empty, and people were still coming in. "We've started too early," conceded Bramwell. Is it too nasty to suspect that it had something to do with a certain Champions' League quarter final involving a team from the Kloots' hometown?

    But the crowd was very appreciative. It didn't take much of Bramwell's relatively uninspired banter ("it's fucking great to be in this vibrant city") to earn polite laughs.

    Luckily, the band pulled itself immensely together after this false start. We were treated to almost equal portions of material from Natural History, Gods and Monsters, I Am Kloot and the most recent I Am Kloot plays the Moolah Rouge. The band tried out some new material on the audience - in particular, Even the Stars got an enthusiastic reception.

    The audience was sober - I think I was the only person buying a beer during the concert (it may have been two) - well-behaved and very young (they get younger each year, don't they). They applauded politely between songs and for the most part refrained from chattering during the quieter songs. Bramwell even thanked the audience for "being quiet".

    There are many intense and high-quality songs in I Am Kloot's catalogoue, and all my favourites were played last night. We were treated to the melodic bass line of Over My Shoulder, the new, romantic love song Ferris Wheels, and as a penultimate number, the stroke of genius which is "Proof". This was the highlight of the concert, the point at which artists and audience really connected.

    By then, unfortunately, it was almost over. But the band came back for no less than four extras, beginning with the quiet, melodic, fingerpicked "Astray" and ending with the seemingly optimistic, but really vitriolic "I believe".

    It is almost beyond belief that a three-piece band can have such a tight and saturated sound. Bramwell shares the honor for that achievement with bassist Peter Jobson, who harmonizes well with Bramwell's guitar, often playing several strings at the same time or innovative countermelodies. Andy Hargreaves' drumming is very sensitive and controlled. And John Bramwell's voice is immediately recognizable and really very well-controlled behind its whisky-and-cigarettes exterior.

    All in all, a good Wednesday night out that still left me wanting more.


    One Man Brawl
    From Your Favourite Sky
    Ferris Wheels
    Over My Shoulder
    Someone Like You
    86 TV's
    No Fear of Falling
    Suddenly Strange
    The Same Deep Water as Me
    Morning Rain
    To You
    Storm Warning
    Life in a Day

    Dark Star
    Even the Stars
    I Believe
  • Playlist for the scumbag who hacked my account

    21 jan. 2008, 19h59m

    A month ago, someone hacked my account and created mayhem for a couple of days. He sent friend requests to around 100 people, sent obscene messages to other users, became best buddies with a German neo-nazi and earned a formal warning from staff for his comments in the G-A-Y group.

    Although I am tempted to give him a thorough pacifist imaginary beating, I've confined myself to putting him through what I consider to be the seven trials of music - a playlist composed by the most painful music around. If I ever get hold of the intruder, this is what he will have to endure:

    1. Overrated noise that is supposed to be Great Art and consequently makes you feel like an idiot

    Liars - Leather Prowler: 4:28 minutes of someone strumming a balalaika out of tune in a phonebooth while someone is banging on the door with a half broken transistor radio while imitating the ghost from a Stephen King movie.

    Thurston Moore - Free Noise Among Friends: Someone tries to start a chainsaw. After 36 seconds, he seems to succeed.

    The Fiery Furnaces -Leaky Tunnel: Listening to more than ten seconds of the synth riff of this song will drive you insane. Unfortunately, it goes on for about two miserable minutes before a drummer with no sense of rhythm and a guitarist with the improvisation skills of a sixth grader takes over. A song with all the artistic merit of - a leaky tunnel.

    The Go! Team - Air Raid GTR: The title of the song says it all. It does indeed seem to be a recording of an air raid alarm.

    2. Rap music

    I hate music. Correction, I DESPISE and LOATHE rap music and the sexist, violent values it promotes. I cannot understand why anyone would use their limited time on Earth to listen to this load of dung, or why anyone should care about their childish squabbles and "disses". Nothing but incessant whining about drugs and whores and imaginary suffering in the ghetto. An hour of rap music (more than that would be in violation of the Geneva convention) is the perfect trial number two for my intruder.

    The latest proof of intelligent life on planet rap came from an "artist" calling himself "The Game", who apparently said this in an MTV interview:

    "Being on the bus is like being in a prison on wheels, man."It's nothing like being at home. You could be on here for 24 hours, confined in this little space and you start getting claustrophobic and when I start getting mad I just start pulling people out of their bunk and kicking them in the face and s**t."

    This guy spent 3 days in a coma in 2001, according to his bio. Few people make it out of such a state without a brain damage, but then you will always have rap music as a career option.

    3. Rnb music

    used to mean "rhythm and blues", now it is the strangely inaccurate term used to describe the ugly twin sister of rap music. With few exceptions performed by young girls with little creative merit and even less clothing, supported by male "rap artist" talking in surly voice between choruses. Some of the specimens of this genre have been used as torture instruments at Guantanamo bay. For example, one former al-Qaida member registered as Republican voter, converted to Judaism and divorced six of his eight wives after being forced to listen to Rihanna's Umbrella ten consecutive times.

    But that's just cruel. I'll settle for five rounds of anything with that guy who sounds like he's swallowed his socks (Timbaland) featuring (or "feat." as rnb-artists would express it) any of his current babes.

    4. Songs about diseases

    I'm far too humane to wish for my intruder to contract a real disease (although I wouldn't entirely rule out that I may manipulate a voodoo doll to let him contract a harmless, yet slightly painful venereal disorder involving oozing, smelly puss). For a hypochondriac such as me, listening to songs about diseases would be punishment enough. I would start off with Cancer by boyband My Chemical Romance. This melodramatic piece of musical turd features the unforgettable turn of phrase "baby, I'm just soggy from the chemo".

    Far more painful is Sufjan Stevens' Casimir Pulaski Day (about a girl dying from bone cancer). It is (in contrast to the laughable "Cancer") an extremely sad and beautiful song which makes you feel like you've been watching Autumn in New York and Love Story fifty times over in the past five minutes. If you're not fighting tears come the last lines ("... And He takes and He takes and He takes"), you may have a touch of autism.

    5. The most depressive Ryan Adams song, played on repeat until suicidal tendencies are manifest (circa twice)

    No one looks to Ryan Adams to lift their spirits, but I challenge anyone to sit through the entire seven and a half minute of Fuck the Universe without even remotely considering suicide.

    6. Passenger of Shit

    I don't know anything about "", but if song titles are anything to go by, breakcore artists at least considerably more fun than rap or rnb artists. The works of pioneer Passenger of Shit include Snortwhitepoopowderupgoatscunt, Suckwurmsoutmyfartingcunt and of course the immortal Bash My Intestines Up My Anus. However, after listening to thirty seconds of his hit Stapletapewurmsonmypenis, starting off with a convincing casio organ solo leading into some kind of death metal growling, I'm convinced that this guy represents one of music's seven trials singlehandedly. I'll let the impostor listen through his entire catalogue, starting with Suck My Fucking Diarrhea and finishing off with the childish, yet enticing Please Lick My Diaper.

    7. Crazy Frog

    Need I say more. Dear intruder, if you ever come near my profile again, I will force you to listen through Crazy Hits, More Crazy Hits and Crazy Hits (Crazy Christmas Edition). Twice.
  • Jack Johnson, I disown thee! Or, artists in my top 50 I no longer like

    17 déc. 2007, 20h40m

    Taste changes over time, and my play count going back more than two years doesn't necessarily reflect my current musical preferences. Here are the artists in my top 50 I'd now like to actively disown:

    #21. M. Ward. This is one artist I know I should like. I mean, this is the thinking man's Jack Johnson (see below) who is intellectual, deep and loved by critics. But despite extensive efforts, I've never quite got the hang of him. Transfiguration of Vincent was a nice album, but his two efforts after that, Transistor Radio and Post-War did nothing for me. His music is so clever that it feels soulless. It leaves me with the same feeling as another darling of the critics, Andrew Bird.

    #23. The Academy Is.... I stumbled across this band on Pandora long before I could spell . It felt fresh for a while, and that Attention, attention... song really, erm, grabbed my attention. Then I started the station "music like The Academy Is...". It turned out to be quite a lot of music. As a matter of fact, most bands sounded like them. I'm too old to be an emo-hater. To the contrary, I think it's great that it's more legitimate for young men to openly show their emotions. But the musical limitations of the genre are quite apparent.

    #24. Tom McRae. I'm not sure if I'm ready to actively disown him yet, because he did make some really great songs on his early albums (e.g. Bloodless, Dose Me Up, )2nd Law). But his nasal whining has really started to annoy me. All Maps Welcome was ok, but on this year's release King Of Cards, he's become a parody of himself. Get a grip.

    EDIT: Tom is officially given Another Chance.

    #27: Snow Patrol: Once you realize how simplistic their music is (choruses are invariably two-three chords and three or four notes), what used to be catchy becomes uninspired and shallow.

    #35: Norah Jones: Her last album reeks. And I'm starting to suspect that my main reason for ever liking her was that my then one-year-old daughter would always burst out in a happy laugh whenever I put
    Come Away with Me into the CD player. Which is a pity, because soon my top 50 will consist only of the usual indie suspects.

    #42. Jack Johnson. My growing irritation with Jack Johnson is caused by a reversed Tom McRae syndrome. His music is so happy and frictionless that it really gets on my nerves. His profile picture, smiling on a bike with a surfing board under his arm doesn't help. You need to sadden down, Jack. Go have a beer with Tom McRae or something.
  • My 20 favourite songs of 2007

    13 déc. 2007, 1h22m

    My highly subjective and painfully honest top 20 tracks of the year are as follows:

    20. Klaxons - Golden Skans

    I've heard it 200 times and could endure it again without physical pain, which means that this is a pretty good song. Nothing more, though.

    19. Ghosts - Stay The Night

    A feelgood pop song with no deeper meaning whatsoever. I love it, and positively know that if I ever hear another song by this band, it will be a disappointment of Orson-like dimensions (those who checked out their album after hearing No Tomorrow will know what I mean). A big hurrah for the one-hit wonders.

    18. Arctic Monkeys - Flourescent Adolescent

    The Arctic Monkeys didn't feel quite as fresh in 2007 as in 2006, but their last album is still quite decent. This song about how the main character's (sex) life has gone cold is funny, but hardly subtle. I'm not sure if they're poking fun at us old people or if they've become a bit stale themselves.

    17. The Twilight Sad - Mapped By What Surrounded Them

    This is a real grower. The contrast between the woolly shoegaze guitar wall and the crisp edge of the Scottish dialect works like a dream.

    16. Bright Eyes - Coat Check Dream Song

    Cassadaga was a huge disappointment to me after I'm Wide Awake It's Morning, which is one of my all time favourite albums. Why did you have to go and make a country album, Conor? I have to admit I had to subsidize him with a few sympathy points in order to even get one track into the top 20. Having said that, this song really stands out on the album with its disturbing tale of drugs and Apocalypse and dark atmosphere. Too bad it's partially destroyed with a misplaced section with someone wailing in Arabic towards the end.

    15. Caribou - She's the One

    Caribou is one of my discoveries this year - very complex, original and enjoyable - if more on an intellectual than emotional level.

    14. Iron And Wine - Innocent Bones

    Sam Beam softly scorns Christian hypocrisy over Caribbean congas in this vitriolic song from the great, great The Shepherd's Dog album.

    13. Elliott Smith - Looking Over My Shoulder

    How can a collection of unreleased, 10-13 year old material be one of the year's best albums? And how can songs that are mostly about drug abuse - a field in which I have extremely little experience - appear so acute and relevant to me? I think the universal aspect lies in Elliott's angelic voice and incredible sense of harmony, and how it contrasts so starkly with the disharmony, disillusionment and depression of his songs.

    12. Radiohead - 15 Step

    This song builds wonderfully by adding layer on layer for each verse on the 5/4 beat. The "circular" beat fits the theme of the song well, trying to improve and get somewhere, but ending up back at square one again.

    11. The Shins - Australia

    I just found out what the dodo's conundrum is: To be a bird and not being able to fly. No wonder it became extinct.

    10. Gogol Bordello - Supertheory of Supereverything

    It's impossible to listen to more than three songs in a row by this carnival posing as rock band. But in small doses, they're brilliant. This track gives a succinct account of atheism: "My brothers are protons/My sisters are neurons/I stir it twice, it's instant family!". Hilarious.

    9. Babyshambles - Delivery

    I had written off Pete Doherty as a celebrity junkie, but it turns out that he's incredibly gifted as well. Delivery is one catchy pop song straight from the heart of his misery. Who'd think Kate Moss could be such a muse?

    8. 1990s - Arcade Precinct

    A great song about innocent, teenage fun.

    7. The National - Gospel

    The National's album Boxer is in my view this year's best. It's difficult to pick one track - there aren't any weak songs on this album - but I like the stripped down closing track Gospel. The way I understand the lyrics, it's about the somewhat superficial pledges of support for American troops from the safe distance of the well-trimmed gardens of white, Christian suburbia.

    6. Okkervil River - Savannah Smiles

    Okkervil River has been this year's revelation for many of us. This is a short story as much as it is a song. At first, I was moved by the lyrics about a father stumbling across his daughter's diary, realizing that she is not a child anymore and regretting that he hadn't been around more. In the background, you hear the rhythm of a ticking clock and childlike chiming bells. Later, I learned that the song refers to the porn star Savannah, who committed suicide in 1994. She was born Shannon Wilsey (the lyrics refer to "Shan" and "Shannon"), and took her stage name after her favorite movie Savannah Smiles. I'm guessing the first person in the song is her mourning father reflecting on her innocent childhood. In a further twist, porn star Savannah died on the birthday of the child actor in Savannah Smiles, who herself died of a drug overdose aged only 22.

    5. Modest Mouse - Dashboard

    Modest Mouse have sold out, which means they now appeal to a broader audience than the indier-than-thou crowd. I can only say
    Good News For People Who Love Bad News. Dashboard is a dark, yet strangely optimistic song - the world is falling apart, but we still have what matters most to us right here, right now.

    4. Feist - The Park

    A "less is more" track from a great album. Just Leslie Feist's electric voice, a beaten acoustic guitar and some subtle strings and horns towards the end. This only works when you have a melody of startling beauty, which is the case here. She has a story to tell, too, about how she imagines seeing the man for which she feels unreciprocated love in a London park. But why should he be there? It's cold, the seasons change around her, and she's left with a sense of sadness and homelessness that builds in despair towards the intense ending of the song.

    3. Justice - D.A.N.C.E.

    This is a stroke of genius. The hook lies in the childlike chorus on top of disco rhythm and instrumentation, which makes you feel like you've never heard anything like it before. It's nearly the only song that makes me want to get off my singer-songwriter ass and actually - yes - d.a.n.c.e. I bought the album after hearing this track (and the hype around the band). I was bitterly disappointed - it was painful to listen to.

    2. The View - Same Jeans

    This is an unpretentious, fun, three-chord song. When the vocalist starts off by gnarling "I've had the same jeans on for fourrrr days now, I'm going to a disco in the middle of the town" in that Scottish dialect, you can't avoid feeling an instant urge to go out and get pissed.

    1. Blonde Redhead - 23

    This dark and spooky, yet energetic song is the soundtrack of 2007 for me. It refers to - I think - how everything in the world is related to the "magic" number 23 in the absurdist Discordian religion. For example, the world changes every 23 seconds - "23 seconds, all things we love will die". The vision of life as dark and ephemeral fits with my experience of 2007. The distant and resigned ugly-beautiful vocals have followed me like a shadow throughout this strange year.
  • My non-politically correct top 100 album list

    20 nov. 2007, 13h26m

    I just completed the pointless and extremely geeky project of rating all the music in my mp3-collection. Using Mediamonkey's rather sophisticated statistical functions, I calculated the average scores of each of the albums in my collection. Now, this is a completely non-pitchfork-politically correct rating based solely on the merits of each track (as judged by me). The only criterion I used was when grading my tracks was: How much do I want to listen to this song again?

    In the unlikely event that someone actually gives a damn about my taste, here's the annotated top 100.

    1. Beck: Sea Change.
    Favourite track: Lost Cause.

    The only album in my collection without a single weak track. Provides unlimited opportunity to wallow in self-pity and depression.

    2. Damien Rice: O
    Favourite track: Amie

    I realize many people find Damien Rice whiny and too emotional in the androgynous way everyone seems to fear so much these days (cf. the intense hate against so-called "emo" music). I, by contrast, am convinced that anyone unable to appreciate the beauty of Rice's music would benefit greatly from psychotherapy to get at least sporadic contact with their feelings. But then again, maybe I'm just a sucker for sentimentality.

    3. R.E.M.: Automatic for the People
    Favourite track: Nightswimming

    The soundtrack to the year I turned 18. Back then, Nightswimming evoked feelings of freedom and independence at the beginning of my adult life. Listening to the lyrics again now, I realize I've become the first person in the song longing for the recklessness and irresponsibility of adolescence. Unfortunately, "September's coming soon".

    4. Death Cab for Cutie:Plans
    Favourite track: I Will Follow You Into The Dark

    I don't understand why this album is not as critically acclaimed as DCFC's earlier efforts. Maybe it's too mainstream. Maybe because it has melodies that are going somewhere. But there are so many gems here, particularly "I Will Follow You Into the Dark", a truly sentimental love song about sharing life and death, "from Bangkok to Calgary" - the exotisms and the daily strife. Not to mention the beauty of the two musical themes that perfectly complement each other on "Marching Bands of Manhattan".

    5. Bright Eyes: I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
    Favourite track: We Are Nowhere and It's Now

    I recognize the desperation in "We are nowhere and it's now" embarrassingly well. "Land locked blues" is probably the most sincerely felt pacifist anthem I have ever heard. The simple, but oh so true statement - "if we walk away, they'll walk away" - is contrasted with the frustration of the realization that we are not masters of our destinies ("our freedom's a joke, they're just taking a piss") and with the inner turmoil that Conor Oberst obviously feels as a second, intertwining theme "we made love on the living room floor/with the noise in the background of a televised war". I could go on and on about this album - except for a couple of fillers it is simply immaculate and soul-shaking.

    6. Norah Jones: Come Away with Me
    Favourite track: Don't Know Why

    Bit of a surprise there. I have to admit I'm a bit embarrassed to have this one so far up my list. But the fact remains that the album is sheer, lush beauty. A guilty pleasure.

    7. Snow Patrol: Final Straw
    Favourite track: Grazed Knees

    In 2004, I started to listen to a lot more music than I had for years. Snow Patrol was one of the bands I discovered at that time. I went to see them in concert, and was surprised to see that I was surrounded only by 18 year old girls in the audience (did I make that sound like a bad thing?). Oh well, blow politically correct musical taste. I still love four or five tracks on this album.

    8. Elliott SmithEither/Or
    Favourite track: Say Yes

    I have three Elliott Smith albums in my top 16, and it's a close call between them. Although I don't have the faintest clue about the experiences he's usually singing about (taking drugs and the ensuing problems), the contrast between his serene subject matter and almost angelic, innocent voice is incredibly moving.

    9. Belle and Sebastian: The Life Pursuit
    Favourite track: Dress Up in You

    I actually consider this to be the best B&S album. The absence of renewal from previous efforts is total. But the quality of songs on this album, the humour in the lyrics, and the sheer joy that one of my heroes from the 90's are still able to churn out quality material gives "The Life Pursuit" the no.1 spot. Dress Up in You is a fantastic and funny song, narrated by a malevolent manicurist jealous of his former girlfriend: "Now you're an actress, so says your resume/you're made of card, you couldn't act your way out of a paper bag".

    10. Meredith Bragg and The Terminals: Vol. 1
    Favourite track: Seventeen

    Now where did that one come from? I heard this song on Pandora and could not shake it. I was unable to find the CD in any stores, but found some mp3's on the net, and it turned out the entire album was of astounding quality, lyrically and musically. I don't know what Meredith Bragg is doing today, but I hope he's still making music. And I hope his Terminals are still with him.

    11. Elliott Smith: From a Basement on the Hill
    Favourite track: Little One

    This is the first posthumous release after Smith's untimely death by self-inflicted multiple stabwounds to the chest. If it hadn't been for a totally meaningless track called Ostriches and Chirping, this one would be right up in the top five. Little One is a heart-wrenching song to a sleeping child (or is it girlfriend?) from a person knowing he's about to self-destruct. It is almost too painful to listen to.

    12. The National: Boxer
    Favourite track: Gospel

    Perhaps I'm overrating this because of its novelty. But the dark, ominous character of these beautiful melodies really appeal to me. And for once I'm aligned with the Pitchforks of the world (except those people will always claim that the previous, lesser known album was way better, not to speak of the vinyl EP printed in 50 copies and sold only in a dark, back alley of Brooklyn.

    13. Damien Rice: 9
    Favourite track: 9 Crimes

    OK, so I gave this album quite a few sympathy points, because I was so intensely hoping that it would be as good as O. Alas, it is not. But there are some highlights, such as 9 Crimes, which seems to indicate that Damien hasn't been quite monogamous over the past few years, and Rootless Tree, save for the slightly annoying "fuck you"-chorus.

    14. Elbow: Leaders of the Free World
    Favourite track: The Stops

    The atmosphere in Elbow's songs is not unlike the National - dark, melancholy and melodious. My favourite track on the album is available for free streaming, so judge for yourselves.

    15. Stars: Heart
    Favourite track:
    Elevator Love Letter

    This is simply an energy pill of intelligent pop music.

    And here's the rest of my list:
    16. Elliott Smith: New Moon
    17. Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I am
    18. The Kooks: Inside In/Inside Out
    19. Arcade Fire: Neon Bible
    20. Bob Dylan: Time Out of Mind
    21. Franz Ferdinand: Franz Ferdinand
    22. The Shins: Oh Inverted World
    23. Madredeus: Un amor infinito
    24. Zero 7: Simple Things
    25. Feist: The Reminder
    26. Blonde Redhead: 23
    27. Beck: Mutations
    28. Modest Mouse: We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
    29. The New Pornographers: Mass Romantic
    30. Josh Rouse: 1972
    31. Josh Rouse: Subtitulo (UNDERRATED!)
    32. Radiohead: In Rainbows
    33. The Shins: Chutes Too Narrow
    34. The Strokes: Is This It?
    35. Belle and Sebastian: The Boy With The Arab Strap
    36. Travis: The Invisible Band
    37. The New Pornographers: Electric Version
    38. View: Hats Off To The Buskers
    39. Nick Drake: Pink Moon
    40. The Decemberists: Picaresque
    41. Kaiser Chiefs:Employment
    42. Bruce Springsteen:Magic
    43. Maria MenaWhite Turns Blue
    44. I Am Kloot: Gods and Monsters
    45. Saint Germain: Tourist
    46. Damien Rice: B-Sides
    47. Nine Horses: Snow Borne Sorrow
    48. Belle and Sebastian: If You're Feeling Sinister
    49. Bob DylanBlood on the Tracks
    50. Grand Tone MusicGo To Hell
    51. Radiohead: OK Computer
    52. Portishead: Dummy
    53. Madredeus: Antologia
    54. Iron & Wine: The Shepherd's Dog
    55. Grandaddy: Sumday
    56. The Magic Numbers: The Magic Numbers
    57. Coldplay: X&Y
    58. The Verve: Urban Hymns
    59. Kings of Convenience: Versus
    60. Bonnie Prince Billy: Master and Everyone
    61. The Decemberists: The Crane Wife
    62. Midnight Choir: Amsterdam Stranded
    63. Madrugada: Industrial Silence
    64. The Holloways: So This Is Great Britain
    65. The KillersSam's Town
    66. Bruce Springsteen: The Ghost of Tom Joad
    67. Guillemots: Through The Windowpane
    68. I Am Kloot: I Am Kloot
    69. British Sea Power: Open Season
    70. The Killers: Hot Fuss
    71. Beulah: Yoko
    72. Nick Drake: Bryter Layter
    73. Phoenix: Alphabetical
    74. Phoenix: It's Never Been Like That
    75. Spoon: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
    76. Stereolab: Dots and Loops
    77. The Academy Is...: Almost Here
    78. Ryan Adams: Love Is Hell
    79. Bob Dylan: Blonde on Blonde
    80. Franz Ferdinand: You Could Have It So Much Better
    81. Belle and Sebastian: Dear Catastrophe Waitress
    82. Isolation Years: Cover The Distance
    83. Ron Sexsmith: Retriever
    84. Death Cab for Cutie: Transatlanticism
    85. Interpol: Our Love to Admire
    86. R.E.M.: Out of Time
    87. The Shins: Wincing the Night Away
    88. Leonard Cohen: Ten New Songs
    89. Lily AllenAlright, Still
    90. Madredeus: Faluas do Tejo
    91. Erykah Badu: Baduizm
    92. Stars: Set Yourself on Fire
    93. Arctic Monkeys: Your Favourite Worst Nightmare
    94. Brendan Benson: The Alternative To Love
    95. Carla Werner: Departure
    96. The Sleepy Jackson: Lovers
    97. Hard-Fi: Stars of CCTV
    98. Erlend Øye: Unrest
    99. Gotan Project: La Revancha Del Tango
    100. Jeff Buckley: Grace
  • More workout tracks

    18 avr. 2007, 20h09m

  • The perfect soundtrack to your workout

    3 avr. 2007, 21h09m

    There's nothing that can drain my energy quicker than the conventional workout music. They'll play you something with an insistent beat and lyrics repeating some inane command ("push it", "pump it up", "rock your body" etc.). I checked out the tracks under the tag here, and found much of the same rubbish. In addition to pumping, pushing and grinding, users seem to prefer rock clichés (Nirvana) sugary pop such as Britney Spears or Bananarama, mainstream r&b (Justin Timberlake, Outkast, Mary J. Blige) or songs that make you feel like Ralph Macchio (Eye of the Tiger) while sweating it out.

    I'm not too keen on any of those. Don't get me wrong, people are entitled to their musical preferences, but it seems as if people with a more differentiated taste in music either do not work out, or tacitly accept that whatever they play at the gym is by definition workout music.

    For me, a good workout depends on good music. The tracks I listen to while running are not necessarily on top of my playlist once I get home, but I do have to sincerely like what I listen to. They need to fulfill a few requirements; a somewhat upbeat tempo, a catchy melody, a positive attitude, lyrics that appeal to me and a certain cockiness. But it's often difficult to predict what makes me want to run that extra mile before I'm actually there. For example, I love The New Pornographers and The Killers, but for some reason they don't work for me although the music should work well in theory based on the criteria

    To get to the point, here's my current top 10 suggestions for a slightly more indie workout:

    10) same jeans.

    I just love the opening words: "I've had the same jeans on for fourrr days now/I'm gonna go to a disco in the middle of town". I picture this guy with the strange accent walking down a sunny street somewhere in Britain and tipping his hat to a strumming busker. That's feelgood for you.

    9) Tubthumping

    An obvious choice. I get knocked down but I get up again routinely, both in my workouts and in life as such. And I can daydream about the lager drinks the singer's taunting me with and the promise of "pissing the night away".

    8) Take Me Out

    What I like most about this song is the rhythm change after the first verse, when the rhythm slows down just a bit, and the drums and bass get more persistent and this great guitar riff just pierces through. And then he invites me to a party.

    7) Unbelievable

    This is one of my more nostalgic selections - from a summer in the late 80's. It puts me back into that place, being 15, drunk for the first time with an endless space of opportunity ahead of me. And then there's the cockiness factor.

    6) Friday I'm in Love

    Robert Smith is not exactly an energy bomb, but for some reason I love listening to the Cure while running. This song is an obvious choice with the most uncompromising "living for the weekend" lyrics ever.

    5) No Tomorrow

    This is the only track I like by Orson. But oh how I do like it, there's not an ounce of negative energy in that song. The first 100 times I listened to it I misheard the lyrics - I thought it was "Let's go to a rave and behave like a triple-X just because we're so in love". Later, I found out it was "behave like we're trippin'". Oh well, I still prefer my version. And how about "Tomorrow there's no school/so let's go drink some more Red Bull/and not get home until about 6 o'clock".

    4) Middle of Nowhere

    Hot Hot Heat is another favourite of mine, with or without running shoes. This song is beautifully crafted, from the sparse drum/synth/guitar intro it builds nicely towards the all-out chorus. The beat is slightly unconventional, which provides nice variation, but still feels like a nice backwind while trotting away on the treadmill.

    3) Red Morning Light

    This is a straightforward 4/4 rock tune with cowbells and all. It has a nice bridge after the second verse with just bass, drums and vocal that let's you gather your breath before attacking again on the refrain. The lyrics are kind of enigmatic to me, like most others on this list it probably deals with partying in one form or another. What really gets to me is what he keeps repeating about cinnamon that seems to be metaphoric for something else. I like cinnamon, and that other stuff to, and it's actually nice to have that taste in your mouth while running. Of cinnamon, I mean.

    2) Generator

    My only objection to this song is that it's too short. It speaks directly to me - it just grabs me by the collar and shakes me and sets me right by putting all my petty little problems into perspective. "May I remind you that you don't live in poverty". And then he promises to make everything better, set up his nice little generator to make me feel better. Yes, please do.

    1) Calleth You, Cometh I

    Again, this is a band I usually don't care too much for - this glam rock thing isn't exactly my idea of a good time. But this song really gets to me, and I can't quite put my finger on it. I remember listening to this song in one of the final kilometres of a marathon, and starting to cry. It's so simple and heartfelt, the way the singer just realizes that there is no resistance in him to this other person, and joyously declares that he's given up his free will - whatever she (he?) says, he'll do. The simultaneous vulnerability, joy and strength that the song communicates is related to how you sometimes feel while totally exhausted but still think you can keep going just a little bit longer.