Here are my choices for the 2nd #13for2013 Mixtape. The premise was relatively simple, choose a dozen songs that remind you of specific moments from your life.
My 12 are listed below, along with my reasons for their inclusion. I have tried to focus specifically on really bespoke moments, rather than more general periods of time, and to do that I have added a couple of properly obscure tracks that I was powerless to ignore.
I have prepared the playlist in chronological order, from earliest to most recent. Here we go then….
1. a-ha – Manhattan Skyline
a-ha were my favourite band when I was a child, specifically as a pupil at Rivermead Primary school. I had heard a few of their songs on the radio, most likely Take on Me, and asked my parents who these Scandinavian songsters* were. As it happened my Uncle Jem, who has great music taste, made me a cassette tape of their first 2 albums. I absolutely loved it.
My favourite track was Manhattan Skyline, the slow/fast dynamic was right up my street, and something I still have a soft spot for to this day. I also impressed a trainee teacher who wanted us to name a music artist before we left school one afternoon. I had a-ha lined up well in advance, everyone else said Michael Jackson, and I hit her with it. She was well impressed, I was basically the Morten of the school at that precise moment.
2. The Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight
We were lucky enough to get cable when I was about 14, and every early-evening I’d come home from school and stick on Up For It on MTV with Eddie Temple-Morris. Tonight, Tonight was the first amazing music video I’d really clicked with, its imperfections as you spotted the iffy stop motion, the creases on the mermaids’ costumes and the strings holding the stars in place only served to enhance its charm.
Mellon Collie was the second album I ever bought, the first being Take That And Party, and it’s one of my favourites to this day. I can still remember exactly when and where I bought it (HMV on Friar Street), and was so excited to get it home to play. The sales assistant even asked if my Mum was ok with the explicit lyrics, but she gave him the ok. What a hero.
3. Elastica – Annie
The 74 second speed-run of Annie soundtracked a fairly ridiculous drinking game played by Alan, *someone* and myself where you had to take turns to drink as many shots of Taboo as you could for the duration of the song.
DISCLAIMER: Don’t play this game if your soundtrack is Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
We rocked up to Kelly Street’s house party at about midnight, fairly well-oiled/smashed, people had already begun leaving, but we breathed new life and vibrancy into the occasion. That’s how I remember it anyway….
4. The Cooper Temple Clause – Panzer Attack
April the 4th 2001. I know it was this day because Leeds United beat Deportivo La Coruna 3-0 in the quarter final, first leg of the Champions League and we watched it in Pavlov’s Dog, a Scream pub in Reading.
3 of us then saw The Cooper Temple Clause, a local band we’d heard a little bit about, at the Fez club. They were phenomenal.
I/we simply hadn’t heard music like this, and it was by a load of kids barely older than us who had attended the school in Winnersh just up the road. Suddenly it genuinely felt like that anything was possible.
The highlight on the night was Panzer Attack, all galloping techno beats, pulsing bass, a battleship sinking riff and a shouty chorus. We literally looked at each other in awe as the track built and built. One of the best nights of my life, and not just for the football.
5. Radiohead – Karma Police
Glastonbury festival 2003, and Radiohead have just closed a flawless headlining main set on the Pyramid Stage on the Saturday night and departed the stage. What happened next was pretty simple but hugely memorable. What felt like the whole of the packed crowd started re-singing the ‘For a minute there I lost myself’ bridge from Karma Police, over and over again. Thom returned to the stage for the encore looking visibly overwhelmed and moved. It was an incredible moment.
6. New Order – Temptation
Temptation is a sublime song. So much so that as Paul Oliver reached down to his car stereo to turn it up while on a drive from Cardiff to Littlehampton in 2003, we both looked up and realised the previously travelling vehicle in front of us had stopped to a standstill. We hadn’t at this stage. With Bernard Sumner’s distinctive vocals effortlessly serenading us as we hurtled towards a certain multiple leg fracture, the aforementioned Pauly managed to slam on the brakes of The Black Bullet™, a reliable Renault 5, and we lived to fight another day.
7. Special D. – Come With Me
Dave Pearce’s Dance Anthems Voicemail: “Hello, this is Dave Pearce. Please leave your names, a brief message and your selection after the beep.” BEEEEEP.
Bazza, 21, M6: “WAAAHHHHEEEEYYYYYYY! ALRIGHT DAVE, PLESE GIVE A SHOUT OUT TO NUTTSY-JONESY-KULAN-BUNGLE-MARCUS-GAY DARREN AND SPASTIC MICK COS WE’RE DRIVING DOWN FROM BIRMINGHAM FOR A LARGE WEEKEND IN BOURNEMOUTH THIS WEEKEND. PLAY SPECIAL D COME WITH ME AS IT’S A WEEKEND BANGER. CHEERS DAVE, WAAAHHHEEEEYY YOU FUC—- ” <the clarity of the signal abruptly fades>
It’s an abomination of a song but it soundtracked 24 Llandough Street’s last stand, a week holiday in Newquay to celebrate finishing our finals.
The climax of our attachment to the musical prowess contained within this hard-dance anthem was captured by Paul as he filmed us dancing to it in a foam party at The Beach nightclub.
That footage is sadly not available but here is the cameraman and some foam:
8. Bjork – Hyperballad
Bjork headlined The Other Stage, the second time I went to Glastonbury in 2007. She played a stellar version of Hyperballad, one of my all-time favourites by her and then, without warning it went into an absolutely mental techno-Kaos-pad-rave-weapon. This video doesn’t really work out of context, but no-one who dislikes Bjork is going to change their mind by now so I’ll stick it up anyway. It was awesome:
9. Erasure – A Little Respect
For my 25th Birthday on January the 12th 2008, we all went to Koko in Camden. In classic Hooper fashion I naively hoped the queue would be quite small, but it was enormous and we were freezing. After some lads further ahead in the line started signing some song (maybe Oasis) to keep their spirits up, our party ‘retaliated’ with our own magnificent version of A Little Respect. It’s still my go to karaoke song to this day.
10. Bloc Party – Banquet
Banquet is one of the highlights of SingStar Rocks, as well as a high point of one of the great debut albums of my lifetime in Silent Alarm, and led to some truly Rocky-esque struggles between myself and Nico Adams to reign supreme in a battle to the death**. This all took place on a regular basis in 236 Southampton Street, the first place I lived after leaving home and arguably the two most fun years of my entire life. I have never laughed so much during this time, as I did then and anyone that knows me will realise I laugh at almost everything, except Jack Black and Jimmy Carr.
As for Banquet on SingStar, we could never e-e-eeeeeeverrrrr (Jericho, C. 2008) hit that last note:
Nope. Who knows?!
** = to date, no-one has died if they lost the duel.
11. Kanye West ft. Jay-Z and Nicki Minaj – Monster
This song will always be synonymous with the trip of a lifetime in January 2011, visiting my sister Katy in Perth, Western Australia. We listened to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy a lot while driving round in their Jeep (absolute P.I.M.P.S), and as anyone who is familiar with the ‘joint’, to quote Tim Westwood, will know it’s all about Minaj’s ludicrous contribution.
12. Interpol – Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down
To finish is easily the most poignant song in my list, because I associate it with the exact moment that I knew my late Grandfather, who I was blessed to spend a huge amount of time with over my life, had passed away.
I was at an Interpol concert at Brixton Academy in December 2011 and I knew that Grandpa was not well at all. As the band began playing this song to finish the gig, my phone started ringing. Dad was trying to call, and although I did not take it immediately, I knew exactly what the news was.
I spoke to him 15 minutes later as soon as I got outside and he told me the news. I will never ever forget that moment, and this moving song, at the best of times, and the album it comes from which I listened to tons in my final year of University, will always carry special significance.
Thanks for reading and please get involved if you want to. Use the hashtag #13for2013 on Twitter, stick a comment on this blog, or direct a message to @ThomHoops or @GemStGem!