100 Songs with One Word Titles (95 – 91)

The next five tracks in the rundown were apart from the first one, songs that I expected to do much better, two of them are stone cold indie pop classics, one is American alt rock at it finest and one is on the soundtrack to ‘The Smurfs Movie’ which of course essential viewing.  But let’s start with the one that did rather better than I expected, although it is course the best thing you will hear all day.

95. Vomit – Girls (2011, FantasyTrashcan Records, Taken from ‘Father Son Holy Ghost‘)

‘Vomit’ was the first single to be released from Girls’ second (and last?) album ‘Father Son Holy Ghost’ and is a sprawling seven minute slow building monolithic freakout of a tune.  Singer Chris Owens spends most of those seven minutes, sighing the lyrics, rather than actually singing them, as the band then all kick in with crunchy rock guitars, organ solos and twinkly percussion bits.  But when you think it can’t get any better a gospel choir jump in from left of screen and its just splendid.

94. Radio – Teenage Fanclub (1993, Creation Records, Taken from ‘Thirteen’)

Until the release of their fifth (sixth?) album Teenage Fanclub had never had a Top 30 hit (and even now they have only had one).  The closest that they had got was in June 1993, when ‘Radio’ backed unsurprisingly by a lot of radio play, rocketed to Number 31.  It’s odd because as good as ‘Radio’ is (and its very good indeed) its probably one of the bands weakest singles. Still saying that I expected it to be much higher in this list.

93. Big – New Fast Automatic Daffodils (1990, Play It Again Sam Records, Taken from ‘Pigeonhole’)

When I was 16 I had to do some coursework for my statistics GCSE.  We had to pick something on ordinary life and introduce statistics to it.  So I decided to show on a bar chart the bands that were most played by John Peel over a six week period (excluding sessions).  There in third place on that chart (behind The Fall and The Cure) were New Fast Automatic Daffodils.  My statistics teacher Mrs Bruce put a star by them and said “Did you make this name up?” 

92. 100% – Sonic Youth (1991, DGC Records, Taken from ‘Dirty’)

‘100%’ was the first Sonic Youth song that I properly loved.  It came out at a time when grunge was really popular in the UK and it was the start of a love affair that continues right up to today.  It was of course, the first single to be released from the bands seventh album ‘Dirty’ and was recorded largely as a tribute to a friend of the band who was murdered in armed robbery in 1991. Which I didn’t know until about five minutes ago.

91. Holiday – Vampire Weekend (2009, XL Records, Taken from ‘Contra’)

If you were in doubt, this is the one which features in ‘The Smurfs Movie’.  It’s the scene where the Smurfs have just arrived in New York and are travelling on top of a taxi to the house of Doogie Howser MD in order to rescue the Smurf who has fallen into a box of cosmetic paperwork.  What do you mean you’ve not seen it?  Seriously go watch it.

Nearly Perfect Albums – #27

Daydream Nation – Sonic Youth

When I was younger if anyone asked me what my favourite Sonic Youth album was I would always say ‘Sister’ because being an idiot I thought it was a more interesting answer than the correct answer.  Which is of course ‘Daydream Nation’ because that is the only answer you can give if you are asked that, admittedly, niche question.

 ‘Daydream Nation’ is essential, in fact its more than essential it’s the sound of American alt rock driving around in an open topped bus and announcing with some conviction that its about to change the face the music as we know it.    You only need about 50 seconds of album opener ‘Teenage Riot’ to know that but for the record I’ve never met a single person who has listened to this all the way through and not loved it.  Even if does call for J Masics of Dinosaur Jr to be made president.

Teenage Riot – Sonic Youth (1988, Enigma Records)

Its not just an alt rock album though.  God no.  It’s so much more than that.  At times it’s a proper hardcore punk album with songs that sneer and have ultra-quick drumming on it.  Then it will change gear and suddenly it’s a radio friendly pop album and just when you are used to that, Thurston Moore will up the feedback and open up his Big Box of My Bloody Valentine Effects Pedals and it’s a shoegaze record that features guitars that have been tortured with a rusty screwdriver. 

The Sprawl – Sonic Youth (1988, Enigma Records)

Then there are the vocals, one minute all melodic the next shouts and yelps, but it works magnificently. A perfect example of what I trying to explain can be heard on ‘Cross the Breeze’, which starts like a jangly indie pop record from the west coast of Scotland – well for the first thirty seconds at least after that it descends into frantic guitar solos that go off all over the place, drumming that sounds like a jackhammer digging up a road.  Then Kim Gordon’s vocals jump in, yelping a chorus and getting more insistent as the song goes on, and the music get gloriously chaotic all around her.

Cross the Breeze – Sonic Youth (1988, Enigma Records)

‘Hey Joni’ is another great example.  Which tricks you into thinking that this is going to be a slower more atmospheric track.  Then around 25 seconds it bursts into life and a punk rock song emerges.   Oh and around three minutes in is the greatest use of the words “Kick It” in a song ever, because it causes the band to knock it up another level of noise – yet despite all that, ‘Hey Joni’ is a wonderfully off kilter pop song.

Hey Joni – Sonic Youth (1988, Enigma Records)

For those of you who may never have spent an hour in a room with just ‘Daydream Nation’ for company, you are missing out.  It’s a total thrill, a record that redefined a scene and made a bunch of musicians sit up and take notice and most importantly it made them retune their guitars.