This week... FIRST SINGLES
Pearl Jam – Alive
Not only is it a song that has managed to stand the test of time, still being considered one of the genre-defining greats, but it got Eddie Vedder his job. He received the instrumental track, wrote the lyrics, recorded his part, sent it back, got the audition, and has been with them ever since. And tell me you don’t already have it stuck in your head.
Brand New – Jude Law and a Semester Abroad
Comparing old Brand New to new Brand New is crazy, as they seem to have become a totally different band throughout the years. They’re my favourite band, though, and they developed at the same pace as my music tastes developed; they adhered to them perfectly. This song is full of angst and emotion, set to the backdrop of an upbeat pop-punk tune, and I love it.
Bloc Party – She’s Hearing Voices
A song about a “schizophrenic friend”, the debut single from the London-based four-piece is threaded by a drum line that manages to be simultaneously clean and twisted. The words are practically shouted by lead vocalist Kele Okereke, and it was this sense of urgency that took the British indie rock movement to a mainstream audience on critically-acclaimed, and Mercury-nominated, record Silent Alarm.
Jonsi – Animal Arithmetic
Not what I was expecting when I heard Jonsi, of Sigur Ros fame, had his first solo effort coming out back in 2010. A stunning cacophony of percussive instruments, glued together by the constant pounding of a bass drum, provides the framework for this beautifully crafted pop song. On top of it all, a plethora of intertwining vocal parts weave something sort of magical.
Paramore – Pressure
This was the first song I ever heard by Paramore, and I loved it so much that I went on to buy their album and then the two after that. There’s something about the song that makes me feel a bit better if I’m in a bad mood; as if I’m not alone. Paramore have done a great job in writing a single song that can make you fall in love with a band; it remains one of my favourites years after first hearing it.
Radiohead – Creep
Perhaps nowadays a song that sticks out in the back catalogue, and indeed a song that the band themselves felt was too clichéd to play live for many years, Creep nonetheless shows why Radiohead stood head and shoulders above the crowd in the early 90s. A simple and beautiful intro is ruined by a stuttered crack and roar of guitars – reportedly Johnny Greenwood’s way of showing his distaste of an earlier incarnation – before Thom Yorke’s soaring vocals finish it off. It may feature clichéd vocals and a very different sound, but it’s still an absolutely superb track.