Over the past few months, we've been getting in touch with bands, celebrities and more to ask them to create eight-song-long mixtapes for YOU. So crack out your Walkman and enjoy...
Weezer – El Scorcho
Weezer are one of the main reasons we started jamming when we were 14, back in Gav's garage in Perth, and to this day they're still one of my favourite bands. With the early Weezer stuff there was so much passion and raw emotion and it's all translated without ever being corny in any way. There's a line in this song: "…and you could keep my fingernails clean", and I just think it's just wonderful how visceral, unglamorous and true to life it is!
Pavement – Gold Soundz
The summer before I moved to Glasgow I got into Pavement. I'd always liked them but at 17 I developed this fascination for them, and seeing them at the Barrowlands in 2010 was probably the happiest two hours of my life. This is without a doubt my favourite song of all time; it has this really nostalgic vibe – the guitars are absolutely gorgeous (especially after the second chorus) – and the lyrical content is sublime without overcomplicating anything. "You can never quarantine the past" = perfection.
All Saints – Black Coffee
I've got this really strong appreciation for good pop music. I absolutely love Madonna's Ray of Light, and also this song by All Saints. I love how understated the chorus is – it knows how good it is, and doesn't flaunt it any more than it needs to. This is the problem with a lot of modern pop; it's an increasingly congested space where everyone is showing off – wearing too much make up and really uncomfortable shoes – but the vibes are generic and there’s a lack of substance. I'm not suggesting All Saints are poets or anything, but this song is infinitely more progressive than say, the new Cheryl Cole song. There are still some brilliant 'pop' artists out there, though, and I wish there was more of it. The radio needs to be more fun.
Sigur Ros – Olsen Olsen
There’s a road, west of Perth, that takes you through Crieff and Comrie and out to Loch Earn. At one point it opens up and you get this incredible view of the surrounding mountains. It's not the Himalayas but it's a sweet place. I remember going out there one day, and this song came on in the car. I was gazing around thinking how beautiful Scotland looks in the sun, and how appropriate the song was, and just how good it is to be alive sometimes. I know how clichéd and pretentious all that sounds. With Sigur Ros there’s no real lyrical engagement, and I think the connection so many people make with them is one based on nature. They just make this euphoric cacophony that makes me appreciate the world.
Big Star – September Gurls
One of the best guitar songs of all time. I love Big Star, and I got into them through my old boss. He made me a mixtape and this was the opening track. I was blown away completely. He just sounds so heartbroken, but it's manifested in this nugget of shimmering guitars and gorgeous melodies. The guitar solo is my favourite of all time: short and incredibly sweet. A beautiful song.
R.E.M. – Imitation of Life
The chorus. It pops up about 5 times in the song, and you know why? Because it's a completely unstoppable weapon. I have absolutely no idea what this song is about; I've never bothered to look it up. “That cinnamon, that's Hollywood". It's probably a load of shite, but when it's delivered in such a manner as it is here it really doesn't matter at all! I mean the entire second half of this song is just variations of the original chorus!
The Strokes – Barely Legal
Like so many kids, Is This It? was a big game changer in my life. That and Franz Ferdinand, and Songs for the Deaf. I played all those records to death, and know them inside out. So much of music is about style, attitude, personality. The Strokes had it in abundance; they were dripping with cool. They were blessed with the gift of awesome. On top of that, Casablancas wrote some really cool songs, and Barely Legal is one of the best. He really nailed the vocals too – my favourite part is the: "I want it all, I just can't figure out. nothing". It has impeccable timing. The Dandy Warhols once sang: “I'd rather be cool than be smart,” but the Strokes did both. Bastards.
Big Deal – Chair
I love this song – the vocals are beautiful and the guy/girl dynamic really makes it interesting. My favourite thing is the lead guitar line shimmering away in the background: it sounds tortured, and when she's singing “I know you've been playing me” it all fits together. I think they're a magnificent band, innovative and full of acute observations.