Welcome to The Jukebox, your Friday fix of the best music new and old. Each week, a six-strong panel of Hercules Moments contributors will recommend their favourite tracks for you to soundtrack your weekend to, in a playlist centred around a chosen theme.
This week... A SONG FROM YOUR FAVOURITE ALBUM
Sigur Ros - Untitled 8
Not only is this my favourite song from my favourite album, but it must be my favourite song full stop. It seemed like an eternity to wait for Sigur Ros' follow up to their break through album Ágætis byrjun and when ( ) came out in 2002 I was there on the first day of release at One-Up to finally taste more. ( ) didn't leave my 5 changer CD player for about a year. I listened to this album every day and it really did change the way I looked at music forever. Every track on this album is a winner and the entire piece is a work of art that demands to be listened to from start to finish. ( ) 8 stands out to me because of the shifts in dynamics: loud/quiet, slow/fast, happy/sad - it has everything. The finale with its unique crashing drum rhythm complimenting the bass guitar and string quartet is something to behold. I'm not ashamed to say that I have seen them play this song live five times and I cry like a silly wee girl every freaking time!
Beirut - A Sunday Smile
Beirut’s The Flying Club Cup is a dynamic smorgasbord of multicultural inspiration and melodic genius, and the track that articulates this most effectively is A Sunday Smile. Zach Condon was inspired by traditional Balkan and French influences which come to the fore and delicately intertwine with Condon’s own poetic vocals. It's a whimsical and immersive track that evokes so much warmth and passion but it’s most commendable attribute has to be its maturity. Condon sings with such world-weariness and intelligence that is beyond his years, with a true sense of loss and yearning. Perhaps I’m getting too romantic for my own good at my age but its sleepy, harmonious charm has grown one me through years of listening and absorbing, as all great songs should.
Brand New - Luca
I hadn't even listened to Jesse & co until late last year. But they soon became one of my favourite bands, with The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me becoming my favourite album. To pluck a song from this record was pretty difficult, unlike Deja Entendu and Your Favourite Weapon, this wasn't a collection of individual songs but an album that was made to be listened to as an album. I went with a song that I think captures the theme and mood of the album the best, whilst having it's own identity. Luca takes the 'quiet, real quiet, LOUD' dynamic of the album and uses it brilliantly. It's a song full of angst and anger, but manages to have some of the most beautiful moments of the album. And the moment where Jesse Lacey changes a falsetto to a vocal that's a cross between a whine and a scream blows me away every time I hear it.
Tool - The Grudge
I absolutely adored Aenema by Tool for many years, until their follow up album, Lateralus, was finally released. It just blows everything out of the water (and no wonder: it took them 5 years to write and record). This track is the album’s opener. It begins with a sample of a machine powering up, before abruptly kicking into the beginning riff, which fulfils a promise in many ways in that it sounds like a machine. The Grudge exemplifies Tool’s brilliance perfectly: their collaborative songwriting prowess; their ability to almost go too far into the dark extents of pretention, yet always managing to stay the right side of it; Maynard James Keenan’s deeply-philosophical-yet-you-don’t-really-know-what-they're-about words; and of course the best drummer on God’s green Earth.
Sleater Kinney - Entertain
It's a great statement of intent on what was, sadly, to be their last album. For now at least. From Carrie's bite to Corin's roar to Janet's rhythm, this is to my mind one of the best songs Sleater-Kinney ever recorded from their best album. It's hard to pick a favourite, but if I had to this would be it.
Taylor Swift feat. Ed Sheeran - Everything Has Changed
This is from Taylor Swift's latest album, Red. The combination of these two artists' gentle guitar and soft vocals works really well to create a brilliant, laid back song that is great to chill out to. As well as the relaxed melody, there's a very sweet set of lyrics sung with some lovely harmonies between Swift and Sheeran. It goes to show that a singer-songwriter combo can work an absolute dream if you write a memorable song!