By the time I’d read to the end of the original list, nearly half my choices were already decided. I also found the more interesting ones to write were those that I had to put a little thought into, but I was never really challenged in the way I thought about my choices. The themes used (anger, sadness, happiness etc) were those which people tend to automatically soundtrack in some way, and other prompts similarly had pre-existing attachments. In short, they simply asked for things that I already associated with music; as do all the subsequent lists that attempt to improve or expand on the original (i.e. a song from the first album you bought etc. Where’s the challenge in that?)
With that in mind, I decided to create a different list. I wanted to make the focus a bit more on challenging the way music is related to or interpreted, so there’s a couple here that are a little more involved than a simple song-a-day post. I didn’t want to make it too intensive and feel like a drag to get through, though, so there’s a few easy ones thrown in for good measure – the rest of my ideas will have to wait for the “ultimate” challenge . I also scaled it back to 21, as I think three solid weeks if you’re doing daily posts is more than enough, and it’s just a darn nice number.
I’m not binding it with stringent rules. You can use all or just some of it, in any order, and posts don’t have to be once a day. You’re free to use artistic license when interpreting individual challenges, and those with multiple choice components are free choice; my suggestions are just that, suggestions. Basically, use the following as guidelines and have fun with where you go with it. At some point I’ll likely undertake it myself, probably at the rate of one a week. So, without further ado…
S4E’s 21 “Day” Music Challenge
A song you don’t like but has lyrics you do
A song you think would translate well to a book/movie/play/episode of Star Trek
A song you would command your minions to sing to amuse you if you were an evil overlord (dance routine optional)
A song that you would play to a child in the womb
Two (or more) songs that would make a good medley
A song that would work just as well if not better as an instrumental
A song to play during the closing credits of a documentary about bizarre phobias
A song that you would teach to a parrot so that it can entertain guests at dinner parties
A song you would use as your entrance theme if you were a wrestler
A song that you would take back in time and play for Beethoven/Elvis/Jim Morrison/Kurt Cobain/Other (Choose your own dead celebrity)
A song you would use in a TV commercial for your favourite food
A song you would play through a neighbour’s air vents in a bid to slowly drive them mad
A song that you would ban amateur/wannabe musicians from ever attempting to sing or play
A song that you would use to soundtrack riding a bicycle
A song you wish would automatically play to cover up awkward silences
A song you would play to your crops if you were a farmer
A song you think a singer you don’t like would be able to sing well enough that you would like it
An instrumental song, with its story or concept related in words/pictures/woodcarvings (preferably original)
A song about something you wish you had experienced yourself
A song you prefer to listen to when you’re alone
A video clip from one song that would match a different song (practical element optional)
If anyone out there does use this list, it’d be neat if you dropped me a link so I can check it out. Also, bonus points will be issued to those who know which music video the images I’ve used in this post come from.
I really don’t have any idea what was my favourite song in April of 2010, but I know I bought Soap&Skin’s debut album at the very end of 2009, then found the untitled EP which features this song a couple of months later, and I played them both pretty obsessively. More importantly, I’ve wanted an excuse to post something about S&S for a while now, and this is as good as any.
I don’t know if the rumours of mental instability are played up for marketing purposes or not (a lot of her promo shots, some of which are used in this fan vid, certainly lead me to believe so), none the less there’s something curious, fascinating and a little bit creepy about Anja Plaschg and her music. Her debut album (Lovetune for Vacuum) was released when she was 19, and there’s an element that is both disturbing and a little broken mixed in with the child-like innocence of it. Which pretty much just makes me adore it.
Although this is a cover, I think it’s been done very well. I quite like the original version (by Nico) as well, but I guess I have a little affinity with the extra edge in this version. Anja has made it a needful and demanding plea, yet keeps it in the realm of childish with the nursery rhyme-like melody – which I find to be a pretty powerful combo; children and psychotic desperation is an unsettling image.
So, that’s that as far as the 30 day challenge goes… Hopefully I managed to keep choices diverse, posts interesting to read, and maybe even facilitated a new musical discovery or two. I’ll be finishing this series off tomorrow by issuing a challenge of my own.
Uriah Heep’s Demons and Wizards was just one of the many strange and fascinating albums (to me) in my mother’s record collection, and I loved this song. Pretty much just because it was about a wizard – I’ve always had a thing for them.
I wrote the lyrics to it in one of my school books in grade nine (which was otherwise littered with stories about wizards, pictures of unicorns and portraits of my English teacher, whom I adored), surrounded by stars and this happy fellow:
Unfortunately, my drawing skills have not improved at all, but I still think wizards are cool.
A fairly old song now, and one I always found kind of raw and brutal, in the way a simple, despairing ‘what the f***k do you want?‘ can be, under certain circumstances.
Every so often it has the same effect on me as one of those puppy dogs that look at you with sad eyes when you go to leave, only it’s got a life-wasting drug habit and is lying despondent on the floor with a look that says ‘see what you did to me?’
“I hit the wall so hard that I had to talk to Jesus”
Shara Worden is, in a word, brilliant. I love quite a number of My Brightest Diamond songs, but this one really does make me want to go get a keyboard and sit there for hours, probably days, maybe even months, until I’ve perfected it enough to play and sing it at the same time.
I love the sombre moodiness of it, and the way she says “shifty”. Once I have that keyboard, I wanna get me some smoky, subtly accusing eyes, a dark room with a yellow, flickering bulb as a spotlight, and a half-decent voice, then sing this song to myself.
This appeared on a various artist album called Cross-Pollination: The Mixtape Vol. 1, but you can download this track for free via Stereogum.
The harmonica is the only instrument I ever took lessons for. Pity I was young, dumb, and not paying enough attention. I can do the wailing whistle thing, and I can do the chug… Does it sound anywhere near as good as this guy?
The answer to that is a simple hell no. I used to walk around when I was 15 playing that little riff and thinking I was awesome. I wasn’t – I sucked and blowed in both senses of the words.
Anyway, that’s that. I can (half) play this song. Woot.
Oh, and when I was 14 I was staying with a friend who had a keyboard. I can play the keyboard a little, and I can kinda read music. I have to translate the notes – section by section – then learn them by heart, then practice long enough on the keyboard to play the song fluently. She had some sheet music, so I wound up spending a weekend teaching myself to play Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx. That was time well spent.
I can also play Greensleeves on the recorder and various nursery rhymes on either that or a keyboard. I’m all about diversity.
Don’t let the facade of that mild-mannered looking gentleman above fool you. I guess it’s kind of hard for it to if you’re paying attention to the actual picture, but I thought I’d say it…just in case.
It’s not the song or even the title that makes me giggle, it’s purely the backing vocals – the intermittent “ouch” and the various ways it’s said/sung.