Sunday, 7 October 2012

Music Top 5s with apologies to Nick Hornby

Last week a friend gave me a bit of a fun task.  In a 'High Fidelity' theme I was to name the following:
  • Top 5 Artists
  • Top 5 Songs or Albums
  • Top 5 music experiences - gigs, soundtrack to point in life, first album bought etc.
I don't do anything half-assed and gave this some serious thought before I replied.  After looking over my email to him I decided it would make a rather interesting blog post, plus it's been ages since I've written anything publicly that's over 140 characters.  And so, here's my response in case you're interested.

Top 5 Favourite Artists:

Number 5- The Grateful Dead- Many of my current gig buddies/music friends do not understand this, but there was significant amount of time in university that I spent on the road following them around.  The only thing I regret about my cultish behaviour of the time was that I had a fantastic 4AD vinyl collection that I sold to pay for a few shows.  I don't listen to them as much as I used to, but any time I hear them, I get nostalgic. Thus, they must be mentioned.

Number 4- Manu Chao A friend of mine introduced him to me Manu Chao when I lived in Seattle. I didn't really listen to him much until I moved to Mexico (to help my Spanish) and I fell in love with him.  He almost appeared later in my Top 5 Gigs too, but as it is I had to extend that list to 6.  The Manu Chao gig in London last year would have been number 7.

Number 3- Nick Cave He's so lovely. So very very lovely.

Number 2- Polly Jean Harvey. I love her. That is all.

My number 1 artist of all time is Ani DiFranco.  I could go on and on about how her music is poetry and she lives her songs, but I won't.

I'm separating songs from albums as some of my favourite songs aren't on my favourite albums.  And, not all my favourite songs or albums are by my favourite artists.

Top 5 Songs

Number 5- Dizzee Rascal & Armand Van Helden- "Bonkers" This song makes me cycle super fast.  I love it, plus Dizzee is from my 'hood' more or less.

Number 4- David Byrne and the Dirty Projectors- "Knotty Pine"

Number 3- Richmond Fontaine- "Lost in Trees" These guys are friends of mine (I went to university with the bass player), but I'd still love them even if they weren't.

Number 2- Beta Band- "She's The One for Me". 

Number 1- Ani DiFranco "32 Flavours" It's such a pretty song and at one point mirrored my life.

Top 5 Albums

Number 5- The Cocteau Twins- "The Pink Opaque" Sold to fund my Grateful Dead wandering.

Number 4- Guided by Voices- "Do the Collapse" ("Hold on Hope" almost went on my top 5 favourite songs, but since I was doing separate list for albums, I decided not to put it on that list)

Number 3- The Flaming Lips- "Soft Bulletin" This was partially due to the gig I saw, which will be mentioned later.

Number 2- Elliot Smith- "From a Basement on a Hill"  I actually like most of his stuff, but this album is special as it was released after his death.  Quite sad really.

Number 1- PJ Harvey- "Let England Shake" This is a fantastic album! That is all.

Top 5 Gigs
- I can't do 5.  You're getting 6.

Number 6- Sleigh Bells at Heaven in Feb 2011.  Who would think that 2 people could put on such an amazing gig? I was pleasantly surprised.

Number 5- Nirvana at the Seattle Center in 1994- Sadly this was the last live gig Kurt would ever play in Seattle.  It was also his best (in my opinion)

Number 4- Flaming Lips at the Showbox in 1996.  The audience wore headphones- it was an audio and visual treat.  As an added treat, Krist Novaselic was there and approached me to say hi and talk.  But then realised he didn't actually know me and said, "Sorry, I thought you were someone else."

Number 3- PJ Harvey at the Troxy in Feb 2011.  Wow!

Number 2- Ani Difranco- each time I've seen her she's amazing and I've seen her 3 times, the most recent being at the Union Chapel in January.  In fact I just found a clip of her playing my favourite song at that concert.

Number 1- Neil Young (Patti Smith opened and then came on stage with Neil at the end) at The Gorge, 1996.  The Gorge is a naturally beautiful venue in George, WA.  It tipped down rain and was also quite windy.  Neil was rocking to Like a Hurricane with his hair wet and blowing in his face.  It was as if he was defying the forces of mother nature.  I was blown away (literally and figuratively).

And that's my musical me.