Ian’s #9 from Robert Plant was mighty fine for a 69 year old, but here is – I suspect – the oldest artist to feature on our rundown, Roger Waters with ‘Smell The Roses’, from the album ‘Is This The Life We Really Want?’ It’s produced by Radiohead’s Nigel Godrich who choses to refresh rather than completely change the Roger Waters sound. It is an angry, cantankerous album, showing that even in old age artists can still be an inspiration: I too find my politics getting more and more radical the older I get and look forward to growing old disgracefully.
It would be patronising to say this is a fine track for a 74-year old, it sounds like peak Animals-era Floyd and like most good Floyd tracks decides to veer off in a different direction halfway through.
I went (twice) to the Pink Floyd exhibition at the V&A in the summer and rarely has a band had such an understanding of the visual element of their work, so it’s somewhat ironic this track has no video.
If the lack of female voices in my Top 20 is a concern, then critics would quite rightly pan me for the complete absence of rap or hip-hop records. However, all that is about to change, although it has to be conceded that, of all the possible choices from that genre, I’ve gone for exactly the same one that Richard chose as his number 16. He really came to my attention when he appeared on the 6 Music Maida Vale sessions in October, and like Richard commented, the Gospel choir clinches the deal for me. If I’d known the “Cantona shirt story” beforehand I might have taken umbrage, but I like to think I’m a bigger man than that, and so for that reason you’ll have to make do with the official video, rather than the previously included Maida Vale version. Number 8…
Like the proverbial team that makes a late run to the Championship play-offs, there is always one track that crashes into my choices at the last minute. This year its by a band I had previously never heard of but who released their debut album in 2011. There’s all sorts of things going on in this track; darkwave, angular-indie a bit of Bronski Beat, but at its a heart a huge tune. Number 8 The Slow Readers’ Club ‘Lunatic’
Song #8 for me is from one of this decade’s first super-groups. Brainchild of Midlake’s Eric Pulido, BNQT comprises him and members of 21st Century indie mainstays like Franz Ferdinand (Alex Kapranos), Travis (Fran Healy), Grandaddy (Jason Lytle) & Band of Horses (Ben Bridwell). With each of the five artists contributing two tracks to the not-so-originally titled debut “Volume 1”, the album is such a compendium of styles it could be a Reader’s Digest summary of pop music for the last 50 years. “Restart” sounds like it’s drawn from a T. Rex album, “100 Million Miles” like early 1970s Pink Floyd sung by Elliott Smith , “Real Love” it comes from Travelling Wilburys “Vol. 1” and “Hey Banana” sounds like “Pet Sounds”-era Beach Boys with Jim Morrison on vocals “Restart” has probably had the most coverage and a decent live recording can be found online with their “Live at WFUV” performance. Unfortunately, I can’t find an official (or decent live) version of my chosen song “Hey Banana”, so here it is presented as an audio track with cover art.