Monday, 25 August 2008

Top 10 drum intros of ALL TIME!

My top 10 songs with fantastic drum intros. This is a bit different to most of these top 10 drum intro songs on the web - I’ve gone specifically just for songs that feature the drums CRASHING in at the beginning of the song, however briefly.

1. The Cure - Why Can't I Be You
2. Van Halen - Hot For Teacher
3. Led Zeppelin - Moby Dick
4. The Cure - In Between Days
5. Led Zeppelin - Rock & Roll
6. Spin Doctors - Two Princes
7. Sweet - Ballroom Blitz
8. Lenny Kravitz - It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over
9. Toto - Rosanna
10. Blur - Song 2

This all started a few days ago when I was doing my review of Boyfriend by Alphabeat. A song that although not quite worthy of this top ten does feature a good strong drum intro. As a drummer (not a good one, I haven't played regularly in years!) I’ve got a particular love of good drumming and songs with good drum solos. I've also probably listened to many songs I don't really like purely for the drumming, Los Endos by Genesis springs to mind.

There are a few exceptions from the list because they didn't CRASH in as I would like, plus my list started as a top 19 so I needed to trim. Lost in the pruning was the excellent My Sharona (not quite ridiculous enough intro) and the mind blowing Money for Nothing (doesn't crash in and more of a genuine solo than just an intro).

I make no excuse for the Cure appearing twice, they don't appear in top tens enough!

While looking for these tunes I also came across some that didn't meet my strict criteria because they start with a vocal or spoken word, therefore I’ve made another table.

Top 3 tunes with drums crashing in immediately after a brief vocal / spoken lyric:
1. The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead (Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty)
2. The Offspring - Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)
3. The Bloodhound Gang - The Bad Touch

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Alphabeat - Boyfriend single review

I discovered this track in a way I’ve never discovered a track before. No it's nothing strange, weird or dodgy I just saw the video on the Hits and was hooked on this delicious slice of europop.

This is an alternate video i think, the original one was different.

The Hits TV logo
RIP The Hits
Now I know you may be thinking that sounds like a fairly regular and normal way to find a track but I rarely watch the Hits, and when I do it's because I see 'top 20 of the eighties'. If I see 'the UK top 20 rundown' in the TV listing I run a mile. Also I’ve had so many appalling accidents where I’ve flicked over and found myself watching 'Boyzone's favourite 50 ballads' or 'Westlife's favourite 50 ballads' that I now subconsciously skip Freeview channel 18. I've just this second done a quick Google search for the channel number and I’ve now discovered it's no longer called the Hits but 4 Music so maybe I can give it another go... Well that means I can confidently say I discovered this track in a way I never will again.

Any track that crashes in with a drum beat has my attention, The Cure's Why Can't I Be You, Money For Nothing, Van Halen's Hot For Teacher, in fact I got so carried away with this line of thought that I went off and wrote a post purely about great tunes that begin with drums crashing in.

A pack of 10 TDK FE90 cassettes
My favourite Christmas present of the 90s
The hundreds of cassette tapes in the video bring back fond memories of the TDK FE 90 that you could buy in packs of 10 for next to nothing in HMV. When it takes a vicious twist and the hot dancers are wrapped in the cassette tape at the end i'm slightly disturbed though.

After this you have the cute little voice and it's all the sort of fun that jumps straight into any good dance floor. In fact I think I’m getting a bit of a crush on Stine Bramsen's voice, much like I did a few years ago on the voice of Sarah Nixey, the singer in Black Box Recorder.

The similarities with Black Box Recorder don't end there for me unfortunately. My vocal love affair was solely restricted to Facts Of Life by Black Box Recorder, I didn't like any of their subsequent releases. I've just listened to all of Alphabeat's single releases from their self titled debut album and none have caught my ear, I think I might just have to own the single and move on..

I hope they surprise me and release another great tune like this one especially if it's got a big drum beat at the beginning.

Single released August 2008
UK chart position: 49 (So far, downloads only. Physical release 25th Aug)
Original album: This Is Alphabeat \ Buy on Amazon
More info: Wikipedia \ Lyrics \ Official site \ Anders SG interview

Where i have it:
I don't! But will visit iTunes tonight. I'm not quite excited enough to buy the album...

UPDATE: I've since heard their other single 'Fascination' numerous times, have it solidly stuck in my head and have downloaded it. Alphabeat, I take it back, i'm a fan.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

The Avalanches (Wham! vs. Digitalism) - Ray of Zdarlight single review

The Avalanches have remixed this Wham! hidden classic, Ray of Sunshine, with some top quality German Electro house, Digitalism's Zdarlight, and the result is a glorious dance floor filler that still has George Michael on lead vocals, thank god for that.

This song is very elusive, the two pages on don't seem to work and i can't find a physical release but it is on the Avalanches website apparently (you have to sign in). So for your enjoyment i've given it a video mash up with the original Zdarlight video and a Wham! video of them playing football in China (which had the original Ray of Sunshine over the top).

Me with the Wham! Fantastic LP
Me with my new Wham! LP
This song entered my life last week when a lovely lady found the original Wham! Fantastic LP in a charity shop and kindly bought it for me - it cost £2, who needs Ebay?! I do have this album kicking around on cassette somewhere but haven't listened to it in years. The only Wham i have these days is on CD - The Final and the Best Of.

So i gently placed the album on the record player and slowly brought down the needle on the cheese. I jumped straight to the album tracks that i'd forgotton about and I listened to the groovy and addictive Ray of Sunshine. The first line of the chorus has been going round in my head for days:
You wake up in the morning with the bass line.
And it was when double checking these lyrics online that i stumbled across Ray of Zdarlight.

One of my cheese hobbies has always been trying to find good remixes of Wham! songs. This is because Wham! songs are so great to dance too but they are also intensly cheesy. Sometimes, well most of the time, playing any Wham! at a reasonably trendy party is just one step too far. I can maybe get away with Club Tropicana or some Duran Duran but unless it's a wedding or a pub full of Aussies and Kiwis it's difficult to get the crowd to love Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. Which is sad (in many ways) because George Michael knows how to write a good rhythm and kicking bass line.

This remix very simply puts the cheese that is Wham! over the top of the funky electro of Digitalism and produces a dance tune with an edge of 80s and a licence to be played in the trendiest of clubs, maybe. I love it.

Single released online only January 2007
Album: Maybe on the rumoured second Avalanches album?
More info: Digitalism MySpace \ Wham! lyrics

Where i have it:
MP3 found on internet. If it appears on a CD be sure to let me know.