Back in January, we at CMU launched a new feature in CMU Weekly called Powers Of Ten. Each week we ask a different music-related (or not, as you will see in the near-ish future) person to select ten songs they love and then tell us a little bit about each one.
It’s fast become one of my favourite features, as it often throws up little nuggets of information about the compiler that you might not get from a normal interview. Plus, you get to listen to ten songs that you might not already know, which is always fun.
The feature is named after a 1997 documentary, which “depicts the relative scale of the Universe in factors of ten” (read the Wikipedia page here). Slightly pretentious, yes. But it sort of explains the aim of the piece. You can see all the playlists so far here, or sign up to get them (and the rest of CMU Weekly) delivered straight to your inbox every Friday afternoon here.
To get the ball rolling, I did the first one. You can listen to it on Spotify by clicking here. My selections and their blurbs are below.
01: Scott Walker – It’s Raining Today
This is the first track on what, I would argue, is Scott Walker’s best album. The strings just hint at the darker turn his music would eventually take.
02: Latyrx – Latyrx
I actually wanted to include the alternative version of this track, ‘Latyrx (Last Chance To Comprehend)’, which is stripped back to almost nothing but the two vocal lines. The way the work against each other is amazing. Unfortunately, Spotify doesn’t have it. This album version is still excellent, and it’s longer, so that’s a bonus.
03: Mommy And Daddy – Confection
I never tire of hearing this song, and every time I do a little buzz of excitement shoots through me. It’s amazing what you can do with a bass guitar and a drum machine.
04: Kelly Clarkson – Since U Been Gone
I was going to stick some hardcore or metal in here, but it broke up the flow of the playlist too much. So, instead, I went with something that will be equally offensive to a large number of listeners. It’s a bloody brilliant song, though.
05: Faith No More – Midlife Crisis
I’m sure Faith No More were wasted on me as a teenager, but they acted a gateway to all kinds of other great music. The first time I bought Metal Hammer was because it came with a FNM special. They continue to be one of my favourite bands.
06: Mew – Am I Wry? No
I interviewed Martin Grech before a gig in Northampton in 2002. After speaking to him, I sat down to watch the support band soundcheck. I’d never heard of them, but the two songs they played completely floored me. They were Mew, and this was one of those songs.
07: MC 900 Ft Jesus – Adventures In Failure
The lyrics on this track are just brilliant; man dissatisfied with his life goes on a drunken rampage and then considers holding himself to ransom so that he doesn’t have to explain to his wife how he came to destroy her car.
08: Busdriver – Sphinx’s Coonery
The whole of Busdriver’s ‘Fear Of A Black Tangent’ album is brilliant, but this track has always stood out for me. More psychedelic guitar on hip hop tracks, I say.
09: Arab Strap – Love Detective
There’s something about dark lyrics delivered in a Glaswegian accent that I’ve always really liked.
10: Plans & Apologies – The Paperclip Key
Plans & Apologies are one of my all time favourite bands. This song was written after the computer containing the original recordings for their ‘Tree Dee Pee’ EP was stolen. I love how angry it gets before nonchalantly dismissing the thieves and ending in an upbeat fashion.