Every other Friday, we feature a carefully selected, seven-song Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure. Here, Karen Campbell feeds her taste gremlin the good stuff.
I really do love music and pride myself on liking pretty credible, cool stuff. Festivals fill me with joy, whether I’m going for it in a dance tent or losing my voice to a rock anthem. Occasionally, however, my taste gremlin throws me a curve ball. By this I mean I get obsessed with what some people might consider a questionable pop song. And by “obsessed”, I mean “played on repeat for at least four hours straight”. Examples of this include JLS’s Beat Again (one of the best pop songs ever written) and Bruno Mars’ Locked Out of Heaven (which I know a certain Standard Issue editor has equal love for [yep, not even embarrassed – Ed]). Having written these down, I can now focus on my ‘official’ picks without looking like too much of a bellend…too late?
Here are the seven tracks that help me be me.
Pearl Jam – The Fixer
I was lucky enough to see Pearl Jam in their grungy heyday, when Eddie used to swing from the rafters, growling tunefully and looking, well, hot. A couple of years ago I saw them again in New York and they were still a thing of wonder. I’d always liked this song but hearing it live made me love it. It makes you excited, happy and most of all it makes you want to dance and make yourself hoarse joining in the brilliant shout-at-the-top-of-your-voice ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah!’ chorus.
The D.O.T. – Blood, Sweat and Tears
I’d always really liked The Streets so when Mike Skinner’s new band, a duo comprising him and The Music’s lead singer Rob Harvey, had an afternoon slot at a festival, I poddled along to see what they were like. At the time I was fresh out of a break-up (a bloody horrible break-up at that), which I think is why when I heard this wonderful song for the first time, I wound up sobbing right at the front of the crowd with Mike Skinner looking at me a bit weirdly. The song’s not even sad, it’s uplifting, and simply tells you that, yes, you’ve wasted time on someone and that person has hurt you but you know what, it doesn’t matter anymore. I often listen to this song – and the whole album because it’s ace – and these days it just makes me smile. Cheers Mike!
As previously mentioned, I love a bit of a rave-up and this track reminds me of being blissfully happy/pissed dancing away with amazing friends at a wonderful festival in Wales. Every time I hear it, it makes me grin and start dancing (a bit embarrassing in Tesco). As a bonus, Mr Terje is so geekily cute, it hurts.
Bob Dylan – Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
I was a bit late to the Bob party, to be honest. I lived with a guy in Leeds who loved him; he even hitchhiked to Glastonbury and paid £11 to go over the fence to watch Bob and just Bob and then come home. I’ve always admired that fierce love and dedication to an artist but only ever thought Dylan was okay; I didn’t really get it. That is until I heard this song on the radio about 10 years ago. That guitar alongside such a beautiful description of saying so long to a love (Dylan’s then-girlfriend extended her stay in Italy when he wrote this) brings a tear to my eye every time I hear this captivating slice of storytelling. Now – finally – I totally get it.
The F1 bit in this can do one; I’m all about the part before those guitar chords kick in. The build-up of Stevie, Christine and Lindsey’s voices roaring passion, anger and, well, just sheer emotion is amazing. Shove in a backstory of coke-fuelled heartache, revenge and regret and it just makes this song all the more meaningful. Sing at the top of your voice while flouncing in chiffon (we’re with you Stevie!) and once it’s over, put it straight back on again.
Dusty Springfield – So Much Love
What a woman Dusty was: what a pair of lungs and what a hairdo. Also feisty, opinionated and behind some of the most beautiful songs the world has ever known. This particular one is the second track on the wonderful Dusty in Memphis LP and is just an abundance of love and joy – you almost feel like Dusty’s pressing you to her ample bosom as it (the song, not the bosom) swells in stature. She really does have so much love to give and I for one thank her for it. Stunning.
Ryan Adams – The Sadness
This is an epic track. It goes on for about seven minutes but feels wonderfully longer as you dance across Adams’ (wiggly, spaghetti-Western guitar-fuelled) broken heart. By the end, this forlorn story of doomed romance might well have been commissioned as an exclusive series by Netflix. Yes, THAT epic. It’s intense, it’s passionate, it’s over-the-top emotional and utterly fabulous. At its heart is a love story and Adams’ titular sorrow as “Without her, I am nothing at all”. Brilliant stuff, Mr Adams.
Karen Campbell is a life coach at www.your-dreamcatcher.com. She likes gin, James McAvoy and pretending she's not from Scunthorpe.