Every other Friday, we feature a carefully selected, seven-song Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure. Here, Lucy Reynolds wears her ‘Not A Muso’ badge with pride.
I often feel like a bit of a cheat when it to comes to talking about music. Most of my friends are real obsessives, discussing rare EPs they’ve found online or excitedly planning to see acoustic sessions of obscure bands set to be the ‘next big thing’.
I enjoy music but I don’t get as religiously fervent about it as others do. The conversations with my muso friends usually go like this: “Oh God, you should really listen to *Shiny Penguin Eyes* (*put in any random name here – I bet it’ll be a band) – they are just sooo amaaaaazing. Have you heard of them?”
I vaguely nod and mumble in approval because I know if I don’t, they’ll tell me all about them, try to play me a song and I’ll lose the will to live.
I like music but I’m not a geek about it. I have no ties to any sort of band or genre. I’ve only been to one music festival and, after nearly getting trampled to death during a Franz Ferdinand set (yes, it was that long ago), I’m not really drawn in by the muddy delights of Glastonbury anymore. I prefer more of a smorgasbord approach to my aural delights. For me, I love music that gets me feeling upbeat and ready to go out and shake my tail feather.
So, here’s my list of songs to get worked up to:
Strict Machine – Goldfrapp
This is probably the only band I’ve seen multiple times and each time, they just get better. Alison Goldfrapp is a force of nature and, quite frankly, we should all kneel down at her musical altar. The second this song starts and the heavy electronic bass kicks in, you know you are in for a slinky, sexy slice of electronica. Alison Goldfrapp’s sultry tones, purring ‘wonderful electric’ above the heavy, whip cracking tempo builds to almost incantatory experience – I just like to flail around in my living room to this song, imagining myself in a sci-si dystopia where I am, indeed, in love with ‘a strict machine’ but the tyrannous government wants to keep up apart. I think I need to get out a bit more.
Zero – The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
From the brilliant It’s Blitz album, Zero is an anthem that shows off the band’s pop-chops and is a perfect vehicle for Karen O’s soaring vocals. With some great face-melting synth sections and spiky guitar shreds throughout, Zero is a wonderful track to get ready for a night out to – have a bucket of gin and strut around, possibly ignoring the lyrics advice to ‘Get your leather on’. If you do, remember: talcum powder helps with the chafing.
A Message To You, Rudy – The Specials
Not as minxy as my first two choices but this makes me smile every time I hear it. As a child, I spent my formative years listening to Madness and The Specials while my classmates were listening to the poorly enunciating East 17 (I mean come on: ‘Stay anover day’…sound the TH you heathens!). There is always something fun and friendly about ska and reggae and this song is like aural prozac – you can’t feel down listening to it. Also, as the lyrics warn “Stop your messing around/ Better think of your future” – a message we can all take on board…while bogling, obviously.
Gossip Folks – Missy Elliott
Hailing from rural Lincolnshire, you have already probably guessed I’m hugely into hip hop and gangster rap – what else is there to do when surrounded by fenland other than to listen to music about people doing drive-bys and popping caps into homies’ asses? While a lot of it becomes too laden with machismo and boasting about ‘dem bitches’, I’ve been a long-time fan of Missy Elliott, who bucks the trend and raps about being a woman in the industry. This song skilfully uses a sample from the 1981 track Double Dutch Bus by Frankie Smith to give it a vintage hip-hop sound, as Missy raps about the rumours she faces as a woman, whether it’s people discussing her weight, sexuality or marital status. It’s quirky, catchy and has a great rap from Ludacris in the middle. It also has the lyric ‘I’m a bad mamajama’…need I say more?
Intergalactic – The Beastie Boys
Everyone has a karaoke track. For most it’s a power ballad or a cutesy pop song – for me, it’s the Beasties shout-fest Intergalactic…I even do the robot voices. I’ve listened to this track more times than I can remember and it has now become a party piece that my friend and I do when we go out and enjoy karaoke-a-go-go. Nothing more enjoyable than middle class teachers throwing some shapes around a shiny padded booth.
Young Americans by David Bowie
It is a truth universally acknowledged that everything David Bowie does is ace – though, maybe, calling his child Zowie was a slight blip.
While Young Americans is one of my favourite songs, it is not one of Bowie’s best-known tracks. It sounds rather like the beginning to a 1970s buddy film and has a soulful feel to it which Bowie classed as ‘plastic soul’. It is incredibly catchy and shows off a different side to Bowie’s inimitable vocals.
Lucy (right) and her friend Diane: karaoke queens
I Like To Move It – Reel 2 Real (featuring The Mad Stuntman)
I dare anyone to listen to this and not shout ‘move it!’ in the chorus. When this came out, I was 13 and must have been on a ‘ragga tip’ because I became obsessed with this song. And 20 years on, I still love it. Try running to this song on a gym treadmill – it will push you on for that extra mile…it may also make you sing along to it out loud without realising and apparently people find that off putting, especially if you are stood next to them in the communal gym showers.
What’s not widely known about this song, probably because of the speed of it, is that it actually has a positive message about female self image.
If I may quote Reel 2 Real: ‘Woman you cute and you don’t need no makeup’
Aww, shucks – thanks Mad Stuntman.
Lucy is a teacher whose dream as a child was to be WWE Wrestling Champion. That dream is still alive.