30-day Song Challenge – Part 3

Welcome to the third and final part of this 30-day song challenge. I started this personal challenge as a way to document my taste in music so that if my kids are ever interested they can see the sort of stuff their dad was into. If you want to see what songs I’ve picked for previous days, you can check out part 1 and part 2.

Day 21: A song you like with a person’s name in the title

I wrote this post. I changed the song choice and re-wrote it. I changed the song again and re-wrote it again. There are so many songs with names in the title that I wanted to include. There are so many bands that I want to recognise in this challenge. I just couldn’t decide. Then I remembered this song and my mind was immediately settled.

From the criminally under-rated Natasha Khan aka Bat For Lashes, it is about having a teenage crush on Daniel LaRusso – the one and only Karate Kid.

Trust me, we’ve all been there.

‘Daniel’ by Bat For Lashes.

Day 22: A song that moves you forward

Moves me forward? Not a phrase I use to be honest. I interpreted this as looking to the future and not dwelling on the past.

So I picked an unexpectedly uplifting and repetitive song which draws on the cyclical nature of growing older and making the same mistakes as the people who came before us.

Not only is it one of my favourite songs, it reminds me not to become jaded, make the same mistakes and (somewhat tenuously) moves me forward.

‘Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread’ by Everything Everything.

Day 23: A song you think everybody should listen to

A song about the death of a childhood friend that coincided with a holiday observed in Chicago on the first Monday of March.

A song that interweaves the friend’s final moments with memories of their time spent together.

A song about doubts in God, and anger, and loss, and confusion, and personal struggle.

A song that is 5 minutes and 54 seconds long and one of the most perfectly written songs that I’ve ever heard.

‘Casimir Pulaski Day’ by Sufjan Stevens.

Day 24: A song by a band you wish were still together

When there are so many bands that churn out the same old formulaic rubbish year after year, I thought it was a shame that such an inventive band like Wild Beasts choose to call it a day in 2017.

I first discovered them in 2009 after hearing their ‘Two Dancers’ album. It quickly became one of my favourites – with the flamboyant falsetto of their lead singer coupled with the rich baritone of their guitarist, it sounded so unique and cohesive compared to other albums at the time. Three albums followed, each sounding different from the last, and then they split. In a way I guess I should be glad they ended on a high.

This suitably titled song is the final track from their third album ‘Smother’.

‘End Comes Too Soon’ by Wild Beasts.

Day 25: A song you like by an artist no longer living

Another day, another song that I’ve struggled to pick. I don’t know whether it is my age, but when I started to think of songs by artists who are no longer living it quickly became a long list. Kurt Cobain from Nirvana came first, Chris Cornell from Soundgarden/Audio Slave was not far behind, Scott Weiland from Stone Temple Pilots/Velvet Revolver and Layne Staley from Alice in Chains were there too – all of these were responsible for the soundtrack of my teens.

Then there is David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Lou Reed and Jeff Buckley along with so many many others who have sadly passed away. In the end, I settled for someone who died relatively recently and who wrote a song that never fails to cheer me up.

‘American Girl’ by Tom Petty.

Day 26: A song that makes you want to fall in love

I love every second of this song. The first part is about a guy, feeling inadequate and uncomfortable, thinking about someone else back home but being ‘stuck in a punch line swallowing punch’. Yet it is the second half where the song really opens up and connects with me. I was 29 when I married my wife and I’ve love to say this is about us.

You know I dreamed about you
For twenty-nine years before I saw you
You know I dreamed about you
I missed you for, for twenty-nine years

‘Slow Show’ by The National.

Day 27: A song that breaks your heart

Based on a 16-year-old boy from Texas who shot himself in front of his school class in 1991, it was a favourite of my early teens.  There is nothing I could write that would do this song about this boy, school bullying and parental alienation justice.

‘Jeremy’ by Pearl Jam.

Day 28: A song by an artist whose voice you love

When I was 17 I was spending the majority of my time farting about playing Fifa on my Sega MegaDrive. This artist was recording her debut album.

When I first heard it back in 2008, the modern folk sound was so refreshing at a time of Amy Winehouse and, urgh, Duffy. Since then five more albums have followed and although her sound has evolved and developed, her voice has remained glorious. A very easy choice.

‘Soothing’ by Laura Marling.

Day 29: A song you remember from childhood

Let me put it this way: T U R T L E POWER!

In retrospect it is awful, but I was 10 at the time and I loved every second of it.

‘Turtle Power’ by Partners in Kryme.

Day 30: A song that reminds you of yourself

Well, this is the final song and it draws this challenge to a close. Looking back, there are so many bands and songs that I would have liked to include but sadly I ran out of days.

But back to Day 30. Way back on Day 4 I chose a song that reminded me of a younger version of myself. Rather than repeat this I picked a song that makes me think of my entire childhood, of growing older, growing apart from friends and yearning for what has been lost.

‘Suburban War’ by Arcade Fire.

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