Day five: the download delirium continues:
So I decided my tracks would be politically themed. Because politics inherently 'matters', right? And also 'cuz these songs rule. That also matters.
Elbow - Leaders of the Free World (Mp3)
I'll start with one of my favorite bands of all time. These guys are sick -- anthemic songwriting, cinematic orchestration, bad-ass drumming, some of the best lyrics of all time... and they're British! This song's about George Bush, but the chorus line "the leader of the free world/are just little boys throwing stones/and they're easy to ignore/til they're knocking on the door of your homes" is one of the all time best politically-themed choruses ever. And seeing as how Obama's gonna throw some more cannon fodder on Afghanistan, it kind of applies to him, too.
El-P - Deep Space 9mm (Mp3)
Going alphabetically here. El-P's bleak lyrics and anxious beats are great counterparts to one of the best rap songs ever. Loosely political, this one's more urban day-in-the-life type stuff. It also taught me the meaning of the word 'murk' (sp?), as in "getting murked on a train over Roosevelt Island". Whenever I need a new sound, or need to get my head out of whatever creative rut, El-P is there.
Majority Rule - Endings (Mp3)
My favorite Majority Rule song. Disclaimer: it's my brother's band. But these guys matter -- they matter because they're family. They matter because they're absolutely great. They matter because they elevated hardcore music into something more creative and intelligent and melodic. You should've seen the moshpits at the Wilson Center when these guys played. So much energy it literally brought tears to my eyes. Key line "Countdown to endings/broken contracts can break hearts".
Muse - Apocalypse Please (Mp3)
Also British. And the guy kind of sounds like Thom Yorke with a rope around his testicles -- which in the case of arena rock is a good thing. "Its time we saw a miracle/its time for something biblical" -- Matthew Bellamy actually sings this with complete sincerity. I want this guy singing "this is the end of the world" during the actual end of the world. Another song about George Bush (kinda) but so well put together. And who doesn't like a good revolution anthem now and again.
Refused - Shape of Punk to Come (Mp3)
Swedish hardcore at its finest. No one else has ever sung so earnestly about revolution and the punk/hardcore community. If you were straight edge or vegan, you knew about these guys, for sure. They went on to form some horribly crappy bands after this, but this song (and this entire record) holds up after almost 15 years. Whenever I listen to this, I'm instantly transported back to the days of house shows and serious discussions on the state of the world and anarchical syndicalism as a valid social movement. And that idealism is what matters the most, I guess...
Catch Paul Michel this Saturday (8/29) at The Rock and Roll Hotel with Mother Mother and We Were Pirates.