Alice in Chains – God Am
This song has everything. Crushing riffs that open up into a glorious yet brutal chorus. However, the thing that grabbed me the most are Layne’s lyrics, it’s like a huge rant at The Almighty. “Dear God how have you been then? I’m not fine fuck pretending.” Quite possibly the best opening line of all time to any song. Whilst the album version is a thing of pure perfection, listen to the live version from their live album, you can hear the raw and savage beauty in Layne’s voice.
Morphine – Cure for Pain
The first time I heard this it was like it completed a part of my life, it was a sound and experience that I couldn’t believe I’d lived without up until this point. A three piece of Bass and Vocals, Drums and Baritone/Tenor Saxophone, I LOVE everything Morphine have ever done and are criminally underrated. This song set me off on a journey to discover the world of Morphine and from that my world has become and infinitely better place.
Frank Zappa – What’s New in Baltimore (live version from You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore Volume 5)
Often Zappa would change up songs live and play them quite differently to how they from the album version. This live version is as near to audible magic as you can get, it’s total organised chaos. The mind power to create and then perform something like this is truly fascinating. This song is musically unreal, vocally stunning in parts and hilarious all at the same time, something only Zappa could achieve. If the world could have an eternal President forever it should be Frank Zappa.
Ben Harper – Welcome to the Cruel World
I went on my first trip to Amsterdam in my late teens and this was the soundtrack to that trip. Groovy, spacey, and stunningly heavy. It’s not heavy in the sense of “Heavy Metal” but the subject matter and tone is so dark and brooding. I remember listening to this with my headphones on and the world outside just seemed to stop, all that I could sense was this song and it made so much sense. I wanted to make music that had that sense of “heavy” to it after I heard this song.
Angelo Badalamenti – Falling (Twin Peaks Theme)
When you hear the first note of this piece you’re in “Twin Peaks”. Angelo Badalamenti has pulled off a miracle in that it marries perfectly with David Lynch’s vision. PERFECTLY. I remember hearing this theme tune as a small child in the early 90’s and it stuck with me until I was old enough to understand and watch the show. This piece of music manages to make me feel like I’m in another world EVERY time I hear it. If you’ve not seen Twin Peaks, do yourself a favour and dive into that world.
Chemical Brothers – Chico’s Groove
This reminds me of growing up and the endless summers I enjoyed doing nothing apart from hanging about with my friends. It also takes me back to a time before 2001, when the world seemed a much simpler place, no social media, no war on terror, no idea what was around the corner. The glory and spaciousness in this song has an almost shoegaze quality to it that led me to that genre.
Rush – Subdivisions
From the album “Signals” this in the opening tune to one of the greatest ever albums. I first heard this on a holiday to Portugal and put it on as the plane was taking off, it was the perfect music for that moment. The lyrics from Neil Peart are also pure poetic brilliance and are perfectly set against lust for freedom music. It’s also the only song AWOOGA has ever covered and I’m sure there’s a version kicking around somewhere from a while back…
The Prodigy – Breathe
I lost my shit when I first heard this song and don’t think I’ve found it since. This song made me want to make music. It was like a breath of hot, dirty smoke-filled air that I wanted to experience over and over again and the groove and brutality of this song still holds up now. When you’re in a bar or club and this comes on you can’t help but go feral and chuck your JD and coke around everywhere.
Dire Straits – Brother in Arms
I grew up listening to Dire Straits and as a child this song was the saddest thing I’d ever heard. I remember having to turn up the record player to hear this song as the first few minutes are practically whispered and gently plucked guitar licks. I love the question and response vocal to guitar play off that occurs through this song and at 3:44 is best sound ever made by a guitar. A true testament to the sheer futility of war and why we’re fools to make such a thing upon our fellow man.
Soundgarden – 4th of July
This is one of Soundgarden’s more light-hearted songs in that it’s about witnessing a firework performance on acid and thinking it’s the end of the world. The perfect melody in the song is coupled with the greatest guitar tone ever put to record, a sound so sludgy and gnarly that if you had that tone yourself, you’d never leave your house. To get so much melody out of such a revoltingly detuned guitar sound still astounds me. I’ve been lucky enough to seem them play this live twice and it blew my fucking mind.