10 February 2020

Batch One » 30 Day Song Challenge

The 30 Day Song Challenge has been around since 2011 and I've always enjoyed reading/listening to the selections posted by others. Recently, I got tagged by a friend to curate my 30 songs which map to the various categories, and it's been big fun.

Currently, I do most of my blogging in microdoses via Instagram stories, but I have missed the concerted diligence blog posts require so I am blowing off the dust here for my 30 picks. The songs themselves came pretty quickly to me, but pairing them with meaningful and engaging visual fodder has been the real joy of this challenge.

I chose a different approach to this challenge too (hey, my blog, my rules.) Instead of posting a tune a day for 30 days, I'm posting weekly-ish, in 6 song bundles. It just makes for a more interesting read on this platform.

Many thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy this journey with me. xo

SONG PREVIEWS: Scroll down to the mini-player at the end of the post
FULL SPOTIFY PLAYLIST HERE: Batch One » 30 Day Song Challenge

Black Tambourine  //  Beck
1. Song that has a color in the title

Beck has been featured on my blog plenty so it shouldn't be a surprise I'm kicking off this challenge with him. He has come a long way from the early MTV glory days. This interview between Beck and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore is pretty epic and wonderfully awkward. After watching the video, read the comments posted... absolute comedy gold. #throwshisshoe

This song was chosen for a trifecta of reasons: Color black in the title, I love the rhythm of the song, AND if I ever play in a band, the tambourine is about all I could handle. :) The video's art direction uses a typewriter as the visual language which in turn speaks to my design nerd sensitivities. Beck has a design aesthetic that has resonated with me his entire career. 

SIDEBAR: This song was also featured in one of my favorite mashups: Hollablack Tambourine Girl (Kojiro's Mashmix) featuring Beck + Gwen Stefani, of No Doubt fame. The Dust Brothers, frequent Beck collaborators since 1999, worked on this track as well. We can credit them with, "allowing Beck to move beyond the ten words that defined him at that point: “I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?”  

Honorable mention » Colors by Black Pumas

Carry the Zero // Built to Spill
2. Song that has a number in the title

I've been a fan of Built to Spill for years and admire frontman and founder, Doug Martsch's, original vision of switching out his bandmates with each new LP (hence the band name). More on that and the band's allegiance to the skater community in this Thrasher Magazine article. Perhaps it's the skater culture that also honed their eye to champion some truly righteous poster designs, as they are plentiful.

This specific BTS song has been on heavy rotation for me lately as it's just a damn fine tune. I love Doug Martch's voice, and considered this tune for "Song 28: An artist whose voice you love." but the fit felt better here.

Honorable mention » Expo '86 by Death Cab for Cutie

Steal my Sunshine // Len
3. Song that reminds you of summertime

I love this tune now as much as I did when I first heard it in 1999. It has a simple summer vibe peppered with a sample from The Andrea True Connection's, More More More. Funny enough, that's a tune I spent a pubescent summer at my parents' County Club going around poolside singing LOUDLY, not knowing the song's context nor that Andrea True was a porn star. boom-chicka-wow-wow. Ah, god bless Tippecanoe Country Club + my folks. 

Len's arrangement balances the disco undertones perfectly, all of which make me wanna go for a long drive w/windows down, sun in my face, and hair blowing all over the place, on a hot summer day. 

Honorable mention » Doin' Time by Lana Del Ray

Sleeping Giant // Bootstraps
4. Song that reminds you of someone you'd rather forget

This selection is not so much about a specific person, but more about a time + place deelio that I'm thankful has passed. I caught Bootstraps at Rumba Café during their 2014 Communion Tour. Jordan Beckett had an incredible voice and stage presence. 

Honorable mention » None.

Gimme Shelter // The Rolling Stones
5. Song that needs to be played loud

This song takes me on a journey (in my mind, I'm totally in an El Camino. Passenger though, not the driver) And is a tune in which needs to be cranked ALL the way up. Beyond 11, even. :)

I'm guessing if I googled results for the most popular song chosen for this "played loud" category, Gimme Shelter might rank high. Merry Clayton's vocals are what made the song so soul penetrating. Hearing her vocals isolated on this sample gave me chills. Such raw talent.

That typed, all these songs should be listened to loud. Music is meant to be felt. Sometimes that's loud in between your headphones, sometimes it's truly causing a physical vibration in your car or home. GO FOR IT. I grant you full permission. 

Honorable mention » Volcano Girls by Veruca Salt

Bodys // Car Seat Headrest
6. Song that makes you wanna dance 

Well, hell, this was a tough one to nail down, as there are so many songs that make me want to dance, even sad ones... but I'm smitten with this CSH tune landing here in my week one list.

The version of Bodys I chose (not a typo, btw) is taken from the 2018 Twin Fantasy (Face to Face) LP vs from his 2011 Twin Fantasy (Mirror Mirror). There is a lot of debate re:Will Toledo's decision to remake this LP. I'm a fan of the later version. Will himself says, "...[Mirror Mirror] was never finished work."

Music critic, Anthony Fantano (aka the NeedleDrop) had strong opinions on the LP remake too. His review is worth a watch, while the review starts off a little kitschy, he gets into some legit music conversation and deliberation soon enough.

This is a long-ass song, coming in over 6 minutes. But if you're gonna dance, what's the rush, right? I dig the narrative that occurs early in the song:

"Is it the Chorus yet?" "No, it's just the building of the verse
So when the chorus does come, it'll be more rewarding."

And it IS rewarding at the 2-minute mark when the guitars open up (<--that's my made-up music phrasing, pretty sure, sorry...). Great arrangements and smart lyrics just move this song along, and me as well... even if it's just me in my home vacuuming.

Honorable mention » Jackpot by The English Beat
(b/c I'll always try to sneak a lil ska in...)

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