“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.” – Albert Einstein
Strasbourg – The Rakes
The post-punk revival of the mid-2000s, spearheaded by bands such as Bloc Party and Editors, saw smaller groups like The Rakes ascend into mild popularity. The London band have since folded, but enjoyed a string of top 40 singles during their six-year run, even selling out Brixton Academy along the way. ‘Strasbourg’ was typical of their sound, a Joy Division-like throwback of rumbling bass and politically charged lyrics about the Cold War which descends into a punk-thrash of a chorus, complete with ‘eins, zwei, drei, vier’ countdown.
The Fear – Lily Allen
Lily Allen really is one of the rare treasures that comes along once in a while, someone who’s as perceptive as she is outspoken. ‘The Fear’ sums her up in a nutshell; an attack on popular culture that doubles as a terrific slice of electropop. It’s a witty social commentary, complete with clever nods to tabloids like The Sun and The Mirror, as well as the desperation of aspiring celebrity types but above all, the drum machines and analogue synths make it a top of the range piece of pop music. Which other popstar would cry when Fulham lost the 2010 Europa League final?
Just Like Heaven – The Cure
The Cure were already seven albums deep in to their considerable career when ‘Just Like Heaven’ landed on 1987’s ‘Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me.’ It shows too: it’s the sound of a band at the peak of their musical craft. Featuring all the trademarks of a classic Cure tune, from throbbing bassline to airy synths and sweet-as-you-like guitar riffs, ‘Just Like Heaven’ has gone on to stand the test of time as one of the band’s most famous numbers. Inspired by a trip frontman Robert Smith took with his wife Mary Poole, the video remains the only one in Cure history to feature a female – Poole’s influence coming full circle. Just like a dream.
Call Me – Blondie
Used as the main theme for the 1980 film ‘American Gigolo,’ starring Richard Gere, ‘Call Me’ marked a very successful songwriting collaboration between Debbie Harry and acclaimed disco producer Giorgio Moroder. Initially intended for Stevie Nicks, Moroder instead turned to Harry who penned the lyrics in “only a few hours.” ‘Call Me’ was a smash-hit for Blondie, reaching #1 in the UK and the US, and remains one of their best-loved tunes today. It’s a classic Blondie number from start to finish, the definition of new wave with its disco and punk influences.
Saturn 5 – Inspiral Carpets
Finding fame, like countless other Manchester bands, in the crossover period between the 1980s and 1990s, Inspiral Carpets were never as big as some of their contemporaries and as such retained the feeling of being a cult band. They were always a little quirkier as well, establishing a niche sound carved out by organist and modern-day radio hero Clint Boon, and even gaining some notoriety for their ‘Cool As Fuck‘ t-shirts. ‘Saturn 5’ is archetypal of their sound, from the distinctive organ riff to the soaring choruses.