Archive for January, 2013

This is an album that I’ve had for a long time, but never really got into. That’s partly because I was four when it was released, and partly because when people of my age think of Kings of Leon, the first thing that comes to mind is generally their latest album (Which just quite frankly isn’t the kind of thing I’d listen to).

What I really like about the album is that it is something different- a breath of fresh air. Many things come to mind when I think of different music. One thing that comes to mind would be something along the lines of Mercury Rev. Maybe it’s because I’m young, and I’m sure I will get into them when I’m older- but I just find it quite difficult to listen to the voice of the singer in Mercury Rev. Aha Shake Heartbreak is different in the sense that the Followill’s voice is very unique, but nonetheless I can really listen to it.

There are some beautiful songs on the album: my favourites are The Bucket, Slow Night So Long, Four Kicks and Soft. In Soft, you can really see what I mean when I talk about the very fast, furious and crazy music- the guitar and the drums are manic, but this is all in a good way. Where Nobody Knows is probably the most beautiful of those four mentioned above. It’s also the calmest of the songs, the most gentle. The Bucket features in my most recent post ‘Top Eleven Intros’, and definitely deserves its place. The song is arguably the most well known of the album, and is the one you’re most likely to hear on the radio.

The cover art of this CD is unexpected, but a beautiful image. It really resembles Where Nobody Knows somehow, with its calmness and elegance of a flower just floating across the water. This album is actually one of my favourites for lyrics-

With hands in the air you look like the girl at the fare

With the bubbly eyes

Stonewashed shoe pulling at a rock but the rock don’t compromise

Come up to me say, why are you so skinny and pretty for a boy?

Said thanks for the insults and compliments

You’ll never forget my face no more”  those lyrics from Where Nobody Knows.

The reason, in my eyes, as to why the album isn’t played on the radio very much is because people don’t want to listen to music that isn’t as current and are afraid of listening to Followill’s voice when it doesn’t have some sort of choir in the background. The music is also played less because there is no ‘club remix/synthesiser’ feel to it. With the likes of acoustic music such as Jake Bugg round the corner, I think this could be the time for the rebirth of Aha Shake Heartbreak. I also heard that Kings of Leon are releasing a new album this year, so hopefully they will have some more authentic, acoustic guitar.

Thanks for reading, all feedback would be fully appreciated.


My top eleven favourite intros

Posted: January 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

This is a list of my favourite intros. I would love some feedback, but please bear in mind that I’m a young teenager. So don’t expect any Johnny Cash…

The key to a good intro is the variety of sounds it brings in the thirty seconds or so there is of it. If there is to be one part of a song to grab the listeners attention with emotions and a swing it’s the intro. I would also like to point out that I like all these intros equally, and I don’t have any particular preferences, the list is at a point where I couldn’t narrow it down any further.

My first in the list is an obvious choice- Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. A perfect example of range in sounds and the intro goes for thirty three seconds.

Hardest Button To Button by The Whites Stripes is the second in the list.  It lasts thirty seven seconds and is arguably the list’s most simple.

Kings of Leon’s The Bucket is up next. Whoo! And I love the drums in this one. Twenty seven seconds.

Now comes The Strokes and Reptilia. A very cool and catchy intro. Same as no. 2 on thirty seven seconds.

Everlong by Foo Fighters. Thirty one seconds and very rock and roll.

A Certain Romance can’t be forgotten and The Arctic Monkeys have held this one for a healthy minute and eighteen seconds. A very long, catchy and rock and roll intro.

Evening/Morning by Bombay Bicycle Club is possibly the most summer-like intro on the list. Thirty three seconds.

VCR by The XX is probably the only intro on the list with a song that has a xylophone. Thirty three again.

New York City Moves To The Sound Of L.A is, out of all the intros, the one that makes you most feel like you’re at a party. Forty eight seconds.

Last but by no means least is another ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose’ (Bombay Bicycle Club album) classic with Lamplight. Another thirty seven second intro.

Because ten is too mainstream (joking) I have to include Last Night by The Strokes. Twenty seven seconds.

Others that came close

I really love the Dinosaur Jr track ‘Almost Fare’. Just by Radiohead is great but too short. Sweet Sour by Band of Skulls is again great, but there just isn’t that much of it. It’s not really an intro, but the voice in Little Acorns is too good to leave out of the post. A White Stripes classic. The bit when they actually start playing is pretty hardcore.


I find it quite difficult to compare an American godmother of grunge-punk, and an English alternative musician and left-wing activist in the same piece of text, but I’m going to do it anyway, because Patti Smith and Billy Bragg aren’t so different when stripped down to basics.

A trait that both these amazingly talented musicians have in common, is the fact that their lyrics are like a tale set to music. Billy Bragg’s beautifully expressive poetry has always brought out the emotional side of me, and equally, Patti Smith’s raw and haunting ballads can often take my breath away; as they do in ‘Waiting Underground’.

My favorite thing about the way that Patti Smith and Billy Bragg write songs is that, the situations and feelings that the artists describe, sometimes aren’t obvious, or have different meanings to different beholders; this is something that Chris Martin from Coldplay does as well when writing lyrics, and I love the imagination that arrives when I listen to the words of these really gifted vocalists.  It’s like each song is a short story, or a chapter in an autobiography.

The intro to ‘Waiting Underground’ is quite simple, but effective, there is great comparison to the opening bass and drums and the grungy electric guitar with elements of ‘welcoming’ piano. Patti’s voice rings in with strength, and lingers with every breath she takes. As soon as she’s finished the first few lines, listeners already understand the mysterious message behind her lyrics.

There by the ridge be a gathering beneath the pilgrim moon,
Where we shall await the beat of your feet hammering the earth,
Where the great ones tremble,
In their snow-white shrouds,
Waiting underground.

“Pilgrim moon” and “The great ones tremble” gives us the feeling that she’s describing some sort of magic or witchery occurring in this story that she’s trying to tell us, and she seems to be talking about a grim experience or even death when she sings

If you believe all your hope is gone,
Down the drain of your humankind,
The time has arrived.

Her voice reminds me of a tamed lion, it’s calm, but underneath the placid exterior of her vocals, there is something wild and passionate, shaking with life and soul. Everything about Patti Smith just seems to get better and better, and at 66, I don’t think she’s ever been stronger.

The boyish charm in Billy Bragg’s voice really compliments ‘A New England’, because it emphasizes the fact that at the time he wrote the song, he was a dazed and confused young man who, didn’t really know what to do with his time on earth. The intro starts with a rhythmic guitar beat, and then something magical happens, Billy Bragg’s voice announces itself in the song with:

I was twenty one years when I wrote this song,
I’m twenty two now, but I won’t be for long,
People ask when will you grow up to be a man,
But all the girls I loved at school,
are already pushing prams.

And suddenly, we’re off. Listeners have already learned that Bragg’s younger self felt under the pressure of his piers to grow up, and let go of his childhood. When he says “All the girls I loved at school are already pushing prams”  we know he felt under even more pressure to settle down, because girls that were his age, are already mothers and have families.

I saw two shooting stars last night,
I wished on them but they were only satellites,
Is it wrong to wish on space hardware,
I wish, I wish, I wish you’d care.

These are probably my favorite lyrics in the whole song, because they instantly paint a picture of this guy who’s yearning for a lost love or something. Suddenly, beat changes and the guitar seems to take over in a head bobbing solo, and after that short marvel, Billy Bragg fades out leaving us in awe.

Let me know what you think,