Remember those halcyon days when you would buy an album from Our Price or Woolworths? As soon as you walked through the door it would be – kettle on, hi-fi ready and then you could listen to the entire album whilst studying the sleeve notes to find out exactly what the hell they were singing about on track five.
Has the art of the album been destroyed by the Ipod/Spotify generation? Who even listens to an album in chronological order? Do we just cherry pick the singles and skip the rest? The art of an album is something that shouldn’t be lost in the current climate, so HTF are asking music fans to make their own fantasy album from tracks one to ten. The rules are simple(ish): they can’t repeat an artist, and to just make it that little bit more interesting – they have to use the same track number from another album ie track one could be the opening track of the wonderful Stone Roses’ debut ‘I Wanna Be Adored‘, track two could be Blur’s ‘Song 2‘. You get the idea.
First up is Brit pop legend Johnny Dean from Menswe@r with his fantasy album named mixtape (in lowercase, as requested).
1. ‘Dog Eat Dog’ – Adam & the Ants
Adam Ant is a national treasure. I think most people are just starting to figure this out. The whole pirate/apache/rakehell thing really draws me in. Always has. A great opener this. Those tribal drums. Chanting. They were a real “gang”.
2. ‘Are Friends Electric’ – Gary Numan
Listen to those synths! Massive. Another treasure, Numan. A pioneer. Although he owes a great debt to John Foxx. When I first heard this tune as a kid it ripped my head off. Changed everything. Forever.
3. ‘Teardrop’ – Massive Attack
One of my favourite bands. And probably my favourite album from the 90’s. Sublime song this. Mezzanine was a watershed moment for me. I already loved electronica, hip hop, dance, but the sheer darkness conveyed by this album really took a hold. Something really clicked. Love these guys.
4. ‘Life On Mars?’ – David Bowie
Has to be a Bowie track here and I reckon this is one of the best. From the album where he actually became David Bowie. A masterpiece from beginning to end. Sheer, unadulterated genius. And this song is untouchable. Untouchable.
5. ‘Lowdown’ – Wire
Couldn’t do this without including one of the songs that influenced ‘Daydreamer‘(classic Menswe@r single). And it’s a beauty. Brilliant vocal delivery on this track. The whole thing swaggers as well. Wire had a big effect on me when I first heard them. As I think they did on a few of my contemporaries.
6. ‘Billie Jean’ – Michael Jackson
A childhood hero. One of, if not his best, songs. Really simple. Sparse. Hardly anything there, drums, synth stabs, vocals and THAT bass line. Pure pop perfection. But with a sinister edge.
7. ‘Nightporter’ – Japan
One of the most underrated bands of all times. I mean that whole heartedly. Brilliant musicians. Great songwriters. Well ahead of the game as well. One day they’ll get the respect they deserve. Everyone just has to catch up. This isn’t considered their strongest album but this song is a highlight. Beautiful. Gets me a little tearful.
8. ‘Duchess’ – Scott Walker
For me, this is the best song written by a man for a woman ever. Ever. Nothing comes near. It’s what you’d expect from this guy. It’s incredibly beautiful. Painfully so. And raw. The lyric “makes me feel like a thief when you’re bleeding” gets me everytime.
9. ‘The Chauffeur’ – Duran Duran
Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran keyboard wizard) deserves to be canonised for this. That is all.
10. ‘Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ – The Velvet Underground
Crikey! Another maudlin one. This is just lovely. From their country album. Lou Reed did self pity so well. His voice was generally quite cocky, streetwise, but here it’s so fragile. This tune, all seven minutes plus, is one of those you end a crazy evening with. Perfect.
An introspective look into the mind of Johnny Dean. Could you do better? Feel free to give your fantasy album suggestions below.
Menswe@r are playing Camden Rocks on the 30th of May alongside a host of quality acts that include Funeral For A Friend, Little Comets and Skindred. Tickets are still available.