Another Friday which means another Essential Weekly Playlist! This week it’s the turn of Anna Rest Easy, aka Ruth Dixon to share what songs she couldn’t live on a desert island without. The new Anna Rest Easy album, ‘Retrospectre’, is out now, and is available on iTunes. You can also get Anna Rest Easy’s EP, ‘Shrink Wrap‘ on iTunes.
Goldfrapp – ‘Simone’
It wasn’t easy to settle on one Goldfrapp song. After much deliberation, I can now admit to myself that “Tales of Us” is my favourite of their albums, and I have especially warmed to this track. She has the most chilling voice and poetic turn of phrase, and this song is a particularly heart-wrenching example.
Aurora – ‘Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)’
I have a tendency towards dark simplicity, so I truly wish I had written this. EVERYTHING about this song is wonderful – guitar, melody, harmony, lyrics, and even the music video. A perfect song for the darkest of days (something I’ve come to expect from Norwegian songwriters). Very hard pick between this and ‘Running With The Wolves’.
Yazoo – ‘Only You’
The only real “pop classic” on my list, this song is a beautifully simple love song with SO much charm, it’s almost sickening. My emotional connection to it is probably because it was used in the final seen of the UK TV sit-com “The Office”, which I love and have seen countless times.
Susanne Sundfør – ‘Rome’
I honestly believe this to be amongst the greatest works of genius ever written. I’m not sure exactly what the lyrics are about, but part of the appreciation I have for it is that it affects and speaks to me through melody and instrumentation alone, and, whilst I don’t know the exact meaning of the words, their phonetic movements are simply a glory to behold.
David Bowie – ‘Within You’
From the soundtrack to one of my favourite films, “The Labyrinth”, this song is just so incredibly written, and a beautiful portrayal of the complex emotions Bowie’s character is experiencing in that Escher-inspired scene in the film.
Christina Aguilera – ‘Hurt’
I’m not usually into big pop princess ballads, but this is an absolute tune – it literally hasn’t a note or word out of place, and as Christina is such a stellar vocalist, the delivery is really powerful. I probably catch myself singing this to myself once a month or so, and subsequently getting rather upset that it’s an extremely (and deceptively) difficult song to sing and I’ll never be good enough to cover it.
Harrys Gym – ‘The Part That Falls’
A band close to my heart, and a particularly unique and emotional track of theirs. Not only is it lyrically and melodically beautiful, but it has this GENIUS delay on the entire vocal line that has the most incredible effect.
Katzenjammer – ‘Soviet Trumpeter’
I know it seems like I’ve had a lot of Norwegian songs on this list, but seriously, to only pick four was a real challenge. Katzenjammer had a lot of great songs on their first two albums, but this one takes the prize. It actually startled me when I first heard it – it’s a wildly fascinating piece of music, full of the most satisfying chord progressions and powerful/emotive language. Moreover, it is spookily similar to a song I wrote as a teenager (and that is on my debut album), called “Interval”, so I kind of feel like the two songs are soulmates, which of course is stupid.
Sia – ‘Straight for the Knife’
A song after my own heart, boldly taking on as its subject matter one of the most horrific of emotional afflictions: rejection. A song that makes one feel understood is a song worth at least a weekly listen. Lovely line: “If your goal was to love, you scored an epic miss, and now you’ll just have memories.”
Sigur Ros – ‘Festival’
Yeah, I can’t tell you what this song is about, but its emotional impact on me was inevitable – the first time I heard it was in the cinema, watching ‘127 Hours’, shortly after the guy chops off his arm. I fainted, because I faint at anything. Fainting is a weirdly emotional sensation, and though unconscious and unable to move, I could still hear the song playing. It’s obviously a massively emotional part of that film – complex in that it’s disgusting, upsetting and uplifting all at the same time, and the song is a great fit. Pretty sure I remember months later listening to the song in the car and hearing my brother sing along to the melody: “Chop….off my arm….chop chop chop…”