10 songs, 41 min, 9 min reading time.
2005: when I was just nine years old, I was very fortunate to receive a black first generation iPod Nano. It was one of the defining moments of my love for music and perhaps life generally. The iPod Nano was a great bit of kit and it still works like a treat today.
At the end of last year (2019) I thought it would be a good idea to dig it out and charge it up to find out what I was listening to from 2005-2013 (roughly) and it has been a great exercise. Very nostalgic, while reminding me that I hated school because of the way it supported extroversion and the loudest wins attitude, unsupportive of people needing their own space and time to figure things out but that rant is for another time. Music was one of the best things to get me through it alongside family and being able to listen to brilliant tunes whenever I wanted was a magical safe haven.
I didn’t want to truncate the nostalgia and confine myself, therefore I have allowed myself to do multiple playlists on this subject with this edition focusing on alphabetically sorted artist names from A-G. For those who use a scroll wheel I sorted by Music > Artists in the iPod Nano.
1) “Wake Up” – Arcade Fire
This is an incredibly powerful song. I’ve always been moved by it and am still to this today. It is from their debut album “Funeral” (2004). My Dad and I have seen them twice: once at the O2 Arena following their sensational third album “Suburbs” (2010) (a venue too big for them at the time) and once at Earls Court following the release of their fourth album “Reflektor” (2013) – this was a terrific concert with a raucous live performance (how all concerts should be). They are a Canadian band from Montreal being very family orientated consisting of two brothers and a wife of one of the brothers among many others. Not many songs can make me super pumped while being on the verge of tears.
Album: “Funeral” (2004)
Label: Arcade Fire Music
2) “Brianstorm” – Arctic Monkeys
Rousing. Anger. Confusion. Teenage angst. This is it. This is the epitome of it. Rawness, shrewdness, aggressive lyrics, the whole lot. This is growing up in the UK as a teen. On a separate note, this tune is from the second Arctic Monkeys album: “Favourite Worst Nightmare” (2007). Brian was apparently a person the Arctic Monkeys met backstage at a gig in Japan at the start of their career who was “right smooth, very LA. He just appeared with like a business card and like a round neck T-shirt and a tie loosely around it…”
Album: “Favourite Worst Nightmare” (2007)
Label: Domino Recording
3) “The Wolves (Act I and II)” – Bon Iver
This one is from Bon Iver’s first album: “For Emma, Forever Ago” (2006). Loads of films have used it and it makes you want to ball your eyes out on most listens. But for me this is what sums up Bon Iver: terrific story telling through sound and hard to understand lyrics that somehow still make complete sense.
Album: “For Emma, Forever Ago” (2008)
4) “Close To Me” – The Cure
An absolute classic. Supposedly stemming from frontman Robert Smith’s nightmares when he was a child who had caught chicken pox.
Album: “The Head On The Door (Remastered)” (1985)
5) “Bohemian Like You” – The Dandy Warhols
The car is where a lot of music discovery happens when you’re a kid and maybe when you’re an adult too (I’m not sure as I still haven’t grown up yet and don’t plan to for a while)? Prior to the advent of streaming and everything at your fingertips my Dad used to make CDs with his favourites on and this was a feature on one of the earliest ones I can remember. This oozes cool when you’re young and is probably one of the songs that inspired me to try and be in a band. It was released as the second single from the band’s third studio album, “Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia”, in August 2000.
Album: “Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia” (2000)
Label: Capitol Records
6) “Do You Realize??” – The Flaming Lips
I was addicted to this during a summer road trip around Norway taking in the spectacular Fjords. A few years later I was fortunate to see them at Alexandra Palace where they performed “The Soft Bulletin” front to back and then this and a few other classics featured in the encore. It is still one of the best (if not the best joint with Arcade Fire above) gigs I have been to: a gorgeous summer day with the sun setting through the windows while frontman Wayne Coyne got in a Zorb Ball to roll over the crowd. There were big balloons to punch across the crowd as well. It was a hectic delight. This track was released as the first single from their 2002 album “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”. It was adopted as the Official Rock Song of Oklahoma from 2009 to April 2013 – a bit of useless but lovely information for you.
Album: “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (U.S. Version)” (2002)
Label: Warner Records
7) “White Winter Hymnal” – Fleet Foxes
To me and my family, Fleet Foxes will always be the better version of Mumford and Sons, which I still stand by today. This was their first single and break-out track from their 2008 self-titled album.
Album: “Fleet Foxes” (2008)
Label: Fleet Foxes
8) “Spanish Sahara” – Foals
Foals’ second album, “Total Life Forever”, is still their pinnacle for me. Poppy and rocky in brilliant ways. My walk to school was roughly 30 minutes each way and this album along with their debut “Antidotes” got a lot of airplay. This was and still is one of my favourite songs, with maybe one of the greatest build-ups of recent times. The raw lyrics and sound come together in a special way producing a cacophonous ending. I still haven’t forgotten their Mercury Prize performance of this song from 2010.
Album: “Total Life Forever” (2010)
Label: Warner Music
9) “Hounds of Love” – The Futureheads
The Futureheads were very brave to take on a Kate Bush track. And they did it with aplomb. One of my favourite covers of all time and a song that holds its own in many ways. It was named the Best Single of 2005 by NME, so I’m not alone on this one.
Album: “The Futureheads (new version)” (2004)
Label: 679 Recordings
10) “Speak In Rounds” – Grizzly Bear
Let’s leave this edition of my iPod Nano time capsule with those haunting lyrics. Then that punch of a chorus just works so well. This is one of Grizzly Bear’s most overlooked songs as they have a lot of great ones in their repertoire but I’m not sure why this one never appears higher on their most listened to / highly rated lists. It appeared on their fourth studio album “Shields” released in 2012.
Album: “Shields” (2012)
Label: Warp Records