“Protected by the ejaculation of wolves”
Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Album: The Downward Spiral
Track: March of the Pigs
So today’s favourite song comes from a band that will be no surprise to see featured in this ongoing list to anyone that knows me. I am not sure I can categorically state that they are still my all time favourite band, but I can’t definitely state that they are THE most important/significant band in my music history.
Nine Inch Nails were the first band that meant something to me, that validated and understood the shit that was swirling around my head at 13 years old; the constant barrage of unstable hormones, manifesting as depression, anger and self harm.
They validated it all. They justified it all and somehow made it seem ‘normal’.
I was given ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ by good friend (who also is responsible, more than anyone, for my music obsession and progression) and it blew me away. I loved the music, but the lyrics hit me like a sledgehammer. I know that to many people the lyrics come across as childish, clumsy and a little immature, but I assure you they didn’t to a very messed up 13 year old.
So that was it, I was hooked, and have never stopped being a fan. I remember scouring record stores for everything I could get my hands on by them; they were the first band that my burgeoning record collector mentality was unleashed upon. I managed to track down every single, EP and album, even buying Record Collector magazine to try and find alternate international versions. My life revolved around hunting down ‘Halo’ releases.
Today’s favourite track doesn’t come from Pretty Hate Machine but from the later album ‘The Downward Spiral’ which was the first NIN album to come out since I had become a fan. It was a monumental record, dark, twisted, riddled with negativity and despair and, as always, the constant undercurrent of barely contained rage. Needless to say I loved it and most likely listened to nothing else for months.
I think also around this time I was taping the heavy metal TV shows on late at night (I can’t remember whether it was Noisy Mothers or Raw Power) and I saw the video for this track. It was the first real footage I had seen of NIN, sure I had a ton of posters and magazines, but this was the first actual video! To this day it is still one of my favourite music videos; it’s almost voyeuristic nature, the wanton destruction, the venom in the performance. It was everything I wanted it to be and more.
Obviously after that the bootleg videos of the legendary Woodstock performance were turning up in record stores and the official Closure video was released and I had access to all the footage I wanted, but this was the first, and still my favourite.
So this is it, the track. I have to say it’s my favourite track by NIN mostly due to the thrill I felt when I first saw that video, but also because it still gives me a big ass grin every time I hear that drumbeat kick in…Enjoy!
Nine Inch Nails – March of the Pigs
Artist: Wishbone Ash
Album: New England
Track: Outward Bound
So, another favourite song, but first a sort of story:
I was telling my friend about doing this and reeled of a handful of songs that I was going to be listing and she exclaimed “but they’re not ‘metal’?”, well “no” I said, “I guess not”. So I thought about this and came to the following conclusion; I don’t have many favourite metal songs (although I would consider myself an ardent metal/heavy music fan) and I think it may go some way to explain my inability to pick a definitive list of favourite albums.
I love metal, truly I do, but metal is so all encompassing that it’s rare a single song will stand out to me. Sure there are riffs, lyrics, solos etc. that floor me every time, but on the whole I can’t pick stand out tracks as I just love the albums and the bands. So you see? It’s hard to pick favourites that are purely metal, it would be like trying to pick a favourite shade of my favourite colour.
So there you go, that’s why a lot of my favourite songs aren’t metal, but rest assured there will be a few metal tracks over the course of this little series.
I mentioned the magical word ‘riff’ before, and it is truly a magical word. The ‘riff’ has defined and guided my musical taste for as long as I can remember. As I’ve got older it’s maybe diverged a little to encompass the ‘melody’ or the ‘hook’ but it’s always essentially the ‘riff’. So it’s fitting that today’s choice is what it is.
I can’t remember the date or even my age when I first heard this song, but I know I must have been under 10. It was on a copied tape that a friend of my Dad’s (who deserves a blog post in his honour as one of the early fire starters when it came to my obsession with music) had copied for him. I remember I used to raid my dad’s tapes to listen to on my walkman in the car, and this day it happened to be this tape.
It is without a doubt the first time my brain got it’s taste of the ‘riff’. I remember that feeling of utter joy of hearing something so simple yet awesomely powerful and electrifying. The twin lead guitars just fried my mind, the simple back and forth, the solos, the way the song twisted and wound around the simple base riff… I was utterly hooked.
This, then, is when I found my first love; the almighty riff. I give you:
Wishbone Ash - Outward Bound
Artist: The Rolling Stones
Album: 40 Licks
Track: Gimme Shelter
OK, so I was going to try and work out some kind of order to these favourite songs post and work up to my favourite, but that was impossible.
You see, I couldn’t ever tell you my favourite album, hell I’d struggle with a top 10, but I can categorically tell you my all time favourite song. This is a song by a band I don’t own a single album by, never seen live, and honestly don’t even really like that much.
So this is it; my all time favourite song.
There’s no great story, no deep meaningful reason for picking it. I just flat out adore it. Everything about it perfect to me. I could wax lyrical about the driving riff, the tempos, the passionate female vocals, Jagger’s restrained yet emotive delivery etc etc, but all of that is irrelevant compared to how it makes me ‘feel’.
Every time I hear it it gives me goosebumps. I think I could honestly listen to it on repeat for days.
So here you go, my all time favourite song:
Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter.
Artist: The Cure
Album: The Crow Soundtrack
I can remember clearly as anything being lent the CD of the Crow soundtrack by a great friend of mine, the film hadn’t come out yet but I was hooked instantly. The soundtrack features some of my favourite bands from that time; Nine Inch Nails, STP, RATM and of course The Cure.
Whilst I listened to the CD constantly, it was always the Cure track that stood out for me, even more so once I had seen the film. The film instantly became one of my favourite films ever, and I can honestly say had a massive and fundamental impact on me and my personality. Not in the horrific Halloween Goth ‘lets dress up as the Crow’ kinda way, more the themes of love and revenge and that some emotions can transcend life and death, the power a person can wield when their loved ones are hurt or threatened.
“Buildings burn, people die, but real love is forever.”
Anyway, so here’s that Cure song, and be sure to check back for more of my all time favourite songs over the next few weeks.
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