Do you ever get dismayed at the sheer volume of wildly decent music all the talented minstrels of the world are pouring out? I do, I really do. There seems to be an endless stream of decent tracks and who in the name of Ravishing Rick Rude in crotchless leather pantaloons can keep up? So, to help you folk narrow down and tune in, every Thursday we’ll be putting out a brief list of songs titled Tracks of the Mo featuring some of the top tracks that we at Riot Radio find impossible to not rinse and repeat.
Jamie XX – Gosh
I do adore a great opening track. It’s the hallmark of a great album, the set up of what is to come, the headlights that stun the possum. But there’s a precise art to a decent opener, a certain energy that gently pulls the listener in, but hey not too wildly there chuck, as the opener should never be the peak of an album. The key to a great opening track is you must
keep a lid on the the energy. It must be like a siren, its finger inviting – nay – luring the listener into the waters so placid. But then it builds, grows, and becomes choppy rising into a gentle tumult and before we know it we’re mesmerised, five tracks in and snogging the seductress.
Opening track, Gosh, by Jamie XX from his debut of miscellany, In Colour, is a great example of that art and now sits firmly on my mental list of great opening scorchers. It cracks off with a chugging break sample, the kind you find knocking about the recesses of an old discarded hard drive. Enter a throbbing bass for momentum, sample after sample looping and growing unassumingly into a gentle crescendo and the rest of the album is set to its banging tempo. Needless to say, when this song comes on my device, the fucker gets played out, in full, loudly. Definitely a track of the mo. Smoke em if you got em.
Cymbals – Winter ‘98
This ditty has been on my Tracks of the mo list for quite some time now, and doesn’t seem likely to fall off any time soon. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is about it that has me so enamoured. Although it is an opener, I wouldn’t put it up there with the best, but it does have that slow-building throb I bant on about that so often gets me juicy. Maybe it’s the vocalist’s singing manner with his das-eighties Kraftwerk, hyper spandau disco filtering? I love it.
If you haven’t heard of Cymbals they’re a bunch of London lads well worth investigation. Their 2013 album, Age of Fracture, is full of that synthy eighties shite that is rife at the moment – And I’m not slagging ‘em off, I really can’t get enough of it. Keep it coming.
Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta
And why not finish this petite list off with some hip hop. By the hair of Churchill’s pate, King Kunta by Kendrick Lamar is a fetching song that embeds itself firmly in the listener’s mind. The track meanders with a funky souled-out beat but Kendrick’s vocals lifts it up, driving it along even despite ad hoc cuts and breaks, samples, low pitch vocal fillers.
Lyrically, it’s a simple song, but there’s something in the rhymology that really makes you pay attention. With their improv type feel, the lyrics could be so disposable, but Kendrick demands you listen. “I got a bone to pick,” he says, “I don’t want you monkey-mouth motherfuckers sittin’ in my throne again!” Okay, noted Kendrick, we’ll stay out of your throne. “I’m mad (he mad) but I ain’t stressin…” And on he goes. The lyrics unfold, and at first seem rather trite, but there’s something there. Is Kendrick saying something in his references to Bill Clinton, Richard Pryor and lyrical nods to Michael Jackson, and what exactly does he mean by yams, you start asking yourself. Tune in to see who has the yams.
Those are my three tracks of the mo; a right perky wee track selection. Tune again next week for more.