Elliot finally returns with his mega-famous Songs of the Week series. Elliot talks about songs which you might have never ever heard of but they are well worth checking out – he is the world’s best music critic after all!
15th July 2021
Welcome back to probably one of the most inconsistent [not very weekly] weekly blog segments you will ever encounter, where I find songs which I have enjoyed and talk about them, making the assumption that the world relishes in hearing my opinion. This in turn feeds into my ever-expanding ego and superiority complex until I have convinced myself that I am the only person who truly understands music as I set out to kidnap, torture and silence every other music critic that does not agree with me.* That being said, here are some of my favourite tracks that I have been listening to this week.
The Ultracheese – Arctic Monkeys
The final track off of Arctic Monkeys’ sixth commercial album Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino is The Ultracheese, a heavily Bowie-influenced venture into Alex Turner’s vision of a dystopia for celebrity. It is a look into a man’s mind whose loneliness caused by a loss of friendships and detachment from society leaves him paranoid. Turner’s characteristic lilting vocals beautifully accompany his piano as the song progresses, maintaining an almost lounge-like style.
If you take a step back and look at this song with the conceptual context of the album in mind, rather than a standalone reminiscent pondering, this in fact appears to be Turner once again imagining this hotel, on the moon, as a residence for those celebrities who have long passed out of the limelight. I would even go so far as to say this song portrays a man looking back at the Earth, where they once lived, thinking of those friends that he has left behind. Although in the first person, for me it is hard to say whether Turner is talking about what his future may look like or utilising a larger scope and predicting the doom of his peers as well.
Did these songs predict the future?
It is also worth mentioning that, while dystopian to most extents, day by day this album as a whole seems to be becoming more relevant with lyrics such as ‘no one’s on the streets’ and ‘we moved it all online as of March’ which very weirdly predicts the time at which the UK went into lockdown last year. I could not recommend this album or song enough. Since its release, verging on three years ago now, both have continued to grow on me with its unique imagery and luscious production. This huge musical left turn for the band took many fans by surprise but the Arctic Monkeys’s seemingly outdated grunge sound was in dire need of a replacement.
Rapp Snitch Knishes – MF DOOM, Mr. Fantastik
It would be a crime to have not included, at some point, MF DOOM in one of these track lists. In light of his recent passing, it only seemed fitting to me. In 2004, ‘your rapper’s favourite rapper’ released Madvillainy and subsequently one of my favourite tracks off of it – Raid. Madvillainy was a collaboration album between prestigious hip hop sample producer Madlib and obviously DOOM.
To start off with, Madlib’s genius use of a sample taken from Bill Evans’ trios performance of Nardis at the Montreaux Jazz Festival is looped throughout and produces a very laid-back jazz lounge feel to the intro of this track. Furthermore, DOOM’s lyricism and sheer quantity of rhymes produced is, as always, unparalleled with lines such as ‘wrote the book on rhymes, a note from the author // with no headshot he said it’s been a while,’ flaunting the fact that he can rhyme so well whilst also explaining that as the author of the ‘book on rhymes’ he still covers his face with a mask preserving his identity.
Overall, I love this track and every single one off of Madvillainy: it caught DOOM and Madlib at their very best, an instant classic. This album was one of the first albums that introduced me to hip hop and opened my eyes to the genre and out of all rap and hip hop production it has still remained one of my very favourites. I cannot recommend MF DOOM’s entire discography enough – he is the underground king of hip hop.
Dump – Kero Kero Bonito
Dump is British, electronic, J-Pop influenced, indie band Kero Kero Bonito’s statement on getting rid of old things that you do not need anymore. Having surprised me with their fusion of rather cheery sounding electronic music and conscious lyricism while watching them live for the first time at End of the Road Festival in 2019, Kero Kero Bonito enlightened me to a huge new world of music I had previously neglected.
Dump, although the production is somewhat simplistic and midi centralised, it really emphasises the band’s clear desire to maintain many aspects of dance music. Sarah Bonito, the band’s lead singer on this track, expresses her sadness in throwing her dead parakeet’s cage on the dump and this feeling is reflected in the, more sorrowful than usual, production on this track. I would heavily recommend this song and this band’s music with recent projects like their ‘Civilisation Series’. I would jump on the bandwagon now before their eclectic style of music truly spikes in popularity.
*In the interest of not jeopardising future job applications and as to not be the next guest featuring on a CANCELLED blog segment, this is sarcasm.
Check out all the songs featured in this series below!
Check out Elliot’s own music below!