(as I go from place to place, I am the Passenger, and I ride and ride)
As any young person will tell you, real life is boring, or at least sounds it; as a result, I have been practicing in the great teenage art of listening to music on an iPod whenever I go anywhere new, or do anything fun without a decent soundtrack, thus blocking out any potentially new experiences, and replacing them with the same basslines I’ve heard over and over (because I only ever buy music at Christmas or on my birthday in June).
1) Lordi and Manchester
This is not to say that I consider people from Manchester to be as monstrous, ugly or aggressive as the personas in Lordi, nor am I suggesting that the two concepts are both Finnish, but simply that I listened to a Hell of a lot of Lordi during my work experience in Salford, Manchester eighteen months ago.
I think the aggression is important here; I’d just got some Lordi albums for the first time, and Babez For Breakfast had just been released, their most lyrically violent, if musically un-heavy, album. Now I can’t think of Manchester without thinking of the line ‘Hang yourself up high on the hooks; the more skin rips, the better it looks’. Funny that.
2) Classified and Paris
Not just Classified’s Hitch Hikin’ Music, Self Explanatory and Handshakes & Middle Fingers albums, but the specific song Where Are You that I just linked to; I don’t know if this was just luck, or the gods of France conspiring against musical variety, but I heard that song way more times than I needed too on supposedly ‘shuffled’ playlists.
I was in Paris in February 2012 for a school trip, when it was perpetually below zero degrees, meaning that my memories of Classified’s music are eternally linked to the idea of freezing my arse off in an Underground station; considering he’s Canadian and references ‘the underground railroad’ in Oh…Canada, I’m not sure this is a bad association to make.
3) Rise Against and Cambridge
I am aware of the slight irony in linking an anti-establishment Punk Rock band, fuelled by two decades of angsty hormones and the general Right-wingery of the Bush era, when they rose to prominence, to one of the most historic and traditional institutions in a country that once had an empire with a Queen, but ‘shuffle’ can be an odd deity at times.
I listened to all of their albums in chronological order on the way to and from the University, for absolutely no practical reason, and strangely listened to all the songs about train stations in some way while I was waiting at such places: Give It All, Swing Life Away and The Dirt Whispered.
4) Icon For Hire and Madden NFL 25
Perhaps the only thing that gets me through the inevitably repetitious commentary of sports video games (I’m sorry EA – the commentary is good for a while, but six seasons into Franchise Mode and it’s unbearable) is Icon For Hire’s self-titled second album. The only problem is that my favourite song off the record is the first one, so by the time I’ve listened to that, all I’ve done is click through a few menus to reach the start of a game.
Although listening to their Scripted album is great fun here – the heavily-chorused songs are nicely dispersed throughout the album, maximising my chances of hearing a crescendo whenever I score a touchdown.
5) Northland and Football Manager 2013
I like Celtic Metal generally, but I really like Northland specifically; it’s unashamedly simple, loud music, with no gimmicky guitar solos and plenty of vague references to Celtic mythology, despite the band’s Portuguese persuasion. Their self-titled album also includes the obligatory ‘alcohol is good’ song, a staple of halfway Scandinavian metal bands the world over; Korpiklaani wrote two songs whose titles alone are about it for Christ’s sake.
Incidentally, coring the winning goal as Where The Heroes Die hits its chorus has reaffirmed my belief in mighty Kronos as the omnipotent titan of time.