I felt I would make my first theme a very positive one, in line with how I'm feeling currently. The theme on this playlist is empowerment, creating that mood where you feeling saying a generous fuck you to the world, people and negative influences. It is a playlist aimed to make you feel like you can take on the universe with a massive smile on your face and an inflated ego. It is, as John Grant says in the featured track GMF designed to make you feel like the 'greatest motherfucker your ever gonna' meet'.
Track 1: Strong As an Oak- Watsky, from the album Cardboard Castles (2013)
Starting off a calmer tone, I felt Watsky's Strong As an Oak would be a perfect start with its chilled backing and incisive lyrics which get right to the core. A social commentary on how we link happiness with wealth, Watsky spits off lyrics quicker and smarter than almost any of his contemporaries, telling you not to worry because you're going to be 'a-ok because I'm strong as an o-a-k'. I chose this song because Watsky's optimism shines through this track and really eases you into a nice sense of place in the world, it makes you feel part of a group and realise everything is perspective, so chin up the sun is shining.
Track 2: I Got Love- The King Blues, from the album Save the World, Get the Girl (2008)
Trying to maintain the sense of place and optimism from Watsky's Strong As an Oak, The King Blues are stepping in with their most popular song I Got Love. A song about equality, unity and love, the King Blues take their punk philosophy and turn anger into love; heck they 'have got so much love' they can't help but shout it out. A song to further increase that grin already on your face, I Got Love is the perfect boost to this playlist making you feel like you're on top of the world, yet somehow adding a little bit of passion to it. Now it's not just about feeling good, it's about raising your fists in the air, yelling it out loud and making sure you pass it onto others.
Track 3: Two Fingers- Jake Bugg, from the album Jake Bugg (2012)
Now it's time to up the ante and start to add a bit of attitude to this playlist. One of the main components of feeling empowered is to have an attitude to feel like you can just bash down the walls around you and, as Jake Bugg so aptly says, 'hold two fingers up to yesterday'. This is the perfect track to really make your heart pick up pace, yet look to the the past and realise that you're 'here to stay'. It has been a tricky path to navigate so now's the time to reflect relax, turn to the ghosts of yesterday and flip them the bird. Two Fingers aptly builds upon the passion of I Got Love and adds a darker cathartic note to this playlist.
Track 4: No Hope- The Vaccines, from the album Come of Age (2012)
So now the Vaccines are strolling in with their anthem for the youth about vanity, egotism and what it means to be young. No Hope is an honest account about the selfish pursuits of youth and the point in your life where you have to grow up, drop your childish egotism because it is only a defense against the crippling insecurities within. The aim of this song is to make you realise that we are all flawed, we all have those moments of 'no hope' where we have to 'come of age' but don't worry if you are honest to yourself and others you will emerge a stronger person. It is at this point we are begin to enter the dark more complex side of empowerment where have to stare weakness in the face.
Track 5: Where Da Money Go?- The Jim Jones Revue, from Savage Heart (2013)
I think its about time to up the ante and introduce to you The Jim Jones Revue, a band who I knew from the start would have to be on this list. Their powerful riffs, old school rock and roll vibe plus some of the grittiest, most powerful vocals you may ever get chance tohear. Where Da Money Go? is when this playlist really starts to get the pulse going and bring your blood to the boil, a song which screams at your enemies both real and fake with the potent words, 'you're a liar'. This song is here to make you angry, so let go, absorb the lyrics and imagine its directed at someone who you despise. To feel empowered you have to get angry and feel aggressive; so scream it, shout, swear, just get it out!
Track 6: Fuck The Universe- Ryan Adams, from Love is Hell (2003)
Staying much on the theme set up by The Jim Jones Revue, Fuck the Universe is a song with extremely powerful vocals from the modern legend Ryan Adams who wails at his inner torment as he slowly comes to the realisation he's 'a faker'. A song so well produced and written you cannot help be roused by this powerful message of self-torment which he literally screams for half the song. Through the use of compression and fuzz effects the song becomes blurry and confused, with a message which seems so vague most of the time. Though that is the point, when looking at our inner demons and cursing everyone around us we are literally saying, 'fuck you and fuck the universe'. This is the part of the playlist where we enter the darkest part of feeling empowered, the bit when we face our own demons even though they seem to tear us apart.
Track 7: Problems- Sex Pistols, from Never Mind the Bollocks! (1977)
A playlist about empowerment and kicking out against the forces we feel oppressed by couldn't really be whole without the Sex Pistols could it? Taking a classic song from one of the most famous albums of all time Problems is the Sex Pistols' usual tongue in cheek blast at the man, whilst waving the flag of anarchy high above their Mohawks. Maintaining the passion instilled from previous songs yet turning it something more rebellious rather then plain angry. Problems is the point where you've faced your demons, explored the self and blamed all those close to you, so now it's only natural to turn against the government because, let's face it, they don't exactly put the free in freedom now. To feel truly empowered you've got to feel greater than anything and that includes the society we live. Long live anarchy!
Track 8: House of Dreams- Bliss n Eso, from House of Dreams EP (2013)
Marking the most drastic change in this playlist the Australian sensations Bliss n Eso are strolling in with their unique brand of hip hop which has gained them fame and praise wherever they stroll. Of all the things I have assured in this playlist, saying that Bliss n Eso's lyrics are outstanding is the one I will stand by the most, for every time they pick up the mic they really do create, as so aptly said at the beginning of the song, 'poetry in motion'. In their newest outing they provide this playlist with the relief that it now craves by blessing us with a feel good song aimed at making you feel amazing. So enjoy the moment because feeling at one and feeling empowered will 'set you free'.
Track 9: You and Whose Army?- Radiohead, from Amnesiac (2001)
You could probably predict that any playlist containing self reflection would contain Radiohead but have no fear this is one of their tracks which whilst sung in their famous melancholy, deep fashion is actually a very rousing song which really brings this playlist to a nice slow place. With thumping bass, beautifully played guitar and Thom Yorke's unmistakable voice Radio in You and Whose Army? Radioheard are summoning all the extraneous and internal forces to come at them, to take them on because you shouldn't underestimate them. You and Whose Army is aimed to bring this playlist to a nice relaxed level before we enter out final song and to make you feel like you have nearly become tough enough to take on the world. Yes you are very nearly fully empowered. So 'come on, come on'.
Track 10 [featured track]: GMF- John Grant, from Pale Green Ghosts (2013)
So we arrive the last track, the one this whole playlist has been building towards. A fantastic song from the haunted soul of John Grant singing about his ex-boyfriend Charlie. If any song was ever made to make you feel better after the most awful of situations it is this one. John Grant, a homosexual who is HIV positive, has had problems with his sexuality, alcohol and drugs, is probably one of the most inspiring men on the music scene at moment. GMF which stands for Greatest Motherfucker, just in case you had not realised, is a track which seems to ridden with Grant's personal torment and anger, is a self reflexive piece which employs a very quirky, almost humorous lyrically narrative which you can't help but smile along to. It hones into the essence of empowerment, which is being able to take all these personal flaws, all these extraneous forces which press down on you and turning them into nothing. You cannot help but feel empowered by the poignant chorus which proudly proclaims 'I am the greatest motherfucker you're ever gonna meet, from the top of my head, down to the tips of the toes of my feet' because hell you are and don't forget it. GMF is constantly dotted with Grant's insecurities where he views himself as 'the underdog' and I think this is a very apt statement in the context of this playlist because aren't we all underdog's in our minds? The most important thing to take from this song is that empowerment isn't about being cocky, egotistical or angry, it's about honesty, knowing your place and being happy within yourself to occupy that place.
Got Spotify? Then follow this link to a playlist with all the songs on... Greatest Motherfucker: 06/06/2013
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