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Dan Condon: Sick Tunes, January 11, 2013

Free Energy (not The Cars)
Jan 11th 2013 | Dan Condon
Is it better to hate a song than have no emotional response to it whatsoever?

There's something really exciting about music that polarises opinion. Even if it means that you despise listening to it, surely a song you genuinely find offensive to listen to is better than some inoffensive pap that sits back and gnaws away at what decent taste might still remain in mainstream society?

Here are a bunch of songs that are most likely going to make you feel something – whether it be joy or anger – and maybe these strong, emotional vibes sent into the universe will be enough to convince the MOR set to take a look at themselves and start doing something interesting.

DJ Shadow's All Basses Covered Mix

This set was actually the initial inspiration for this blog, so it seems a decent place to start. At Miami's Mansion nightclub last month, the legendary DJ Shadow was approached by club management midway through his set and told that he was to finish playing immediately as the music was not suitable for the environment in which he was playing.

That very set that Shadow had put together on that night has now been posted online and, in my eyes, it's very, very good. A glorious mish-mash of samples from all over the musical spectrum interweave with snippets from film and television and other general oddities that add the kind of colour you expect from an artist as progressive as Shadow tends to be.

But, on the other hand, you kind of see why a rich kid club, as Shadow later referred to Mansion as, would take issue with some of this wild and adventurous fare. I defy you to bring this mix into any number of dipshit electro clubs around our country and, when the shit comes crashing down at around the 26-minute mark, try and escape alive.

But that doesn't make it okay for an artist to be treated the way that he was, in fact it's completely fucked, so I'm glad that the club saw it fit to apologise.

Free EnergyGirls Want Rock

This song starts out with such promise. Do you hear those guitars? Do you hear that synth? The vocal line is passable and the pre-chorus seems to suggest there's something really explosive coming. Sadly the chorus itself is a little limp and doesn't exactly get you pumped up to hear it a second time (or a third) and despite there being a great guitar solo and a rehash of that killer intro, it just seems like a big fat pile of wasted opportunity.

Yes, Free Energy's Girls Want Rock threatens to be a complete rip-off of The Cars, but it just peters off into being unremarkable. But you can't deny that this is a song some people are going to hate; it's so clean and fun and cheesy and it wants to be The Cars so very, very much and that's going to be a bitter pill for a lot of people to swallow.

On the other hand, some kids are going to slam the crap out of this song at their summer pool parties as they crack bottles of passion pop and make out and snort lines of their parents' valium (I'm only guessing this is what happens, I've never been invited to a pool party as I'm the kinda guy who swims with his shirt on).

The band's second LP Love Sign is out soon. You can stream it at Rolling Stone's website now. It'll make you super happy or super angry. I wonder what Ric Ocasek thinks?

Bring Me The HorizonShadow Moses

I'll admit it; I loved (and still love) this British band's 2010 LP There Is A Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is A Heaven, Let's Keep It A Secret, though I can't fathom why. It's dumb, sterile metalcore that tries to incorporate all kinds of subtlety and technicality but, really, just bludgeons your ears with silly synth sounds and complex rhythms that lead into quite straightforward hardcore songs with silly, juvenile lyrics. But I fucking love it.

I was excited to hear Shadow Moses, the first single from the band's forthcoming LP Sempiternal and, sure enough, it's another big fat punch in the face that screams style over substance. Yet again, I really like it and, yet again, I cannot tell you why. The big gang vocals that proclaim “we're going nowhere”, the ridiculous synthetic strings that provide the bed to Oli Sykes' opening refrain and the huge guitars that play something resembling a riff spluttering along like an outboard motor on a beat up tinny are far from brilliant, but they somehow come together to provide something very enjoyable.

There's no middle ground on this song, you'll either love it or hate it. I completely understand both sides of the coin, too.

David BowieWhere Are We Now?

I think I've already said enough. Needless to say, I love Bowie (like everyone should) but Bowie being boring fucking pisses me off.

Bone Thugs-N-HarmonyFoe Tha Love Of $$$ (Durkin Remix)

If you want to polarise, remixing an old classic tune and putting a modern spin on it is a great way to win a bunch of new fans and a whole stack of people who hate your guts. I heard this remix of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's awesome 1995 tune Foe Tha Love Of $ done by Bostonian producer Durkin this week and I had to admit that I was really impressed by the way it was made to sound like it was a completely fresh, new song. Having said that, I'm expecting fans of the song from back in the day to be incredibly pissed as the spacey, dreamy rerub of this track completely strips it of its considerable mid-'90s production charms and it makes the song sound about 500 times less tough.

If it gets people to watch this film clip again (it had been at least ten years since I last saw it) then it absolutely has to be a good thing.

I do hope 2013 has been treating you well. Email or tweet me if you have songs you want to see on this blog.

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