Cluney’s Top Tens: London

August 17, 2009 by  

libertines

As both a music lover and a hopeless pedant, I feel the urge to rate and rank my musical likes and dislikes constantly. If, when walking down the street, I see a bus heading toward Brixton, of course my immediate thought is “Guns of Brixton, maybe number 4 in my top Clash Songs chart.”

My next thought may well be “Oh yeah, Dub Be Good to Me. That wasn’t half bad either. But is it better than the Verve sampling The Rolling Stones for Bittersweet Symphony?”

In order to ease my aching brain as well as providing you, the music loving public, with an opportunity to argue for and against your own favourites, I will be laying out a themed Top Ten each month for your entertainment and discussion!

As a nice easy intro for you and me, I thought I should begin with a little presentation of the best music on offer about or from my home city. And so it begins:

The Top Ten “London” Songs

1. London Calling by The Clash. An easy choice this. Everything about this song is perfection. From the snarling challenge of the chorus down to the “Yeah it’s raining, but fuck it, we don’t care” video, “London Calling” is probably the best song ever to alienate the rest of the country with its lazy superiority. “London Calling to the faraway towns…” Brilliant.

2. Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks. It is completely impossible to look over the Thames at sunset without “Waterloo Sunset” playing gently in the back of your mind. And rightly so. An essential tune.

3.Dark Streets of London by The Pogues. A bit of an unexpected choice I know, but its blend of whimsy and edge perfectly reflects the different faces of the capital. “I drink with my friends down the Hammersmith Broadway, the dirty, delightful old, drunken old times”

4. Sheila by Jamie T. The biggest hit from Wimbledon’s favourite son comes in quite high on my list. Although it’s sometimes hard to make out if Jamie is speaking English, let alone which accent, Sheila is a gritty tale of drunken cockney madness.

5. Down In The Tube Station at Midnight by The Jam. No count of London’s best would be complete without at least one Weller tune. You could pretty much have picked from any of about five to make the list, but this makes it on grounds of relevance

6. Parklife by Blur. Blur manfully shouldered the burden of representing all us “Soft Southerners” during the nineties. While most of the country strutted around in anoraks muttering “soonshiiiiiiine!” under their breath, Blur were the sound of greyhound racing, bookies, city boozers and black cabs. Parklife was the single that summed this up the best.

7. Up the Bracket by The Libertines. The Libertines are a difficult band for me. They both summed up all the edge and danger that music has to offer, but pissed it away with the same old ego-driven bickering. When they were in full voice, they painted a picture of a seedy underworld of hardmen, lovable scamps and Dickensian mischief.

8. LDN by Lily Allen. A bright, sharp and amusing caricature of London and its inhabitants, if understandably exaggerated. How often do you see pimps and crack whores shooting the breeze in Central anyway? Lily wears her background on her sleeve (now that she’s ditched those dress/trainer combo’s) and it is obvious how much inspiration she has drawn from her surroundings.

9. London by The Smiths. Any song by The Smiths about “The Big Smoke” is going to have to be squeezed onto the list. Morrissey sings of the inevitable draw of the big city and the callousness with which it rejects those who can’t make the cut. He’s a clever bloke, that Morrissey. If only he wasn’t such an unbearable twat.

10. London Boys by David Bowie. A song about a naïve young suburbanite being seduced utterly by the glitz and glamour of the city proper. One of the early works from a sophisticated London gentleman.

Honourable mention goes to Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue” and The Rakes “22 Grand Job”.

So there you go. Do you agree, disagree or are you so angry that you’re frothing at the mouth? Let us know your own opinions and be prepared to disagree all over again next month!

By Liam Clune


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