I hate picking favourites, don’t you? When I was eight and had a book in which I was supposed to write my favourite things, I decided my favourite colour (singular) was ‘pink and purple and silver and gold and green’. Selecting a favourite is tough, and as we get older and are presented with the many choices the world has to offer, it only gets more difficult.
This is particularly true where music is involved; sure, we’ll shed the bad taste from our younger years (goodbye, Another Level!), but we hang on to the good stuff and add to it compulsively until it’s almost impossible to say with conviction that there’s one song, or even one album, that is better than the rest.
However, we got six Scottish musicians to have a bash at it. It’s interesting to find out what songs some of our favourite music makers hold in high regard, especially when some of the answers are deliciously unexpected. If you had to pick a favourite song, what would you choose?
By Natasha Radmehr
Scott Hutchison (Frightened Rabbit)
Nine Inch Nails – A Warm Place
“It’s unlikely that I’ll ever give heroin a bash, but if I was to go down the Pellow route, I’d like to think the first time would sound like this. Equal parts sinister threat and heart-stirring beauty, this song probably got played over 300 times in the week that I bought The Downward Spiral. And what the fuck’s with that noise at the end? A mad crack-pipe sex act? A poor attempt at playing a flute? Blow Football? Fuck knows. This remains one of the most perfect, complete and inspiring slices of music I’ve ever heard.”
Boston – More Than A Feeling
“Aaaaaargghhh! I was going to go with Waiting For A Star To Fall by Boy Meets Girl, but then More Than A Feeling by Boston usurped them at the last minute. I think it is my favourite song of all time – well, it’s definitely the song that always puts a smile on my face (a fucking achievement) and has me reaching for my air guitar and tuner. It has everything you need for a classic rock song: nice acoustic guitars, blazing solos, combed power chords, claps and shit lyrics. This is the song I’d let God hear in court as humanity’s defence.”
James Hamilton (Errors)
David Bowie – Modern Love
“When I was asked to submit my favourite song I realised just how incredibly tough a decision it was. After much self-deliberation (not a euphemism, get your mind out of the gutter) I found myself leaning in favour of Modern Love by David Bowie. Okay, so you may argue that Modern Love isn’t as good a song as say Suffragette City or Cat People, or as iconic as Ziggy Stardust or Space Oddity, but since this is about personal preference then keep your arguments to yourself, chum. Modern Love is a song I could listen to endlessly. It makes me happier than any piece of music in the world. It’s got that relentlessly driving rhythm, it is unashamedly upbeat and full of gratuitous sax, but the whole song is underpinned by a casual minor-key central riff and unconventionally nihilistic lyrics. It simultaneously embraces the bombastic 80s pop-rock aesthetic and laughs in its face. And the video is hilarious. But more importantly than all of that, it’s just a bloody brilliant song.”
Black Flag – Depression
“I clearly remember hearing this song for the first time. It was whilst watching a skateboarding video called Streets On Fire. I stopped the video and rewinded it over and over to hear the song again before holding my old tape recorder up to the TV so that I could have it. It made me feel alive. It still does.”
“I know this may sound clichéd but it reminds me of summer. The summer of 2009 to be exact. I had just finished four years of uni and was heading down to ATP with some of my best friends. The weekend was amazing, and Grizzly Bear were definitely one of the highlights for me. I couldn’t stop playing their album Veckatimest the whole summer and track 2, Two Weeks, in particular always makes me smile, reminding me of all the fun times we had that weekend and that summer.”
“I can’t think of a song that sounds better. What I love most is the way the song sounds. Ronnie Spector’s voice and phrasing are what make it so special – the way her voice breaks on the high passes and her vibrato are really powerful. The drums with the castanets and shakers sound amazing. The length of the song is absolutely perfect too. It’s just a perfect song and pop nutcase Phil Spector is behind the wheel too – his finest hour.”