Friday, October 3, 2008

20 Songs to Relax to on a Hot Summer’s Evening

This is a totally self-indulgent list, but I encourage anyone who reads it to take time to listen to these tracks, with a beer in hand, and tell me they aren’t classics. Mind you if you’ve sat through them all on said evening, then your are probably snoozing in an alcohol induced sleep. So in no particular order:-

Big Log (Robert Plant) - This solo effort from the Led Zeppelin frontman captures the mood of solitary reflection and contemplation while on the road. A fine effort.

On the Beach (Chris Rea) – From the guitar master with the gravelly voice. This smooth combination of a catchy beat overlain with keyboards and a relaxing guitar riff runs for almost 7 minutes. It’s well worth the time though.

That’s Entertainment (The Jam) – Paul Weller at his best. This track is a great reflection of urban life in the late 70’s, but also holds true for urban life today in many areas.

Last Train to Heaven (Paul Kelly & the Coloured Girls) – As well as being on the album gossip, this mellow track can also be found on the surfing film Jungle Jetset. Paul Kelly remains a classic Australian musician.

Girls on the Avenue (Richard Clapton) – Perhaps not too well known outside Australia. An ode to girls of negotiable affection.

Maybe Tomorrow (Stereophonics) – Great stuff from these guys. Strikes the balance of melancholy with a simple chord progression.

Walking in the Sunshine (Bad Manners) – The ska boys in rare reflective mood, but intent on drinking red wine. This song has a saxophone ‘riff’ that just resonates and is, in my humble opinion, one of the best uses of the saxophone in ‘pop’.

Long Hot Summer (Style Council) – If this song doesn’t relax you, then nothing will. One of the first Style Council songs, from the summer of 1983.

Slave (James Reyne) – The Australian Crawl lead singer in solo form. A bit of late night classic to wind people down.

Every Kind of People (Robert Palmer) – The late Robert Palmer’s cover of this song from 1978 leaves you feeling laid back and tolerant of the other occupants of this planet of ours.

School (Supertramp) – Classic use of the keyboards and a song that ebbs and flows. May be not their best song, but many people will know the piano hook from the mid-section of this song.

Saturday Night (Cold Chisel) – One of Australia’s finest rock bands. Sadly not well-known outside the antipodes. This is one of many great songs. Good use of recorded sounds from a pub in the intro.

Cars and Girls (Prefab Sprout) – Under-rated and under-played, Prefab Sprout were the master of the melodic pop song. This one will take you on smooth journey.

Take it Easy (The Eagles) – One of the earliest, but one of the best songs from the Eagles. Just under three minutes of country-pop that won’t leave you bored.

La Viguela (Gotan Project) – This combination of French and Argentinean musicians will get you wanting to dance the tango, but you’ll be able to resist this and just enjoy the flow of the music, while imagining latin scenes in far away Buenos Aires.

This Too Will Pass (Rodney Crowell) – Rodney is big in the USA, I believe. I only have two CD’s but this optimistic song stands out as a country-pop classic.

In These Shoes (Kirsty MacColl) – The late Kirsty MacColl shows her sense of humour and latin musical influences on this track, which has been used extensively in advertising.

Summertime (Gerry & the Pacemakers) – What can I say about this. This cover is just silky-smooth even after all these years. Cole Porter would be proud.

Kiss Me (Sixpence None the Richer) – A short-lived band from Texas that produced a classic. I can’t remember the film that this came from, but it’s a great piece of laid-back pop.

Jamming (Bob Marley & the Wailers) – I couldn’t not have some reggae in this list, and who better than Bob Marley could I include. Jamming must be one of the best mainstream reggae tracks of all time.

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