Friday, 18 March 2016

Driving home. Not for Christmas.

I don't know how many times I've driven between Manchester and Glasgow now. Enough times that I choose which services I stop at depending on which birds I'm in the mood for seeing (Annandale for geese, Tebay for ducks, Lancaster for one's in short skirts*).

Anyhows one constant that's always changing is the soundtrack. Constant because it's always there (and always loud), changing because sometimes I need to cry and sometimes I need to rage and sometimes I just need to stay awake. Always I need to sing/rap along though.

I thought I'd give you today's soundtrack with notes on the driving mood that flows with it, because, why not.

1. A cherry picked mix of Courtney Barnett, Jamie T and Milk Kan.

This is when I'm still getting out of Manchester and not really giving my vocal performance 100% because you've got to pay attention to junctions and avoid all the people driving their pregnant wives to the hospital as quickly as possible (that's what they're all doing, right?).

They're good tunes rather than all consuming albums. Today's playlist was:

- Elevator Operator, Pedestrian at Best, History Eraser and Avant Gardener from Courtney Barnett.
- Don't You Find, Atlantic City, Back In The Game and Emily's Heart from Jamie T.
- God with an iPod, Lego and 21st Century Love from Milk Kan.

2. Nina Simone: Forever Young Gifted and Black

I'm onto the motorway now and it's time to get emotional: queue Nina. Click here to read a fairly good synopsis of the album, or trust me that it's breathtaking. It has uncut live performances of Why (The King of Love is Dead), Mississippi Goddamn and Revolution which all make me cry. And then I feel guilty that I'm a white Scottish girl emotionally hijacking the American civil rights movement for some kind of soul-stirring experience. My internal counter argument is it's okay: I'm simply being affected by art, sent out into the world to elicit such emotion regardless of the listener.

This Archibald vs. Archibald debate (conveniently) only happens post-album because you can't think of / feel anything else but the music and Nina Simone's voice when it's on.

Today I had a craving for more Nina not on that album so I also put on Do I Move You, Don't Smoke in Bed and Love me or Leave me afterwards.

3. My Bad Bitches playlist. 

After a slump in energy I've had a coffee stop, maybe a bit of cake at Tebay**, and now I'm ready to let the car drive itself and spend the rest of the journey dancing on the roof. HOLLA BAD BITCHES PLAYLIST.

Includes Nicki Minaj, Lady Leshurr, Dej Loaf, Ray BLK, Beyonce, Rihanna and Azealia Banks. It's a pretty big playlist, but particularly stonking rap-alongs from me come with:

- Nicki Minaj: Moment 4 Life, Did It On Em, Only and Want Some More. (I'd say these are some of Minaj's best tracks that should be given respect regardless of the pop-centric albums they sometimes become entangled in. There's also loads more, but ya know you can't list everything).
- Nicki Minaj & Beyonce: Flawless remix and Feeling Myself ("The queen of rap / slaying with queen B")
- Lady Leshurr: all 5 of the Queen's Speech EP tracks. Is the cycling world filled with the kind of haters that "change their friends every day but forget to change their panties"? No, not really, but I still buy into the burn and preach it with conviction.
- Beyonce: Upgrade U and Suga Mama. I actually only got into Beyonce after her digital-drop 'BEYONCE' album but have retrospectively joined the craze. I tend to like her rap-singing / sing-rapping performances (like in Partition and the above noted collabs with Nicki) but also generally get into a bit of 'shit man, how good is Beyonce?' vibes when songs like Love on Top come on.

4. Laura Marling: Alas I Cannot Swim

Another services, this time just a pee stop and a bottle of water, means I'm slightly calmer. I get back in the car ready to listen in a slightly more gentle manner.

Disclaimer: I do also love more recent Laura Marling albums, but this (her debut) has always stayed my favourite on account of never getting over tracks such as every single track. Okay I'll give a particular shout out to My Manic and I - but really each song is quite beautifully multi-faceted.

My favourite theme to pick at is how she just has a massive downer on love. Eg:

"I'm sorry young man I cannot be your friend / I don't believe in a fairytale end / I don't keep my head up all of the time / I find it dull when my heart meets my mind." - My Manic and I 

"Lover, please do not / Fall to your knees it's not / like I believe in everlasting love." - Ghosts

Theme of 'eugh love' also spans her other albums. I've got a bit of a lyric collection on the topic, but let's leave that for now...

5. Completely Random Tracks Until I'm Home

Tonight's were:

Adele - Hello (duh- you can't spend 3.5 hours singing in a car and not put this on)
Kanye, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj: Monster (interesting link: here's Adele doing Nicki's verse like a boss)
Outkast: ATLiens ("cooler than a polar bear's toenails / oh hell there he goes again, talking that shit" = words I regularly say to myself in an impressively wide array of circumstances).
Isaiah Dreads: You See Me (just a plain ol' bangin' track)

And then I'm home! Will let you know if I have a dramatic shift in music tastes for the drive back down, completely possible.


*KIDDING. Was that really derogatory and sexist? It kind of was wasn't it. I've set myself 50 lines of "I shall not objectify and disrespect women in exchange for a cheap laugh." to copy up on the blackboard.

**Ha, that's obviously a joke because I'm an elite athlete and I don't eat cake, ever. Honest.


  1. Like Nina Simone, check this out:

    1. ... looks you might have have seen it already - sorry.

    2. Ha no reason to say sorry, I watched it anyway. Interesting to see an entirely white audience.

  2. And she's not pulling any punches either.