The Courier: 30 days of music- Patrick Harland

Despite the fact that I've probably annoyed every person on my Instagram and Facebook for 30 days of consistently adding to my story, I shall be doing it one last time to share this article, the reason why I've been annoying everyone. All jokes aside I've thoroughly enjoyed picking a song each day and then […]

Patrick Harland
6th June 2020
Images: Instagram (@muse, @eltonjohn, @coldplay, @bastilledan)

Despite the fact that I've probably annoyed every person on my Instagram and Facebook for 30 days of consistently adding to my story, I shall be doing it one last time to share this article, the reason why I've been annoying everyone. All jokes aside I've thoroughly enjoyed picking a song each day and then writing an article on it, here is the breakdown as to why I picked that song you hate or love.

Day 1- A song you like with a colour in the title

'White Wedding'- Billy Idol

An incredible song, yet only became a hit in the UK after its third release in 1985. A fairly popular wedding song, despite the fact that it is a very anti-marriage song all about someone that Idol loved marrying another man. In the song he uses the nickname ' Little sister', the fact that his younger sister was getting married at the time means most people believe it to have been about her. As with so many other songs by Idol it has a tell-tale guitar riff at the start that he and his guitarist Steve Stevens liked to plant as a flag in many of the songs they worked on together.

Day 2- A song you like with a number in the title

'Song from the Sixteenth Floor'- Paul Kelly

The song by the Australian singer/songwriter once described as the best songwriter the country has ever produced is all about the desperation to be with someone. It's full of descriptions of what the singer would do if they "could only get next to you". Despite being part of numerous bands over his life this song comes from the album Wanted Man, a solo work from Kelly and this is evermore apparent in the songs which have a far more personal feel than many of his other works.

Day 3- A song that reminds you of summertime

'Walking on Sunshine'- Katrina and the Waves

Potentially the only Katrina and the Waves song you know, a glorious number all about unlimited joy, a fun song for fun times. Nothing is as reminiscent to the feeling of summer as the freedom of doing what you want, when you want and that is the feeling you get with this song. When listening to this song it does feel like you are walking on sunshine, and to concur with the lyrics, it does indeed feel good.

Day 4- A song that reminds you of someone you'd rather forget

'Daniel in the Den'- Bastille

A tough one to write about, a song that reminds you of someone you would rather forget, the one I've chosen reminds me of a previous relationship that I'd rather forget. But enough about my weird life. The oldest song on Bastille's first album Bad Blood, actually written whilst Dan Smith was a solo artist. The imagery of the song itself can be related to the biblical story of Daniel in the Lion's den, but the sound and mood of the song tell a tale far more of betrayal and being hurt by those you trust.

Day 5- A song that needs to be played live

'Supermassive Black Hole'- Muse

I'm a strong believer of feeling the effect of music, this song is one that hits hardest when played at full volume. This was the first single to be released from the album Black Holes and Revelations was intended to be a shock and cause a stir, this is mostly down to how different the tune was to so much of Muse's previous works. A song with a strong beat and, even stronger lyrics, mostly about being annoyed. Although I do think most music should be played loud, none as deserve to be cranked up as much as this one.

Day 6- A song that makes you want to dance

'Twist and Shout'- The Beatles

The Beatles were always going to feature somewhere in my 30 days, and what a brilliant song to come in with. The quintessential head-bopper, when listening to this song you get the irresistible urge to jump up and dance your heart out. Although technically a cover, when you hear this song you can't help but think John, Paul, George and Ringo. A timeless classic that was a hit whenever they played it, normally to close out their concerts.

Day 7- A song to drive to

'Rocketman'- Elton John

When it was released space exploration was huge, this song talks of going on a long journey, what better song to drive off into the distance to. Based on a sci-fi tale of the 1950's that tells the story of a child whose father is an astronaut and has to leave to do his work. Many links have been drawn between this song and Elton's struggles with isolation and drugs. The mellow start to the song and subsequent build make you feel as if you're taking off, 'rocketing' away from where you were to an open world. A class song, perfect for a roadtrip, or popping to the shops.

Day 8- A song about drugs or alcohol

'I Need a Dollar'- Aloe Blacc

The main thing that makes me pick this song is a particular section of the lyrics, " I had some good old buddy his names is whiskey and wine...And for my good old buddy I spent my last dime...My wine is good to me it helps me pass the time...And my good old buddy whiskey keeps me warmer than the sunshine" the song has sometimes been called the "Anthem of the recession" to me it is more than that, it is a song about struggle and being helpless, turning to drink to make your way through, and keep yourself warm. One of my all-time favourite songs.

Day 9- A song that makes you happy

'Dirty Paws'- Of Monsters and Men

The favourite concert I've ever been to was an Of Monsters and Men concert, and this song just draws me back into that crowd. It makes me feel happy purely because it reminds me of a happy time. But it is more than that, the message I get from this song is telling a tale of an underdog, who ends up winning because they stick with their friends. To me that is such a happy and uplifting thought, how could you feel anything but happy when listening to this song!

Day 10- A song that makes you sad

'Hallelujah'- Jeff Buckley

Originally written by Leonard Cohen, Buckley brought the song to the limelight, the reason that I find this song so sad, is he did so after his death in 1997. The true tragedy of the song is the reminder it serves to the talent that was lost when Buckley died aged 30. To me the song is about a struggle to understand the world and your role in it, a hauntingly beautiful son, although sad it is one of my favourite songs. A fun and weird fact about this song is that it is broadcast at 2 A.M. every Saturday by the Israeli Defence Force.

Day 11- A song you never get tired of

'House of the Rising Sun'- The Animals

Whenever this song comes on my playlist, there is never a time I feel like skipping it. There was plenty of songs I could think that for but this was the first to come to mind. The song is the definition of 'a classic' and it just doesn't get better than this. The slow beat of the song with the undertones of jazz and blues make you feel like you're sat there in New Orleans, seeing the story of the lyrics happen there infront of you. This now signature song of the Geordie men opened up the world to the rest of their music, lucky they heard it and decided to make a cover right?

Day 12- A song from your preteen years

'Fireflies'- Owl City

A bit of a blast from the past for this one, though that's the point isn't it. For a while this was one of my favourite songs, I have no idea where I heard it first maybe an advert or on a TV show. I loved this song, the light tone and beat just drew me to it. Although I don't listen to much Owl City anymore, sometimes I just can't fight the nostalgia. You really can't tell that this song was born from the artist's insomnia.

Day 13- A song you like from the 70s

'Go Your Own Way'- Fleetwood Mac

Most great songs are born out of deep emotion, it just so happens that this song comes from a great anger and spite. Written by Lindsay Buckingham during the break up with Stevie Nicks the song describes the break up and in some ways does attack his fellow bandmate. It can be described as somewhat convenient that the other two members who were married were also going through the end of their marriage as this helped the whole group channel the hatred and necessary bite into the song. I love the song mostly because it is so good a song that you can lose the bitterness of the lyrics.

Day 14- A song you'd love to be played at your wedding

'Only You'- Ben Howard

To be completely honest I really struggled with this one, this isn't something I had though of before and I really didn't want to go full cliche. I decided to go with a chilled out relaxing song dedicated to love, that's how I ended up here. Not the most well known artist or song out but a mellow piece, perfect for the context of a wedding. A top ten song back in 2013, Howard's first the song probably deserves a bit more recognition than me being stumped thinking of wedding songs.

Day 15- A song you like that's a cover by another artist

'All Along the Watchtower'- Jimi Hendrix

Not the most common knowledge but this song in fact was a cover of an original tune written by Bob Dylan from 1967. Despite being a cover, it was Hendrix that made this song popular. It has been said that Dylan enjoyed Hendrix's version of the song so much that for years after he played it the way that the cover was recorded. The heavy yet simple beat as a song is just infatuating, you can't help but sit and listen to the full thing.

Day 16- A song that's a classic favourite

'Yesterday'- The Beatles

A number of the songs I have used for previous days could also have gone here, A classic song, by my definition is a song that can be loved by everyone, be it because of the tune, the lyrics or just the feeling of the song. I had debated having The Who's classic My Generation because of how it will always be relevant, but in the end I couldn't pick anything other than Yesterday by The Beatles. An iconic song, the most covered pop song in history with over 3000 variations. A titan of music, a classic to the bone.

Day 17- A song that you'd sing a duet with someone on karaoke

'Africa'- Toto

Now I know karaoke is often you and a mic, but it's so much more fun if you can get the whole room joining. So not so much a song for a karaoke duet, but a whole room sing-a-long. Toto's most well-known song, and an absolute banger at that, when this song is on it is a challenge to not just belt this one out. Although the band insist they are so much more than this song, the album with Africa, Toto IV, won album of the year, Rosanna from the same album won Record of the Year, but for some people Toto won't be more than this song, and what a song it is.

Day 18- A song from the year you were born

'Everybody (Backstreet's Back)'- Backstreet Boys

I've cheated a little here, as this song was only in 1998 by virtue of being on their US Album, it had been released earlier on one of their international albums. But I was struggling to find anything decent so this is what we've got! The song was nominated and won a variety of awards, and deservedly, it's a bit too 90's for me but still, it has a good beat and is a fun song all in all. The only thing today's song has done is remind me how old I am.

Day 19- A song that makes you think about life

'Half the World Away'- Oasis

I'm pretty sure that if I didn't include an Oasis song in my 30 days they wouldn't let me move back to Manchester after Uni so here it is. A more melancholic song than your typical Oasis, 'Half the World Away' leaves you questioning, are you in the right place? Is there somewhere else that is better for you? It isn't necessarily a sad song however, more just about leaving. For me the significance of the song is in where you are going to, it's about moving away or forward to something better for yourself. I see it as about going and getting what you want, " You can't give me the dreams that are mine anyway".

Day 20- A song that has many meanings to you

'Tonight's the Kind of Night'- Noah and the Whale

This one was one of the tougher picks, I could have picked so many songs for this one. I tend to think when listening to music, but for this song, it's one that means a variety of things to me, the risk of the future, leaving home, amongst many other things. The song has been described to capture the thrill of being unleashed, or being an anthem of escaping. A perfect song for a journey or contemplation, worth checking out, as are the band if you are unfamiliar.

Day 21- A song you like with a person's name in the title

'Valerie'- The Zutons

This song from The Zutons second album not only features a name in the title, but is a classic. Not everyone will know who wrote the song, but you can be sure most people know the words and the tune. For some the song may be better known from it's cover by Amy Winehouse. Dave McCabe, the lead singer of The Zutons has descibed the song as a mixed blessing, saying that there are days when he just can't write because Valerie is in his head, I can't disagree with him, from personal experience once this song is in your head, it'll be stuck there.

Day 22- A song that moves you forward

'Don't Dream It's Over'- Crowded House

Honestly, I couldn't really explain why I picked this song as one that keeps me moving forwards, it just does. A beautiful song about not quite knowing where you are at but not giving up. Literally about not dreaming that it's over. Crowded House has won various awards, many for this song, with it once being described as a 'Majestic Ballad'. The song was recently covered by Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus during the One Love Manchester, using it's strong message of not giving up and just keeping moving forward as a symbol of the strength and unity of people.

Day 23- A song you think everybody should listen to

'There is a Light and it Never Goes Out'- The Smiths

It is more than ok to hate Morrissey. The Smiths and in particular this song; however, everyone needs to listen to it. The song has been covered countless times, and used in books, films, other song titles and even inspired the title of a segment of the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony. The sorrowful and mellow tune all about a desparation to stay with a partner. It is probably best known for the iconic line "To die by your side, Is such a heavenly way to die". A legendary song that must grace the ears of every person eventually.

Day 24- A song by a band you wish were still together

'Seven Nation Army' - The White Stripes

I had considered picking Oasis, Queen, The Police or so many other bands, but I didn't want to clash with other writers. Plus the last two in that list have reformed at least once since splitting. Instead I've picked The White Stripes. 'Seven Nation Army' is the band's most recognisable song. How could it not be with the iconic riff that almost any person hears the song knows? The band split in 2011 after 14 years of making music all down to what was said to be down to a lack of commitment to the project by one of the members. The world may never know what it has missed out on with this bands breaking up, but at least we still have gems like this song to listen to.

Day 25- A song you like by an artist no longer living

'Three Little Birds'- Bob Marley and The Wailers

When Bob Marley died the world lost not only an artist but a pioneer of Reggae, a man who brought Jamaican culture to the world. In an article centred around the death of artists I felt I had to pick a song that delievered a happy message, a song that told you "every little thing gonna be alright". With so much darkness in the world at the moment, it is vital to remember to smile, be happy and remember that one day everything will be ok. Truly an icon to remember.

Day 26- A song that makes you want to fall in love

'Then I Met You'- The Proclaimers

I really struggled with this one, I don't often think songs make me want to fall in love. But this one definitely makes me wish I was. From the 1988 album Sunshine on Leith this song considers how love can help someone change their mind, that things that were bad may actually get better. It speaks of the significance that just one other person can have on the life of another, and just for that it is a beautiful song.

Day 27- A song that breaks your heart

'The Times They Are A-Changin' ' - Bob Dylan

For many this song symbolised a call to action, an anthem for the disenfranchised. For me it serves as a symbol of all good things come to and end, perhaps it's because i'm in my final year for uni, perhaps it's because the Watchmen intro got to me too much. Either way this song to me is heartbreaking, purely because it reminds me as to how everything is not permanent and eventually the good things you have may go away.

Day 28- A song by an artist whose voice you love

'Don't Stop Me Now'- Queen

How could I not pick a Queen song for this day, a list of incredible voices demands the presence of Queen, or more specifically Freddie Mercury. Widely renowned as one of the best singers to have ever lived with an incredible range Mercury's voice is iconic, and one I absolutely love. The song itself I picked for its energy, excitement and carefree attitude. Most importantly it was one of the songs written by Freddie. An incredible song, sung by an incredible man.

Day 29- A song you remember from your childhood

'The Scientist- Coldplay

I know everyone hates on Coldplay, but back in the day I was a die hard fan. I do still like the odd song of theirs no matter how much flak i'll take for saying it now. Perhaps one of Coldplay's best known songs 'The Scientist' is best known for it's video showing a scene in reverse, for which, Chris Martin had to learn how to sing the song backwards, no mean feat. I can't tell if I loved Coldplay because of this tune, or I loved it because I loved Coldplay. Despite my music tastes moving to different bands, I still remember early 2000's Coldplay fondly.

Day 30- A song that reminds you of yourself

Iron - Woodkid/Zombie-The Cranberries

I was really stuck with this song, far too deep for me to fully get it. So I've cheated a little and picked two songs one for who I am, and one for where I've come from.

'Iron' - Woodkid

Probably best known from its use in the Assassin's Creed: Revalations trailer this song uses it's powerful imagery to tell the tale of a fight. The heavy beat akin to a war-drum can be heard throughout the song marching along, whilst the lyrics talk of escaping the fight. This song stands out to me mostly because of how it speaks of a struggle, but not being sure that you can weather it. That you enjoy the fight, but need to walk away. Maybe it's that sense of being torn on what to do that I am drawn to for thinking about myself.

'Zombie' - The Cranberries

I picked this song mostly because of how it is a song of peace. Inspired by an IRA bombing the song is all about advocating for an end to the troubles. Maybe I picked it because it is against conflict, maybe I picked it because of family history, but to be honest I don't know. All I know is it is a fantastic tune, that makes me think of where I come from, and is still relevant to this day.

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AUTHOR: Patrick Harland
Medicinal Chemistry graduate, Environmental Engineering MSc student. Science editor for The Courier 2019-2020.

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