Spring’s here. Summer’s right around the corner. And you know what that means. Things with wings. Things that crawl. Things that bite and sting. That’s right: insects. Here’s some songs about the nightmarish creatures who share our planet. (To listen to this or any of our other playlists via Spotify, click here.)
“Antmusic,” Adam And The Ants
“Don’t step on an ant, you’ll end up back and blue, you cut off his head, legs come looking for you.” Ugh…
“Insects,” Altered Images
Before they were cute, before they embraced pop stardom, Altered Images were Lil’ Siouxsie and the Banshee Babies. This is them at their most Junior Banshee-esque
“The Butterfly Collector,” The Jam
Lyrically, this song is close kin to “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John. Paul Weller’s loathing of the upper-class dilettante slumming in his milieu is just that bit more visceral. There was time when Weller was writing good enough songs that he could throw this away as a b-side.
“Hey There Little Insect,” Jonathan Richman And The Modern Lovers
Many artists have attempted to present themselves as wide-eyed naive grown-up children and it generally comes off creepy and uncomfortable. Jonathan Richman just about stayed on the right side of the man-child divide.
“Honey For The Bees,” Alison Moyet
From the debut solo album that was supposed propel her to international mainstream superstardom but ended up convincing her that the last thing she wanted to be was an international mainstream superstar.
“Human Fly,” The Cramps
We will never see their like again. Thankfully.
“Caterpillar,” The Cure
Almost every Cure song sounds like it could be about an insect.
From the universally-dismissed The Hunter. Perhaps better than it originally seemed?
“Loco Mosquito,” Iggy Pop
Iggy’s Eighties Arista era was a weird half-hearted attempt to make him MTV famous and radio friendly. Here is evidence as to why that was never going to happen.
“New Romance,” Spider
Written by Holly Knight, covered by Lisa Hartman on Knots Landing, should have been a HUGE hit. Still sounds great.
“Love And A Molotov Cocktail,” The Flys
Endearing post-punk anthem with a once—heard-never-forgotten chorus.
“King Of The Flies,” Fad Gadget
More flies. How do they know to get in the house but they never know how to get out?
Say Cheese! Make love to the camera! Smile! Watch the birdie! Hold still! I’m taking a selfie!
Photographs can capture a moment in time just like any memorable song can. Working hard in his darkroom, guest shutterbug Chris Rooney has edited the most lyrical snapshots from this photogenic mixtape.
(To listen to this or any of our other playlists via Spotify, click here.)
Duran Duran, “Girls On Film” (1981)
“…Lipstick cherry all over the lens as she’s falling…”
Japan, “Gentlemen Take Polaroids” (1980)
“…Gentlemen take polaroids / They fall in love they fall in love… Just a foreign town with a foreign mind / Why is everything so cut and dried?…”
Aztec Camera, “Oblivious” (1983)
“…They’re calling all the shots / They call and say they phoned / They’ll call us lonely when we’re really just alone / And like a funny film, it’s kinda cute
They bought the bullets and there’s no one left to shoot…”
The Cure,“Pictures Of You” (1990)
“…I’ve been looking so long at these pictures of you / That I almost believe that they’re real…”
Bucks Fizz, “My Camera Never Lies” (1982)
“…My camera never lies / So I’ll put you in the picture and cut it down to size…”
A Flock of Seagulls, “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)” (1982)
“…If I had a photograph of you / Or something to remind me / I wouldn’t spend my life just wishing…”
The Speedies, “Let Me Take Your Photo” (1979)
“…I went and colored all my hair / Let me take your photo / So my snapshot won’t be there / Let me take your photo / I don’t wanna see no Polaroid, no! / Let me take your photo / Because I just might get annoyed…”
The Lotus Eaters, “The First Picture Of You” (1983)
“…The first picture of you / The first picture of summer / Seeing the flowers scream their joy…”
Mission of Burma, “This Is Not A Photograph” (1981)
“…This is just a perpendicular line to the grain / This is not a photograph…”
Blondie, “Picture This” (1978)
“…All I want is a photo in my wallet / A small remembrance of something more solid…”
Depeche Mode, “Photographic” (1981)
“…I take pictures / Photographic pictures / Bright light, dark room / Bright light, dark room…”
The Fixx, “Cameras In Paris” (1982)
“… There’s cameras in Paris / Some papers are missing / Exposure’s automatic…”
Siouxsie And The Banshees, “Red Light” (1980)
“…That Kodak whore winking / ‘Til the aperture shuts / Too much exposure…”
The Buggles, “I Am A Camera” (1981)
“…There by the waterside / Here where the lens is wide / You and me by the sea…”
Another week, another mixtape. Mark your calendars as Chris Rooney takes you on a musical journey through the seven days of the week right through the weekend.
The Bolshoi, “Sunday Morning” (1986)
Growing up it was either sleep in late or off to church bright and early Sunday morning. By the look of things, someone still has a grudge with their strict religious upbringing and doesn’t want to revisit those Sunday mornings.
Morrissey, “Everyday Is Like Sunday” (1988)
Boredom naturally comes on a Sunday when everything is closed, stuck at seasonal destination when its off-season or simply growing up in a small town with no vitality left in it. Etch a postcard, “How I dearly wish I was not here”. In many American states, Sunday blue laws still exist that prohibit businesses such as car dealerships from being open, abstain alcohol sales, bar horse racing and prevent hunting because of lingering puritan beliefs. At least Morrissey can get behind that ban on hunting.
U2, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (1983)
U2’s overtly political, yet nonpartisan, protest song reflects upon Sunday, January 30, 1972 when British troops fired upon Northern Irish unarmed civilians, killing 14. Other musicians such as Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Black Sabbath and Stiff Little Fingers all wrote songs in response to the events of that day prior to U2’s concert anthem.
New Order, “Blue Monday” (1983)
How does it feel to be treated like this on the first day of the work week? Bernard Sumner lackadaisical delivery sums it up perfectly what it is like to start a Monday morning.
The Bangles, “Manic Monday” (1986)
You’re not fooling us Prince penning The Bangles’ breakthrough hit under the name “Christopher”. We know all about the period of time when you were the artist formerly known as Prince using that unpronounceable symbol, but surely “Christopher” is your 9-to-5 worker bee alter ego who has a regular desk job and run-of-the-mill worries like the rest of us.
Boomtown Rats, “I Don’t Like Mondays” (1979)
Why so much disdain for this day in particular? Five years later after wanting to shoot the whole day down, Bob Geldof must gotten over it as he chose to release his big musical creation, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” on a Monday.
Duran Duran, “New Moon on Monday” (1984)
Monday is almost over and the nighttime darkness is the ideal cover for the boys of Duran Duran to stage an underground rebellion (complete with lit torches and perfectly coiffed hair) on a society run by an oppressive militaristic regime.
‘Til Tuesday, “Voices Carry” (1985)
Ah, quiet little Tuesday. Never drawing attention to itself stuck between the beginning and the middle of the work week until ‘Til Tuesday’s Aimee Mann just couldn’t take it anymore of her douchebag boyfriend and stood up for herself during the most opportune moment at Carnegie Hall. Makes you think that she was holding out for the great acoustics to make her point and dump the a-hole.
Fisherspooner, “Wednesday” (2005)
It’s Hump Day and here to ride that cresting wave in the week is Fisherspooner’s sexy electroclash single that combines a ‘80s new wave sound influenced by Gary Numan, Kraftwerk and early Pet Shop Boys with modern electronica.
Pet Shop Boys, “Thursday” (2013)
Despite having to the chance to coordinate the release their 54th (yes, 54th!) single on the same day that the song references, The Pet Shop Boys chose instead to debut it on a Monday.
David Bowie, “Thursday’s Child” (1999)
“Thursday’s Child has far to go”, so says the 19th century nursery rhyme that is supposed to tell a child’s character or future based on the day he or she was born. Bowie, in case you were wondering, was born on a Wednesday.
The Cure, “Friday I’m In Love” (1992)
Disheveled hair, badly applied lipstick and untied high-top sneakers can mean only one thing – it’s Casual Friday for Robert Smith!
The Specials, “Friday Night, Saturday Morning” (1981)
Forget the oh-so-pleasant expression “Thank God It’s Friday”. The Brits and the Aussies have a term for the last day of the workday that tops that by a mile – POETS Day, which stands for “Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday”. The Specials’ weekend ritual encapsulates that vibe to a tee with lines like “Out of bed at eight am / Out my head by half past ten / Out with mates and dates and friends / That’s what I do at weekends / I can’t talk and I can’t walk / But I know where I’m going to go / I’m going watch my money go / At the Locarno, no”.
David Bowie, “Drive-In Saturday” (1973)
It seems like Saturdays were more wild and crazy in the 1970s compared to the 1980s. Think about it. You had the birth of Saturday Night Live, the blockbuster Saturday Night Fever igniting the disco craze, Elton John sang “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” and the tartan teen sensations, The Bay City Rollers were shouting out, “S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night!”
The Cure, “10:15 Saturday Night” (1979)
It’s damn near impossible to get a plumber late on a Saturday night, much less all-day Sunday if your kitchen sink tap drips drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip. Better luck ringing him up on Monday.
Étienne Daho “Week-end à Rome” (1984)
The French, including their very own pop star Étienne Daho, have a thing about not messing with their culture and language. Yet they have adopted the English word, “weekend”, by adding a little French twist with a hyphen in the middle. In the 1990s, the English electronic pop group Saint Etienne teamed up with Daho and had one of their biggest hits with a reworked English version of the song called “He’s On The Phone”.
Lloyd Cole & Commotions, “Lost Weekend” (1985)
True story. I’m on my honeymoon seeing the sights of Europe and I caught the worst cold possible. The last few days we spent in Amsterdam. I’m relaxing in our hotel room trying to feel better when I suddenly hear Lloyd Cole singing on the TV, “…it took a lost weekend in a hotel in Amsterdam, double pnuemonia in a single room and the sickest joke was the price of the medicine…”