Certain Songs #677: Iggy Pop – “Lust For Life”

iggy-pop-lust-for-life Album: Lust For Life
Year: 1977

Because “Amount of Music > Time in Life”, we all have our blind spots. Artists that have been around forever that are loved and respected and that we’ve never been able to get around to doing more than barely scratch the surface of their career.

And for me, one of those blind spots is the full catalog of the inimitable James Newell Osterberg, Jr, AKA Iggy Pop.


Certain Songs #676: The Icons – “Trouble in Havana”

icons-art-in-the-dark Album: Art in the Dark
Year: 1985

Two years into Certain Songs, and here’s the type of obscure gem with a backstory that absolutely I live to write about.

One of the things that instantly happened after Chronic Town & Murmur was that college kids all over the country decided that they wanted to do that, and almost instantly jangly guitar bands with names like “Boxcars” and “Art in the Dark” sprung up sporting songs featuring arpeggiated guitars over rumbling beats.


Certain Songs #675: Icona Pop – “All Night”

icona-pop-all-night-cover-artwork Album: This is…Icona Pop
Year: 2013

While I know that the gigantic hit from This Is…Icona Pop was the Charlie XCX-starrer “I Love It,” which was a top ten single around the world (whatever that’s worth in the everything-is-free era), but “All Night” is the one that caught my ears, and ended up being my favorite improbable song of 2013.

As y’all probably know, EDM was never exactly my thing going back to when it was called synthpop (a line I will pretty much write in every single post about synthpop/EDM/whatever songs), so whenever an EDM song takes me by surprise, I’m always, well, surprised.


Certain Songs #674: The Icicle Works – “Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)”

icicle-works-birds_fly_whisper_to_a_scream Album: The Icicle Works
Year: 1983

An insanely catchy mix of a driving semi-African beat, curlicue guitar, and just enough New Wave sheen to sound great on both college radio and MTV, “Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)” is one of the more memorable one-shots that came out of the mid-80s.

At least for us Americans: despite both the single and the album cracking the top forty, their U.S. record company, Arista, didn’t release any of their next three albums, and by the time they got another U.S. record company to release one of their records, it was 1990, and nobody gave a shit.


Certain Songs #673: Ice-T – “Midnight”

ice-t-og Album: O.G. Original Gangster
Year: 1991

When Ice-T went big, he went utterly massive.

And perhaps his most massive jam was the probably-not-completely-apocryphal “Midnight,” an utterly riveting travelog centering on a skirmish in the gang wars that he often chronicled.

“Midnight” was also one of his more successful rap/metal fusions — I never really liked Body Count, his out-and-out thrash band — welding the doomy riff of Black Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath” to John Bonham’s crazy stupid fly slamming beat from “When The Levee Breaks.”