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20th Nov 2015

6 moments in music that make you feel like you’re 20 feet tall when you hear them

What's your moment?

Paul Moore

What’s your moment?

In some ways, writing about music can be a fruitless task because although it’s incredibly enjoyable, it’s also very subjective and personal. Our regular REWIND column will always bring you the best retrospective views on some classic albums but there are some things that just can’t be explained.

For example, why does a certain note, lyric or beat just make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up or why is it that you absolutely lose your s**t when a particular song comes on?

With this in mind, the JOE team have decided to talk about those particular songs or moments that make us feel like we’re 20-foot tall and could even tackle Sean O’Brien. Yep, these songs are that good.

Paul Moore – Public Enemy Number One by Public Enemy.

The moment: The bass drop at 0:37. What goes on? Well… all hell breaks loose.

Why I love it? It’s my favourite example of a band metaphorically dropping the mic and telling the entire world to fu**ing deal with them.

Public Enemy very clearly and deliberately placed themselves as a figurehead and medium to help channel the anger, frustration and defiance that was building up within the African-American community in the late ’80s and their entire manifesto is all here.

On this track, Flavor Flav grabs your attention right from the start with his conversational intro that almost leaves you blind to the fact that Chuck D is about to kick-in with one of the best deliveries in rap history. That drop still gets my adrenaline pumping and it’s something that they used later on ‘Harder Than You Think’.

Without using a single word of profanity, Public Enemy managed to address the issues of gun culture, rap feuds, peaceful revolution, biased media and strength in numbers. A classic that’s still powerful enough to help me shake off even the cruelest of 7am starts.

Honourable mentions: Chemical Brothers  – Hey Boy, Hey Girl (THAT beat at 0:39),  Rage Against the Machine – Calm Like A Bomb (Morello’s guitar at 0:15) , Led Zeppelin – Dazed and Confused (3:28 we have lift-off)

Paddy McKenna – New Born by Muse

The moment: 1:05 when Matt’s fuzzed-up, distorted guitar comes scorching in.

Why I love it? 2001 was a more innocent time – pre-Saipan, pre-Kardashians, pre-iTunes and a time when a channel called Music TV actually occasionally showed some music videos (more of that later). Origin of Symmetry, Muse’s second studio album wouldn’t be released until later that year but in the spring of 2001, Muse followed up the excellent Showbiz with their new single, Plug In Baby. I liked it a lot.

But it was with the release of the second single from the album in May of 2001 that Muse really took it up a gear. In New Born, Bellamy lures in the listener with a chiming nursery rhyme piano hook and his trademark, breathy vocal delivery. Hark, tis a happy and joyous ode to new life from Muse – interesting new direction, good luck with that chaps. At the one minute mark, the nursery rhyme runs out, there’s a delicious pregnant pause (new born etc) where all the air is sucked out of the room and KABLAMMY, Bellers hits you square between the eyes with that fuzzy, scuzzy, buzzy guitar riff. You literally can’t through enough ‘uzzy’ a face-melting lick.

The first time I heard the song was watching the video premiere on MTV in a Galway student bedsit. It blew my mind. The video compliments the song perfectly – weird kid, camera knocked off its stand filming sideways, lots of people staring at the sky with that same face that says ‘I’m after coming out without my raincoat and it’s about f**kin lash’. It still helps to knock the cobwebs off.

Cian Murray – I’ll Believe In Anything by Wolf Parade

The moment: 2:21 when the song makes good on the threat it’s been posing for the previous couple of minutes.

Why I love it? You can feel the frustration within this song pushing and pushing and then, snap. It’s a tsunami of sound and we’re all caught under it.

All inhibitions are lost and the band are just throwing sound against our ear drums.

You can ride the wave or be washed away by the organised mess of noise. I prefer to do the former and it’s a decision I’ll happily make as this tune certainly fall into the ‘makes me feel 20 foot tall category.’

Clip via Sub Pop

Colm Boohig – Cure For The Itch by Linkin Park

The moment: 0:50 when the song starts taking off down the runway… 4 seconds later, we’re off.

Why I love it?: This is an atypical Linkin Park track, taken from their album Hybrid Theory. It features only one member of the band, Joe Hahn, who scratches the sh*t out of the record for the first 45 seconds before the madness begins. I can’t get enough of this tune.

I’m not a huge Linkin Park fan, which is testament to how much I love this track. There is something triumphant, angry, positive, energetic and cynical about the beat. It means business in a big way and makes you listen, even you don’t want to, which is just rude.

The first time I heard the drop I was genuinely left speechless about how much it took me. This song will leave you focused and lost in equal measure and wonder where the f*ck that just came from. Brilliant.

Clip via Chyphor

Tony Cuddihy – Soma by Smashing Pumpkins

The moment: 3:30 when Billy Corgan’s simper becomes a snarl and the song turns from lullaby to spacerock opera.

Why I love it? I was a teenager in the 1990s, head over heels and professionally in love with my sadness. I found it hard to see past Pearl Jam when it came to carving out song lyrics on the school desk with my compass but Smashing Pumpkins (before the ‘The’) came fairly close.

Siamese Dream was every teenage boy’s fantasy album back then. More grandiose than PJ’s classic rock and less dirty than Nirvana, the Pumpkins could be pretty and reckless within seconds of each other.

No song better displays this than Soma. For the first three and a half minutes, you’re lulled into Corgan’s languid world, a standard lament for a lost love and being all by oneself. The teenage angst of it all!

Then, just as the song trails off, it HITS. “I’M ALL BY MYSELF! AS I’VE ALWAYS FELT!” and so on as the filth finally pours forth and the Corgan snarl takes hold. Magnificent stuff.

Eric Lalor – The Dark Is Rising by Mercury Rev

The moment: It happens a few times during the song. A cacophone of orchestral magnificence that just lifts me every time it kicks in.

Why I love it? I, like a lot of people, love watching Glastonbury when it’s covered by the BBC every year. It’s great to discover new music on it. I saw Mercury Rev perform this song at Glastonbury and it just blew me away.

I immediately bought their album with said song and have loved it ever since. The band from New York have been around for a long time and have had plenty of albums, but this song is a thing of real beauty.

Jonathan Donahue is the lead singer and his vocals are simply incredible on this track. His angelic vocals mixed with dark and moody lyrics and intertwined with the aforemention orchestral string section piece is borderline genius.

Clip via Johnny Fingers

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