Five For Fridays: Top 5 Side One, Track Ones

In a new weekly post entitled ‘Five For Fridays’ I’ll be tackling a Top Five list of various items from just about anywhere – books, TV, films, music and gaming.

We’ll kick off with some good rockin’ tunes.

Five For Fridays

If you’ve seen or read High Fidelity you’ll be aware that the boys down at Championship Vinyl have a tendency to make top five lists when they’re bored. As a nice way to kick off the new series of Five For Fridays – a (hopefully) weekly top five list of my own covering all things geek – I thought I’d start by blatantly ripping off one of their very own lists.

Side One, Track One

A good album needs a great song to kick it off, to get you excited to hear the rest of the album rather than leaving you sad and confused as to what else might be ahead before you’ve even reached track two. The opening track should serve as a statement of intent; a hook to snare you in and prepare you for the rises and falls of the next few songs. So without further ado, my Top Five Side One, Track Ones (in no particular order) are:

Rage Against The Machine – Testify

I nearly, nearly went with ‘Bombtrack’ on this one because the mood it creates is much more menacing; the noodling riff that’s gentle but creeping, leading in with the drums to make the first sonic announcement of a great band’s great debut album. But ‘Testify’, kicking off Rage’s third album, is a perfect summation of where we were all at when we met again. It seems to say, yep, we’re that rock band that has that amazing guitarist who does trippy things to his gear, and there’s the drums and BOOM we’re back in the room, people.

Reuben – Cities On Fire

On the other hand, the intro Reuben’s third album is a much mellower affair than we should be used to, with a gentle guitar sequence that absolutely lulls the listener into a false sense of security, before all hell breaks loose in the first verse. ‘So fire it is / to make our dark streets clean again’ screams Jamie Lenman, almost resignedly seeing as that first quiet section didn’t work and so we’ll need some noise in here to tell what’s what.

For my life, I could not pick a favourite Reuben album out of their back catalogue. It’s fairly likely that my own separate top five, top ten even, songs by this brilliant band are split evenly across all three – and that they only made three is such a sad loss.

And have I mentioned I named this blog after a Reuben song? Probably.

The Blood Brothers – Guitarmy

But when you really want to make a statement of intent on the first track, it often helps to have a song that’s thrashy, loud, fast and barely 40 seconds long. That’s what The Blood Brothers manage on the opener to ‘…Burn, Piano Island, Burn’ and it’s an absolute stormer.

At The Drive-In – Arcarsenal

Another interesting one for the first-time listener – of which there were many once the hardest-working band in the world made it to a major label release. At The Drive-In pulls out all the stops on ‘Arcarsenal’, with squalling feedback and a rather shouty vocal from Cedric Bixler.

Alkaline Trio – Private Eye

‘Stupid Kid’ was the first Trio song I heard, and as much as it intrigued me I was much happier to hear their next single, which also serves as the full-speed-ahead opening to what’s probably my favourite Trio album. I was fairly obsessed with the Alkaline Trio at one point – particularly the superb singing of Dan Andriano – and this is a great reminder of why.

The Odd Bit

During the write-up of this post I was amazed to discover two things:

  • Out of the five bands I’ve written about, only one of them is still going strong, and
  • ALL FIVE tracks selected here are from each band’s third album.

I have no idea what this could mean. But weirdly it doesn’t feel like a coincidence.

The Liebster Award again!

I’m always flattered when I get nominated for these kinds of awards; and I’m often staggered that some very talented writers single me out for praise, as was the case when I was nominated by Holly and David over at Comparative Geeks and by Planet of the Gamer. I’ll get back to PoftheG at a later date with my answers but for now here are those originally set to me by the CompGeeks guys.


Unfortunately it has been ages and I’m only just getting around to answering their questions – sorry guys!

1.       If you could live in one fictional universe which would it be and why?

I think as long as I wasn’t plunged into battle every other week and had an easy job somewhere below deck or at the Academy, I think I’d like to be a part of Star Trek. Come to think of it I probably wouldn’t leave the Holodeck!

2.       What movie do you wish more people would see?

Only because I can use a quote from it in just about any situation, I wish Empire Records was more widespread. That or Withnail & I although in the latter case I’d probably look down on you if you haven’t seen it, regrettably.

3.       What book do you wish more people would read?

Again, because so many situations in my daily life make me think back to this book, it would have to be Microserfs by Douglas Coupland. It’s so humdrum on the surface but there’s so much to be learned from reading it – both about the history of geekdom as a whole and about how much we can learn from each other.

4.       What is a book, movie, tv show, comic, etc from your childhood that has stuck with you?

Although not particularly kid-friendly, I remember watching an episode of Red Dwarf at age seven with my brother and my dad, and while obviously not getting all the references at that point it was certainly something which inspired my sense of humour. Aside from that terrible feature-length special I have all the episodes on DVD now and always break them out whenever I feel like having a good laugh.

5.       If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three books would you want to have. Also, you already have the complete works of Shakespeare and the religious text of your choice.

I’ll start with Microserfs because I’ve read it so many times and could never get bored. After that I’d probably choose High Fidelity by Nick Hornby, and 24 Hour Party People by Tony Wilson – it’s fiction but non-fiction at the same time, such is Factory’s strict policy on blurring the boundaries and myths.

6.       What are you most anticipating right now?

October always sucks for me so I’m just glad to be out of that! But also there are two things happening this month which I’m so psyched about: in a couple of weeks I’m going to see the WWE at Leeds Arena with my lady – my boyfriend CM Punk is scheduled to appear, as is hers, John Cena; and then a week after that it’s Thought Bubble comic con in Leeds; a chance to meet up with some very cool bloggers and writers, to buy lots of comics and drink lots of drinks.  More on both of those to come later!

7.       Why did you start blogging? And what keeps you going?

Great question! I would have to say that apart from writing being one of my real passions, the blogger community never ceases to inspire and amaze me. I’ve seen some great discussions and relationships from a bunch of people coming together to share their geeky love on the net, and I guess I just wanted a piece of the action. I’m always spurred on to try and better myself whenever I see something cool and just feel that itch to tell people about it.

8.       If you could have one technology exist now that doesn’t, what would it be and why?

Definitely the replicator from Star Trek. Solving world hunger and pizza on demand? Sign me up!

9.       If you could vacation anywhere (anywhere), where would it be?

Somewhere sunny, sandy and as far removed from civilisation as possible. Some unnamed tropical island where I can get some serious sunbathing and reading done.

10.   Do you have any pets, and if so, what are they and what are they called? If you don’t, what would you want and what would you name it?

We have a fish; his name is Dean Venture. Hank sadly died shortly after we bought them both, but the beauty of naming them after the Venture Brothers is (spoiler alert) that we can replace them with identical-looking fish and still keep their names! That theory does go out of the window though, because Dean would be irreplaceable. I talk to him out loud more than is strictly normal when I get home from work.

11.   What’s your favourite album? Or favourite band. Or both.

That is far too difficult a question to get just one answer! My favourite band of all time would probably be Reuben; they were an English three-piece playing some very rockin’ music. Sadly they are no more because it got hard to keep a band together which wasn’t paying their bills. Which is why my lady and I are agreed that once we win the lottery, the first thing we’d do is offer them a million to play a private gig for our friends. Their third album is called In Nothing We Trust, and if you can get your hands on it I urge you to do so.*


I won’t be tagging anyone to answer questions, unless you’re really dead keen in which case you should just answer the ones above – provided by David and Holly! Thanks again for the award.

*At this point there was a genuine 20-minute delay after writing while I went and watched some Reuben videos.