Burn It: ‘Songs to Wake Up to’
Posted on June 5, 2004
It seems logical really, to follow on from the first in the Burn It series, ‘Songs to Fall Asleep to’, with this, a compilation designed to lure you out the right side of your bed, or if Dylan would have his way (see below), your window. Besides, the help of Dylan et al is much appreciated on a morning like this, grey with cloud and lined with the damp Tarmac of a good night’s rain. If the day follows like this playlist however, it will be a good one. And by track 8 you’re going to get lucky. Albeit with James Brown. 😉
Good Morning: Songs to Wake Up to (Total Time: 1:15:50)
- ‘April Come She Will’ – Simon and Garfunkel
What better way to start the day than with Paul Simon twiddling away on his guitar on this, one of my favourite Simon and Garfunkel songs, and a memorable moment from the film, The Graduate. The economy of the lyric and melody evoke the changing seasons and a young Dustin Hoffman, alternating between hotel room rendezvous avec Madame Robinson and lazy days around the pool. Inspiring.
- ‘Sunrise’ – Norah Jones
Not my favourite Norah Jones moment, but nevertheless it here begins a cycle of songs to welcome in the sun and forcefully control the weather. I would also like to draw attention to its awful, awful video, which can be seen here.
- ‘Summer Sun’ – Koop
You could always flatter the sun into coming out.
- ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ – Bobby Darin
“Hey world, here I am…”, Darin sings and with gusto attempts to ward off adverse weather conditions. If you’re having a parade Darin’s delivery and the punchy big band sound will ensure that it will not be rained on. And that’s a promise.
- ‘Laissons Entrer le Soleil’ – Julien Clerc
Mildly annoying French pop song introduced to me by an American ex-girlfriend who at the time was living in France and getting into the worst European music. Some things I don’t miss 😉 Nevertheless, the refrain, “let the sunshine in”, might do the trick or at least get you out of bed, if only to turn it off.
- ‘You Are the Sunshine of My Life’ – Stevie Wonder
That’s more like it. Classic Stevie Wonder, before he totally replaced live sound for synthesizers and sincerity for sentimental drivel, like ‘I Just Called to Say I Love You’. Why he did that I may never know. He plays every instrument on this track from the amazing Talking Book album and sounds fantastic.
- ‘Good Morning Baby’ – Bic Runga and Dan Wilson
The cute New Zealand singer and the slightly less attractive Dan Wilson of Semisonic would make average looking kids, but here a pleasant track for the American Pie Soundtrack. And a great start to the upcoming trio of songs for people not alone in their beds this morning.
- ‘(Get Up I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine’ – James Brown
Because I love the use of brackets in song titles, and because the thought of a screamingly horny James Brown would make anyone leap out of bed, ‘Sex Machine’ is included here as an archetypically unbridled expression of masculinity with an signature funky hook from the Godfather himself. “Get on up…”
- ‘Instant Pleasure’ – Rufus Wainwright
Probably an even better way to start the day than a Simon and Garfunkel folk meander, Rufus sings, “I don’t want somebody to love me/Just give me sex whenever I want it…” For all the, er, morning people out there.
- ‘Red Morning Light’ – Kings of Leon
I loved the beardy Southern rockers’ 2003 debut, Youth and Young Manhood, and ‘Red Morning Light’ is a as dirty and deep fried as anything else on the album, full of greasy licks and howling vocals: “You always like it undercover/Tucked in between your dirty shee-e-eets.”
- ‘The Ascent of Stan’ – Ben Folds
Included a) because of the pretty melody and piano part, and b) because it sounds like ‘The Ascent of San’, as I rise from my bed.
- ‘Take Me Out’ – Franz Ferdinand
NME darlings Franz Ferdinand are actually very good and perhaps the best band ever named after a World War sparking Archduke.
- ‘Orpheus’ – Ash
On the sunnier side of metal, Ash deliver another radio-ready rocker with a sentiment I think we can all relate to: “I need sunshine in the morning…” We all do mate. It’s an essential source of Vitamin D.
- ‘Can You Please Crawl Out of Your Window?’ – Bob Dylan
One of my favourite songs, the rare ‘Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?’ is incredibly strange lyrically, but for 1965 Dylan, it was really just another day at the office. Sure, it seems to make no sense, but it is convincing all the same. Not that I’m heading for the window or anything.
- ‘Here Comes Your Man’ – Pixies
One of the more accessible Pixies tracks, ‘Here Comes Your Man’ is a nigh-perfect three-and-a-half minute pop song and a great theme for the early riser.
- ‘Bright Side of the Road’ – Van Morrison
With a punchy brass section, a charming melody and an all-girl backing, you can’t help but smile listening to this from Van the Man’s 1979 release, Into the Music.
- ‘Mrs Potter’s Lullaby’ – Counting Crows
Despite its title and the opening line, “Well I woke up in mid-afternoon cause that’s when it all hurts the most/I dream I never know anyone at the party and I’m always the host”, this winding narrative makes for great morning listening, uncharacteristically optimistic and lyrically a strong point for the Crows, who incidentally got their break filling in for an absent Van Morrison at his Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1994. That influence shows here, and apparently the song was written after singer Adam Duritz saw Jennifer Aniston on Friends. She heard it and they dated. Must start writing songs…
- ‘The Boy With the Thorn In His Side’ – The Smiths
Since we’re on about meanings, this one, I suspect is about a love that dare not speak its name. That is, gay love. It’s also a remarkably upbeat Smiths song with characteristically quirky lyrics: “…behind the hatred there lies/A murderous desire for love.”
- ‘Just When You’re Thinking Things Are Over’ – The Charlatans
Lovely, uplifting and highly decorative. This will get you on your feet.
- ‘So Alive’ – Ryan Adams
Alt-Country bad boy goes electric and does a very good Bono impression on this track from Rock N Roll, Adams’ mockingly good response to the label execs who deemed his latest offering Love Is Hell “too dark” for release. The latter record would only surface, the execs bargained, if Adams delivered a big, shiny new rock and roll record. And true to its promise, Rock N Roll, is certainly that, or rather a reflection of the singer’s impeccable music collection, with titles such as ‘This Is It’, reworking the Strokes’ ‘Is This It’, ‘The Drugs Not Working’, the Verve’s ‘The Drugs Don’t Work,’ and ‘She’s Lost Total Control’, a play on Joy Division’s ‘She’s Lost Control.’ For something original, albeit a bit depressing, check out Love Is Hell. For our purposes, ‘So Alive’ rocks.