Songs in the key of W


Ago 22 2006, 11:35

I was challenged on my blog this week to write about my favourite songs that begin with the letter W…

There are five songs that I would have included, but as I’ve expressed my love for them on here before and I’m trying to avoid repetition, I’ll refrain. There are plenty more to choose from after all. The five are ‘Waitin for a Superman’ by The Flaming Lips, ‘Wake Up’ by The Arcade Fire, ‘We Share Our Mothers’ Health’ by The Knife, ‘What Happened?’ by Grandaddy and ‘Work It’ by Missy Elliott.

So, my ten 'W' songs in strictly alphabetical order:

Wake Me Up
I didn’t make it to the V festival, but from the footage I saw, the Girls acquitted themselves spectacularly well; singing live, dancing, all together, all in tune, full of energy and attitude. This is a brilliant pop track, blessed with an absolutely huge and killer bassline that crushes everything in its path. And a warning about the danger of drinking too many margheritas.

Walk Away
The boys go all cold and doomy on us. Stinging guitars and a masterclass in the art of restraint. The anger and passion underneath are all the more effective when they come, after the deceptively lazy build up. Lyrics about Radio 4 turning to static and gravestones crumbling are a big plus.

Walk Away Renee
A classic and epic slice of Motown with a lovely broad melody and absolutely perfect vocals and production. In an alternate universe there’s a version of this song where Renee is pronounced like my late elderly aunt back in Manchester, i.e. Ree-ney.

Where Did Our Love Go?
More Motown, but re-imagined through a haze of vodka, crushed-up pills and Moog synthesisers. It’s probably best known as the coda to the 12-inch of Tainted Love, but the stand-alone version is fab too. Big crunching noises, finger clicks and a hypnotic performance from Marc Almond.

Where the Streets Have No Name
Another cover, this one conceived less out of love than, it seems to me, two fingers up at Bono’s earnestness. His dusty Christian ballad is unexpectedly and brilliantly transformed into a storming disco anthem. If you’ve never heard it before, it’s hard not to laugh out loud when it suddenly segues into ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ (and back again) with absolutely no external sign that the two songs come from different worlds altogether.

Who Am I (What's My Name)?
In which Snoop engages with classic existential questions of identity, lamenting that developments in semiotics have erased all meaningful dialogue between signifier and signified. Actually no, he just tells us how big his balls are and says motherfucker a lot, over a thumping Dr Dre backdrop. Perfect party anthem.

Wide Open Space
A happy slice of prog-indie from a band who were always determined to do their own thing, even when it was rubbish. Fortunately this is really good. I like the way the tightness of the guitars contrasts with the sweeping melody, as a counterpoint to the way the lyrics place introspection on a huge empty plain.

Wild Is the Wind
Nina sings of clinging to a moment of love that can never last, and does things with a piano you wouldn’t think emotionally or physically possible. Endlessly sad with all the torrent of nature somehow channelled into one woman’s voice and hands.

Witness (1 Hope)
I’m a sucker for squelchy beats, slinky synth arpeggios and video game sound effects. In the course of his breathless rap, Rodney manages to make pints of bitter and cheese on toast sound sexy. My kind of man.

Wonder Woman (TV theme)
Look, it’s cool now, OK, it was sampled by Tricky (on his, er, generally disliked second album). But if I hear this when out dancing it’s likely all caution will be thrown to the wind. Apart from the irresistible brass fanfares, driving beats and judicious use of bass trombone, they just don’t write couplets like ‘In your satin tights, fighting for your rights’ or ‘Get us out from under, Wonder Woman!’ any more. In fact they didn’t beforehand, either. Treasure it!

Girls Aloud
Franz Ferdinand
The Four Tops
Soft Cell
Pet Shop Boys
Snoop Dogg
Nina Simone
Roots Manuva


  • ChrissyM

    Awesome. I miss Mansun. Any band with a member named Stove is fantastic to me :)

    Ago 24 2006, 5:14
  • KCanard

    I like the first idea of what Snoop Dogg Who Am I (What's My Name)? is about. Reminds me of Eminem and My Name Is (Slim Shady, Eminem, Marshall Mathers III) many signifiers there. I'd like to imagine that Snoop Dogg was educating an ver youf about linguistic concepts. I wonder what the videos for that Who Am I would look like.

    Ago 28 2006, 22:48
  • Orange_Anubis

    Ooh, would have to be a hall of mirrors with Snoop endlessly trapped in self-relexivity! Much like his music ever since then!

    Ago 28 2006, 23:11
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