It’s ‘Blue Monday’ today – that day of the year when it all seems so bleak and gray. The festive season is just memory and the only real reminder are the sad, forlorn, once magical Xmas trees lying beside the black bins.
But don’t despair – research has shown that music stimulates our emotions and we’re going to throw a short playlist your way to elevate your mood and chase the January blues away.
New Order – Blue Monday
Sorry but it had to be done. The former Joy Division boys and girl took the title for their groundbreaking electronic epic from a Fats Domino song but that is where any similarity to that rather mournful tune ends. Touches of Giorgio Moroder’s arpeggios and motoric beat can’t fail to get your toes tapping. This remains the biggest selling 12” single of all time and rightly so, although they famously made very little money out of it initially due to it’s overly complicated sleeve design – there’s a moral in there for us all, if I could work out what it is.
Otis Clay – The Only Way is Up
Who? You might well ask but you’re pretty much guaranteed to know the tune. It was a huge hit for Yazz and the Plastic Population (actually cut and paste dance chaps Coldcut in disguise) when she covered it in 1988. Not to be elitist but we prefer the original from 8 years earlier. Soulful and heartfelt – you can’t help but be moved by its positivity. The original single is now quite sought after in the soul weekender circles, with copies changing hands at around the £100 mark but thanks to the wonders of the Internet it’s easily available to listen to.
The Zombies – This will be our Year
A particularly uplifting track from the Zombies legendary Odessey and Oracle album – the spelling mistake is deliberate by the way. It is a simple song about putting the past behind you, forgetting the worries of yesterday and welcoming the future. It features the amazing voice of Colin Blunstone and some uplifting piano jangling from Rod Argent. The LP didn’t do very well at the time and has only belatedly been universally recognised as masterpiece of British pop – but again – thanks to the world wide web it’s now easy for everyone to discover and hear.
The Chips – Rubber Biscuit
Right – now for something completely off the wall and guaranteed to make you crack a smile. Perhaps the nuttiest and most frenetic doo-wop single ever released. Possibly only surpassed by the Trashmen’s ‘Surfin Bird’ for sheer relentlessness and containing some fairly terrible jokes, it was originally released in 1956 at the height of the doo-wop craze. Joyful, funny and possibly terrible – all at the same time!
Phil Harris, Bruce Reitherman and Terry Gilkyson – Bare Necessities
Disney films and their soundtracks are perhaps the last word in feel good, uplifiting, sing-a-long musical happiness. So in light of this, and the fact that we have some pretty hard core cartoon musical fans here in the office, we’re going to take you home with perhaps the pinnacle of the genre. That’s right it’s a Bear and a runaway child singing about the basic, fun things in life with the odd aside from a grumpy panther – the Bare Necessities! Taken from the 1967 film soundtrack and still loved pretty much universally today. Take it away Baloo!