Paul Chambers knows, more than most, the dangers of expressing yourself in 140 characters. His troubles, which you've probably read about in the papers, started when he joked on
Twitter: "Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!" – a joke which was taken
by the authorities as a serious threat, and which saw the police arrive at his office to arrest him under the Terrorism Act. As Paul himself put it, "my tweet was silly, but the police reaction was absurd."
The case is still going through the courts, and has provoked a groundswell of online support for
Paul. For its part, the Spectator is pleased to have him here on the Spectator Arts Blog:
It’s nice to have music you can turn to when things aren't exactly going your way, music that will always provoke the same feelings in you no matter what your situation. Here’s a list
of songs that that lift me at least a little every time I hear them, with no exception. My tastes mean this generally occurs with songs that reach a crescendo: to me, there is nothing better than a
build up and it's subsequent pay off. It works every time.
Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
Perhaps an obvious choice, as it appears on so many ‘top’ lists, but Led Zeppelin are, to me, the greatest band in history and this is their greatest song (... maybe along with
‘Kashmir’). ‘Stairway to Heaven’ creates the quintessential crescendo: after six minutes of beauty we are treated to Jimmy Page’s amazing guitar solo; the drums kick
in; and the tempo is accelerated all the way to the end. Timeless.
Don't Change – INXS
INXS seem underrated to me; they're not revered as they should be. While they may overdo it with the wind instruments occasionally, in Michael Hutchence they had one of the best voices in rock and,
when they put their minds to it, they came up with songs of such brilliance. I nearly went for ‘New Sensation’, but ‘Don't Change’ hits the ground running and ends with
Hutchence belting out the title words with gusto.
Spitfire – The Prodigy
The Prodigy are one of the greatest musical exports these shores have produced. They are unique – though many try, and fail, to emulate them. ‘Spitfire’s big beats are relentless
and, even though the song doesn’t have Keith Flint's rasping vocals, it shows Liam Howlett at his best.
Go With the Flow – Queens of the Stone Age
Another song that starts fast and doesn’t let up. For me, it’s all about the banging of the drums and the wailing of the guitar, counteracted by Josh Homme’s melancholy blanket
vocals. The accompanying video is a joy, too.
Movement – LCD Soundsystem
James Murphy does simple things superbly and ‘Movement’ exemplifies this. For two thirds, Murphy’s head cold-tinged vocals are backed up with basic synth and the promise of
what’s to come, which is then unleashed in joyous fury.
Love Reign O'er Me – The Who
This is a song that comes with airs and graces, but airs and graces that are fully justified. Roger Daltrey has never been better and, with his vocals coupled with the strings, the is lifted above
almost everything else The Who recorded.
Lola – The Kinks
Pure whimsy mixed with pure brilliance. A song about a transvestite should not be this good, but the inspired lyrics and iconic riffs never fail to bring various smiles to my face.
The Cave – Mumford and Sons
Mumford and Sons are one of my favourite acts of recent times. ‘The Cave’ is the pinnacle of their foot-stomping, folk style. It’s an understated epic, if there is such a thing.
Re-arranged – Limp Bizkit
It may seem strange to have a Limp Bizkit track among this company, but they represent a very specific time in my life. I admit I was a fan. Looking back now, most of their songs weren't exactly
classics. However, ‘Re-arranged’ was a track that wasn't trying as hard as the rest of their output to fit in with the whole ‘nu-metal’ world. The first half is very chilled
before the song erupts in a fit of Durst and Borland. I love it.
Banquet – Bloc Party
The vocals and the lead guitar are good here – but they’re just icing. It's the simple but effective bass and, primarily, the drums that make ‘Banquet’ great.
Cochise – Audioslave
I had great hopes for Audioslave but unfortunately they failed to deliver – except here. ‘Cohise’ contains perhaps the best example of the crescendo I referred to – even
though it’s in the intro. After it, you can sit back and appreciate Chris Cornell's superb voice.
Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd
There is no big build up or crescendo here, just an entire track spent sailing above the world, propelled by strings and solos. Beautiful.
Everlong – The Foo Fighters
Lately, the Foos have managed to pigeonhole themselves slightly. ‘Everlong’ is from their peak. To me, it is an ode to the woman in my life, who has basically held me together this
You can listen to the playlist here.
And donate to Paul's cause here.