On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Public Enemy – Bring the Noise (1987)
” Bring the Noise” is a song by the American hip hop group Public Enemy. It was included on the soundtrack of the 1987 film Less Than Zero; the song was also released as a single that year. It later became the first song on the group’s 1988 album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back .
We’re remaining in the US today, dear reader, and staying in New York as well though we are in Long Island. Public Enemy were formed in 1985 with their debut album coming in 1987. When we join the group in the same year, they are working on their second album – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back – and they have some scores to settle. 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Bring the Noise.
Bring the Noise is said to have been written in part as a response to reviews of the group’s debut album and showcases both what the band are about but also justifies hip hop as a musical movement, rather than just plain old noise. Chuck D sings the bulk of the lyrics here but he is supported by Flava Fav. Together they promote their sound but also give shout outs to the likes of Run-DMC and Yoko Ono, both who have appeared on our 1001 Songs list previously. It’s almost as if Public Enemy knew in advance.
Hip hop is an area of music where my knowledge is very limited but I have heard of Public Enemy and even Bring the Noise sounded familiar though it did not resonate when I heard it. As with many hip hop songs, I find it beneficial to try and burrow down into the lyrics otherwise the fast delivery can easily go over my head. Public Enemy were at the dawn of hip hop but churned out impressive sales of their opening few albums and wrote themselves into the annals of the genre. The group still performs to this day having laid the foundations for many more hip hop acts to follow.
Favourite songs so far: