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!
Underworld – Born Slippy .Nuxx (1995)
” Born Slippy .NUXX” is a song by British electronic music group Underworld. It was released in July 1995 as the B-side to an unrelated instrumental track, ” Born Slippy”. The fragmented lyrics, by vocalist Karl Hyde, describe the perspective of an alcoholic.
We’re staying in the UK today, dear reader, but leaving Bristol so we can make the journey over to London. Underworld were formed in 1980 and specialised in funk and synth pop in the 1980s. In the 1990s they switched things up and became a house and techno group instead. When we join them in 1995 they have released a new single entitled Born Slippy but 1001 Songs are more interested in the B-side, Born Slippy .Nuxx.
Born Slippy .Nuxx is a complex number, a techno extravaganza but burrowing deep into the lyrics the message is rather concerning. The lyrics are deliberately all over the place, reflecting the mindset of an alcoholic with thoughts and dialogue not consistent or even coherent. Karl Hyde was the vocalist and aptly wrote the lyrics after a heavy night of drinking. Repetition in the song such as the heavy use of “lager” and “mega, mega white thing” were said to have been the result of the vocal being recorded in one take and Hyde simply repeating phrases to buy time before he moved onto the next line. Nice improv, brother.
Born Slippy. Nuxx began life as a B-side but by 1996 the song had featured on the soundtrack for Danny Boyle’s masterpiece, Trainspotting, and found its way to no.2 in the UK charts as a result. The music features towards the end of the film when Mark Renton’s story has long since started to unravel. The song became a club anthem and, like the genre or not, there was something rather compelling about it.
Favourite songs so far: