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!
Slipknot – Surfacing (1999)
Slipknot is the debut studio album by the American heavy metal band Slipknot. It was released on June 29, 1999 by Roadrunner Records, following a demo containing a few of the songs which had previously been released in 1998. Later, it was reissued in December 1999 with a slightly-altered track listing and mastering as the result of a lawsuit.
We remain in the US today, dear reader, but leave Massachusetts and make our way to Iowa. Formed in 1995, Slipknot embraced heavy metal and soon gained a reputation for both their image and their sound. When we join the group in 1999 it is with the release of their self-titled debut album and from there 1001 Songs have selected something rather coarse in the form of Surfacing.
Surfacing is a no holds barred, energetic and dark heavy metal track full of power, aggression and a good deal of swearing. The narrator seems not just angry but pretty pumped up as well. They curse the world we all share, call on people to not care and beseech us not to judge them for who they are and what they stand for. The song even takes a very dark turn by telling us not to exist. The group would reveal that the song was essentially the band saying who they were and that they clearly did not care what anyone thought of them. The song was one of many that led to controversy. In this case lyrics to this track were found at the site of a grave robbery in 2006. Eerie.
I have heard of Slipknot but knew nothing about their music prior to this challenge. Surfacing is raw, gritty and full of venom. Slipknot’s debut album was well received by both critics and fans alike. Slipknot gained huge popularity almost overnight and it was completely unexpected. The group have had lineup changes and multiple hiatuses in the years that have followed but they still continue to rock the world.
Favourite songs so far: