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!
Dizzee Rascal – Fix Up, Look Sharp (2003)
” Fix Up, Look Sharp” is the second single by British rapper Dizzee Rascal and the second from his debut studio album Boy in da Corner . It became his second top forty hit and first to peak inside the top twenty. “Fix Up, Look Sharp” peaked at number seventeen and spent three weeks on the top forty.
We’re leaving the US today, dear reader, and making our way across the Atlantic and back to the UK. We find ourselves in London and in the company of Dizzee Rascal. He is one of the pioneers of grime music which came to prominence at the start of this century. When we join Dizzee in 2003 it is with the release of his debut album – Boy in da Corner – and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track, Fix Up, Look Sharp.
The title was taken from a phrase used on the estate that Dizzee Rascal grew up on and the words stayed with him. The song itself is in a similar vein to hip hop with Dizzee using some of that good old fashioned bravado to promote himself to others. He gives the impression here that he is not the same as other artists, not interested in the glitz and glamour of celebrity for instance. The chorus uses the refrain of the title which essentially translates as getting one’s act together. Dizzee is urging someone or maybe many people to calm the hell down otherwise he will have to help them do so.
Again, Dizzee Rascal is another name I am familiar with but not his songs. Fix Up, Look Sharp is heavily driven by a drum beat and the lyrics contrast with the self-promotion of other hip hop artists I have come across thus far. The song would hit the UK Top 20 while the album would ultimately win the Mercury Prize, increasing Dizzee’s fame at the same time. He has since topped the UK charts multiple times and his career continues today.
Favourite songs so far: