Off of the back of ‘Glowing Rectangles’—his stellar new single featuring Dara Kiely of Gilla Band—John Butler of Dublin collective Stray Planets delves into a small selection of his favourite songs, from Judee Sill, Gabriel Faure and Supergrass to The Supremes, Haruyo Oguro & Tomoko Sasaki
Photo by Justin Young
An evocative track from an album I love called Present Tense. Good one to listen to on headphones walking in town through a tide of faces.
This track is more up my street than where I live. A perfect marriage of beauty and strangeness.
This was used in one of my favourite ads (Playstation “Double Life” one). The release of tension around the 2-minute mark is magic. Sounds like someone okay with dying.
I associate this brilliantly unsettling track with lockdown #1. Easily the best of the lockdowns, I spent the initial part with my brother who lives near a Wexford beach. I listened to this all the time walking by the sea. It is my COVID anthem. Pretty unanthemic as anthems go, but still.
Judee Sill – The Kiss
This is probably the song I have been most into in recent times. The section, “Stars bursting in the sky…”, where the strings intensify, brings to mind Salieri’s words in Amadeus, “such longing, such unfulfillable longing.”
Dusty in Memphis is a gorgeous album. Her voice can convey sadness without need for histrionics. This song always stood out for me, beautiful structure and lyrics illustrating the importance of good sound-proofing. I used to stay at a house with thin walls and I would ring my friend and say, “sorry have to keep it down, I’m in Dusty Springfield’s house.” Such is the impact this song has had on me!
In it For the Money is an album of non-stop hooks — a joy from start to finish. I particularly love the extended chorus at the end of this one.
The Portuguese word “Saudade” can be defined as a “deep emotional state of melancholic longing for a person or thing that is absent.” That sort of sums up how this track makes me feel.
This beautiful song was used to great effect in the Sydney Poitier film of the same name, but to even greater effect during a photo montage scene from the Get a Life episode, “Bored Straight”. Get a Life is my favourite sitcom and all episodes are on YouTube. It is basically my sense of humour.
I went through a phase of listening to this every morning on the way to work. As sweet a love letter to Brian Wilson/Burt Bacharach as you’re ever likely to hear.