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Genius Playlist: “Rise” (Public Image Ltd)

July 8, 2013

Over the July 4th weekend I found myself in a car on the way to the beach when Public Image Ltd’s “Rise” came on the radio. It must have been SiriusXM’s 1st Wave (Classic Alternative) station, one of the four stations that I almost exclusively listen to on Sirius.[1] And while I was happy to find a place to park not too far from the beach, I was moderately disappointed at having to leave the car before “Rise” was finished. This is a disease I suffer from generally. When I hear a song I really like on the radio – or even on my own mp3 player – and I arrive at my destination before the song is over, it pains me. In this case, I remedied the situation by pulling up “Rise” on my iPhone the moment I landed somewhat uncomfortably in my beach chair. As I wasn’t all that interested in listening to more PiL, I hit the little used “Genius” icon and hoped for the best. What trusty old iPhone produced was 25 songs of pure bliss. (Actually, 24. The very last song on the playlist was the one and only bust. But we’ll get there.) It was so good that I wanted to share it with you, my loyal readers, so that you can recreate it on your own iPhone/Android device/other portable music thingy. All of the thanks here goes to my friend Apple, without whom none of this would be possible. (That said, I realize the self-congratulatory nature of saying that my iPhone – which consists solely of music of my own choosing – produced a near-perfect playlist. I never said I was above self-congratulatory behavior. 2bitMonkey is awesome!)

Without further ado, here is the first ever 2bitMonkey playlist, co-produced by my friend iTunes, based on the song “Rise”:

  1. Public Image Ltd: “Rise” – In case you are unfamiliar about how Genius playlists work, you start by pulling a song out of your library, press the icon that looks like the Big Bang Theory logo, and iTunes creates a playlist with 24 more songs from your library similar to the one you’ve chosen.
  2. Siouxsie & The Banshees: “Cities in Dust” – A wonderfully unexpected first choice. The connection is obvious, yet if asked to play a name association game with Johnny Rotten, I’m sure I’d go through several rounds before naming Siouxsie Sioux.
  3. New Order: “Temptation” – Strange fact: This song was originally released in 1982, was completely re-recorded by the band and released in 1987 as part of the Substance compilation album, and then again re-recorded by the band and re-released by the band in 1998. That’s your meaningless tidbit for the day. I promise that’s the most useless piece of information that will appear in this column.
  4. The Replacements: “Alex Chilton” – Random fact: The late Alex Chilton (the singer) was a guest musician on The Replacements album Pleased to Meet Me, playing guitar on the song “Can’t Hardly Wait.” He did not play on “Alex Chilton,” which appears on the same album. (It took only one sentence for me to break my promise.)
  5. Joy Division: “Atmosphere” – One of the most beautiful songs you will ever hear. When I heard Peter Hook speak earlier this year, I believe that he named “Atmosphere” as his favorite Joy Division song, but added that he finds it hard to listen to now because it has become a funeral song, especially reminding him of Ian Curtis’ death. So Hooky, if you’re reading this, you may not want to create a Genius playlist out of “Rise.”
  6. Sonic Youth: “Teen Age Riot” – I remember once creating a playlist off of this song with far less satisfying results. Does that mean that “Rise” is actually, in some strange way, the better song? I refuse to accept that.
  7. New Order: “Everything’s Gone Green” – A little early for a band repeat. But I’m willing to cut iTunes some slack for the semi-obscure choice.
  8. The Replacements: “I Will Dare” – See song 7.
  9. Dinosaur Jr: “Freak Scene” – This feels like the playlist’s first major deviation. That’s a relative point of course; it’s not like iTunes threw in a song from Depeche Mode or something.
  10. Echo & the Bunnymen: “The Cutter” – Going back to the word/name association game, if you’d asked me to name the song closest to “Rise,” this is the one I’d have named. They go together in my mind like peanut butter & jelly.
  11. Hüsker Dü: “Don’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely” – Did you know that this song was covered by Green Day and released as a B-side in 2001? I’ll agree not to listen to it if you don’t either.
  12. Pixies: “Monkey Gone to Heaven” – As far as I’m concerned, this song can appear on every playlist I ever play. Also, the animated video you see here was supposedly co-created by Damon Albarn (of Blur). Now that’s pretty random.
  13. Iggy Pop & Kate Pierson: “Candy” – Surprising fact: This is the only song of Iggy Pop’s career to reach the US Top 40 chart. Shocking fact: This song is #7 on Spinner’s list of the ten best duets ever.
  14. The Replacements: “I’ll Be You” – A pretty good song, even though it comes from a time (1989) when just about everyone was done with the Replacements.
  15. Joy Division: “Isolation” – Like all JD songs, this one has been covered numerous times. One of those covers is by a band called Starchildren. Who are Starchildren? They were a Smashing Pumpkins spin-off band fronted by Billy Corgan in the early 1990s. Starchildren only recorded two songs, one of which was the aforementioned cover. They were so forgettable that they aren’t even mentioned once on Billy Corgan’s Wikipedia page. But hey, I learned something I didn’t previously know, and now you did too.
  16. New Order: “The Perfect Kiss” – Academy Award winning director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs) directed the music video for this song. He also directed the Talking Heads concert movie, Stop Making Sense. What a strange career.
  17. The Smiths: “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” – At first I was wondering how the Smiths snuck in here. Then I realized that it was iTunes’ clever way of foreshadowing the next artist on the list.
  18. The Replacements: “Kiss Me on the Bus” – Yes, that’s 4 Replacements songs.
  19. Sonic Youth: “Kool Thing” – The two Sonic Youth songs on this list are so damn good. Nothing more to say about that.
  20. Joy Division: “Digital” – Tragic fact: This was the last song ever performed by JD, before Ian Curtis died. You can hear that last-ever show (May 2, 1980 at Birmingham University), as it was released as the second LP on the two-album Joy Division compilation Still.
  21. The Breeders: “Cannonball” – The Breeders really have been milking the 20th anniversary of Last Splash, and all the attention that their label (4AD) has given it may have gone to Kim Deal’s head. What other explanation can there be for her quitting the Pixies? What I mean is, Black Francis has been marginalizing Deal since the ‘80s … why would she quit now? What a shame.
  22. New Order: “Thieves Like Us” – For whatever reason, iTunes chose the extended instrumental version rather than the standard single. Trying to throw me off the scent there iTunes? You can’t fool me. I’m on to you. That’s 4 New Order songs.
  23. Big Audio Dynamite II: “Rush” – Remember answering machines? (No, this is not another nod to the Replacements.) Like everyone else in the early 1990s, I used to play a clip from a song as my outgoing message, rather than a boring “leave a message at the tone …” instruction. For the longest time my outgoing message clip was from this song. I was a strange little 13 year old.
  24. The Replacements: “Bastards of Young” – iTunes, you just couldn’t help yourself, could you? Does “Rise” sound that much like a Replacements song? You won’t find me complaining though. The last two – “Kiss Me on the Bus” and “Bastards of Young” – are from Tim, my favorite album from the Minnesota band. This grand song would have been the perfect song to end with, alas …
  25. Depeche Mode: “Blasphemous Rumours” – I’m still trying to figure out what iTunes was thinking here. I suppose if I could have asked it, it might have responded with a sarcastic, “What … you wanted another Replacements song?”

[1] Because I can see that you’re just dying to know, the others are Alt Nation, Sirius XMU, and Lithium.

From → Music

4 Comments
  1. I love when good playlists just happen! My faves on that list are: “Cities in Dust” and “Teen Age Riot” (definitive Sonic Youth song, in my opinion). Also love Joy Division, New Order, and The Smiths. Thanks for sharing this list! I’ve never used Genius before, is it usually reliable?

    • You’re welcome! I rarely use genius, it’s never as good as this. Also, I like to listen to albums all the way through (I’m old school that way) or at least shuffle thru a single artist, so I’m not a good genius candidate. But once in a while you get lucky!

      • Yeah I hear you on the album thing. When I was growing up whenever I got a new album, I would listen to it while reading the lyrics in the CD jacket or record jacket. So there are some albums I just know back and front. It’s not the same with my digital music.

      • that’s one of the reasons I started collecting vinyl about 2 years ago … when you toss a record on the turntable, you pretty much have no choice but to listen to at least one side all the way through. I enjoy the forced discipline of listening to music the “right” way

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