Earlier this year, when Girlpool and Hop Along were both in my main rotation, I couldn’t help but notice “Before the World Was Big” starts at 7:45 a.m., while “The Knock” starts at 8:45 a.m.
I wondered if I could track down a song from every hour of the day, and I succeeded. Stumbling across The Human Clock’s list of songs was a huge boon to this arbitrary and wildly unnecessary project, but a few of my songs are not on the list, and a few of my choices are creative interpretations.
When possible, I tried to eschew obvious picks and select quality tracks.
Midnight: “Midnight City” by M83
The breakout song from the outstanding Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is my choice from a cluttered field of songs referencing midnight.
- 1 a.m. “In the Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett
“Wicked” Wilson Pickett is not a punctual man. Sure, he says he’ll come for you in the midnight hour, but I’d be floored if he meant any earlier than 1:15 a.m.
- 2 a.m. “Gin and Juice” by Snoop Doggy Dogg
There are several times mentioned during this recount of a raucous party, notably 6 in the mornin’, but at 2 a.m., the party’s still jumping, and a bizarre number of good songs reference 6 a,m,
- 3 a.m. “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” by Outkast
This Outkast classic takes a laid-back approach to recounting a connection made during a wild night. It’s about 3 in the morning when three knife fight combatants are taken to the hospital.
- 4 a.m. “This Is How You Spell ‘HAHAHA, We Destroyed The Hopes And Dreams Of A Generation Of Faux-Romantics'” by Los Campesinos!
This song with a cumbersome title is off of Los Campesinos! wonderful debut album, Hold On Now, Youngster. It rules, and during the course of the song, an alarm clock is set for 4 a.m. the next morning. Apparently, Gareth Campesinos! does not omit redundancies.
- 5 a.m. “She’s Leaving Home” by The Beatles
At 5 a.m., on a Wednesday, the day is just beginning, and the song’s protagonist is just beginning to slink away from her home.
- 6 a.m. “911” by Delta Spirit
This song, which tracks post-9-11 fallout begins with the speaker upset to be waking at 6 a.m.
- 7 a.m. “Before the World Was Big” by Girlpool
7:45, the song’s speaker leaves her house attempting to ignore the irrefutable passage of time.
- 8 a.m. “The Knock” by Hop Along
The knock, which sets the opening track from this year’s amazing Painted Shut into motion comes at 8:45 a.m.
- 9 a.m. “Elevator Operator” by Courtney Barnett
Oliver Paul wakes up at 9:15 a.m., then dramatically decides to skip work. Whose office job starts later than 9:15 a.m? Of course, Oliver enjoys a Vegemite breakfast, so obviously there’s a cultural barrier here, but it’s perplexing.
- 10 a.m. “10 a.m. Automatic” by The Black Keys
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s also a pretty good garage-blues number.
- 11 a.m. “11:11” by Rufus Waingwright
Rufus wakes up at the titular time unable to differentiate between Heaven and Portland. Angels don’t wear flannel, so it seems easy enough to sort out.
- Noon. “Boyz-N-The-Hood” by Eazy-E
Eazy wakes up late, at approximately noon, he is hit with the realization he must make haste to Compton. This is one of the most famous openings in rap history.
- 1 p.m. “One p.m. Again” by Yo La Tengo
I tried to stay away from songs that just contain times in the title, but the mid-afternoon times were pretty barren.
- 2 p.m. “2:35 p.m.” by Spaceman 3
YLT and Spaceman 3 are both seminal independent rock bands, and they both adore the middle of the day.
- 3 p.m. “Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweethearts” by Arctic Monkeys
A bigger, intimidating boy picks up the object of our protagonist’s affection at 3:20 in this early Arctic Monkeys standout.
- 4 p.m. “Babies” by Pulp
It seems like generally speaking, British rockers feel more compelled to slip a time reference into their lyrics. It’s around 4 p.m. when the singer–hiding in a wardrobe– spies his crush’s sister doing unsavory things.
- 5 p.m. “A Well Respected Man” by The Kinks
The well respected man gets home at 5:30 p.m., everyday, because he has a predilection for catching the same train. Punctuality is a defining characteristic of this repressed individual.
- 6 p.m. “It’s the End of the World As We Know It”
Famously, these lyrics are incomprehensible, but 6 p.m. is given a quick shoutout right before the, “slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn,” bit.
- 7 p.m. “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot
In this delightful retelling of a nautical disaster, a main hatchway caves in, and death is accepted as imminent.
- 8 p.m. “Justify my Thug” by Jay-Z
I WILL ALWAYS HYPHENATE JAY-Z. With that out of the way, Hov does a time run down inspired by “Rock Around the Clock” in this song. It was tough to find an 8 p.m. song.
- 9 p.m. “Girl on T.V.” By LFO
These ’90s boy band also-rans recorded a song about meeting a television star and immediately falling in love. Is 9 p.m. forcefully rhymed with again? Youtube this and find out, The Lyte Funkie Ones do not disappoint.
- 10 p.m. “The Clock Strikes 10” by Cheap Trick
This hugely influential power pop outfit from Rockford, Ill., managed implement the harmony a grandfather clock makes at the top of an hour into a song, and it’s actually pretty awesome.
- 11 p.m. “Give Me Scabies” by Kitty Pryde
This song riffs on the inescapable “Call Me Maybe”, and is an early standout from the artist, who now bills herself as Kitty–one of my guiltiest pleasures. Honestly, I think I could more easily reconcile with a love of thrill-killing than fully accept how much I enjoy Kitty’s music. Anyway, it’s 11:11 p.m. when Kitty unlocks her Droid.
I cobbled together a playlist of as many of the songs as I could find on Spotify. Enjoy.