Rock around the clock: a song from every hour of the day

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.

My favorite albums of 2015 so far

As always, best means Ben’s favorite, because the two phrases are synonymous. This has actually been an incredibly strong year of new releases, so this was challenging.  Also, I wasn’t crazy about Kendrick Lamar’s reheated G-funk and Flying Lotus hybrid album, so that made my Top 5 even more volatile.

There’s a good chance a few more prominent releases and time for newer releases to grow on me could really shake things up by December. I’m convinced Girlpool’s album can only sound excellent in warm weather. It just barely missed this list, but we’ll see if it’s still kicking around my main rotation in November. The Most Lamentable Tragedy, which is essentially 90 minutes of Patrick Stickles braindrippings is the other near miss. Technically, it won’t be released until the end of July, and it’s so dense I really don’t have a definitive stance on more than five of the album’s songs.

Since this is a mid-year round up, these are presented in no particular order, but I will start with albums I’ve already covered:

This album is a collection of solid tunes performed on varied instruments that perfectly capture Father John Misty’s appeal. This is a portrait a sardonic jackass, who is fully aware he’s a cad, reconciling the idea he can still be his petty self while experiencing transcendent love. I circled back to this album earlier this week to make sure it’s still great, and it’s staying power seems legitimate.

This is an awesome twangy rock album that I would thoroughly enjoy with just about any singer slotted in on vocals. However, Frances Quinlan delivers one of the most outstanding vocal performances in recent memory. Every emotion she expresses has palpable urgency and registers on a visceral level. The intensity is enjoyably offset by fairly bouncy tunes.

  • Ratchet by Shamir

I can’t believe every review of this album doesn’t start off with a Prince comparison. It’s painfully obvious and might set the bar high, but it’s appropriate. This is a party album that identifies the vapid nature of it’s scene before strapping on a studded collar and wallowing in surface pleasures.

Shamir’s falsetto tag-teams with gorgeous electronic beats, which draw  from every decade’s dance music and hip-hop to deliver my favorite pure pop thrills of the year.

  • Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit by Courtney Barnett

This album, which has the most unwieldy title since Neko Case’s The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, is full of funny, rowdy rock music with a distinctly Australian flavor. Barnett is clearly a songwriter with a sharp eye for detail with a talent and a wit to match, which mingle excellently with a bar-room rock sound.

  • I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside by Earl Sweatshirt

This is my favorite rap release of the year. It’s grim, sparse and intelligent. I think sometimes its bleakness is somewhat overplayed, because while there aren’t many outright jokes on I Don’t Like Shit… there is a cleverness to wordplay and chemistry with Vince Staples that hint at both a sense of humor and a joy in the catharsis of creativity. It’s a short album and well-worth the scant time investment.

Honestly, this year’s rap releases could probably fill an extensive list of recommendations. Off the top of my head, check out: Kendrick Lamar’s effort, A$AP Rocky’s release, Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment’s breezy rap collective harmonies, Action Bronson’s aural ’80s action movie and Joey Bada$$ most recent LP.

Those are my five must-listen albums for 2015 so far, although as stated up top, this has been a strong year for new music so go listen to FFS, The Most Lamentable Tragedy, No Cities to Love, Rose Mountain or some other great release I just overlooked.