Considering humanity is a predominantly two-legged species it seems odd that there’s an entire sub-genre of compilation albums dedicated to being perfect accompaniment to driving, yet none which promise to provide ideal aural support for those unfortunate enough to have to walk to the places they’d like to be. We amblers must either go about our business in silence, or take valuable time out of our hectic schedules to construct our own playlists, like peasants. This will not do.
If you’re too stupid, young or lazy to learn to drive, or if you live somewhere where driving is simply inconvenient or impractical, there should be a collection of songs assembled to get you from A to B in as buoyant a state as possible. Songs that put a spring in your step. Songs that give you a bit of swagger. Songs that are, simply, cool as fuck to strut along to.
So, allow us to present some suggestions for a Walking Album compilation CD. And, since there’s a fair chance this would be a double-CD album, there’s plenty of room for your suggestions too.
Oh and, obviously, for maximum effect, play each of these extremely loud.
‘Immigrant Song’ – Led Zeppelin
Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones’ octave riff is swept along by John Bonham’s surging, rolling drums, with all three instruments (four, if you include Plant’s peerless vocal) in propulsive and minute sync.
‘Sabotage’ – The Beastie Boys
The Beasties keep it simple – one guitar, bass, drums, and shouting – and come up with something of relentless drive and coiled energy, which sounds like it’s about to burst out of your headphones, take off its underpants and punch an old lady in the face.
One of John Squire’s more noodly, self-aggrandising intros, but also perhaps his very best work. Reni’s drums and Mani’s bass eventually kick in, doing what they do, providing a bed that’s almost impossibly solid and – crucially – funky as fuck.
‘Gimme Shelter’ – The Rolling Stones
Possibly The Stone’s coolest moment, Gimme Shelter’s languid tempo oozes from Keef’s dreamy intro and slowhand blues licks and Charlie Watts’ unhurried 4/4, and by the time Mick’s first ‘Oooo’ crawls from his gnarled mouth your pace has quickened by 24% and your horniness has increased by 3000%.
Bassline, bassline, bassline – Kool and co. know that’s all you need. The only downside to enjoying a bouncy stroll to this is the likelihood that, by the end of your trip, your gait will have morphed into that of professional pimp-snitch Huggie Bear, and people will be laughing at you and calling you a phallus.
‘Warrior’s Dance’ – The Prodigy
This one is best deployed during the onset of Regent Street Rage (you can insert the name of a busy street in your town that’s full of idiots and fecklessly obstructive dawdlers). Turn it up and power though like a Bitter Sweet Richard Ashcroft, showing no mercy to man, woman or child, leaving behind you a wake of bruised shoulders and learnt lessons.
The best intro ever? It’s definitely up there. In fact, the only drawback to playing this when you’re out and about is the temptation to commit public air guitar. To avoid this unforgivable social faux pas, consider keeping your hands busy with some public masturbation or a spot of random stranger tickling.
What? Audioslave, not Rage? Fuck you, NME! Well, hear us out. Walking is all about the maintenance of momentum – Rage’s songs are simply too quiet/loud, or have too many time signature changes, both of which will end up with you, at some point, falling over like an idiot, possibly in front of someone attractive. Once Cochise kicks in, though, it’s doesn’t let up, and it’s consistently tempo’d screams and riffs right trough until the final chord. PLAY LOUD.
‘Right Here, Right Now’ – Fatboy Slim
Norman Cook always knew the secret to an evocative and addictive tune was the rhythm section, and here he focuses almost exclusively on sampling a drum beat which would be serviceable walking tunage all on its own. With the vocals, stings and arrangements thrown in, it becomes something quite special. For strutting tips, watch the video.
‘Bonkers’ – Dizzee Rascal and Armand Van Helden
This is all about Armand Van Helden’s preposterously vast bassline, which almost picks you up and throws you to wherever you happen to be going.
Now, now, before you all dust off the pitchforks, play the song. It’s one of the nineties’ finest moments, a moreish, sleazy slice of synth pop, propelling you along with bass and drums so thick they could hold a steady conversation about creationism with Peter Andre.
A sunny day. Sunglasses. A long stretch of empty pathway, perhaps along a waterfront. Daft Punk. Perfect.