Music buff is a little strong. I am a music enthusiast,” explains Jamie Bell, erstwhile Billy Elliot and star of Steven Spielberg’s motion-capture masterwork The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn. But that’s an understatement. When the 25-year-old English actor, who also stars in heist thriller Man on a Ledge, sounds off on a dozen of his favorite songs, he can’t help but show his excitement. “I’m a very eclectic dude, so I thought I’d toss in a bit of new shit with a little bit of old shit.” And he says he’s not a music buff?
AWOLNATION, “Sail” – Fucking amazing song. I would recommend playing this at night, while driving fast with the windows down and the music loud. I’m not saying you should break any laws, but that’s how you’re going to get the most pleasure from this music. It’s a composition with a very heavy grunge bass line. Very sexy. If you’re not in a car, you might want to make love while listening to it.
Glasvegas, “Go Square Go” – This song is anthemic. It builds to an amazing, climactic crescendo. James Allan’s voice is unbelievable and he’s Scottish, so, hello!
Salem, “Sick” – This song is kind of dark, like music from a psychiatric ward. It’s almost like a demonic voice. The album as a whole is incredible. I just heard the group for the first time this year, only a couple of months ago. There’s another song on the album called “Trap Door” that’s also amazing.
Kasabian, “Fire” – This song has been out for a long time. It’s very hackneyed—you know, it’s on the radio all the time. But it’s still awesome. I’ve had it in my headphones for the last two days. I bicycle to it. The chorus is everything, and the guitar riff is incredible. I really appreciate the group’s first album; I think I bought it when no one had heard of them. This song, specifically, I would say is their magnum opus. We’ll all be listening to it for years.
Frightened Rabbit, “Keep Yourself Warm” – I love this song a lot. My friend played it for me after a long night. The lyrics are so bold. It’s the kind of thing that shouldn’t be said, but lyric is, “It takes more than fucking someone to keep yourself warm.” It’s just a guy saying how he feels.
LCD Soundsystem, “Dance Yourself Clean” – This song is ridiculous. I heard it for the first time at a club in Hell’s Kitchen and I was so into the music, kind of bobbing and weaving, that I was like, “I have to Shazam this right now.” Thank god for Shazam—one of my favorite inventions ever. So I’m in the club and I just hold my phone up to the ceiling, dancing to LCD Soundsystem. When I listen to this song, I’m dancing myself clean, obviously. Kidding! But I’m definitely dancing, and I do a lot of beating out the rhythm on a table or any kind of surface. I’m one of those people.
The Clash, “Straight to Hell” – This song is the sample that MIA used for “Paper Planes.” No one knows that. So even though it’s old, when people listen to this song, they’re like, “Oh my god, dude, I kind of know this, it’s from Slumdog Millionare.” No, motherfucker, this is the Clash and you’re a moron. This song is so much better than the MIA version.
Young Rebel Set, “If I Was” – This is a band most people have never heard of. They’re English and they’re from my hometown, so I really want to champion them. A childhood friend from the northeast of England, who I’m still very close to, said, ‘You have to listen to these guys, they’re local boys and you have to help them out.’ I fell in love with them, so every time I do a radio show in England, I tell the DJ to put them on. It’s kind of like Mumford and Sons meets The Killers. Everyone has to download it on iTunes right now.
Fryars, “The Ides” – I forget about this song all the time. I almost didn’t put it on this list, but I had my iTunes on shuffle and it came on, and it’s like, I fucking love this song, why don’t I play this more? It’s kind of like Talking Heads. Fryars is very gifted musically. If you download this song, you’ll have a love affair with it and you won’t turn it off. It’s not a very New York song, but it reminds me of when I was there.
The XX, “Intro” – Dude. What’s going on? Why is this song only two minutes long? That really pisses me off. You could make it at least a five-minute song. It’s unbelievable. I’ve played it like 50 or 60 times since I downloaded it. I listen to it anytime, but usually I have to be in a bit of a mood, a kind of woe-is-me, self-pitying, unattractive mood.
Q Lazzarus, “Goodbye Horses” – This is another oldie. It might sound familiar because it’s the music that Buffalo Bill dances to in Silence of the Lambs. It’s a very ’80s androgynous kind of song. Silence of the Lambs is one of my favorite films of all time. I don’t put it on and dance like Buffalo Bill or anything, but it’s just a great song. It’s not exactly glam-rock, but I do love late-’70s glam-rock like T. Rex and Bowie. They’re the most attractive males ever to grace the planet. I think what they did for music, sexuality, and androgyny is unbelievable. We need more of that.
Kanye West and Jay -Z, “Why I Love You” – I think Jay-Z is unbelievable. He can do no wrong, but this song is just really great… the chorus will be stuck in your head for days, and if you work in an office, you’ll start whistling it or singing it. Guaranteed, your whole fucking office will be singing it with you. I promise. Give it two days.