Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!

8.4.05

Great songs, according to me (Part 3)

Yes, two posts in one day, although the one below this is from yesterday, but Blogger sucks, so I couldn't actually post until this morning, and now I'm bored, so I'm posting again. How do you like that?

My musical journey of great songs continues! We're still in the 'A's! Here's Part 1, and here's Part 2. Now, onward!

21. And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda (by The Pogues on the album Rum, Sodomy and the Lash, 1985): My friend Dave hates The Pogues. Just hates them. We were roommates in college, and he used to whine like a baby whenever I played them. But he's full of it, because The Pogues were an excellent band, and this is a great song on one of their best albums. It's such a quiet, sad song, with a great deal of bitterness in it, and it's a stirring way to end the album. How can you not love the last stanza? An excellent anti-war tune.

22. And You And I (by Yes on the album Close To The Edge, 1972): Yes is pretentious, sure. Some of their songs are interminable (have you ever sat through Tales From Topographic Oceans?). But some of their songs kick ass. This song has some of the problems all Yes songs have (indecipherable lyrics) but it soars to wonderful places, and the final chorus wraps it all up beautifully. Such a nice way to spend ten minutes.

23. Andy (by the Indigo Girls on the album Come On Now Social, 1999): I have liked the Indigo Girls since my friend Ken told me about them in 1989 and I thought they were a rap act (that's what the name made me think of). Once I actually heard them, I liked them even more (rap is fine, but I tend to like folk more). They have really never slowed down and have only changed a little, but when they do change, it's for the better. On this album, they rock a little harder than usual, but this song is a sweet, gentle ballad about a boy (I assume, although it could be a girl) who loves a woman he can never have while a woman who really loves him is right in front of him. Will these stupid men never learn? Such nice lyrics: "I have watched you watch an empty road, is it only her upon which all of you is depending to fill you twenty hour work week, while all the fences in this county still need mending." Oh, Andy. You idiot.

24. Angry Young Man (by Billy Joel on the album Turnstiles, 1976): This song starts with the frenetic piano playing on "Prelude," but it segues easily into "Angry Young Man," so that's where it falls on the countdown! Such a good song. The usual excellent piano playing, and the usual good Joel lyrics - he's really underrated as a lyricist. "And he's proud of his scars and the battles he's lost, and he struggled and bleeds as he hangs on his cross." Good stuff. It's a thoughtful song, too - is he really telling us to give up our causes, or fight for different ones? You be the judge!

25. Antarctica (by Midnight Oil on the album Blue Sky Mining, 1987): Man, I love Midnight Oil. Such a good band, such good musicians, such angry dudes. This song ends Blue Sky Mining, a fabulous album with some of their best songs. It's chilling (that's a bad pun) and dirge-like in the beginning, building to a triumphant climax. As usual, Peter Garrett is singing about the environment, but who cares when the lyrics and music are this good?

26. Any Way You Want It (by Journey on the album Departure, 1980): Journey is a good band. Really. Come on, what a great scene in Caddyshack, when Rodney Dangerfield starts playing this on his radio installed in his golf bag! Actually, this is a great song - a fun way to kick off an album. Excellent guitars, Steve Perry wailing as only Steve Perry can, a driving beat - what more can you ask for from a rock 'n' roll song? Answer: nothing!

27. Apathy ...Superstar? (by P.M. Dawn on the album Jesus Wept, 1995): Another band I love. This album was the follow-up to The Bliss Album, and while not as brilliant as that, it still has a lot of good songs, including this one. Rollicking piano in the background, Prince Be's supple voice and wacky lyrics, and that sadness that is so much as part of P.M. Dawn's songs. I like the band because they deal with their Christianity in their songs, and it's not always how wonderful it is. When Prince Be sings, "Almost everyone I know believes in God and Love," you wonder if he really thinks they believe it or if he's hoping against hope. He doesn't give you easy answers.

28. Are You Experienced? (by The Jimi Hendrix Experience on the album Are You Experienced?, 1967): Ah, Jimi. Everything he did could be on this list, because it was so revolutionary. This song just blows me away whenever I hear it - the scratchy guitar, the weird-ass lyrics (Jimi was doing some serious drugs, apparently) and that great chorus. It's actually a serious song about letting go of your past and being yourself, which is probably why it holds up today. Man, is this a cool tune.

29. Are You Gonna Go My Way (by Lenny Kravitz on the album Are You Gonna Go My Way, 1993): More fun from Lenny - from the opening guitar stomp, this song never lets up. The lyrics are just okay, but the enthusiasm of the song turns leads this to greatness. And that guitar solo at the end kicks much ass.

30. As Good As New (by ABBA on the album Voulez-Vous, 1979): If you don't like ABBA, I really don't know what to do with you. I mean, come on! Excellent music, excellent and often heart-breaking music, soaring melodies, some good disco songs - what's not to like? As Good As New is the first song on their "disco" album Voulez-Vous (very few of their songs are disco, which it seems is the reason most people don't like them) and it's a bittersweet tune of a woman who thinks she has left her jerky man behind, but finds it's not that easy. Agnetha's vocals are alternately gruff and sweet, and the music pushes it all along. Go now and listen to some ABBA!

As usual, comments questioning my musical tastes are welcome (just so I can get your names to know who to hunt down when I become world dictator - ha-ha-ha-ha!). Go here or to the official sites to learn more about these bands!

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recommend tracking down Eric Bogle's original version of "The Band Played 'Waltzing Matilda.'" And if you get the album, you also have the treat of hearing his ode to a squashed cat, "Nobody's Moggie Now." And I'm serious about both parts of this, really.

Rose

8/4/05 6:09 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Thanks, Rose. I'll have to check him out.

9/4/05 7:12 AM  
Anonymous Mike Loughlin said...

Nobody's better than Jimi. Not Clapton, not Allman, not SRV, certainly not Van Halen. Nobody.

My favorite Hendrix song is "Hey Baby (Land of the New Rising Sun)." He plugged the guitar into a keyboard amp of some sort, and produced the most gorgeous electric guitar melody I know. If you haven't heard it, find it.

11/4/05 10:45 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

I have not heard it, because I am sadly deficient in my Jimi-ness. If there's not a box set, there should be!

11/4/05 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Mike Loughlin said...

"Hey Baby...," a longtime staple on bootleg/ import Hendrix discs, was officially released a few years ago on "First Rays of the New Rising Sun," a decent compilation of previously unreleased songs. The cd is for Hendrix fans more than casual listeners, but "Hey Baby..." is a standout.

The recording is clearly unfinished; the bassist and drummer are feeling out Jimi's melody, and their contributions sound awkward. The guitar playing, however, is Jimi at his absolute best. Find a copy, downloaded or otherwise, and enjoy.

14/4/05 6:02 AM  
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