Great songs, according to me (Part 5)
It's been a little bit since I dazzled you with my musical tastes, but the various CDs I have been receiving through the mail put me in a musical mood. So let's get to it! Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 are in the books, and it's one to Part Five!
41. Bad (by U2 on the album The Unforgettable Fire, 1985): I forgot this last time, so I shoehorn it in here. Early U2 isn't really my thing, and this album isn't all that great, but this song rises above the mediocrity. That delicate guitar begins the song, and Bono starts in with "If you twist and turn away," and then ends the verse with "Surrender, dislocate," and we're off. By the time the song crescendos and Bono's wailing "Let it go," and then suddenly drops to almost a whisper: "I'm not sleeping, oh no," you know that this band had the potential for true greatness, which they fulfilled on their next album.
42. Battle Flag (by the Lo Fidelity Allstars featuring Pigeonhed on the album How To Operate With A Blown Mind, 1998): This is a good album, but this song blows the others away. Funky, nasty, a great groove, inexplicable lyrics - what more could you want? "Got a revolution behind my eyes." Oh yeah.
43. Battleship Chains (by the Georgia Satellites on the album Georgia Satellites, 1986): Krys hates the Georgia Satellites. HATES THEM! What the heck does she know, though? Okay, they're not a great band, but they were a fun band, and this album has some good songs on it. This is just a rollicking hootenanny of a tune, with the chorus "You got me tied down with battleship chains, fifty feet long and a two-ton anchor," just a fun way to describe a relationship that's not going the way the guy wants it (as in, his girl probably doesn't let him drink moonshine and hunt coons on a Saturday night - the nerve!). Fun, no-brainer music.
44. Be Mine (by R.E.M. on the album New Adventures In Hi-Fi, 1996): This is a brilliant R.E.M. album, the first one I liked from start to finish, and this song is one of my favorites. It's an unbelievably beautiful love song, and Stipe sells it so well, as he lists all the things he will do for his true love. He gets toward the end, and sings, "I'll be the sky above the Ganges; I'll be the vast and stormy sea; I'll be the lights that guide you inward; I'll be the visions you will see, visions you will see - you and me," and then Peter's guitars kick in, harder than you expect, and the whole thing soars out of sight - it gives me chills. The whole album is good, but this song ... wow.
45. Beat Me Up (by Mary's Danish on the album Circa, 1991): Mary's Danish is a good little band that released some albums and then fell apart. They were occasionally country, occasionally funky, and usually very good. This is a sad little song about a woman in an abusive relationship, and it starts out a little honky-tonk and then the guitar turns scratchy and mean. When the lead singer (they had two women, and I don't which one sings this) says, "Tomorrow you won't remember, and I won't remind you that you beat me up tonight," you feel her pain and suffering. Despite its few lyrics, it's a tough song that makes you uncomfortable (in a good way).
46. Beautiful (by Marillion on the album Afraid Of Sunlight, 1995): Marillion, as you should know, is the best band ever. I've said it before and I'll say it again. This song is a plea for beautiful things to remain unaffected by the dirty world around them. Steve Hogarth wants to know if beautiful things are "strong enough to be" in a world that gives bad names to them. It's a - dare I say it? - beautiful song.
47. Beautiful Girls (by Van Halen on the album Van Halen II, 1979): This is the last song of the ridiculously fun second album from the ridiculously fun rockers (and let's face it, they were the most fun band in the world from 1978-1984, when Diamond Dave left), and this is a perfect example of why Van Halen rose above the rest. Who can resist Dave singing, "She was a-seaside sittin' just a-smokin' and a-drinkin' on ringside, on top of the world, oh yeah; she had a drink in her hand, she had her toes in the sand, and whoa! what a beautiful girl"? No one! The Dave obnoxiousness is in full bloom too, but Dave could be as goofy as anyone, when at the end he says, "What's your name honey - hey! where you goin'?" Fun stuff from a formidable rock band.
48. Beautiful Ones (by Prince and the Revolution on the album Purple Rain, 1984): Prince can write some mean music, can't he? Another track from Purple Rain shows up on this list, and it's a killer. It starts out slow and somewhat sweet (about as sweet as Prince gets, I suppose), then builds to that awe-inspiring crescendo, when the Mr. Nelson starts to scream, "Do you want me ... or do you want him ... 'cause I want you!" If you've ever seen the movie, this is best scene, as he sings directly to Apollonia and she's riveted. Morris is, of course, blissfully ignorant.
49. Behind Blue Eyes (by The Who on the album Who's Next, 1971): Again, do I really have to explain? What a creepy song, if you think about it. It's like someone's going to go crazy, and then people will die, and there will be weeping. And yet it starts off so nicely. Ah, it's just like life that way, ain't it?
50. Behind The Lines/Duchess/Guide Vocal (by Genesis on the album Duke, 1980): This is kind of a cheat, since these songs all run together, but all three of them are good. This began Genesis's first 1980s album, a decade that started well (with Duke and Abacab and even, sort of, Genesis) but then went to hell with Invisible Touch. Phil is, well, Phil, but the music easily slides from one song to another, and the first song's somewhat oblique lyrics segue into a tale of a woman who dreamed of fame and found it wasn't all she thought it would be (yes, the story is a cliche, but it's still a good song), and then, the last song becomes quiet and leads into other parts of the album. It's not really a concept album, but it's sort of one, and these songs show everything that made Genesis great - strong and complicated music, somewhat unintelligble lyrics, and a willingness to write about more than just L-U-V. And then Phil went all pop on us. It was the baldness, I'm sure of it.
Any shots you want to take at my excellent musical tastes? Go ahead - I fear it not!