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!

8.2.06

Great songs, according to me (Part 17)

I'm sure you're all going to join in and make a mix CD! Some of you have read that post and haven't sent me an e-mail yet. For shame, people! Do you want me to sic my kitty on you? Do you? She's mean, I tells ya!

In the spirit of making mix CDs, I thought I'd give you more ideas about what kind of songs you can expect from me. Therefore, it's another award-winning installment of great songs, according to me. An archive of Parts 1-15 can be found here, while Part 16 can be found here. On we go!

161. Entangled (by Genesis on the album A Trick Of The Tale, 1976): This is an eerie tune from the first post-Gabriel Genesis album. It's slow and haunting, and Collins' vocals work very nicely on it, which isn't always true with Phil. It sounds like a nice song, but then you listen closely to the lyrics, and it's a creepy indictment of psychiatry. You heard that right - remember when bands wrote creepy indictments of psychiatry?

162. The Entertainer (by Billy Joel on the album Streetlife Serenade, 1974): Billy Joel has turned into a lounge singer and classical composer, so it's weird when you listen to some of his older stuff and realize A) how fun he can be; B) how evil he can be. This is a good example of both, as he plows along with what appears to be a fun song but is a complete bashing of the music factory business. All the lyrics are great, but when he sings, "It took me years to write it, they were the best years of my life; it was a beautiful song but it ran too long; if you're gonna have a hit, you gotta make it fit, so they cut it down to 3:05" you actually stop to think about what it says about popular music and our short attention spans. A nice song that comes at you quickly and demands your attention.

163. Estranged (by Guns 'N' Roses on the album Use Your Illusion II, 1991): Another G 'N' R song that I like (they're so few and far between!), this one starts off kind of weak (Axl sounds like he's weeping, which is never good) but then turns into a nice love song. It rambles a bit (not as much as "November Rain"), but when the boys want power chords, they can crank it out! I actually think this song would have been a better choice than the aforementioned "November Rain" as their big, bombastic love song off the album - because it's better.

164. The Everlasting Gaze (by Smashing Pumpkins on the album Machina/The Machines Of God, 2000): The first song on the last Smashing Pumpkins kicks off with a tremendously fuzzy blast of sound and then Corgan snarling in that whiny voice of his, "You know I'm not dead." Good to know, Billy! He calms down just a bit, but the song still drives forward to its climax: "We all want to hold in the everlasting gaze/Enchanted in the rapture of his sentimental sway/But underneath the wheels lie the skulls of every cog/The fickle fascination of an everlasting God." Ah, Billy - your goofy anger is our listening pleasure!

165. Everybody Hurts (by R.E.M. on the album Automatic For The People, 1992): Stipe is very good at bringing out the pain in the lyrics, and this is a truly painful song. That doesn't mean it's bad, of course, just that we hurt right along with Michael while he's singing, even though we recognize its greatness. It's a simple enough song - everybody hurts, so take comfort with your friends and share your feelings - but the gradual build-up of the music and the vocals make it shine. This is also one of those songs that is lifted further by the video, which is great too.

166. Everybody Wants Some!! (by Van Halen on the album Women And Children First, 1980): I will admit that a lot of my fondness for this song comes from the scene in Better Off Dead, when the hamburger comes to life and sings it. However, it's a great song on its own. The primordial drums leading into it, the screech and clank of the guitar before Dave starts howling, and the little speech in the middle when Dave talks about women's stockings - it's pure hedonism, but there's nothing wrong with that.

(By the way, the two exclamation points are absolutely essential.)

167. Everything Is Equal (by Think Tree on the album Like The Idea, 1992): Think Tree is so obscure I can barely find a mention of them on the web. There's a few interviews with the members, but nothing remotely resembling a web site (well, there's this, but it's in Italian). That's a shame. I bought this album in Auckland, NZ, of all places (the band is from Boston) because I thought it looked cool and they were signed to Caroline Records, a label I respected. I'm glad I bought it, though - it's one of my favorite albums. Think Tree is a hard band to describe - they're sort of industrial, but they have a goofy country twang in some of their songs (most notably "Rattlesnake," for which I saw the video on "120 Minutes" back in the day), and they employ a lot of strange mysticism in their songs while, on the other hand, bashing Hindus ("Holy Cow!"). "Everything Is Equal" is a brilliant tune, as Peter Moore almost mumbles his way through a litany of things that offend people and how we should be more tolerant: "He don't like my color skin - here, let me wipe it off." At the end, he gets more coherent and begins to rant, but by that time, we're totally on board with him. This album is probably hopelessly out of print, but if you see it, I highly recommend it.

168. Everything's Not Lost (by Coldplay on the album Parachutes, 2000): While this album, the band's first, is not as good as their next two, it has some nice tunes on it, including the "final" song (I say that because it has one of those annoying hidden tracks on it), which is similar to "Everybody Hurts" in that Martin sings about despair and the hope we all have to cling to. It's a nice way to send us off, and one thing Coldplay is good at is building a song through a gorgeous progression of major chords, like they do here. At the end, when Chris starts repeating "Everything's not lost," it's a real "Hey Jude" kind of moment, and it elevates a nice song to greatness.

169. Excursions (by A Tribe Called Quest on the album The Low End Theory, 1991): I never got into the whole jazz-rap thing too much, but I bought this album, and I'm glad I did, because it's really good. "Excursions" starts it off, with a nice bass line and Q-Tip's slightly raspy voice coming in with "Back in the days when I was a teenager, before I had status and before I had a pager ..." It's a great riff on melding old-style R&B with new-school rap, and the boys pull it off. A fine record getting off to a fine start.

170. Exhausted (by Foo Fighters on the album Foo Fighters, 1995): I like Foo Fighters a lot, but this is the first time they've appeared in the Great Songs, According To Me - simply because of the alphabetical order in which I do these. This is the final song on their first album, and it's an interesting little song that begins with fuzzy guitars and slowly becomes more melodic. Grohl sings quietly, as if he actually is exhausted, although the lyrics make little sense, it's still a nice way to cap off the album. A fine tune that promised more to come on their next, and best, album.

As usual, I welcome your scorn. I can handle it! Trust me!

6 Comments:

Blogger tomthedog said...

I don't think I'm going to join in the CD exchange, though I kind of want to. Mainly because I still haven't listened to all the CDs from Lefty's last exchange. Which was, like five months ago? The first one was great fun, but the second one overwhelmed me. No more for me until I get through all the music from the last one! (And obviously I'm in no hurry.)

A Trick of the Tale may be my favorite Genesis (The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and the eponymous Genesis are right up there, too), and Squonk my favorite of their songs. This is a good one, too.

Billy Joel rules! I've been trying to win tickets to his upcoming LA show from a local radio station. No luck yet.

I also think of Better Off Dead when I hear that song. Brilliant use of claymation AND music.

Exhausted is your first Foo Fighters? Dude, Everlong should be in this very group of ten! What the hey??

8/2/06 8:14 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Boo, Tom! You should join in - you know you want to!

A Trick of the Tale is close to my favorite. Those mid-1970s Genesis albums (with both Gabriel and Phil) are really good.

I like Everlong fine enough, but I don't think it's a "great" song. On The Colour And The Shape, I think Doll/Monkeywrench, Hey! Johnny Park, Wind Up, and New Way Home are better. Everlong, according to me (and that's who we're talking about), isn't a great song, just a good one.

Make a CD, Tom - everybody's doing it ...

9/2/06 7:34 AM  
Blogger Nik said...

I would do it, but we're going out of the country for nearly a month, alas...

Man, you're way farther ahead on your own Great Songs list, I haven't even cracked 20 yet! I write too damned long on each one.

9/2/06 5:13 PM  
Blogger Roger Owen Green said...

Yeah, and there are CDs from that last exchange I never got (4 or 5). Obviously, I have listened to the rest. Heck, I was masochistic enough enough to REVIEW them all! Don't think I'll be doing THAT again any time soon.

9/2/06 7:27 PM  
Blogger Thomas said...

How long is this list going to be, Greg?

9/2/06 9:38 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Are you sick of them already, Thomas? I think it's close to 650 songs. I have a lot of CDs, tapes, albums, whatnot.

9/2/06 9:53 PM  

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