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!

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!


Great songs, according to me (Part 16)

The list continues! Here's an archive of the first 15 parts, in case you're interested. But now we look to the future, with some excellent artists that have not yet appeared on this list even though I really like them, and some old favorites!

151. Drop Dead Legs (by Van Halen on the album MCMLXXXIV, 1984): This isn't the song one typically thinks of when one thinks of 1984, but it is nevertheless a classic. The crunch of Eddie's guitar, Alex's cymbal crashing, and David Lee growling, "I get-a nut, nut, nuthin' but the shakes over you" - just some fine rock and roll there, my friends. And we wind up with that weird guitar solo, that seems kind of out of place but also feels so right.

152. Drown (by Smashing Pumpkins on the Singles Motion Picture Soundtrack, 1992): Songs that appear on movie soundtracks occasionally are tracks that the band doesn't want to feature on their own albums. Some of the songs on this very good soundtrack are like that, but this ain't one of them. This songs ends the album, and although it's a somewhat typical Pumpkins song - whiny, meandering lyrics by Corgan and gloomy music - it's the furtive power and portentous feel of the song that elevates it. You wait for it to explode, and when it does, you let it wash over you. And it takes you right away.

153. Drunken Boat (by The Pogues on the album Waiting for Herb, 1993): After Shane MacGowan left The Pogues, they released a few more albums, which were, in my mind, quite good. Not as magnificent as when MacGowan was croaking through the tunes, but still very good. "Drunken Boat" is from the first post-MacGowan album, and it's in the fine spirit of the band, with a nasty edge and a desperate feel and a twisted look into a child's imagination. The lyrics drive you along into a dark world of piracy and madness, and when Spider Stacy sings, "You'd not expect that anyone would go a fucking die" you can taste the malice in his voice. A brilliant tune.

154. Dry (by PJ Harvey on the album Rid of Me, 1993): The terror that PJ Harvey brings to her songs is one of the things that makes them brilliant. This song grinds into you, with its pounding guitar intro and then PJ singing almost delicately, until she cries in anguish, "You leave me dry" over and over. It's an uncomfortable song, especially for men, but it's one that won't let you go.

155. Easy Way Out (by Elliot Smith on the album Figure 8, 2000): I'm not the first person to mention the irony of Smith writing a song about taking the easy way out and then committing suicide, but this is a deeper song than just that. Smith was a brilliant song writer, and his lyrics cut to the core. This song is much more than about bailing on life, it's about someone's inability to define themselves, instead using others to do it for them. It's such a quiet song that you might miss the truly nasty words, but it's something we all have done, and will probably continue to do. It's a shame that Smith had such demons.

156. Edge of the World (by Faith No More on the album The Real Thing, 1989): This delightfully evil song about, well, pedophilia ends Faith No More's 1989 album in fine style. It has a nice, jazzy piano intro, and then Mike Patton starts singing, and you bounce along, listening to such gems as "Hey, little girl, would you like some candy?" and "It's not the point that I'm forty years older ..." Classic. Okay, horrible, but in a world where "Thank Heaven For Little Girls" is considered a classic, isn't it about time this song is too?

157. Elvis is Dead (by Living Colour on the album Time's Up, 1990): This is a fun, kick-out-the-jams kind of tune, with the boys stomping through a snotty kiss-off of all the weird Elvis sightings. They don't necessarily dislike Elvis, but they do wish, as they say in the song, that people would "be my guest and let him rest." It has everything a good Living Colour song has -powerful vocals by Mr. Glover, fun yet socially relevant lyrics, and a mind-bending guitar solo by Mr. Reid. And horns!

158. Empire (by Queensryche on the album Empire, 1990): This is a powerful song from the band's most commercially successful album, and it shows how unfortunate it was that Queensryche never got a bigger audience. It addresses social injustice and the lack of police protection for the downtrodden of the world, all with a driving beat and harsh lyrics that condemn the system while calling for reform. Geoff Tate's vocals are typically majestic, and the song soars even as it pulls you into an unpleasant reality. Fine work from the Seattle boys.

159. The End (by The Doors on the album The Doors, 1967): Let me put this as delicately as I can: I loathe The Doors. How about abhor? That's a good synonym. Despise? Not bad. I don't like them. I think Manzarek is a hack, I think Morrison did the world a HUGE favor by dying and that his poetry sucks, and I think they may be one of the most overrated bands in the history of civilization. That being said, I like two of their songs. This one, and "L.A. Woman." This one is the only "great" one. And when they got it right, they got it really right. I think I first heard this when I saw Apocalypse Now, and that opening montage really had an effect on me, and a big part of that was because of the song. Looking back, it's still a great song without the movie. There are two reasons for this: 1, although Morrison is still horribly pretentious, he tones it down just enough so that you don't want to vomit; 2, Manzarek's horrible Poconos/Catskills/Geriatric organ playing is nonexistent, so you don't want to stab knitting needles into your ears. It all adds up to excellence. Well done, gentlemen. Now if only they had quit with this song ...

160. Enjoy the Silence (by Depeche Mode on the album Violator, 1990): Gahan's silky-smooth voice makes this such a nice song about reveling in feelings and not complicating things with words. You can feel the pain in his voice, and you know that he has lost someone because of nasty words that couldn't be taken back, and how much nicer it would have been if everyone had just kept their mouth shut. His voice always stays mellow, but that beautiful crescendo at the end of the song builds it up to transcendence. The "enjoy the silence" coda at the end almost messes things up, but not enough to destroy the beauty of the previous few minutes.

There you have it, folk. Care to shout me down because I have no taste? Care to tell me I'm wrong about Morrison? I welcome your scorn!


Blogger Roger Owen Green said...

I don't HATE the Doors, but Morrison's poetry was pretentious.

It reminded me of a very brief relationship I had with a woman who ADORED The Doors, and Morrison, even though he'd been dead for nearly a decade by then. A real deal breaker.

21/1/06 4:20 AM  
Blogger john sweet said...

I am not going to get on you because of your opinion of The Doors. But, I do not remember ever seeing the likes of Tom Waits, Loreena McKinnet (and yet Tori Amos makes the list... for shame), or Johnny Cash on your list. Nor have I seen Clutch, Ministry, Bad Religion, Black Flag... didn't you go to college?!?! hehehehehe

At least you made mention of Flogging Molly (I'm a proud pirate, remember).

Has Devo made the list yet?

Well, guess I have to keep on keepin' on until the next list.

Uncle Monster

21/1/06 12:28 PM  
Blogger Roxy said...

I'm going to have to agree on most of these picks, says Roxy, while rocking out to Queensryche.

21/1/06 3:14 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

John - I actually own very little of the music you cite. I have never heard of Loreena McKinnet, but I suppose it's just someone else to add to my list of people to look out for. I almost bought Johnny Cash today, and probably will soon. I've also never heard of Clutch, don't really like Bad Religion or Black Flag, and have never really been into Ministry (although Stigmata should show up here someday). And I (sacrilege!) don't own any Devo.

Sorry. You'll just have to edumacate me.

I love that Roger had a relationship end because of The Doors. Another sin to pin on Morrison!

21/1/06 4:03 PM  
Blogger john sweet said...

Never heard of Clutch? I thought I sent you a sampling long ago (however, I will be the first to admit that introducing someone to Clutch with the likes of "Binge nd Purge" might not be the best of ideas).

NO DEVO!?!?! Allow me to pick my jaw up from the floor. Perhaps a belated gift for past birthdays and holidays should find its way into the mail.

And, always remember, I'm not really criticizing your taste in music. I mean, I wouldn't want to piss of the likes of he who passed on Dimanda Galas' "Unclean" to me. No siree. Never. I mean, becoming supreme ABBA-lovin' dictator of the world is one thing whilst nerve wracking, blood curdling, soul stealing... errrr well perhaps you understand where I am going with this (I lost my road map).

Rock on!

(the man from)Uncle Monster

22/1/06 4:45 AM  

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