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 18)

Let's check out another fun ten songs that I, personally, think are great. This is turning out to be quite the project, ain't it?

As usual, you can always check out the rest of the songs. The archive of the first 150 is here, while Part 16 is here and Part 17 is here. And away we go!

171. Eye for Eye (by Think Tree on the album Like The Idea, 1992): I enjoy doing these alphabetically, because I could go long stretches without mentioning a band I like, and then get a few songs in a row. Such is the case with Think Tree, whom we first came across in Part 17. "Eye For Eye" is another nifty little song by the group, as they twist their weird techno/lo-fi vibe and add a bit of honky-tonk to come up with a truly bizarre, and great song. Peter adds nasty lyrics like "Glances at the telly and it latches up her belly to believe the shot/of a perfumed Pocahantas with her swinging young Adonis lovin' what she's got/she's mad just to be ponderin' how the catch is simply wonderin' when her time will come/when she's forced to crave the honor of his pounding flesh upon her and she's numb with cum." The song is about yearning for celebrity, fame, good looks, carved bodies, meaningful relationships, but when Moore sings "You were promised a taste of honey and wine, all you got was a waste of money and time" we know that those things can't fill that empty hole in your soul. In your soul!!!!
172. Eyes of a Stranger (by Queensryche on the album Operation: Mindcrime, 1988): This song ends a truly great album, and it's nice that they put such a strong song to finish up. "Eyes Of A Stranger" works in the context of Queensryche's concept that has been running through the whole album, but it also works on its own, as a devastating critique of love and the American Dream. The guitars drive us through the song, but Geoff Tate's howling lyrics stay with us - when he sings "Is this all that's left of my life before me, strait jacket memories, sedative highs," the snarl in his voice chills you and reminds you that for many, life is horror-filled and bearable only with drugs. Tate's "character" wants nothing more than to be cured, but he can't find any way out of the prison he's constructed in his mind. The mirror never lies, indeed.
173. Face the Change (by INXS on the album The Swing, 1984): This is a kicky tune from one of the band's best albums, and it shows once again that Hutchence and the boys were a lot more than just new-wave-ish dance pop. Hutchence is telling us that things change, and that's nothing to be afraid of - we just have to accept it and make it a positive change. Of course, because it's INXS, you can dance to it, but it's a strong statement by the band and, consequently, a great song.
174. Factory Girls (by Flogging Molly (with Lucinda Williams) on the album Within A Mile Of Home, 2004): There's nothing fancy about this tune - it's just a straight-forward twangy pseudo-country song with the Mollies' Irish twist. It's a sad song about lost innocence, with that Irish nostalgia that makes dying in the potato fields sound wonderful, but Williams' raspy cigarette-and-whiskey voice grounds it, and the final verse, with the wistful longing for lost days, puts the whole song in context and pushes it to greatness.
175. Fade to Black (by Metallica on the album Ride The Lightning, 1984): I've never been a huge Metallica fan, but this album, and in particular this song, are simply brilliant. This is pretty much an ode to suicide, but it's still a haunting tune, made even more chilling by Hetfield's subtle growl, as if he wants to kill himself but first he's going to rip out your throat with his teeth. As with many Metallica songs, it starts off soft and builds slowly to an instrumental storm, but because it stays quiet for so long, the internal tension keeps you on the edge of your seat. As love letters for offing yourself go, it's brilliant.
176. Fading Lights (by Genesis on the album We Can't Dance, 1991): Genesis took a horrific wrong turn with Invisible Touch, and it seems as if they knew it, because they waited five years to release another album (their "last," even if Rutherford and Banks put one out in the mid-1990s), and it was a nice return to form for the band. Sure, it had its goofy tries for pop relevance, but Genesis was never about that and shouldn't have been about that. "Fading Lights" is a beautiful coda to this album and their career in general, as Phil sings about memories and how everything ends and it's okay. Halfway through the song, in true Genesis fashion, the boys launch into an extended instrumental jam that just reminds you how good they really are, and the song ends with Phil singing quietly, "And you know that these are the days of our lives ... remember ..." as the music floats off into the ether. A nice way to finish a nice career.
177. Fairytale Of New York (by The Pogues (with Kirsty MacColl) on the album If I Should Fall From Grace With God, 1988): This is one of those songs that has taken on a life of its own outside of just Pogues fans, probably because MacColl died young and it's a Christmas song. Those two factors make this a famous song, but it's a heart-breaking and ultimately wonderfully uplifting song about love and living together and making things better. MacGowan can really belt out a tune, and MacColl's humanizing touch to such lyrics as "You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot" make it a celebration as well as a tiny bit of a dirge. It's a beautiful Christmas song and a beautiful love song. And if you don't like The Pogues, then I weep for your lonely soul.
178. Faithfull (by Pearl Jam on the album Yield, 1998): In the early-to-mid-1990s, when Pearl Jam was the biggest band in the world, someone must have said something rude about their musical abilities, because they went out and made No Code, which was an interesting failure. Eddie and the gang got their heads back on straight and released Yield, which was a good old-fashioned rock-n-roll album. There's a lot to like on the album, but "Faithfull" [sic] is the highlight, even though Eddie's lyrics are somewhat oblique. Essentially it's a song about what we believe in and what this turns us into. Eddie decides he's going to be faithful to love, which is awfully sweet of him, and suggests we do the same. The music transcends the rather vague lyrics, and Eddie, as usual, howls with conviction, which is what we like to hear from our rock gods.
179. Falling to Pieces (by Faith No More on the album The Real Thing, 1989): When I first heard "Epic," I didn't like it, and this kept me from buying this album for a while. Silly me. This was the second single off the album, and it convinced me to check it out, and I'm glad I did. This is a fantastic song, from its thudding bass introduction to its weird light-hearted keyboard riff to Mike snarling the excellent lyrics: "Because I'm somewhere in between my love and my agony, you see, I'm somewhere in between - my life is falling to pieces ... somebody put me together." The rap part of the song doesn't overwhelm it, like it does a bit on "Epic," and it's much more comprehensible than that song. I absolutely love this song.
180. Famous Last Words (by Billy Joel on the album River Of Dreams, 1993): Another song that ends another "last" album, in this case Mr. Joel's (he's released a few since then, but none of original, "rock" songs). This is another one that really encapsulates a career nicely, from the rollicking yet slightly melancholy piano to the theme of everyone leaving the beach at the end of the summer and winter setting in. Joel has always had that element of lounge singer for the tourists in him, and here he acknowledges it. He gives us a moving tribute to better days and good times, while recognizing that it's time to move on. It's a great song, made nicer by the context in which it's presented.

So there's another batch of songs in the book. Be as cruel as you want in your criticism! We all know I am impervious!

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Blogger Roger Owen Green said...

So glad you pick that Billy Joel song. I was afeared he was too unhip for you.

25/2/06 4:48 AM  
Blogger john sweet said...

Flogging Molly AND The Pogues together on the same leg of the list... rapture!!


26/2/06 1:10 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Sorry, Thomas - I own no Monkees music, so they're not here. I enjoy them, but never bought any of their albums.

And I'm certainly not hip at all, Mr. Green - I've always dug Billy Joel. If it's wrong to like Billy Joel music, then I don't want to be right!

28/2/06 2:41 PM  

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