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 19)

The last time I did one of these, my hard drive crashed. Was it trying to tell me something about my musical taste? Only it knows for sure!

As usual, you can check out the previous entries here, here, here, and here. If you're so inclined.

181. Fast Lane (by Urban Dance Squad on the album Mental Floss For The Globe, 1989): This is the best song of UDS' first album, and it's the kind of song that just grabs you and shakes you and doesn't let go. Scratchy guitars, scratchy beats, angry lyrics, and unlike a lot of UDS songs, it's comprehensible. It's about, obviously, living in the fast lane and the temptations of fame. Not the most original stuff, but it's still a kick-ass tune.

182. Faye Tucker (by Indigo Girls on the album Come On Now Social, 1999): From the moment Amy howls "On the night they killed Faye Tucker, I was gambling away my last dime," you know you're in for something special. Technically, this is the last track on what might be the Girls' finest album (there's a "hidden track" after it), and it's the perfect ending to a raw disc, as the song is full of pain and despair. The music is terrible (in a good way), too - portentous and uncomfortable, and it lurches along with pure force of will. It's an astonishing song, and it takes you out into the dark places and just leaves you there. Faye Tucker, by the way, was the first woman executed in Texas. Go, Governor George Bush!

183. Fearless (by Fish on the album Songs From The Mirror, 1993): Fish put out this album of cover songs in order to fulfill his contractual obligations and get away from his record label, I think. It's an uneven disc, but a few times, he takes songs and makes them his own and makes them great, like this old Pink Floyd tune (the original of which I've never heard). Fish is very good at singing slightly sentimental songs (phew!) and this certainly qualifies. He starts quietly and almost meekly, but builds slowly and although he never gets too loud, you can just feel the power in his voice. It's a nice song. I wonder what the Floyd version sounds like.

184. Feeding Frenzy (by Midnight Oil on the album Earth And Sun And Moon, 1993): Midnight Oil's finest album begins with this rough song and Peter growling "Well I'm as old as the hills and young as the day" while the boys carry him along. He gets more and more urgent as the song progresses, but he still sounds almost sad, which adds a nice poignancy to the tune. It's a good way to kick off the album, as it sets a nice tone, typical of Midnight Oil, of sadness over lack of respect for the past and a fear of the future. But they make the apocalypse sound so good!

185. Feels So Good (by Van Halen on the album OU812, 1988): No, it doesn't feature Diamond Dave screeching, or even Sammy screeching. No, it doesn't feature a true kick-ass guitar solo by Eddie. Yes, it's a (ugh!) ballad. But guess what? This song is awesome. It begins with that cool whatever-the-hell-is-making-that-noise (I'd guess synthesizer, but I could be wrong), and then Sammy launches in with that smooth, lying-on-the-beach-in-Cabo voice that can get scratchy at just the right time, and we're off! It's not the deepest song in the world, sure, but it just lifts you up and takes you away and you feel so much better after listening to it. And it does have a cool guitar solo, even if it doesn't kick your ass all over the place.

186. A Few Words For The Dead (by Marillion on the album Radiation, 1998): This songs ends this occasionally disappointing album, and it does so with verve and power. It starts almost inaudible, and Hogarth slowly and surely weaves a dark picture of a man (presumably) pushed to the edge, ready to commit violence, and then offers an alternative. It's a preachy and perhaps un-subtle tune, but Steve sells it with his lyrics blending with his voice blending with the triumphant music once he lets it fly. It's a great song, but the fact that it ends the album pushes it even higher.

187. Fields Of Joy (by Lenny Kravitz on the album Mama Said, 1991): Not the reprise, which is weird, but the first song on this excellent album. "Fields Of Joy" kicks off this disc with a bang, as Lenny falsettos the opening, with those trippy lyrics, and then blasts into the meat of the song, almost shrieking with what I presume is joy. The guitar solo that follows is a primal scream of intensity, and then the song calms back down for the end. It's a brilliant way to start, and leaves you a bit breathless.

188. The First Time (by U2 on the album Zooropa, 1993): A beautiful quiet song on a largely underrated and ignored album, "The First Time" is one of my favorite U2 songs. Bono tones down the bombast, Edge doesn't strum that guitar in the same way he does in a good three-quarters of U2 songs, and the song just takes you along serenely. It builds slowly in intensity but never overwhelms you, and when Bono gets to the part where his father left by the back door and threw away the key, and the piano gets a little more forceful, and you feel the freedom mixed with pain that the lyrics symbolize, you just know you've heard a great song.

189. Five Years (by David Bowie on the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, 1972): This is another song on Fish's album of covers (see above) and it's where I first heard it. I like both versions, but since Bowie came first, I'll give him the credit. The lyrics are kind of weird - the earth is dying, and we only have five years left. Of course the song will be sad, but it's also a bit triumphant - the narrator begins to understand how beautiful even the mundane is in life. Too bad it's too late, sucker! A nice, typical, early 1970s Bowie song. But it's better.

190. Five-O (by James on the album Laid, 1993): This is one of my absolutely favorite songs of all time. I love it so. It's also one of the creepiest songs, as we think it's a love song, then we think it might be just a wistful song about lost love, but then we realize it's really quite different. Another song that starts quietly and builds and builds (yes, I like those), Tim Booth draws us in with his weird voice and unsettling lyrics, and then he sings "I can be the man, I see in your eyes" and you think it's a pleasant love song. But it's not: he moves on and sings "If it lasts forever, hope I'm the first to die," which in my mind is perhaps the most evil lyric ever. It's not as horrible as you might think, as he is wondering "is the power of love worth the pain of loss?" He can't decide if he wants to take the chance, because it might hurt so much. The way Booth toys with us throughout the song is what makes this brilliant. A great, great song by an excellent band on a very good album.

All-righty-o, another ten songs in the books! As always, criticism is certainly welcome. It's always interesting to hear what other people enjoy and why my tastes are awful!

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Blogger Thomas said...

What number are you going up to again, Greg?

16/3/06 5:56 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

I have a list of about 650 songs, Mr. Worker Drone/Slacker. Slow and steady wins the race!

16/3/06 6:35 PM  

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