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 27)

Wow - only two weeks since the last one! I like doing these posts, and I have a lot to get to, so I'm going to try to be more timely with them. We'll see!

Of course, I must link to the archives, in case you missed any of my rambling:
Parts 1-15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25, and Part 26. Just so you know.

261. I Shatter (by Magnetic Fields on the album 69 Love Songs (vol. 2), 1999): This is the final song on the second of the three albums that make up 69 Love Songs, and it's a weird tune, but very creepily cool. Stephen Merritt, the bizarre creative genius behind the band, sings the tune in a deep, growly bass, and in only a few minutes, establishes a mood that sinks into you and leaves you very disturbed (a good thing in this case). The best line of the song is the little chorus: "You called me mad (and I am mad [which is sung in a higher, choral voice]) as a hatter, some fall in love ... I shatter." Just brilliant.

262. I Want Your (Hands On Me) (by SinĂ©ad O'Connor on the album The Lion and the Cobra, 1987): Sinéad O'Connor has always had a funky streak, even though a lot of her music doesn't show it. This song, from her first album, isn't exactly funky, but it does have a good hard dance beat, and O'Connor's nasty "fuck me" lyrics show off her wild side. The repetition of "Put 'em on, put 'em on, put 'em on me" is linked to the repetition of sex, and toward the end, when she emits a combination snarl/yell, we get the whole sense of sex - pleasurable, but brutal. One of the highlights of an excellent album.

263. I Would For You (by Jane's Addiction on the album Jane's Addiction, 1987): The first album by Jane's Addiction is a live one, and although some songs aren't great, it has some classics, including this plaintive long song, aided immeasurably by Farrell's keening vocals. There's very little music to the song, just a simple bass line, and that allows Perry to use his voice as an instrument, starting softly with "I'm everybody's slave, I made you my slave" and growing to a wail at the song's climax: "And if you wonder what I would do, I would do anything if I could ... you know I would ..." The lyrics are simple, like the music, but the haunting, echoing nature of the vocals coupled with the thud of the bass makes this a great, painfully raw song.

264. Ice Cream Man (by Van Halen on the album Van Halen, 1978): "Ice Cream Man" is a cover, but Van Halen does cover songs really well, and Dave's lascivious vocals raise this up, as does Eddie's joyful guitar. When Dave starts off with "Summertime's here, babe, need somethin' to keep you cool ..." with that sleazy sex-addict voice of his, you know you're in for three minutes of groovy music, and when he laconically tells the boys to join him (which is when the "rock" music kicks in), it sounds like he's inviting them to an orgy. Leading, of course, to the inevitable slow-down at the end, when all the ice cream has been, presumably, licked off many naked ladies. Van Halen makes cock-rock sound weirdly innocent, and this song is a prime example of it.

265. I'd Die Without You (by P.M. Dawn on The Bliss Album ...?, 1993): P.M. Dawn's finest album ends with perhaps their best song, a beautiful love song about not realizing what you had until it's gone. Yes, it's a theme that has been tapped for decades in song, but that doesn't make it invalid! Here, Prince Be's lyrics over the lush music are so heartfelt that we believe he's dying inside, which is all we ever want out of one of these kinds of songs. As usual with the group, the lyrics are wonderful, too: "Is it my turn to hold your hands, tell you I love you and you not hear me?" Yes, maybe these stupid men who sing these songs should have been smarter the first time around. But then we wouldn't get such nice songs out of them!

266. Idiot Stare (by Jesus Jones on the album Perverse, 1993): Most people, if they own a Jesus Jones album, own Doubt and no others. That's a shame, because they have made some good music on other albums, and this song, which came on their follow-up, is a good example. It's another album-ender, and kicks in with a swirling techno beat and a dizzying hard edge to it, and Mike Edwards sings, almost softly at first, but gradually ramping up until he's emitting a primal scream in the chorus: "I don't know if I care, I can't feel, I can't speak, I can't think caught in an idiot stare." It's a nice "fuck-you" shout-out to the crazed culture we've created - which, of course, Jesus Jones is participating in. Oh, the irony!

267. Idol (by Amanda Ghost on the album Ghost Stories, 2000): This is a strange (but great) song in which our little Amanda pleads for, well, an idol. It's a lost little girl kind of song, helped by Ghost's unusual voice, which sounds a tiny bit lispy. When she gets to the chorus, the power in her voice becomes the song's strength, as her plea becomes more urgent, as if her need for someone to worship is consuming her. Like I said, a strange song, but very haunting and gut-wrenching.

268. If I Was Your Girlfriend (by Prince on the album Sign O' The Times, 1987): The first gender-bending song on this list is Prince's weird boppy song from what many people consider his greatest album (not me, but it's close). Prince switches roles to show that he, as a man, can be as sensitive to a woman's needs as a woman can, and sings about situations where he could help his lady out more. Or maybe he just has lesbian fantasies. The best part of the song is toward the end, when The Purple One starts ranting like he's sucked too much helium and the pace of the lyrics gets faster and faster (even though the music doesn't) and then, post-orgasm, Prince contemplates "what silence looks like." It's a wacky but interesting song, and Prince is just crazy enough to pull it off.

269. If I Was Your Man (by Joan Osborne on the album Righteous Love, 2000): Speaking of switching gender roles, here's Joan Osborne imagining herself as a man. Osborne has a marvelous voice, and she uses it to full effect in this song, singing as if she's sweating somewhere on the bayou, lazily winding her way through the song while the music adds to the eerie sensation of the scene. Suddenly, halfway through, she switches to a more urgent tone, and we get the meat of the song: "3:30 in the morning is to easy for you, but when it comes without a warning what are you gonna do this time?" It's a strange song about obsession and desire, but Osborne's subtly nasty voice sells it.

270. If My Heart Were A Ball It Would Roll Uphill (by Marillion on the album Anoraknophobia, 2001): Yes, it's another Marillion song. They have a new album coming out in April, so I'm ridiculously excited at the chance to add even more great songs to this list!!!! Bwah-ha-ha-ha! Anyway, this is the final song of their 2001 release, and it begins with a big crunch of guitars and keyboards, with Hogarth practically shouting the lyrics. Only when they've blasted us for a bit does the song slow down, allowing Hogarth to paint a nightmare picture of love - not exactly an unpleasant one, but one in which you're not in control, which is what love kind of is, after all. The final chanting of words that gradually pile into something coherent is wonderful, and it becomes a triumphant song about love's power. How sweet. Man, I'm excited about the new album.

So that's another 10 songs on my list of great ones. I'll finish this yet! Agree? Disagree? Never heard of any of them? Let me know!

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Blogger Ashley said...

I am not big Joan Osborne fan. Prince and Sinead are ok. I'll weigh in when you are further down the I's or when you get to the J's

27/1/07 4:20 PM  

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