Music Lists #18: Nineteen Songs I Love
Here's 19 songs that should be on everyone's playlists. I'd share them with you myself, but I've been burned too many times with the music sharing biz. Instead, here's a list of what I'm listening to. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this selection and maybe learn song recommendations that you have to offer as well. I prefer tracks a bit off the beaten path..... but don't stray too far. Things get scary in the far corners of the music landscape.
Once You Fall In Love
(From Here to Eternity)
Happily has one foot in booger-nosed funk, the other in silky-smooth harmony; It's Super Fly meets the Rubber Band Man
(Diary of a Madman)
Slow-motion head-bang followed by godlike Randy Rhodes jam - repeat.
(Year of the Cat)
Transcendental melody circling upwards like cannabis vapors to the Heavens.
(The Royal Scam)
It's not about the lyrics, it's about sick musicianship and a groove that will have you jettisoning your suburban roots in favor of the dirty backstreet.
Screw Dream Weaver; this is in the spirit of Spirit - distributing groovy licks like you just don't care.
Can a song be cheesy and exultant at the same time? No, but it's only cheesy to the hopelessly cynical.. The Z-Boys would approve.
(Safe at Home)
More complicated than a song has a right to be; yet still pleasing to the ear. Prog rock could use a dose of the Beatles; this song has a heaping spoonful.
(Feel Like Makin' Love)
Before American Idol infected the world with melisma, and before autotune turned the singers of a generation into synthetic ventriloquist dummies - there was Roberta.
(The Man in the Bowler Hat)
As Anglo as blood pudding; sounds more like Badfinger than Badfinger, but you cannot deny its a flat-perfect pop melody.
(Baby, I'm a Want You)
Not as pillowy soft as we're accustomed with this band, but still has that signature triumphant hook
No wonder the Beatles loved him - he was one of the elect who could trap lightning in a bottle; if he hadn't kept pressing his self-destruct button, he'd have gone on to bigger things than the Popeye soundtrack.
I've heard this song 900 times over thirty years and I still don't know what it is. It's a rock snob favorite, so I want to hate it, but can't.
(Ring of Hands)
While listening to this in my car, I felt like the wheels left the road; will turn your Toyota Camry into a magic carpet ride.
Marinated in Barry Gibb mojo; F**k the haters, this is the pop music gold standard.
(Behind Closed Doors)
Despite the Silver Fox's anti-John Denver-isms, he could still make some killer honky-tonk worthy of a Philo Beddoe bar brawl.
(If You Could Read My Mind)
A masterpiece painted with words and guitar chords; Not meant for modern jaded ears, this is for those of us that still see ghosts when the woods get black.
Nice, Nice, Very Nice
Even Vonnegut couldn't help but sing its praises; it's not easy to adapt Bokononism for Casey Kasem's Top Forty.
Early Morning Love
Dirtier than "Afternoon Delight" but that's alright with me (did you catch the "Chevy Van" reference?). I've been singing its praises for over a decade and it's still finds its way into my every playlist.
Led Zeppelin harnessed by two Seattle girls; before they wrote glam power ballads, they were channeling the spirit of Lothlorien.
I'm not a fan of legendary music critic Robert Christgau - his tastes don't quite align with mine. For instance, he puts The New York Dolls among his top five bands of all time - and I'd put them somewhere between Thin Lizzy and Rainbow (i.e. way on down my list). Both Lou Reed and Sonic Youth have lambasted the guy with extreme prejudice; but I wouldn't go that far. He's just stating his opinion, and opinions are like... you know, assholes.
I do admire his verbal prowess, though. In fact, I'm a longtime reader of his reviews, and actually have a collection of his album critiques. They were so terse and condensed - he'd say more in a sentence fragment than most critics could say in an entire column. (I refer to him in the past tense, but Christgau is still ticking.) But, there is something innately offensive and wrong about reducing an artist's work to a few words and a grading scale. Dark Side of the Moon: B+
Anyway, I thought I'd try my hand at some song reviews in Christgau style. I can't write a bit like him, but just followed his economy of words. Note that I chose songs I actually love, so that whether you care for the review or not, you can at least have a few tracks to add to your playlists.