Thursday, April 1, 2010

"Musical Orgasms"

Oooh! Ah! ...No no no, not like that....
& no, we R not gonna discuss Donna Summer's "Love to Love You Baby" here -- at least not at this time. Even tho it might B more intresting....
This post is dedicated 2 the proposition that part of what makes really great rock&roll so freakin great is the way that U can sometimes Cm 2 tell from a song's Bginnings roughly where it's going 2 go ... & then it goes there, in the best possible way, w/ some Xtra added suprises along the way ... & the result leaves U thrilled & satisfied & refreshed every time ... roughly in the same way a good round of sex w/ some1 U love works.
In short, the inevitability of the way the song plays-out is part of what makes it so freakin great. U know where it's going, but....
Naturally, I have some nominees 2 support this theory:
* "Stairway to Heaven" -- This is mayB the only song I know of (perhaps also "Light My Fire"?) that feels like it was predestined, inevitable -- that somehow if Jimmy Page & Robert Plant hadn't found the pieces 2 put 2gether this mystical fantasy, some1 else woulda HAD 2, just 2 keep the universe in order. It just Cms like it's always bn w/ us, like some kinda 4got10 folksong that should date back 1,000's of yrs.
Starting out delicately w/ acoustic guitar & flutes & slowly building in in10sity 2 Page's truly orgasmic gtr solo at the Nd, is there NE1 who doesn't have the lyrics 2 this song memorized by age 12? & is there NE1 who wants 2 take a shot at Xplaining that solo? Sounds awful fiery 2 me, like the heavens falling down in2 hell -- tho what that has 2 do w/ the lyrics beats me.
It's really un4gettable, & it holds up even if U've heard the song 10,000x, which we all have. & it's not even my fave song, or probly even in my Top 100. But every time I play it, it Does The Job.
Zep's "When the Levee Breaks" is also pretty cosmic & worth a mention in this context. "Kashmir," tho also brilliant, is more like tantric sex -- prolonged Byond Ndurance, which may B 1 of the reasons Robert howls all thru the fade-out....
* Elton John: "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" -- This opener 4 GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD Bgins w/ a long, morose synthesizer-&-sound-effects instrumental (the only time Elton ever did this, far as I know), later joined by Davey Johnstone's gtr, which pulls the instrumental outta its swirling Dpression & in2 The Real Reason 4 this medley: "Love Lies Bleeding" is 1a Elton's greatest rockers, & Johnstone's slashing gtr (along w/ Bernie Taupin's lyrics & the great group vocals on the choruses) keep the song rushing 4ward. But Johnstone's the secret weapon here, the way his gtr accents the song as it proceeds & keeps shrieking as it fades out. I've always loved the crashing impact of this -- why didn't they release the 2nd 1/2 as a single?
* REO Speedwagon: "Roll With the Changes" -- Back when I was a teenager, this flattened me the 1st time I heard it: Neal Doughty's rolling keyboards leading in2 Gary Richrath's charging gtr, & later the "Keep on rolling" group-vocal choruses -- the speed of it impressed me, & the fact that they kept it going 4 6+ mins.... Tho whether it's a happy breakup song or an Xstatic new-love song I've never quite figured out....
* Journey: "Feeling That Way/Anytime" -- "Feeling That Way"'s the build-up, "Anytime"'s the release. The only time I've ever heard this on radio, they've always played both parts, showing mayB that radio programmers Rn't ALWAYS idiots. Steve Perry & Gregg Rolie shoulda teamed-up on vocals more often. & Neal Schon has a pretty great gtr solo near the Nd of "Anytime."
* Rush: "Time Stand Still" -- I think this is the best thing they ever did, just 4 the nostalgia content of Neal Peart's lyrics -- but the way it builds, & Aimee Mann's howling-in-the-wilderness "Ooooohs" toward the Nd on top of Alex Lifeson's repeating gtr figure, it's just a freakin knockout. "Force Ten" is also superb -- especially toward the Nd as Geddy Lee moves from verse 2 chorus & back....
* ABBEY ROAD, Side 2 -- Basically everything from "You Never Give Me Your Money" onward. A lot of it's freaking gorgeous, & the build toward "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End" is amazing, even w/ the occasional breaks, even w/ the silly character songs ("Bathroom Window," "Polythene Pam," "Mr. Mustard"). & the closing is perfect. My X-wife 1nce hadda theory that ABBEY ROAD was a comedy album, but mercifully I can't remember what she was on about.... Some people might think "A Day in the Life" would fit in2 this discussion, but I'd think it would havta B a real downer, a reminder of some REALLY BAD sex....
* "You Can't Always Get What You Want" -- Ghod, I love all of it, from the choir & the French horn at the Bginning thru Jagger's tortured vocal & the twisted lyrical imagery, thru Richards' usual Xcellent gtr, 2 the Nd where it all falls 2gether in all its hugeness. Not sure Xactly why the choir was here, but man they do they job -- they're probly my faverite part of the whole thing....
* Boston: "A Man I'll Never Be" -- 4 me, their best work, an admission of the insecurity that was always at the center of Tom Scholz's lyrical concerns, & the way it piles up & up til Brad Delp's vocal disappears in2 the gtrs.... Another knockout. "More Than a Feeling" is a real close 2nd....
* Easybeats: "Friday on My Mind" -- The best "It's the WEEKEND!" song ever rushes & blasts from 1/2way thru the 1st verse, & by the time U get 2 the 1st chorus U'd better get outta the way cos these guys R in a HURRY 2 get 2 that Good Time they've waited all wk 4. Still sounds great every time I hear it....
* Caravan: "The Dog, the Dog, He's At it Again" -- This starts out gently, but after some silly choruses & a warped & twiddly keyboard solo, it Nds w/ the prettiest (& yet most driving) circular-vocal Nding yr ever likely 2 hear. & of course the subject is sex. Their "Memory Lain/Hugh/Headloss" starts off w/ a lotta drive 2, great gtr riff, but they lose it in the less-intense (tho still Xcellent) 2nd 1/2. "Be All Right" is like a freight train running right at U, & lacks only a really good Nding 2 rank higher on this list. The 12-min live version of "For Richard" takes awhile 2 get going, but in the last 2/3rd's the band & the orchestra Bhind them POUND the Ndlessly repeating riff in2 dramatic submission until a huge & shuddering ... climax....
* Steve Tibbetts: "Ur" -- This gtr-meltdown piece starts w/ strummed acoustic, gourds & other percussion, & w/ pauses 4 an occasional shimmering chance 2 catch R breath, morphs in2 a spiralling gtr showcase that (I swear) has bits that sound like a lightning strike, an Xplosion, a shooting pain across yr 4head, acid splashed in2 yr face, a smear of blood across a wall, another detonation & thunder echoing 4 miles.... Then back 2 the hushed silence & the rattling percussion. U look over & yr speakers have bn reduced 2 ashes....
Prefer a quickie instead...?
* Five Man Electrical Band: "Absolutely Right" -- Opening w/ a quickly strummed acoustic, then added electric piano & then the fat gtr tones B4 we get 2 Les Emmerson's sorta-phased vocal w/ him begging 2 come back home. Shakers come in as he pleads, & U'll B hooked by the 1st chorus, which Nds w/ more great gtr interjections from Emmerson. The pace picks up, & from the point in the middle-break when the group-vocals start: "Oh, I wish that you could see....," the rest is a screaming headlong rush 4ward w/ more great group-vocal choruses & looping gtr until the band stomps on those last 4 notes. & they do it all in about 2:16. A near-perfect shoulda-bn #1 hit that everybody missed the boat on....
I'm sure U have yr own recommendations. Diffrent strokes 4 diffrent folks, right? Let's hear em....

2 comments:

Pugs Malone said...

What came to mind when I read this topic were the ending section of Genesis' "Supper's Ready" and the second half of Van der Graaf Generator's "Childlike Faith in Childhood's End". They're just built up to so well.

tad said...

Pugs: "Supper's Ready"'s Nding IS pretty great, at least on the live version I've heard (on SECONDS OUT). Haven't heard the VDGG ... yet....
I'm also thinking mayB I otta let this stuff simmer a little longer B4 I write about it, Bcos more stuff always pops in2 my head the next day: I've got some additions 2 the list in the post -- I'm also trying 2 beat Rastro 2 reminding me about all the obvious stuff I 4got.
So, I should ALSO have mentioned:
* Yes: "Close to the Edge (live)" -- really everything from the "I Get Up, I Get Down" section onward....
* Beatles: "Twist and Shout" -- Probly the Ultimate Classic (& 1st?) in this genre....
* Bangles: "Let it Go."
Thanx 4 commenting, Pugs. NE1 else have NE nominees...? -- TAD.