Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday Turntable 4.14.09

The late Seventies wasn't a time I had associated with great music. Until I started paying attention, that is.

This Turntable is comprised of songs produced between 1977-79, and if you aren't already familiar with these, you should get that way. For real, if you haven't heard of the bands themselves, I'd be willing to bet a good portion of your music library is greatly influenced by the punk and post-punk coming out of these years.

First is "Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads. In perfect honesty, I discovered this song while playing Rock Band II in my dorm. Not the most distinguished of musical venues, yet if I hadn't first heard this song when it was my turn to sing, I might not appreciate it as much as I do. The off-kilter lyrics had me giggling shyly to the group as I sang, but once the chorus broke out, I dropped all my bashful pretense. This has got to be one of the most insanely fun choruses to sing (poorly) in the Rock Band repertoire, if not in seventies music in general.

I think "Shot by Both Sides"'s opening guitar solo says more than I can about how great this song is. Magazine was literally post-punk, with frontman Howard Devoto frustratedly quitting his former punk band (a little outfit you might have heard of: The Buzzcocks) in order to form Magazine. He doesn't fully lose sight of his roots, but the more conventional structure of the song allowed Magazine to access a fanbase on which traditional punk was lost.

"Hey, I know I've heard this song before! It was selling the New VW Beetle a few years back, right?"
"Yeah, it's called "Mr. Blue Sky.""
"Oh, right, by the Polyphonic Spree, right?"
"Um, not quite, this band is Electric Light Orchestra, they're from 1977."
*indie cred instantly crushed, mwah ha ha, take that, hipster!*

Ok, Ok, so two of the songs on this Turntable I discovered from video games. Epic fail, I know. But seriously, these game designers have pretty awesome taste, and I'm apparently in their debt. The lyrics to "Surrender" are perhaps even more relevant today than they were in the seventies. Every generation, of course, will be apt to say their parents 'seem a little weird,' I suppose, but relatability doesn't sacrifice excitement in this Cheap Trick ode to being freaked out when your parents make out.

The Only Ones didn't last much longer than their first album, but it was enough to get us "Another Girl, Another Planet." What I notice about this song is, it's a hell of a lot catchier than most punk songs out there. I hear it in a lot of the pop-punk bands that came into existence in the nineties. As long as it doesn't turn out that it's responsible for Simple Plan, it will remain one of my favorite Brit Punk songs.

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1 comment:

  1. anyone who considers themselves music-savvy yet doesn't recognise 'mr. blue sky' needs to watch running with scissors— best 70s soundtrack ever.