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Old 06-06-2009, 12:27 AM   #1
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Fave 5 and Reasons Why (with a dash of those that almost made it)

1. The Beatles – A Day In The Life

The perfect balance of Lennon/McCartney. A song that drifts through a psychedelic drug-induced haze before changing over into bouncy English pop and then back into the aural equivalent of a cavalry charge, amidst a myriad of studio sounds like a very timely ringing alarm clock and a distant counting down of numbers; could very well be the greatest rock song ever composed in history. It is the grand finale to an album which laid down the footprint that several countless psychedelic, progressive and straight-ahead rock bands would follow.

2. U2 – One

The song that saved U2 from breaking up during the tumultuous Achtung Baby sessions at Hansa studios Berlin, is widely considered in rock circles as one of the greatest songs ever written. Lyrics as openly revealing as "it's too late tonight to drag the past out into the light, we're one but we're not the same, we get to carry each other...", hide the complexity buried underneath; making it open to various interpretations including a relationship gone sour, a conversation between a heterosexual man and his gay son or simply a tete-a-tete with god. Either way, I think it is a brilliant and timeless composition.

3. R.E.M. – Man On The Moon

The intertwined melody of Mike Mills' bass and Peter Buck's guitar lays the foundation for what I consider a classic rock masterpiece from the early 90s. The country-ish tones were new for R.E.M. at the time, a band that grew out of the alternative/indie/college rock scene in Athens, Georgia in the 80's and exploded into Grammy territory and worldwide acclaim in the 90's. This beautifully warm ditty in which Stipe rambles on about Andy Kaufman, Charles Darwin and Moses is from their seminal 1992 album Automatic For The People, arguably their best album according to critics and fans everywhere.

4. The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again

Bookending what is probably The Who's most popular album, about leaving everything and starting over, this song has it all: acrobatic rock riffs, extended electronic keyboard jams, portentous lyrics like "we'll be fighting in the street with our children at our feet and the morals that we worship will be gone"; and last but not least, the single greatest scream in rock history! The exhilaration that I feel every single time I hear Roger Daltrey's voice exploding into Keith Moon's stunning drum solo kicking off a crashing epic finale, is hard to describe in mere words.

5. Tori Amos – Cornflake Girl

Quite possibly the only singer-songwriter who can make an instrument as melodiously tame as the piano, sound so full of fury and passion; Tori Amos truly delivered a masterpiece with Cornflake Girl from her second album Under The Pink. It has her trademark Kate Bush inspired weirdness with lyrics like "peel out the watchword" and "rabbit where'd you put the keys, girl?", not to mention the most breathtaking piano solo this side of Elton John. Though it is not on Little Earthquakes, my favorite Tori album, I cannot get enough of this beautifully odd song about hangin' with the raisin girls and god knows what.


Those that almost made it:

6. Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven

7. Pink Floyd – High Hopes

8. Radiohead – Paranoid Android

9. Madonna – Live To Tell

10. Pearl Jam – Nothingman

11. Metallica – Master Of Puppets

12. Kraftwerk – The Robots

13. Depeche Mode – Walking In My Shoes

14. George Michael – Cowboys And Angels

15. Guns 'n' Roses – Estranged
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:51 AM   #2
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Love the little paragraph descriptions. You should have written one for all 15 songs, though.
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:52 PM   #3
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1. The Beatles - Strawberry Fields Forever

John Lennon's songwriting peak and The Beatles' peak as studio wizards made for a perfect storm with this track. Lennon's ode to happier, more innocent times already makes for an engaging listen, but it's the whirlwind surrounding it that truly makes this a classic. Honestly, if nothing else, this is one of the most exciting sonic experiences ever put to tape, and the production is masterful; dense, layered, yet thoroughly complimentary, it's always fun to dissect this song, and, for me, doing so has yet to become tiresome after hundreds of listens.

2. Led Zeppelin - Black Dog

Sometimes even I wonder why I consider this the finest moment of Zeppelin's career. It's repetitive, lyrically obnoxious, and the sort of thing that inspired countless crappy macho rock bands. Just the same, everything is here: arguably Page's coolest guitar riff (and, by extension, one of the coolest ever written), inspired vocal acrobatics from Plant, and a kickass beat from Bonham. I'm sure John Paul Jones does something awesome too, it's pretty much a given. Still don't know why this is here, but what the hell, I seldom have more fun listening to music than I do when Black Dog is playing, which counts for something.

3. U2 - Zooropa

With this track, context is important. Without knowing what was going on in the world of U2 circa 1993, it's easy to peg this as a pompous, sterile studio creation with no soul. But when you take ZooTV into consideration, the meaning and purpose of the song clicks in and you realize just how brilliant this track is. U2 challenges themselves here, taking on numerous tempos and moods, yet it's structured in such a way that it never feels unnatural, and the song sprints to the finish just before it starts to drag. Easily one of U2's most thrilling and exhilarating tracks, and a truly unique sonic experience.

4. Joni Mitchell - Help Me

Joni has always been known for writing heartbreaking, heart-on-sleeve narratives, but never has she been more direct about the risks of falling in love than here. It's one of her loveliest tracks musically, slick and swooning, very appropriate for the subject matter, and even though she doesn't exactly pull of the Blue trick of sounding like she's crooning into your ear, the song does feel extremely personal and never calculated, a very uncommon feat for such an obvious hit single.

5. Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run

If Joni's "Help Me" is a contemplation of commitment, Born To Run, Bruce's 4 minute magnum opus, is the heady rush of lust and escapism that precedes it. Before BTR, Bruce searched for a sound, and occasionally came across it on tracks like Blinded By The Light, For You, and Rosalita, but on this track (and the rest of its accompanying album) it all came together. Surf rock guitar, a driving beat, and squealing horns are the soundtrack to a romantic tale of freedom and redemption. Embodying everything that makes the E Street Band a motherfucking institution and everything that makes Born To Run (the album) an all-time classic, this song IS Bruce. He can't escape it, and I doubt he has any desire to.

Highly honorable mentions:

Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
Arcade Fire - Wake Up
David Bowie - Golden Years
Pulp - Babies
Beck - Debra
Big Star - Thirteen
Prince - Purple Rain
Joy Division - Disorder
Blur - Beetlebum
Bob Dylan - Lay Lady Lay
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Old 06-06-2009, 03:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LemonMelon View Post
1. The Beatles - Strawberry Fields Forever

John Lennon's songwriting peak and The Beatles' peak as studio wizards made for a perfect storm with this track. Lennon's ode to happier, more innocent times already makes for an engaging listen, but it's the whirlwind surrounding it that truly makes this a classic. Honestly, if nothing else, this is one of the most exciting sonic experiences ever put to tape, and the production is masterful; dense, layered, yet thoroughly complimentary, it's always fun to dissect this song, and, for me, doing so has yet to become tiresome after hundreds of listens.
This. It should also be added that amidst the happy childhood recollections, there's a creepy, more menacing tone that I detect, especially in the low strings that follow Lennon's utterance of "Strawberry Fields" in the choruses, as well as the horns that follow "nothing is real". To me it helps to complete a very complex, "Alice in Wonderland" feel to the song, a jumble of moods and emotions, memories and fantasies.

Lennon himself never got over the song either; didn't he continue to work on the piece during rest of his life? I have a disc of like 15 different versions of it somewhere.

I still think Sgt. Peppers suffers because of the omission of this song. Certainly better than fucking Good Morning, or Lovely Rita for that matter.

Anyone ever have the nerve to make a revision of Peppers including some of the MMT tracks, at least the ones that were recorded during the Pepper's sessions? Seems ridiculous to mess with the "Greatest Album of All Time", but it could have been even better.
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Old 06-06-2009, 03:26 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by lazarus View Post
Anyone ever have the nerve to make a revision of Peppers including some of the MMT tracks, at least the ones that were recorded during the Pepper's sessions? Seems ridiculous to mess with the "Greatest Album of All Time", but it could have been even better.
I don't have either album on this laptop, so I don't have the means to sequence it right now, but any album boasting the following tracks:

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band
With A Little Help From My Friends
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Fixing A Hole
Getting Better
A Day In The Life
The Fool On The Hill
I Am The Walrus
Hello Goodbye
Strawberry Fields Forever
Penny Lane
All You Need Is Love

WOULD be the greatest album of all time.
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Old 06-06-2009, 03:28 PM   #6
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I gave it a quick try:

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band
With A Little Help From My Friends
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
I Am The Walrus
Within You Without You
Strawberry Fields Forever
Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite
Lovely Rita
Penny Lane
Hello Goodbye
All You Need Is Love
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band(Reprise)
A Day In The Life

I like Lovely Rita better than Getting Better, and I think Within You Without You is brilliant.
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Old 06-06-2009, 03:57 PM   #7
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OK, here is my PERSONAL IMHO NOT SIRIUS BIZNESS WHATSOEVER hybrid of the two albums I dub................Sgt. Pepper's Magical Mystery Tour:

1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
2. With A Little Help From My Friends
3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
4. Fixing A Hole
5. Getting Better
6. Fool On The Hill
7. Flying
8. Strawberry Fields Forever
9. I Am The Walrus
10. Baby You're A Rich Man
11. Penny Lane
12. Hello Goodbye
13. All You Need Is Love
14. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
15. A Day In The Life

Yeah, yeah, I know everyone hates Flying and Baby You're A Rich Man. If you don't think that Flying--->Strawberry Fields Forever segue is awesome, donate your ears to science.
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Old 06-06-2009, 07:12 PM   #8
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Okay... I could try to do this, but it'll hurt.
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Old 06-06-2009, 07:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LemonMelon View Post
[B]
4. Joni Mitchell - Help Me

Joni has always been known for writing heartbreaking, heart-on-sleeve narratives, but never has she been more direct about the risks of falling in love than here. It's one of her loveliest tracks musically, slick and swooning, very appropriate for the subject matter, and even though she doesn't exactly pull of the Blue trick of sounding like she's crooning into your ear, the song does feel extremely personal and never calculated, a very uncommon feat for such an obvious hit single.
Very nice (and unexpected) choice.


I don't know if I could do this. It would be hard.
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Old 06-06-2009, 07:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LemonMelon View Post
OK, here is my PERSONAL IMHO NOT SIRIUS BIZNESS WHATSOEVER hybrid of the two albums I dub................Sgt. Pepper's Magical Mystery Tour:

1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
2. With A Little Help From My Friends
3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
4. Fixing A Hole
5. Getting Better
6. Fool On The Hill
7. Flying
8. Strawberry Fields Forever
9. I Am The Walrus
10. Baby You're A Rich Man
11. Penny Lane
12. Hello Goodbye
13. All You Need Is Love
14. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
15. A Day In The Life

Yeah, yeah, I know everyone hates Flying and Baby You're A Rich Man. If you don't think that Flying--->Strawberry Fields Forever segue is awesome, donate your ears to science.
I don't have a problem with your additions, but you can't get rid of Harrison's only contribution. I do think it's funny that both of you got rid of She's Leaving Home, a song I have a bit of respect for but it's definitely boring.

Also, I was trying to keep it somewhat pure, and apparently Penny Lane & Strawberry Fields were the only two songs from MMT recorded during the Peppers sessions. There's also the option of including Harrison's Only A Northern Song, also from that period. Obviously this makes the assignment less fun, but still enough to make it a much more solid contender for Best Album Ever.

My proposed track listing, attempting to hew as close as possible to the original, with no omissions:

SIDE ONE
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
With A Little Help From My Friends
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Getting Better
Fixing A Hole
She's Leaving Home
Only a Northern Song
Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!

SIDE TWO
Strawberry Fields Forever
Within You Without You
When I'm Sixty-Four
Lovely Rita
Good Morning Good Morning
Penny Lane
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise)
A Day In The Life

On the original album side one is about 5 minutes longer than side two, so there's already some space to fill. I think Northern Song and Mr. Kite have some sonic similarities, and work well together. Strawberry Fields deserves a notable spot, and I think it's a wild way to open side two, and prepares one for the mystic Within You Without You.

The problem with Sgt. Peppers in general is the lightweight nature (musically and lyrically) of the songs between WIWY and Day in the Life, and the insertion of Penny Lane (I've put it as a nice finale before the "encore" of the Reprise and ADITL) probably doesn't do much to help that, but it does make side two stronger in terms of song quality. It also doesn't put much more Lennon material into the mix (something including the rest of the MMT/singles songs would alleviate), but the project was more Paul's baby anyway, and John's compositions still remain among the strongest of the bunch.
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Old 06-07-2009, 04:46 AM   #11
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Great thread Zoots, Missed you in EYKIW.

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4. The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again

Bookending what is probably The Who's most popular album, about leaving everything and starting over, this song has it all: acrobatic rock riffs, extended electronic keyboard jams, portentous lyrics like "we'll be fighting in the street with our children at our feet and the morals that we worship will be gone"; and last but not least, the single greatest scream in rock history! The exhilaration that I feel every single time I hear Roger Daltrey's voice exploding into Keith Moon's stunning drum solo kicking off a crashing epic finale, is hard to describe in mere words.
.

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I still think Sgt. Peppers suffers because of the omission of this song. Certainly better than fucking Good Morning, or Lovely Rita for that matter.
It's certainly better, but you could have picked two suckier tracks! I love those two songs.
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Old 06-07-2009, 05:00 AM   #12
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Nothing on Peppers "sucks", but those two songs are rather slight from a lyrical perspective, and aren't very interesting musically, either (unless you're really impressed by John's food chain animal sounds).
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Old 06-07-2009, 05:01 AM   #13
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My turn.

No particular order here, and I wouldn't have a fucking clue about a top five.

David Bowie - A New Career in a New Town
My favourite Bowie song, hands down. That in itself should tell you enough about this song, as Bowie is the fucking man, who has done basically everything in his career. I took a while to warm up to Low, but when I did, this was the track that did it. A simple instrumental, have you ever heard one that lives completely up to its title. Beginning all slow and contemplative, the guitar wistfully rocks away while the harmonicas come out. Inspirational and incredible.

U2 - Running to Stand Still
Gets closer and closer to being my favourite U2 song with every single listen. After the assault of Bullet, the boys take it back down again, in remarkable fashion. A few casual plucks of the guitar, and then Larry quietly begins tapping away in some of his finest work in their catalogue. I've written a short story based on the premise of this song, "if you don't like the world you're living in, see it through different eyes. Heroin gives you heroin eyes to see the world through." Begins to soar as Bono heads into the devastating final verse, and then pulls at the heartstrings as it fades out. And we all know how it translated live.

Nick Drake - Northern Sky
Absolutely astonishing song from perhaps the most maligned man in music. A very shy, introverted man, Drake refused any real promotion or touring, sometimes playing with his back turned to an audience. But this song is far too beautiful to have been written by a man who was supposedly despondent about life. Everything about it, from the lush soundscapes to the heartfelt lyrics, are perfect. Listen now if you haven't before.

Paul Kelly - How to Make Gravy
Australia's 'answer' to Bob Dylan, I guess. Writes stories more than songs. He played at Sound Relief, the benefit concert for the bushfire victims, and I sat there, hoping but knowing he probably wouldn't play this song. When he struck up the familiar acoustic opening, I almost exploded. A song about a man who's pining for times gone by, when the family was exactly that, and wondering, perhaps childishly, who is going to make the gravy at the next get together when the family's fallen apart. Tragic, but one of his absolute best.

Radiohead - Weird Fishes
I was fond of Radiohead. This was the song that made me love them. Drifts along effortlessly, with strings, guitar and electronics all coming in to play and meshing perfectly. Builds magnificently towards its stunning climax, with Thom's epitaph, "I hit the bottom and escape". People often get images in their heads when reading books, but this is the first song that I've ever listened to that has created movies, images, dreams in my head. Hard to ever see it being replaced as my favourite Radiohead song.
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Old 06-07-2009, 05:03 AM   #14
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Nothing on Peppers "sucks", but those two songs are rather slight from a lyrical perspective, and aren't very interesting musically, either (unless you're really impressed by John's food chain animal sounds).
Good Morning's lyrics are brilliant I reckon, and I think Lovely Rita has some of the more interesting music on the record, but I do see where you're coming from. There's nothing that polarises opinion quite so much as Sgt Peppers.
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Old 06-07-2009, 06:42 AM   #15
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1. Bruce - Thunder Road

It's a town full of losers and I'm pullin outta here to win.

2. Be Your Own Pet - Becky

If only what you wrote in my yearbook was true, I wouldn't be stuck in fuckin cell-block 2.

3. Pearl Jam - Alive


It is overplayed, and I've actually (sadly enough) started to grow tired of it the last year or so. But fuck it...no song gets me to rock out as hard as this motherfucker. The guitar solo, the chorus, everything. Just, yeah.

4. Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone

Greatest song ever written?

5. R.E.M. - Begin the Begin


Let's begin again.

Others:

U2 - New Year's Day
Lennon - Instant Karma!
The Beatles - I Want To Hold Your Hand
Radiohead - Reckoner
Zeppelin - Thank You
Girls Aloud - Biology
Britney - ...Baby One More Time
Arctic Monkeys - A Certain Romance
Rolling Stones - Rocks Off
Oasis - Live Forever

This is an incredibly shambolic list. I'm stoned and it's 5:40 in the morning and I'll probably want to change it when I wake up. Such is life.
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