Top 5 Favoritest Ever Songs (Chronological Order)

June 1, 2008 at 4:58 pm (1)

I just had to do it.
1) Satellite of Love (Lou Reed: Transformer)

Others would say Walk on the Wild Side is the best Transformer cut; they’d be wrong (it’s actually Perfect Day). Satelites of Love‘s a love song by someone so apathetic, so passive, that most won’t even see the drama. At the beginning we hear “satellite’s gone”, and later “I like to watch things on TV”, and that’s about it for personal information, besides talking about what the “you” of the song does (“[mess] around with Harry, Mark, and John”). The Breakup isn’t a climactic moment of separation, the victim views it from a distance, and eventually becomes sour.

But this passive drama isn’t all of it. The song has a pristine piano melody throughout the song, and perfectly metered harmony during the chorus in melody and rhythm, and the song continues in a verse/chorus dichotomy, repeating its twin themes often, but this is uscious Lou we’re talking about! Things get crazy; percussion louder, backup singers belting, organs and horns come in, and Lou’s voice gets louder than the monotone snarl he’s perfected: the satellite is gone, and we finally hear its passionate orbit! The impolite break from a perfectly polite song. The rest of the record might not match up all the times, but for this one song at least, conventional song forms are used to emote a heartbreakingly passive breakup, where complacence delayed passion so much: beautiful.

2) Where It’s At!?! (Beck: Odelay)

The second best hip hop song, ever (the best one is next! (Madlib doesn’t count for some strange reason)). Such a cool organ riff starts it off, and after the mood is established, admittedly after aminute of instrumental introduction, Beck comes in with one of the best descriptions of a party and dancehalls I’ve heard:

There’s a destination a little up the road
From the habitations and the towns we know
A place we saw the lights turn low
The jig-saw jazz and the get-fresh flow
Pulling out jives and jamboree handouts
Two turntables and a microphone
Bottles and cans just clap your hands just clap your hands

Okay, the lyrics aren’t the best part, but there are thrown away jems (jigsaw jazz and get fresh flow) just begging to be salvaged from the mire, and then Beck goes and has a party with the music, its rote parts enlivened into lucid choreography! After the awesome, endlessly repeatable hook (well, repeatable when it has a fantastical, phantasmal musicscape, which it thankfully does), he fits saxophones onto the beat, an acoustic guitar (eventually the two battle to the delight of many in the musical coliseum!), an organ gets its chance at a solo, but is interrupted by a distorted guitar (it came back after the saxophone’s victory, this time with armor!) and vocal harmonies, and never stops rocking, never relents from its intense musical joy! Where it’s at!?! is the best party I’ve never been to; I’ve only heard it.

 

3) Bombs Over Baghdad (Outkast: Stankonia)

The best hip hop song, ever. Really. A pounding beat gets full toned, robotic synthesizers and electric guitar, and Outkast introduces all these tones and melodies when Big Boi and Andre are spitting their hardest (seriously, how can their tongues move this quickly and articulatedly? I must know, for career purposes, at least), and plopped on top are their lyrics, polemical bombs and pounding imagery (“stack of questions, with no answers/cure for cancer, cure for AIDs” Dre 3000 tells us he receives in the mail: I’d hate to be his mailman).

Of course, Hip Hop’s biggest musical contribution (its political: giving voices and urgency to those who had none, which is important, but these are the top 5 best songs- not the most important) is a well cultivated musicscape, and Outkast does that incredibly well here. A couple hooks trade the baton after verses over a guitar solo and robotic breakbeat (the video has a DJ sling his drum machine over a shoulder, just ilke a guitar, just like any drum programmer should (I do this with my keyboard, mouse, and monitor. The results did not come out as well. I need to practise my technique)).

The best Hip Hop song.

4) Evil Angel (Rufus Wainwright: Poses)

The best Rufus song, and it doesn’t sound like him at all. Strings with a strained operatic voice begin it (well, okay, it sounds a little like Rufus), and a hopeful, Romantic melody and instrumentation come in after the second chorus. But then it gets cacaphonically percussive, with trashcan drums and noisy, static guitar. And a fuzzy, phat bass comes in, but it doesn’t distort the strings and voice at all: they keep wailing- female harmonies erect themselves as a monument to beauty lost, and still all this swirls, still all this while darkness enshrouds the entire musical affair. The best (and only good) Gothic (an adjectival shortcut- forgive me) music I’ve heard.

5) Song Song Song (Final Fantasy: He Poos Clouds)

He Poos Clouds is one of the best records of the 00’s (a claim which I can make because very few have heard it and those who do agree). A classically trained violinist went and had fun with making music a year before, and tuned his songwriting craft to making original, distinct music on his second full length. This is the wackiest song on the album (so wacky, it’s not just a song, it’s not a song song, it’s a song song song!); a harsh, staccato violin begins the madness, but then Owen Pallet’s beautiful, subdued voice rises onto the track, a precious melody constantly burst by imposing pizzicato. When Owen’s voice gets louder, brightly harsh bubbles of bells and violin interrupt him, and the music rises in percussive harmony and intensity.

And then the song starts to agree with our singer, which is bad news, and suddenly the mystical song song song about everything even provides discomfort to our protagonist: it really is everything, not jsut everything desired. As dramatic and moving a sung monologue as Satellite of Love is.

The rest of the album is great, bubbling with a baroque intensity not found in modern music outside of Patrick Wolf, and with a much better consistent quality.

***

Now that I’ve written so much, what are your favorite songs ever!?! Do Tell

Advertisements

2 Comments

  1. Miizzzard said,

    Whoa, where did this come from? I enjoyed it thought, great description of Satellite of Love

  2. xyphap said,

    It came from my fingertips of course, with a fair bit palm involved!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: