Sunday, December 19, 2004
Twenty-five years on, after the pop-sociologists and the music journalists have had their say, wasn't punk just another pose? Yes, the anarchy thing was liberating, the permission to be unpleasant, to shock and to speak the unspeakable were all great, but when you listen to early Adam and the Ants, for example, don't you get the feeling that these were just art-school kids looking for a peg to hang their hats on? On the other hand, songs suddenly became real, and if they weren't addressing An Issue, they were telling a Real Story. And the guitars were sharp, angular, vicious. Made a nice change from twelve-minute concept songs. For a while, anyway.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Another Neil Young song that sounds immeasurably better for being sung by someone with a fantastic voice - in this case, Emmylou Harris. I can only describe her voice as a diaphanous country moan, but Lord, it send shivers up my spine. It almost sounds like she's fronting Lambchop - the music is muted, echoing, with a gentle insistent beat and plenty of atmosphere. The whole thing sounds like a half-remembered date that might or might not have been a dream anyway.
Friday, December 10, 2004
Possibly the greatest guitar intro ever (well, it's either this or "Gimme Shelter"). Jimi Hendrix invented funk-rock and the everlasting guitar solo and they're both on display here. Hendrix was a genius for letting songs follow their own arc and flying off on tangents before getting everything back together before the close. Nothing here is what you could call "tight" but it doesn't matter - this song is unstoppable.