Friday, July 25, 2008

These cold wild seas have left us turning

My days at Wow Video help me find a lot of new things and meet a lot of awesome people. Working at the local video store definitely opened me up to new things (be it ridiculous Porn titles or then out-of-print movies like Brazil and Monster Squad.) The kind of people who work at Wow were not just awesome, but came from all different walks of life. Two different albums on this list are from this time period and both opened me up to new avenues of musical greatness. The first one is Television's Marquee Moon. An epic piece of music amid the tumult of the punk rock/new wave explosion of the late 70's, Television came out like a strange beacon of rock's grandiosity but through the style of the times. For that reason, Marquee Moon really has interested me as an album that is somewhat forgotten in the annals of rock history but is just pure greatness. I know anyone who likes music or some great musicians look to Television as one of those insider rock groups.

The record was released in 1977 and it stands as a testament before it's time. It fits in better among some of the post punk of today and yet it's a post punk record in the middle of the punk rock revolution. For me it's a breath of fresh air and a real chiller of a record. Upon my first listening to it after a co-worker told me that she knew I would love it I was on board. This album stands as a good ear mark for my re-birth in music love that was kind of stale in the last few years of high school and jump started during my tenure as a college radio host of "The Lost Tracks" which then turned into "Peel Slowly and See." This show (which just had a name change after it's first year and a half on the air) was dedicated to my love of the album as a whole. Most songs played were of album cuts of popular artists. Less like msot college radio which just digs up the obscure, my focus was more "let's strip away the singles and hits and take a look what else is on that album." For me, hearing a band like Television on the radio would not happen except in the realm of college or non-commercial radio. To me as a young music nerd was a travesty as Marquee Moon holds some of the finest rock performances I've ever heard up to that point. I made it my goal to try and spin this record as often as possible and include it in my mixes that I gave friends as my own egotistical gesture of kindness.

I don't know if my love of Television has spread to anyone I know, but if it hasn't that's all fine and dandy. I can keep this love to myself. The album itself is something I can put on in any mood and something that really just sounds great to listen to. It doesn't try to hard to be anything it isn't yet it's complex and a daunting listen at the same time. When the album starts off with "See No Evil", you wonder why they didn't get big praise until much later in the United States. The fluttering riff in the background with the more standard harder riff in the foreground sounds so good. It's a fast poppy song with all the trappings of a hit, but nonetheless. "Venus" stands as one of my favorite guitar songs of all time and houses some of my favorite lyrics to date ("I fell right into the arms of Venus de Milo.") The titular track may be the greatest guitar epic ever recorded. The creschendo of guitars the explodes into a euphoric light show stands as one of my favorite moments in rock music history. It's the kind o song that shows how bloated Prog Rock can be, yet has all the epicness of prog. Guitars are the muscle here and it just works on a perfect level. More imposing in tone, "Elevation" has again some of my favorite lyrical moments (like the one in the title) and "Torn Curtain" follows easy suit as a great closer with equally great guitar posturing.

This album may not have the most exact moments of life-altering greatness that some of the other albums on this list might, but it does have it's place as one of the best recordings I have ever heard in my 25 year lifetime. It's this kind of record that I enjoy sharing with others and love talking about when I find and meet new people who love the album as much as I do.

1. The Who - Tommy
2. Beck - Odelay
3. Television - Marquee Moon

Up Next: Weezer's Pinkerton

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