Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rock of Ages: Brian Eno - "Spider and I" (1977)

Brian Eno, along with several other artists on this list, is one of those elusive geniuses that was a few steps ahead of the curve. From his time in Roxy Music, to playing keys on Bowie's Berlin Trilogy to his own solo career that shifted from avante garde glam rock to ambient texturals, he's been next to impossible to pin down. He's even produced dozens of records for everyone from Talking Heads to Coldplay. Before his solo career shifted completely (for the most part) to ambient music, Eno released a final album of genuinely interesting avante-pop entitled Before and After Science. A continuation of sorts from Eno's mixture of both traditional and his future undertakings in ambient (Another Green World was his first album that showed this dual ability), the album has two tones. It's on the second half where the sleepy tune "Spider and I" appears that we see the perfect blend of the two formats.

Slowly building like the coming tide, the music swells with beauty. Immediately upon listening, you can picture yourself on the beach with a moonless sky and see the swirling of stars above you, nothing but the air and waves to keep you company. When the music hits its peak, it's a swirling of synths and piano that is the perfect backdrop for Eno's short verse. Eno has never liked his lyrics, but the words to this song fit the mood of the music perfectly and form a beautiful poem of simplicity:

Spider and I sit watching the sky
On a world without sound
We knit a web to catch one tiny fly
For our world without sound
We sleep in the mornings
We dream of a ship that sails away
A thousand miles away.

It's gorgeous. It goes out just as it came in, slowly fading off into the distance. It's the perfect meditation song.

Up Next: The 50 song on this list goes to Electric Light Orchestra's cure for a bad day

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