Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rock of Ages: Television - "Marquee Moon" (1977)

I first heard of the band Television from a co-worker who also had a radio show during my college years and I was intrigued to hear a band that came out of the late 70's CBGB generation that was not new wave or straight punk rock. Instead, they were some weird amalgam of prog and power pop combined with catchy hooks, sweeping two-part guitar soloing and poetic lyrics. Their landmark debut, Marquee Moon, has the best of all of these elements from short, catchy tunes like "Venus" to extended jam sessions like "Torn Curtian." The titular track is one of these extended jams and it is unlike any song I had heard up to that point. Very simple, overlapping guitar parts slowly build upon each other and layer itself to a confusion of melody. Tom Verlaine's trembling voice kicks in with existential lyrics and the band chugs forth.

Much like the guitar epic in my previous post, "Marquee Moon" is very much about the guitar solos as much as anything else. Two different intertwining guitar solos overlap and slowly build to a fever pitch, much like a King Crimson song, and then explode into this ethereal euphoric fireworks display of sound. Where Neil Young's "Like a Hurricane" succeeds emotionally from fever-pitched frantic sounds, "Marquee Moon" hooks you with melodies and clean, swirling guitars. It's a beautiful track that is sweepingly epic and entrancingly beautiful.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Up Next: Brian Eno's midnight lament and perfect mix of his ambient and lyrical genius

No comments: