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Charles Martel’s Top 1000: Part 45

posted August 27, 2014, 12:30 am by CharlesMartel | Filed Under Recommendations from the Writer's Mind, Video | comment Leave a Comment


We all have them, and frequently we do not admit to them. I am talking of songs which are guilty pleasures. Every fibre of your being tells you that should dislike that song, but you cannot help yourself. Don’t deny it. There is nothing wrong in it, for if, as I have suggested earlier, songs which remind you of people, places, events will have positive associations in your mind, then there are inevitably going to be occasions when those songs are not those you would normally like. That is the very definition of a guilty pleasure. In this list there are number of guilty pleasures and I am pretty sure that those who have read my reviews will be able to identify them with some ease.

At the end of this twenty we will only have 100 to go.

Charles Martel’s 120-101

120. Dinosaur Jr. – “This Is All I Came to Do” (Beyond)

Dinosaur Jr. stormed back after a long layoff with this album and this track is the highlight. Melodic, driving and loud, J. Mascis’s vocal performance, which comes across as taut and restrained, is one of his best.

119. The Wedding Present – “Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft” (George Best)

David Gedge proves you can write a great song which includes whistling. This is about a boy who has a rather low opinion of his ex’s new boyfriend and is the opening track off this magnificent jangle pop album.

118. Vivaldi, Antonio – “La Primavera (Allegro)” (Quattro Stagioni).

If you don’t know this, you are a Philistine of the highest (lowest?) order. Vivaldi’s opening movement from “Spring” in his “Four Seasons” is probably the finest piece of Baroque classical music ever written.

117. Madness – “Night Boat to Cairo” (One Step Beyond)

Combining ska with an Arab music theme and a screaming sax line, this song is one of those moments at any Madness gig where everybody gets up and starts walking around in silly walks in a ridiculous pastiche conga and highlights Madness at their best when it comes to party music.

116. The Bardots – “Sad Anne” (Sad Anne)

One of the most sublime pieces of jangle pop ever written, it contains all the elements which made the genre so appealing. It is my honest opinion that not liking this ought to punishable by a long prison sentence.

115. The Connells – “’74-‘75” (Ring)

A surprising hit in the UK when it was ignored in the US, it is a beautiful ballad about love and loss and remembering. That refrain will linger long after the song has finished. This was the Connells at their very best.

114. Bowie, David – “The Jean Genie” (Aladdin Sane)

Nonsense lyrics and the occasional harmonica flourish built upon that classic 12-bar blues riff (“Mannish Boy”) as Mick Ronson slowly builds his guitar up to that tense solo, this is justifiably one of Bowie’s most intense songs.

113. The Moondogs – “Talking in the Canteen” (7” Single)

Probably the best punk-powerpop song ever, this is all about babysitting and inviting your girlfriend over and wondering if it is actually going to happen – finally! Those guitars screaming at the end are the finest moments in eighties powerpop.

112. James – “Laid” (Laid)

Banned from the radio of course, but this tale of obsessive sexual love is classic James. Clever lyrics, a wailing, falsetto refrain and a clear, mesmerising jangly hook is what this song is all about. And who can forget that line – “She only comes when she’s on top.”

111. The Chameleons – “Looking Inwardly” (What Does Anything Mean? Basically)

Oh that guitar, that guitar, that guitar! Not just the riff, but the tone as well, chiming across the song. It may seem like a relatively simple and repetitive motif but it absolutely dominates the song. It is without doubt the stand out track on the Chameleons’ second album, “What Does Anything Mean, Basically?”

110. Rush – “By-Tor and the Snow Dog” (Fly by Night)Th

e battle between good and evil climaxes with that majestic funeral parade towards the end, where the sound slowly builds until the drums crash in, the doors open and the cortege marches in to the acclamation of the assembled heroes. At least that is what it sounds like. Rush’s undoubted masterpiece.

109. Funkadelic – “Maggot Brain” (Maggot Brain)

George Clinton was so impressed with Eddie Hazel’s guitar work on this that he took all accompaniment out and let the guitar stand on its own. The result is an impressive and impassioned eight minute long guitar solo.

108. Fischer-Z – “Red Skies over Paradise” (Red Skies over Paradise)

Watching the nuclear bombs fall on London from the south coast of England as the Cold War gets warm. This is another fantastic track from the magnificent album about the Cold War and the effects of it on the lives of individuals.

107. The Undertones – “Teenage Kicks” (EP)

BBC Radio legend John Peel played this song twice in a row when he first aired it and gave it 28 stars in his 5-star rating scheme. The opening words of the lyric – “Teenage Dreams, so hard to beat” were inscribed on his tombstone in accordance with his wish. It remains the quintessential pop punk song the like of which has never been bettered.

106. Barber, Samuel – “Adagio for Strings” (String Quartet)

Quite possibly the most popular of all twentieth century orchestral works, Barber’s piece has featured in films (including “Platoon” and “The Elephant Man”) and was played at the funerals of Roosevelt, JFK, Albert Einstein and Princess Grace of Monaco. Listen to it while watching a slow motion film of soldiers going over the top of the trenches at the Somme and you will cry.

105. Lloyd Cole and the Commotions – “Perfect Skin” (Rattlesnakes)

One of Lloyd Cole’s cleverest lyrics, “Perfect Skin” describes the impressions made upon him by a girl during his student days. It has a wonderful jangly intro which really sets the whole song up. No wonder this is called College Rock.

104. The Beat – “Mirror in the Bathroom” (I Just Can’t Stop It)

A somewhat sinister song about narcissism and selfishness, it has proved to be one of the Beat’s most popular and enduring tracks and is still played live to this day during the band’s concerts. The production enhances the song’s eerie quality.

103. Mozart, Wolfgang – “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” (Serenades)

Possibly the most popular of all Mozart’s works, this serenade was probably written on commission but never paid for. Even the title is derived only from a note Mozart wrote and was never intended to be its real title.

102. Talking Heads – “Psycho Killer” (77)Ti

na Weymouth’s memorable bass line is what drives this song, Talking Heads’ signature hit, about what goes on inside the mind of a serial killer. I am not so sure about David Byrne’s French accent though.

101. Bethnal – “The Fiddler” (7” Single)

This rare single was self-released and I have never seen another copy. It is a shame because this is a wonderful and intelligent punk track which is unusual in that it features a violin solo. The B-Side is probably the best B-Side not to have made it to this list.

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