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Charles Martel’s Top 1000: Part 50

Does music change the world? Most musicians and many critics would like to think that it does. I am not so sure. Billy Bragg has spent 30 years decrying the capitalist system, during which time the abuses of it have, if anything, got worse. Billie Holiday sang “Strange Fruit” in 1939 but blacks were still […]

Charles Martel’s Top 1000: Part 49

The concept album. The very phrase sends shudders down my spine. True concept albums, as opposed to albums on a theme or rock operas, are not as common as you may believe. For instance, “Reconstruction Site” by the Weakerthans is a great album with a theme whereas “Tommy” or “SF Sorrow” are rock operas. But […]

Charles Martel’s Top 1000: Part 48

What makes me select the videos for inclusion in these blogs? Putting aside availability, the main criterion is a track which is unlikely to be familiar to most who will follow these blogs. After all, introducing new music to people is what it is all about. Occasionally I run across an excellent classical piece which, […]

Charles Martel’s Top 1000: Part 47

There are songs, and indeed whole albums which I used to like, but no longer do. If I had to say why I would say that I have grown out of them. The reasons for this are complex, and generally do not have anything to do with over-familiarity. A song I have grown out of […]

Charles Martel’s Top 1000: Part 46

If there are such things as guilty pleasures, are there guilty absences as well – songs which you should like, or even used to like, but which now bring up unpleasant memories that you no longer choose to listen to the song? I suppose there must be, though offhand I cannot identify any for my […]

Charles Martel’s Top 1000: Part 45

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 […]

Charles Martel’s Top 1000: Part 44

Following on from last week, can bad songs come from great albums? This is a much trickier question to answer. On any album, good or bad, there will always be weaker songs and stronger songs. The weaker ones may not be “bad” per se, and may only be weaker in comparison with other songs on […]

Charles Martel’s Top 1000: Part 43

Do great songs always come from great albums? Not always, would have to be my reply. Obviously great albums tend to have great songs, though some so called great albums would not get my vote as such. But there are number of tracks on this list which come from albums which I despise (though others […]

Charles Martel’s Top 1000: Part 42

Now this list cannot claim to have any originality in its concept. Several organisations have produced their own lists. Of Rolling Stone’s top 500 songs as chosen by their staff, 132 of them are on my list. British newspaper the Guardian ran a list of 1000 songs, chosen by music critics and 98 are on […]

Charles Martel’s Top 1000: Part 41

Is there any such thing as the perfect song? The truth is it is highly doubtful. Several have tried to write the perfect pop song but none have succeeded. First of all, it would be hard to get agreement on what constituted perfection. Even assuming this would be agreed, who would then decide? I would […]

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