Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My top 25 iPod tracks in 2013, all of which were recorded in the 20th century.

Use my iPod only for running, its library has just 535 songs after eliminating most of those which really didn't make sense for my run motivation, so let's see what has been the Top 25 this year

49 Byes-Byes
I hadn't heard this song in decades before adding it to my playlist during my Buffalo Springfield revivalist period and revisiting CSN, but then I listened to it near the end of every run for months and it ended up my most played song for the year, never skipped.  I like the 60's sound in the guitar and drums, the electric organ phrases, the changes in the melodies, and the goal is the way Stills sings the musical question "Who do you love?"

Golden Slumbers
Once there was a way to get back home... not anymore.  Abbey Road was my third album, after The Monkees Greatest Hits and Buffalo Springfield.  This is McCartney's best granny-song (Lennon's phrase) moment, always singing the granny tunes like "Martha My Dear" and "Your Mother Should Know", so concerned with the vanishing past, but here he addressed his issue directly.  The Golden Slumbers filled his eyes when a lad, when there was a way to get back homeward, he took the phrase from an old English work that resonated with Paul, The Greatest Sentimentalist of our time.

For No One
This McCartney tune has a pace in the rhythm guitar in both verse and chorus that matches my  characteristic trot, and the classical trumpet solo helps.  The lyrics are yet another rock song complaining that his woman hurt him, maybe it's more convincing when given by Paul McCartney than when more philandering types like Robert Plant and Mick Jagger assert it's some woman's fault.

Mean Mr. Mustard links to an early acoustic version which is worthy, but the original Abbey Road version along with Polythene Pam/She Came In Through the Bathroom Window was my favorite song when I was 10; cartoony Beatles songs were all the favorites, and Yellow Submarine was my favorite movie; Britishy and Sixtiesish as anything, I took that movie as a monumental document, though you don't hear much such acclamation anymore.

Lilywhite Lilith - The opening track of record 2 of Genesis' "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway", which I didn't listen to until a year or two ago, while long worshipping the album title track, the similar "Fly On A Windshield", and the immortal "Carpet Crawlers"; now I skip a jump when I hear that bass countdown that the chamber was in confusion with all the voices counting down, what a great song; Genesis did a bad job putting together what should have been their definitive rock opera, the second album drags with the ill-considered imagined lysericity, and even the first album drags at times, Gabriel was only partially committed, he was also undergoing some personal drama, mairrage stuff.

Outside Woman Blues - The much beloved blues remake from side 2 of Disraeli Gears, with Clapton's "woman tone" guitar stylings, written by whoever, but originally recorded by Blind Joe Reynolds in 1929; the Clapton arrangement is very playable, any chords website should have a version.  You can't watch your wife and your outside wimmins too, this old song says.

Let It Loose - Mick's best gospel-inspired contribution to Exile On Main Street.  The lyrics about some pickup, I wish Mick had stepped it up for this tune instead of being ironic, because the tune picks up throughout and is terrific; the drums cutting in art 2:27 announce the higher revelation with majestic horns, and Mick's more involved melodic performance at 3:04, and again at 3:40, he totally redeems himself from screwing with Keith's drug-stoked initial album tracks from France for Exile.

Eleanor Rigby - Another Beatles rhythmic runner's helper, with the pathos, Paul should have asked John to sing with him, it always sounded better with Lennon vocals, two of us.

Doing That Scrapyard Thing - This is one of my favorite Cream songs, perhaps for sentimental reasons, playing albums in the 80's in Dorchester, but maybe I just like Jack Bruce's Beatlesqueries.

Don't Stay Home - 311 always with the positivity and distorted guitar, and I stayed home many a time, I like the admonishment, this is the 311 tune they should play more often!

Helplessly Hoping
I think I like a few CSN songs for memories and resonance, though most of their work is off my list. The rhythm of the acoustic picking pattern fits my running pace, the amateur alliteration is fun, even when the G's in "Gasping at glimpses of gentle true spirit" match on paper but not in pronunciation.  I don't expect a lot from rock lyrics, not everybody is Bob Dylan, many of my favorites fail to achieve what they want in their lyrics, George Harrison aims high and falls short sometimes, Townsend has some awkward lines.  Still it's fun that Stills tried to be alliterative.

On the Way Home - Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young song sung by Richie Furay, a great song,

Bluebird - Stephen Still's best Buffalo Springfield song, starts with Neil Young guitar, but Stills matches guitars later, the guitar match is conversant, a great 60's sound from all the instuments; at the end the whole song is made transcendent by a Charlie Chin banjo piece, which Young had not expected and objected to, yet is completely appropriate and necessary to enjoyment nowadays,and I pick up a banjo every time I am in Guitar Center without luck,

Mellow My Mind - Now my favorite song from Neil Young's Tonight's The Night, the favorite album of Neil Young heads,  Sloppy and glorious, the great moment is the voice breaking in the chorus, "lonesome whistle on the railroad track, ain't got nothing on that feeling, that I had".

Let It Grow  - Eric Clapton still in 60's mode, singing deliberately, heavy breath to start,

Ain't Wastin Time No More - You don't need no gypsy to ask you why this is the best Allman Bros song becausethe slide is all over like hot fudge,

One Love - The Bob Marley classic anthem, for some reason the more topical "Three Little Birds", Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino's muse and Fenway Park 2013 World Series sing-along is not the one that made my cut, although it is equivalent culturally.

Dance the Night Away - Cream from Disraeli Gears side one, the drumming never stops, the vocals total Bruce falsetto vibrato, a great insurgent Cream discoteque dance tune.

Lovely Rita - Paul makes his bass melodic and propulsive, it has rhythm and pace,

Go and Say Goodbye - From my rediscovery of Buffalo Springfield,Stills and Young guitar interaction magic, a tight country-rock song that was ill-served by the slowed-down version acoustically played in the ill-fated 2011 Buffalo Springfield reunion tour that Neil Young ungentlemanly aborted,

Come On Baby Let's Go Downtown - The showstoppper, the last song from side one of Tonight's the Night, a song about The Junk from addict Danny Whitten, whose death Neil would mourn in The Needle and the Damage Done.  What a great song.   I like it when Neil sings with somebody else, Stills  and Furay, Stills and Crosby and Nash, and especially Danny Whitten in this song, while Ralph Molina pounds on the drum and Billy Talbot hurts his bass, Crazy Horse style.

Sea and Sand - has been my favorite song twice from Quadrophenia, once in the 80's when that was my favorite album, but also once again in the Two-Tens as a runner.  Dirty Jobs was my favorite song for Q in 2009-2012, and perennial second-place finisher The Real Me is retired to the Hall Of Fame.  Sea and Sand has a noise-and-quiet interplay, and now as I live near the sea and sand there is that resonance.

The Unknown Soldier - The Doors, in their theatrical mode, I consider them better when theatrical, that was their contribution, along with baroque keyboards.  Jim played the execution victim in the original, the images play on my mind as this plays,

Mother and Child Reunion -  This reminds me of fishing with my father in the early 70's, but is also one of the best Paul Simon songs during his fairly glorious early solo period, I used to listen to "There Goes Rhymin Simon" on 8-track, the imitation of reggae was beneficial to PS,

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