Thursday, March 06, 2008

rock! vol. 2

Power Station, "Some Like It Hot" (1985): Rock played on actual instruments had never (to this point) sounded processed-sexier. R.I.P., Robert Palmer and Tony Thompson. This still sounds sensational.

Jane's Addiction, "Stop!" (1990): They were capable of writing occasionally stunning multi-tiered 4-minute rock operettas, spotlit by Perry Farrell's attempts to save the world while Pierced Tits Navarro slashed-and-burned the landscape behind him. Should've reined themselves in more, but that just made 'em supernovas instead of super.

Jimi Hendrix Experience, "Purple Haze" (1967): I've always found Hendrix to be a more conventional songsmith than his rep, but he was jacking off his guitar before Prince hit puberty. As a pure technician, and source of fire, Jimi was probably the greatest rock guitarslinger ever - and that's enough.

Flaming Lips, "Race for the Prize" (1999): The closest they ever came to breaking through ("She Don't Use Jelly" = novelty hit = doesn't count) was also the finest distillation of everything which can make them great. Like Jane's (see above), the Lips too often give in to their worst self-indulgent impulses, but when they're focused - as on this classic about scientists searching for a cure - they can transcend, well, most everything.

Ian Dury and the Blockheads, "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick" (1979): One of my favorite UK #1s ever, and one of the weirder ones. Just as non-sequitur-laden as early They Might Be Giants, but on some other post-postpunk/new wave/alt-universe pop shit musically. With, as I comprehend it, a touch of old British music-hall sensibility, too. All the (ostensibly) wrong elements colliding in just the right way to create a stroke of genius.

Beavis and Butt-Head, "Come to Butt-Head" (1993): "Baby, I just wanna feel every part of me touching every part of you. Especially your thingies." - Butt-Head
I mean, what's more rock'n'roll than that sentiment? Sure, this song is more '70s R&B than rock, but B+B were certainly of rock - and for a good part of the '90s, they were basically the king(maker)s of rock in the U.S.

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