Archive | January, 2017

Certain Songs #776: Jethro Tull – “Aqualung”

Album: Aqualung
Year: 1971

Jethro Tull were always kind of ridiculous, right?

I mean, they folksy prog-rock band led not just by a flautist — is there any more non-rock ‘n’ roll instrument than a flute? — but a flautist who looked like a fucking madman to boot.

Check out just about any Jethro Tull performance clip, and Ian Anderson is all crazy gestures and bug-eyed mugging as leaned into the mic to over-enunciate his vocals.


Certain Songs #775: Jesus Jones – “Right Here, Right Now”

Album: Doubt
Year: 1991

“It’s the Woodstock of the Democracy movement!” Those were the words of Tom Brokaw the night they started tearing down the Berlin Wall right around the time of my birthday in 1989. I have vivid memories of watching it sitting in my living room of my apartment at the corner of Wishon & McKinley, and for that brief moment in time, everything seemed possible.

It wasn’t just symbolic freedom I was watching, but actual literal freedom. And it wasn’t Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” it was messy joying living people who were doing it. It was reminder that eventually, the human spirit and need to be free and make as many choices as we can for our own lives can eventually conquer technocratic tyranny.


Certain Songs #774: The Jesus and Mary Chain – “I Hate Rock ‘n’ Roll”

Album: Hate Rock ‘n’ Roll
Year: 1995

One last great single.

As the centerpiece, title track and reason for the final of the three odds and sods compilations that The Jesus and Mary Chain would turn out during their existence, “I Hate Rock ‘n’ Roll” is a glorious return to everything that made them so wonderful in the first place.

Loud noisy feedback-laden guitars? Check. Pretty sing-along melody? Check. Misanthropic lyrics? Check. Check. Check.


Certain Songs #773: The Jesus and Mary Chain – “Sometimes Always”

Album: Stoned & Dethroned
Year: 1994

And then things got dire for awhile. After the twin triumphs of Psychocandy and Darklands, the studied indifference that had always been part of the Reid brothers public personae began to creep into their music.

With the album titles hinting at the content within, 1989’s Automatic and 1992’s Honey’s Dead were . . . perfectly serviceable. The former had “Head On,” which inspired a pretty boss Pixies cover, and the later brought the noise back, but not the tunes.


Certain Songs #772: The Jesus and Mary Chain – “Everything’s Alright When You’re Down”

Album: Barbed Wire Kisses
Year: 1987

Because each of the first two Jesus and Mary Chain albums (and really, I guess, all of their subsequent albums) were intended to capture a mood, they had plenty of songs left over to stick on the b-sides of their singles.

So it wasn’t really a shock when only a few months after Darklands they put out an album collecting those b-sides, covers, outtakes, and non-album singles.