Jim Connelly has been eye-deep in media of all kinds ever since he can remember, and probably prior to that. Over the past quarter-century he has worked in the radio, film, music, and internet industries, and has been writing about popular culture and technology the entire time. Prior to co-founding Medialoper, Jim's work appeared both online and off in publications such as Wired, The Village Voice, Neumu and Websight Magazine . . .
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Like a lot of their peers, Echo & The Bunnymen were simultaneously a singles band and an albums band. Which meant that they also were committed to putting out albums that were cohesive statements, and even a great song that didn’t fit one of those statements wouldn’t make it.
And it meant — at least until the reissue era — that they have a few lost songs in their catalog, especially b-sides like 1984’s “Angels and Devils,” which showed up on the “Silver” single. (more…)
Before “The Killing Moon” revealed itself to be an all-time classic, my favorite song was “My Kingdom.” An outlier on Ocean Rain, “My Kingdom” eschewed the strings that dominated the rest of the album.
Instead, it started with a cheesy-sounding keyboard, skittering drums and a mellow acoustic guitar lick. Completely inauspicious. But that’s just a fake-out, because the chorus of “My Kingdom” is as rousing as anything in their catalog.
B-b-burn the skin off and climb the roof top
Thy will be done
B-b-bite the nose off and make it the most of
Your king- kingdom kingdom kingdommmmmmm!!!
After the second and third choruses, Ian McCullough’s vocals practically fall into Will Sergeant’s stinging guitar solos. Ian McCullough is having so much fun — yes I said “fun” — references his old friend Bonie Maronie and almost scats one of the last choruses: “Your kuh-kuh-kuh-kuh-kuh-kingdom, king-kuh-kuh-kuh-kuh”
And the end is the exact opposite of the quiet beginning: Sergeant is just soloing and soloing and McCullough is singing deep in the mix — about death and stuff — until they all decide they’ve had enough of your damn kingdom already and just end the song.
I’m trying to remember: when did it first become obvious that “The Killing Moon” wasn’t just Echo & The Bunnymen’s greatest song, but an absolutely enduring classic that will forever be counted among the greatest rock songs of not just the 1980s, but all-time?
I think it took some time. I think it was too big to grok in 1984.
I was able to see Echo & The Bunnymen live during their original incarnation in the mid-1980s, and live, they were a much different band.
Whereas their albums were usually clean and precise, in concert, they were much looser, stretching songs out, with Will Sergeant improvising riffs and Ian McCullough not only playing with his words, but often throwing other people’s words in as well.
Along with the obvious singles like “The Cutter,” “Heads Will Roll” and “Back of Love,” Porcupine was full of long trance songs that found a — well, “groove” is probably a bit too strong of a word — pathway, and then rode along that pathway for a good long time.
My favorite of those songs is “Gods Will Be Gods,” which faded in from infinity in full flight with a big-ass kickdrum and a rumbling bass, followed by about a million guitars layered on top of each other, and Ian McCullough singing — well, to be honest, I have no fucking idea what he was singing.