Album: Marquee Moon
. . .
It would be cruel to say that Marquee Moon is kinda regarded as a one-sided record, but its reputation is absolutely predicated on the four songs that open it up as opposed to the four songs that closed it, none of which were even remotely as barn-burning as “See No Evil” or “Friction,” though they all had their charms, whether it’s the witty lyrics of “Prove It,” the weird chorus of “Elevation” or the guitar solo during the coda of “Torn Curtain.”
But I’m going to go with the most normal song on Marquee Moon, “Torn Curtain,” the only song on the record with a co-writer credit, in this case Richard Lloyd. “Guiding Light” opens with Lloyd’s & Verlaine’s guitars quietly playing off of each other as Fred Smith does some cool runs as Verlaine asks his opening question.
Do I, do I
Belong to the night?
As it slowly marches through its verses, “Guiding Light” becomes ever more magisterial, building slowly but steadily, not once but twice until it breaks down for its first chorus.
Guiding light, guiding light
Guiding through these nights
Maybe “Guiding Light” is a love song, maybe it’s another song about wandering during the eternal darkness of New York City following the guiding light of a marquee moon. Hard to say. What isn’t hard to say is that it also features a pretty prominent piano part from Verlaine, and a stately measured guitar solo from Richard Lloyd before the final verse where their guitars become a rushing stream of gutter water for the first part of the final verse.
Do we part like the seas?
The roaring shells
The drifting of the leaves
And then after the final chorus, there’s an utterly lovely, soaring guitar lead from Lloyd that apparently he overdubbed eight times in order to get absolutely correctly, and the way it interacts with Verlaine’s piano and Ficca’s drums is utterly magnificent, and takes “Guiding Light” to its fade.
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