Play This More Often, Part 1

‘Play This More Often’ is a series of essays meant to highlight songs that deserve more attention and appreciation, all in the humble opinion of this music listener of course. Some of them may be neglected by the public at large, some not taken seriously enough by music writers or some plainly overlooked because of their obscurity. Whatever the case, suggestions via the comments from you are always welcomed.

1) Michael Jackson – Get on the Floor

First of all, disco rules. The only reason most music critics dislike the genre is because they simply don’t relate to having a good time on the dance floor. Now, I would be a fool to state that this song was as game-changing as those Michael Jackson classics such as ‘Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough’ or ‘Beat It’. But sometimes, a song can just be great without necessarily doing something new. ‘Get on the Floor’ takes the disco formula – 4/4 beat, leading bass, funky guitar line, atmospheric strings, dancing as the lyrical theme – and adds an irresistibly catchy chorus to it.

2) The Velvet Underground – Candy Says

If in 1968 you had played me ‘Sister Ray’ from beginning to end and then a tape of Mr. Doug Yule singing, I would’ve told you to get the hell out of here, ‘cause there’s no way this guy will end up singing Lou Reed’s gritty poetry. But much like he did for Nico two years prior, Lou wrote the perfect song for Doug’s voice – a gentle piece of introspection and self-doubt by a person not comfortable in their own skin. When you find out that the song is written from the perspective of Candy Darling, a famous trans woman, Doug’s slightly effeminate voice seems an even better fit.

3) Ramones – I’m Against It

Rarely do I see mentioned just what a clever parody this song is. Unlike their English punk contemporaries, The Ramones’ message and lyrics were never really politically-charged; most of the time they would rather hang out and watch a cheap horror flick than rebel against the system. In this song, “it” becomes anything from politics and poverty to ping-pong and Burger King, thus making fun of protesting – or rather, of the directionless and objectless character that punk protesting is sometimes guilty of.

4) The Who – Pictures of Lily

When I was first getting into the Who’s music I had this thing I liked to do for every new song I’d discover – I used to check what Wikipedia listed as the song’s genre and then associate it with other examples of that particular genre. Checking the information under ‘Pictures of Lily’ took me totally by surprise because it was the first time I saw the words “power” and “pop” put together. Yet, before even bothering to read more about this unfamiliar genre, I understood the connection. The Who’s 10th single features all the ingredients of a successful pop single, yet at the same time there’s an amount of anger in those guitar breaks during the chorus that gives the song an edge. And as an aside, it’s funny that they never actually mention masturbation, despite it being the obvious subject of the lyrics. Just like Seinfeld would do a couple of decades later in their famous ‘The Contest’ episode.

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12 replies

  1. Nice point about the MJ tune – not every song has to be ridiculously innovative, sometimes good tunes can just be good tunes!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great list of songs! ‘Candy Says’ is one of my favourite songs on ‘The Velvet Underground’ (and though the John Cale Velvet Underground incarnation will always be my favourite, I quite like Doug Yule’s voice), and that Who song is amazing! I’d never heard it before (I’m just getting into them…), so thank you!

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  3. Sorry, I love ’em all apart from MJ – just a bridge too far for me.

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  4. Candy Says was the first Velvet Underground song I got into. Off the back of a radio session version Blind Melon done, actually. Such a great song …

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  5. I think MJ is underrated among rock fans. He was so talented and had such an ear for what compelled people to move.

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  6. Takes guts to show support for “the king of pop” – but with all his flaws, there are few that flew higher. I put him up there with Elvis and Madonna and maybe even….yes….I’m going there—those “mop headed dudes from Liverpool” for pure influence.

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  7. This is great and entertaining, thank you!

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  8. It’s funny, I love Michael Jackson’s music, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard this song! Thanks for following my blog by the way! I look forward to checking out more of your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pictures of Lily. Yup, embedded in the head. No, arguments with ‘Candy’ or ‘I’m Against It’. Now I can’t get Lily out of my brain.

    Liked by 1 person

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