Play This More Often, Part 4

‘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) Guns N’ Roses – Out ta Get Me

One could argue that it is a bit crazy to call any song from a record as popular and dissected as ‘Appetite for Destruction’ underrated. But this is one of those cases where the album’s singles overshadow the rest of the tracks – so much so that finding that some of the latter are just as good as the former becomes a very pleasant surprise. ‘Out ta Get Me’ was not only that for me, but it also rapidly climbed its way into my top favourite Guns N’ Roses tracks. It is the band at their punkiest and most aggressive, with Axl’s paranoid and turbulent personality in full display.

2) Amy Winehouse – Rehab

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years, surely you heard ‘Rehab’ plenty of times. So did I, but it only really spoke to me when I looked at it in a singer-songwriter light – Amy’s chart-topper is one of those songs that has to be heard in a quiet setting, contemplative mood and with headphones on. Paying attention to the lyrics is essential as well given that some of them are among the most brutally honest I’ve ever heard from this century’s popular music. “I’m gonna, I’m gonna lose my baby / So I always keep a bottle near” in particular never fails to move me.

3) Bob Dylan – 4th Time Around

One of those songs that comes with a story behind them, ‘4th Time Around’ is said to be Bob’s direct answer to Lennon’s ‘Norwegian Wood’. While the similarities are there, Dylan’s choice for the ear-catching instrument is gentle mandolin strumming (as opposed to Beatles’ revolutionary use of sitar) and the narrative is less linear and more puzzling. Another crucial difference is that while The Beatles were attempting something pretty radical, ‘4th Time Around’ is the type of song that sits quietly in its place on the album, slowly growing on the listener. Internet critic Mark Prindle once called it a “heavenly murmur” and I think that described it pretty accurately.

4) Wu-Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M.

If you, like me, think that the best thing about Wu-Tang Clan is the way they always chose the perfect rappers to voice each beat, then you’ll agree that this is the group’s quintessential song. First RZA uses an eerie piano line and atmospheric synths to create a haunting, empty-streets-at-night atmosphere. Raekwon takes the mic and his storytelling is simply vivid, rapped at fitful pace and with accent put on the words that’ll stick in your brain – crime side, Shaolin land, drug loot, gats for fun, cracks and weed and so on. And while Inspectah Deck has never really been among my favourite members, his depressed tone and lyrics are again perfectly fitful. ‘C.R.E.A.M’ is just one of those hip-hop songs that has it all; instrumentally, lyrically, message-wise and whatever other angle you want to look at it from.

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11 replies

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  2. Some real great stuff there. Out ta Get Me was my favourite track on that album for a good while – summed up reall well in that final line, too (“It is the band at their punkiest and most aggressive, with Axl’s paranoid and turbulent personality in full display”). Also good to see Rehab mentioned. I’m really fond of that album – really pretty brilliant – and my favourite is the title track. That one gets me every time.

    Like

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