Play This More Often, Part 5

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) Bruce Springsteen – Meeting Across the River

In my honest opinion, Born to Run is one of those albums whose bombastic instrumental arrangements are fully justified by enough substance and craft in the songwriting and playing department. Having said that, I can still understand why some would be turned off by the grand sound, scope and ambition of the whole thing, instead preferring Bruce’s more low-key work. What’s interesting then is the inclusion of Meeting Across the River near the end of Born to Run, almost as if to provide a counterpoint to the rest of the songs. Because this is easily the album’s most understated tune, with a sparse atmosphere created by the piano, upright bass and trumpet, and a story that really captivates the listener despite its shortness. Meeting Across the River is different, but just as effective in its own way.

2) Pink Floyd – Welcome to the Machine

Given the title of this song, I guess we could call Pink Floyd the original Rage Against the Machine. This is indeed among the band’s most gloriously biting songs, criticizing the money-driven character of the music industry. The artist’s entire background story is scripted, their every artistic decision dictated, their every action watched. At least that’s what Gilmour tells us, over an acoustic and synth-driven background that just screams cold and distant, perfectly mirroring the subject matter.

3) Black Sabbath – Planet Caravan

What I’ve always found interesting about Black Sabbath is that they would constantly experiment and try new directions, despite having found an unexplored niche that they were fantastic at (which we all know is Unstoppable Metal Riffage). Planet Caravan is perhaps the best “Sabbath-doing-a-180-degrees-turn” song, with a mellow and spacey atmosphere that really does evoke “sailing through endless skies”.

4) Daft Punk – Giorgio by Moroder

The reason you don’t often see artists paying direct musical tributes to their heroes is because it is a tricky job. Name-dropping and lyrical references can get cheesy, while imitation of musical style will most likely be criticized for lack of inspiration. Daft Punk managed to succeed in their aim though, bringing an artist that is perhaps the pioneer of modern electronic music into the spotlight again for the new generations. Giorgio Moroder himself is featured in the spoken interludes, describing his rise to fame and explaining his artistic decisions, thus giving a track a whole lot of credibility and authenticity. And then there’s the music itself – Daft Punk at their progressive best with a journey that’s both modern and retro and that satisfies both the body and the mind.

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24 replies

  1. Planet Caravan, and Solitude from the next album are great examples of that mellow Sabbath vibe. Great post!

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  2. All great stuff but it’s the Daft Punk Giorgio track I can’t get past at the moment – it’s so well done.

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  3. Welcome To The Machine is one of my very favourite Pink Floyd songs!

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  4. All of these are brilliant. Planet Caravan and Meeting Across the River are my personal favourites of these, though – couldn’t agree with you more about Born To Run and Meeting Across the River – one of the stand-outs (on an album full of outstanding songs).

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  5. Well said about the daft punk track, simultaneously modern and retro – I’m enjoying this series Ovidiu!

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  6. Great post – I have to make the trip here more often!

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  7. I’m late to the party on this. But just to note that a few years back someone put out a short story collection based solely on different author’s interpretations of Meeting Across the River. Don’t know how good it is but FYI.

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  8. Excellent choices! 🙂 I’ve never been big on Springsteen but love the rest. Black Sabbath is one of my all-time favorite bands so I love seeing Planet Caravan get a mention. Spiral Architect is a favorite “mellow” one of mine too. And the Daft Punk album is by far my favorite album in the past decade – I don’t actually know many people who like it. Glad to know there are other fans. 🙂 That’s an excellent track! Not sure I could pick a favorite from the album but I do love Instant Crush. And interesting video to that, too!

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  9. Good cut by Floyd and a good cut by Springsteen. Both off good albums. The images on ‘Meeting ‘ are beautiful. You’re listening to some good stuff Ovidiu. Check out ‘Jersey Girl’ by Tom Waits. It’s in the same vein. Bruce does a great live version of it also. I think they even sing it together on a cut somewhere. CB

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  10. If you like Bruce check out his version of ‘Jersey Girl’. A CB fave.

    Liked by 1 person

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