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) Syd Barrett – Dark Globe
Everybody writing a review on Syd Barrett’s albums fancies himself an expert on mental illness and the effects of hallucinogenic drugs, but in reality the whole story as well as figuring out the personality of such a fascinating artist is much more complicated and twisted than it seems. Such is Syd’s actual song-writing on his solo records, often alternating between confessional pieces of mind and non-sequiturs in the form of busy imagery. Dark Globe has both: on one hand it’s a visual trip amidst pussy willows, leafs, poppy birds and feathery tongues, and on the other, it seems directed at his ex-band members with the vicious “Wouldn’t you miss me at all?” lyric. Most haunting though is the intensity in his voice throughout the song.
2) Queen – You and I
I’ve always seen John Deacon as Queen’s very own George Harrison – never standing out as much as the band’s two main song-writers, but always ready with one or two jewels of compositions to offer for each album. You and I is his contribution to Queens’ A Day at the Races, and just like this album comes very close to matching the brilliance of the previous year’s A Night at the Opera, so does Deacon to writing another You’re My Best Friend.
3) Neil Young – Revolution Blues
What drove Neil Young to write a song from the perspective of criminal Charles Manson? I have no idea but Revolution Blues surely marks another interesting chapter in the career of an artist who you never knew what to expect from. It’s no surprise that the song ended up being distressing, with its direct, merciless lyrics and angry lead vocal. But what really helps get the message across is the forward-pushing rhythm section – The Band’s Levon Helm (drums) and Rick Danko (bass) were invited to provide it and they definitely do not disappoint.
4) Paul Simon – Mother and Child Reunion
I’ve always had a hard time explaining why this little number off Paul Simon’s debut solo album does such an impression on me. Maybe it’s the fact that I can never decide whether it’s supposed to have a tragic or uplifting effect. Maybe it’s the reggae flavor that must’ve just come out of nowhere for the Simon & Garfunkel fans at the time. Or maybe it’s those smooth backing vocals that so beautifully echo the words after they’re sung (“…only a motion awaaay”). It probably is the combination of all those; either way, this is one of those songs that, along with the rest of the album, have become painfully forgotten for some reason. No fan of the duo should be of the opinion that Paul lost his talent in any way, shape or form after he went solo.
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