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) Black Sabbath – The Writ
One of the most interesting things about Sabbath is that they originally came from an era where experimentation and progressiveness were a must for any band that truly wanted to make it big. The Beatles set the ground rule that no two albums should sound the same, no matter how satisfying a found formula may look like. Sabbath tried their best to follow that and, despite the obvious limitations, managed to deliver with their first six albums. They could’ve easily just make carbon copies of the down-tuned, heavy-riffage Master of Reality (a flawless formula in itself), but instead we got things like The Writ – a 9-minute juxtaposition of riff-highlighted metal on one hand and harpsichord-driven balladry on the other. It somehow all works masterfully.
2) Method Man – All I Need
When Method Man went solo in 1994, it was rather clear that he was the most likely member of all the Wu-Tang Clan to be a star on his own. Winning a Grammy for I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By, a duet with Mary J. Blige from the following year only confirmed that. But what’s rather less known by the public at large is that the successful song is actually a remix of All I Need, an album track from Meth’s classic debut, Tical. A remix that, in my opinion, sort of misses what I loved about the original in the first place – the fact that it’s a convincing rap love-ballad that avoids being corny and polished.
3) Queen – Mustapha
Even if this song was just an exercise for Mercury’s voice to warm up before really getting into the album, it’s still the exercise of one of rock’s greatest vocalists. And even if the words are in multiple languages (English, Arabic and Persian according to Wikipedia), Mustapha still is one of those songs that you can’t help but sing along with.
4) The Beach Boys – Just Once in My Life
In the context of an album whose primary purpose is that of paying homage to the artists that influenced Beach Boys the most, the cover of a Phil Spector penned-and-produced tune comes as no surprise. Spector was, after all, Brian Wilson’s single biggest hero. But what’s so special about Just Once in My Life is that it’s the only time on 15 Big Ones where we get the feeling that the bands successfully adds something to the original. And what’s that something? A heartfelt, on-the-point-of-breaking-down duet between a soulful Carl and a raspy Brian. The original Righteous Brothers vocals may be technically better, but it’s this cover that paints a more accurate picture of what the protagonist truly is feeling when begging his loved one to not leave.
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