Play This More Often, Part 12

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. The Zombies – Butcher’s Tale (Western Front 1914)

Often albums that push strong into a specific direction need what I like to call a counterpoint song, something to offer a contrast. White Light/White Heat needs the softness of Here She Comes Now as a break from all the noisiness. Pet Sounds has the energy and dynamism of Sloop John B to interrupt the monotony formed by the ballads. And the same goes for Odessey & Oracle, where Butcher’s Tale acts like shot of darkness within an otherwise colorful album. It is The Zombies’ war song and it proves that the band were willing to explore different territories, and perhaps would’ve done so with next releases had they not broken up.

2. Pink Floyd – The Nile Song

I think we can all agree that Pink Floyd were never really a full-on hard rock band, with guitar riffs and screamy lead vocals. But it seems like sometime in 1969 – undoubtedly the band’s most experimental year – they tried their hand at that with quite convincing results. I’ve never seen the movie More so I wouldn’t know how the song fits into it; but within the soundtrack of it that the band released as its 3rd album, it becomes a surprising highlight.

3. ABBA – I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do

When expressing feelings of joy and excitement, many artists tend to camouflage them in layers of metaphors and clever disguises. With ABBA on the other hand, what you see is what you get. There is no sense of irony or self-consciousness when they sing a chorus as simple and direct as “I love you, I do, I do, I do”, and that can be such a fresh breath of air sometimes. Not to mention that it’s all put over a set of irresistible pop melodies.

4. Prince – The Beautiful Ones

Purple Rain is one of those albums that’ll forever be associated more with its hits – the timeless title track, When Doves Cry or Let’s Go Crazy. But at the same time, it’s so darn consistent throughout that it gives the impression that the other songs could’ve been just as big. The Beautiful Ones starts with a first half of Smokey Robinson-like smooth balladry, and then, just as you think you’ve got the whole song figured out, explodes into a second one of Little Richard-reminiscing primal screams. It’s juxtapositions like these that put Prince well above the rest of his dance/R&B contemporaries.


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11 replies

  1. Purple Rain for me is an album-length experience, since it’s wall-to-wall excellent. Beautiful Ones is among Prince’s best ballads, which, for a guy who wrote so many, is saying a lot. Enjoyed your McCartney post, btw.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Train Song is far and away my favorite Tom Waits song, but I think think I’m in the minority there. Perhaps that could show up in a future post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wasn’t familiar with that Floyd song. Noisy, cacophonous. Dug it anyway. And that ABBA song couldn’t be catchier. On the rare occasions that I even hear an ABBA song on the radio, that one pops up much less frequently than, say, Dancing Queen. (Which shows up at every wedding reception.) Enjoyed the Prince freak-out.

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  4. Love ABBA! They were so under-appreciated in the U.S. other than for a few big hits like “Waterloo,” “Dancing Queen” and “Take a Chance on Me.” Their popularity increased in later years thanks to the enormously successful and highly entertaining musical “Mamma Mia.”

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  5. Ah, “White Light, White Heat.” Forget everything else. “Here She Comes Now,” about a lover’s expectations during the act, is clearly the fave deserving more attention. A great song from a classic album. Thanks, Ovidiu.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I never liked that Pink Floyd song, but I used it to flummox contestants at college quizzes that I hosted 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well said about the beautiful ones!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. CB cut his teeth on this early Pink Floyd stuff. Just listened to this album recently. Great tune!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love me some squealing Prince. By the way, what feat of sorcery did you master to get a full, original Prince song on the internet…? Great post, btw 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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