And, what I mean by this are cliched songs.
There are loads of songs around and we all like listening to good stuff. This generally means broadening your musical experience where you can and trying to find new things. Also, if you’re like me and a bit of precious geeky type, and not without a hint of snobbery, you also like to ‘like’ stuff that is outside of general popular listening. It makes you feel a bit special. Well, this post isn’t about pointing out how daft that is, I think we all realise that now that we’re thinking about it.
No, this post is about pointing out just how much stuff you miss out on by avoiding not only popular music, but also by not taking the time to revisit stuff that you feel that you know so well that you don’t listen to anymore. So, here’s a taster list of guitar tracks, some heavier than others, that I personally haven’t listened to in a long while, because I can replay them in my mind and so haven’t bothered for a while. They are often chillingly good though and make me wonder why it’s been so long.
1. Enter Sandman – Metallica
Metallica have turned into a bit of a sideshow these days, and their output questionable. But in the 1990s they were MASSIVE. Their eponymous ‘black’ album is often derided by metal-heads as derivative of their earlier work, but this track made the world realise that Guns N’ Roses were not a heavy metal band and that this is what metal sounds like.
2. Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N’ Roses
Guns N’ Roses were however the best rock band in the world. They’re a dim memory now, and Axl Rose proved himself to be the tool that we all thought he was. However, they were a load of brilliant musicians and this more than anything, I think, exemplifies the end of the cartoonish hair-rock and the beginning of proper rock of that period.
3. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
There’s not much someone of my generation can say about this track that other people of the same generation haven’t heard, or thought, many times themselves. That Nirvana changed the musical landscape is undeniable, and that they became the epitome of the commercial monster they claimed to deride is equally so. A million plays on MTV don’t stop this being a phenomenal track though.
4. Walk this Way – Aerosmith
Steven Tyler is on America’s Got Talent. OK, so he’s a prick and a sell-out and everything else and Aerosmith, like everyone else, are a parody of themselves. This is all true, but this track (and it was a toss-up as to whether to put the arguably better Run DMC version in here) is still great and unapologetic.
5. Where is my Mind – Pixies
Admittedly nowhere near as mainstream as the previous four bands but, say to any Pixies fan that you like this song they’ll say ‘Yeah, whatever dude’, because it is the defining Pixies song, and therefore uncool. Trouble is that it’s the defining Pixies song because it’s amazing! It got a new group of fans after appearing at the end of Fight Club, which probably made it less cool. Fuck that.
6. Take me Out – Franz Ferdinand
An odd choice you might think, what with this being such a recent track, but it’s actually 8 years old!!! Used to hear this a lot, but now not at all. It’s got so many different bits of guitar on it that it’s just poetic. Also, it’s that rare thing, a debut single that peaked the band. I hope not, but…
7. The Drowners – Suede
Speaking of killer debuts. Who listens to Suede anymore? Anyone? I cannot remember the last time that I thought ‘Ooh, where’s my copy of Coming Up?’. Speaking of which, where is it? Anyway, this is great, for lots of reasons, if not just the memory of being young and thinking this kind of druggy, sexy, posey stuff was cool. Suede were really big once you know.
8. Layla – Derek and the Dominoes
This song has actually moved beyond it’s rock parody self, mainly because it’s so ashamedly rock. It’s mainly appreciated for the piano outro, as used to splendid effect at the end of Goodfellas, but this is like the very core of Eric Clapton, distilled and captured. It outpaces all the classic Cream stuff too, probably because he had nothing to prove at this point and called himself Derek, because he’d made the word ‘Eric’ too cool.
9. Freebird – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Just looking at the words Lynyrd Skynyrd make me happy. There’s nothing to this than a great idea for a bit of guitar playing that someone had once and thereafter built a song around, so that they could get away with putting it out on a record. People laugh at this song, but they don’t bloody laugh when it’s playing. It’s a romantic song too, and it’s 9 minutes long! The build up to the solo is actually quite exciting.
10. Paranoid Android – Radiohead
All the knob-twiddling and disappointing albums have made people forget that Radiohead rock out. I have no issue with King of Limbs, or In Rainbows, they can do whatever they want and I’ll listen to some albums and tracks more than others. The Bends was the album that made me listen to Radiohead, and keep listening, but it was this track that made the whole world listen, and there’s a good reason for that. Live one here, ooh.