Thursday, September 29, 2011

Distorted view, see through baby blue

I came late for the party. The Pink Floyd party that is. And even then it was only that wacky, hallucinogenic early period that ever caught my fancy. I expended considerable effort to gain some enjoyment from their 70s heyday recordings, but frankly it all still leaves me cold. But that early Syd Barrett material is another story. Especially those first three singles released before Syd's internal psychic battle resulted in his departure from the band. Arnold Layne beat the Kinks to the tranvestite-themed punch by three years. Needless to say it never garned any US airplay, but what a wonderful little trippy tune it is, along with its witty description of Arnold's predilection for stealing women's undergarments from a clothes line.

As for Syd, he managed to record a couple of solo albums before his internal demons rendered him unable to continue. One of the off kilter tunes from The Madcap Laughs - his first LP - is also a personal favorite. When I listen I imagine an acoustic Kinks song with chord changes inspired by Charles Ives and a lyric that is so obtuse that even John Lennon would be in awe. Ladies and gentlemen, please leave us here to close our eyes to the Octopus ride:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Knitting while blindfolded

I figured it was time I got around to posting about John Lennon, as Macca has received plenty of attention on my blog in the past. It is not that I like one more than the other. To the contrary, when John was "on" - and from '64-'67 he could do no wrong in my book - he was the superior songwriter of the two. There was often an introspective sadness to his middle period Beatles output, including the three little masterpieces that kick off Beatles For Sale. When he kicked off his solo career in 1970 however, his first successful shot out of the gate became for me one of the happiest, most uplifting, and downright kick ass radio hits of my youth. Instant Karma espouses a do-it-yourself personal rebuilding program. Perhaps he wrote the song to himself as an antidote for the awful debacle of the disintegration of the Beatles. But the happy vibe, the cosmic lyrics, and the twin pummels of the piano and the drumming created a sound that was never really duplicated by anyone.

I love this song in a way that verges on being unhealthy. Back in the day it got me through some tough times and I will forever be indebted to John for writing it.

Speaking of John and the Beatles, there is an amazing thread over at Hey Dullblog that started out as discussion of "favorite" unreleased Beatles tracks but went sidewise into a psychological discussion of John and his relationship with his former bandmates. Although I do not agree with everything written the discussion is lively and left me pondering for days.