Posted by: chartroose | March 20, 2009

Favorite Bands Meme – Part 4 (S-Z)

S – Steely Dan

This was a tough one.  I originally picked Stone Temple Pilots because practically every studio album they cut was remarkable, but I had to choose Steely Dan over STP due to their amazing 35 year history.  Donald Fagen is a great singer/songwriter, and I think Steely Dan is one of the the most intelligent bands ever to make it big.  Their music blends elements of jazz, rock, pop and funk, and many of their songs contain hidden sarcasm and astonishing satirical elements.  Here’s an example:

“…Throw back the little ones,
And pan-fry the big ones,
Use tact, poise and reason,
And gently squeeze them.

Hot licks and rhetoric
Don’t count much for nothing.
Be glad if you can use what you borrow.
So I pawn my crown
For a ride uptown
And buy it back tomorrow…”  (Throw Back the Little Ones, 1975)

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T – Tool

It seems incredible that Tool has been around for 20 years.   When I heard their first album, I dismissed the band as just another bunch of hard rock wannabes, and I forgot about them until I heard one of their later songs on the radio and was blown away by the lyrics.  I purchased their 2nd album (Ænima) in 1998, and have added several others to my collection over the years.  Tool is not your average rock band; these guys are progressive and prophetic and often kind of freaky.  Their songs are sometimes “artsy;” and at other times, they’re cacophonous, but they’re never boring.  Also, it doesn’t hurt that Maynard Keenan can sing practically anything.  I wish he’d show his softer side more often and sing a few more melodious songs.

Just the other day, I was rocking-out to this song in my car:

“…Some say the end is near.
Some say we’ll see Armageddon soon.
I certainly hope we will,
I sure could use a vacation from this,

Bullshit three ring circus sideshow of
Freaks…

…Fret for your figure and
Fret for your latte and
Fret for your hairpiece and
Fret for your lawsuit and
Fret for your Prozac and
Fret for your pilot and
Fret for your contract and
Fret for your car.

It’s a
Bullshit three ring circus sideshow of
Freaks…”

(Ænima, 1996)

Here’s a video of “Schism.”  This one is really strange and compelling.

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U – U2

Who else?  Even though this band isn’t at the top of my personal list, they still deserve consideration as one of the best rock bands in history.  These guys always have something to say, and their words are often very moving and very true.  U2 has won more Grammy Awards than any other band, and Bono is constantly doing all kinds of humanitarian work.  What’s not to like?  Somewhere along the line I got the feeling that they sold out, but perhaps I was mistaken.  Some of their early songs are still worth a listen, especially if they’re similar to the following:

“…And it’s true we are immune
When fact is fiction, and tv reality
And today the millions cry.
We eat and drink while tomorrow they die.

The real battle yet begun (Sunday, bloody Sunday)
To claim the victory Jesus won (Sunday, bloody Sunday)
On…

Sunday bloody Sunday
Sunday bloody Sunday…”  (Sunday, bloody Sunday, 1983)

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V – The Verve

This was the only “v” choice for me.  The words to their songs are sadly beautiful, and they’re great to listen to when you’re feeling a bit glum.  I’ve been a fan of theirs since the first time I heard “Bittersweet Symphony”  about 10 years ago, and I was sorry to hear that parts of the song had been plagarized.  Even though the band had negotiated a license to sample the orchestral portions of  “…Symphony,” (which were from an old Rolling Stones tune) they were accused of sampling too much.  They became involved in a bitter and not so sweet court battle over the song, and lost all royalties and creative control over it.  This caused singer/songwriter Richard Ashcroft to fall into depression and the band split up.  They’re back together now.  I hope they make it this time.   Here’s part of “Bittersweet Symphony:”

“…’Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life.
Trying to make ends meet,
You’re a slave to money then you die.
I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down.
You know the one that takes you to the places
where all the veins meet, yeah…” (Bittersweet Symphony, 1997)

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W – The Who

Roger Daltry is a tiny little guy with a great big voice, and Pete Townshend is always high on those “greatest guitarists” lists.  The Who is one of the last arena rock/rock opera bands, and some of their performances were quite phenomenal.  I discovered Quadrophenia when I was in high school, and even though it was produced when I was a young kid, I nearly wore that album out during my teen years.  When I was a lifeguard, one of my coworkers and I would sometimes take breaks in his car and listen to Quadrophenia on his stereo.  (The movie isn’t bad either–you should try it if you haven’t already).  My favorite Who song is “Eminence Front.”  The first two minutes of this song are incredible, with mellow, bell-like synth sounds and a catchy backbeat followed by Townshend coming in with a slammin’ guitar solo.  That guy could shred that thing like a madman and make it seem easy.  All I can say is, DUDE!

“The sun shines,
People forget.
The spray flies as the speedboat glides,
People forget,
Forget they’re hiding.
The girls smile,
People forget.
The snow packs as the skier tracks,
People forget,
Forget they’re hiding.

Behind an eminence front,
Eminence front – It’s a put-on.
It’s an eminence front,
It’s an eminence front – It’s a put-on… (“Eminence Front,” 1982)

Here’s a live video of “Eminence Front” for you to enjoy:

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I can’t think of any “x” or “y” bands I like, so I’m heading on to “z.”

Z – Zero 7

This duo has been around for about 10 years, but I only discovered them a couple of years ago.  They’re probably the mellowest of all my favorites.  Zero 7’s musical stylings are often classified as “trip hop” or “acid jazz.”  I prefer to just call it “aaaah.”  Here are some lyrics from my favorite Zero 7 song:

“…Do you believe
In what you see?
Motionless wheel,
Nothing is real.
Wasting my time
In the waiting line.
Do you believe
In what you see?

And I’ll shout and I’ll scream
But I’d rather not have seen,
And I’ll hide away for another day…” (In the Waiting Line, 2001)

The End

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Responses

  1. i dig steely dan too–though this admission sometimes turns heads because i was a bit young when they were on the airwaves. i love ‘hey 19’, ‘i’m a fool to do your dirty work’, ‘reelin’ in the years’ and ‘ricky don’t lose that number’. but i have a million S bands on my ipod and can’t narrow it down to only 1!

    as for v bands, i have to go with the violent femmes…

    w-wings or wilson pickett

    x-?

    y-i guess yes…by default.

    nat @ book, line, and sinker

  2. Ah yes, the best of Steely Dan. Love that CD.

    I gave you an award on my blog. Enjoy your weekend!

  3. OOh, Zero 7… I loved “In the Waiting Line” when I heard it on the Garden State soundtrack… now I need to go download it… thanks for reminding me!

  4. More great choices! I love Tool, never heard of Zero 7 before though. I think for the letter ‘X’ I’d cheat and choose Static X 🙂

  5. Oh my GOD!
    Finally, someone giving Tool the moment they are due!
    Honestly, I think they are some kind of….. musical PROPHETS!
    I was soooooooo disappointed when they did not win last year’s Grammy for “The Pot.”
    Oh, I just love them.
    Toss up for my favorites? The song you mention, Aenima, and Rosetta Stoned.

  6. Thanks, y’all! Joanne–My favorite Static X song is “Stem.” Now I’m going to have to pirate that old CD…

    Cipriano,
    I could do MANY tribute posts on Tool. And don’t even mention those stupid Grammies!

  7. […] bookmarks tagged stone temple pilots Favorite Bands Meme – Part 4 (S-Z) saved by 4 others     PollyGreen bookmarked on 03/30/09 | […]


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