Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Eurythmics: "1984 (For the Love of Big Brother)"


Virgin Records commissioned Eurythmics - fresh off back to back smash albums "Sweet Dreams (are made of this)" and "Touch" - to prepare a soundtrack to a new film version of the Orwell classic "Nineteen Eighty-Four" directed by Michael Radford and set for release in it's title year. Unfortunately Eurythmics weren't aware that Virgin had made the request without the director's approval; he had already commissioned an orchestral score. Ultimately bits and pieces of Eurythmics' music and the orchestral score were used in the film.

While the director may have preferred orchestral music to Eurythmics' dark electronic approach, the resulting Eurythmics album is nothing short of amazing. Without considering it as a soundtrack (which is easy to do since it was barely in the movie), it can be heard as a 1984-themed concept album. Several of the tracks are semi-instrumental, featuring Dave Stewart's nightmarish synthesizer soundscapes and Annie Lennox's haunted, wordless vocalizations.

A few of the songs did feature lyrics. Synth-rock track "Sexcrime (1984"), which featured innovative sampling techniques, was released as the first single and video. Although it was a rather non-commercial track compared to their earlier singles, it did well in the UK and Europe. Unfortunately radio stations in the US stayed away from it because of the repeated refrain of "Sex Crime" and the subject matter. It was issued in slightly edited form as a single in the US but that didn't help it climb the charts.



2nd single, the utterly gorgeous, haunting ballad "Julia" didn't chart well anywhere despite Annie's stunning video performance.



Other high points are the eerie, ghostly "For the Love of Big Brother", the frantic 'Newspeak' of "Doubleplusgood" and the foreboding "Ministry of Love" - one of the most powerful tracks of the duo's career. The album captures perfectly the fear, paranoia and claustrophobia of Orwell's vision. As an album it's obviously inspired heavily by Bowie's Berlin era work and synth-rock pioneers like Kraftwork. It's a fascinating and often stunning album that has been sadly overlooked in Eurythmics' catalog. Released on Virgin instead of their usual label RCA, it wasn't even included in the Eurythmics' reissue campaign of all their albums several years back, and remains out of print in many places. A shame because it's one of the true hidden gems of the early 80s.

Eurythmics were my favorite band as a kid as I was discovering "my music" and not my parents.. they really blew me away. I remember my dad taking me on a rainy night to the National Record Mart so I could pick up "1984" on vinyl. I was 12. It was like nothing I'd ever heard before. It took me a while to absorb it - and was a bit taken aback by the semi-instrumentals and the nightmarish quality of some of the tracks - but I quickly became mesmerized and fascinated by it. It's still a favorite, and my admiration for the work of Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox has only grown over the years.

Cool video someone created using "Doubleplusgood":




The stunning "Ministry of Love", set to scenes from the film:



The ghostly, hypnotic "For the Love of Big Brother":




"Greetings from a Dead Man" - ominous, unsettling:



Nightmare brought to life via music... "Room 101". Someone posted it to YouTube backed with clips from "Planet of the Apes"... strangely, it suits the music perfectly:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Unfinished Line - a mix for Winter

The Unfinished Line - a mix for Winter





I had decided a while ago that I wanted to do a winter-themed mix, and here is the result. It came out rather sad and poignant, as I think loss has been on my mind a great deal lately. Maybe it's the seasonal moodiness but winter always sorta brings me back around to thoughts of where I am in life, where we are all, our future, mortality, and reminders of the years inexorably pushing by us. Thoughts of Christmas as a child, and now myself as a nearly-40 year old man, and those we've lost along the way. Family members aging, dealing with different health concerns. It's a bittersweet time for me, and i'm sure that's true for many people.

So it's a bit of a sad collection in some ways but it just mirrors my reflections and memories of winter. But there is warmth here too; hope and promise for the future. Many of the songs I associate with particular winter memories, and others just always come into my head this time of year because of their feel, or subject matter, or lyrics. Hope you enjoy it.

Counting Crows - A Long December

This was me not long out of college, living away from home on my own for the first time, trying to make a living and meeting people while working for almost nothing at a music store. Music of course had always been the constant in my life, and that hadn't changed. This song always touched me - the mournful reflections of hospital rooms in winter, the struggle to "hold on to these moments as they pass" - to live your live and enjoy the present because it may all be gone tomorrow. A beautiful song and seemed an appropriate opening track.

I can't remember all the times I tried to tell myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass

David Bowie - Fantastic Voyage

More memories of Winter. This track from the "Lodger" LP was also included as the b-side to the perennial Christmas favorite "Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth". I had the 45 as a kid, and I loved it, but it was the slow, oddball "Fantastic Voyage" that truly fascinated me. Before the MTV onslaught of "Let's Dance", this was my first introduction to Bowie. My uncle loaned me (which, ehem, ended up being 'giving' me since I never returned them and, in fact, still have them!) the 'Aladdin Sane', 'Young Americans' and 'Diamond Dogs' LPs. A lifelong Bowie fan is born. And this song still takes me back to my little blue, cold bedroom.

Remember it's true, loyalty is valuable
But our lives are valuable too


Eurythmics - Julia

Ahhh. So much of my childhood, as far as music, gets back to Eurythmics. They were the first music that was mine, not my parents. I played their first 3 albums endlessly. Then came their soundtrack to 1984 "For the Love of Big Brother". First single "Sexcrime" was banished from US radio (although it was a hit in the UK), and thus the 2nd single - the icy, beautifully grand "Julia" - was completely overlooked. But not by me; I was spellbound by it, and the entire album, a dark and sinister collection of barren synth landscapes, Annie's haunted vocals and songs about nightmares like "Room 101" that I didn't understand. Hearing this song now takes me back to winter; I would always retreat to my bedroom, my solace was (is) always music. Pure beauty.

When winter leaves her branches bare
And icy breezes chill the air
The freezing snow lies everywhere
My darling
Will we still be there?


Kate Bush - Under Ice

From, of course, "Hounds of Love". An exercise in building intensity & drama. Part of Side 2, the song cycle known as "The Ninth Wave". The strings, layered vocals, lonesome wail at the ending... It captured my imagination when it came out, and still does today.

It's wonderful
Everything, so white.
The river has frozen over
Not a soul on the ice,
Only me, skating fast.


Thomas Dolby - Airwaves

One of my happiest childhood memories of Winter. My mom & dad, brother and sister went with some of my Dad's work friends & their kids to a hillside for sled riding. The snow was deep and fresh; we slammed down the hill on sleds & inter tubes. I remember the hillside, the fire, the hot chocolate, the frozen oatmeal-raisin cookies. And riding home in my Dad's work truck, as always with my walkman playing. Thomas Dolby, both "The Flat Earth" and "The Golden Age of Wireless" were always in my walkman. I remember it so strongly; bone tired, worn out, coming home on the frozen roads, jammed into the front cab of the truck with my family, "Airwaves". Remains one of my favorite songs by any artist. To me, it sounds like winter.

Electric fences line our new freeway
here in the half-light, the motorhomes leave
knee-deep in water under a pylon
how slow my heartbeat, how thin the air I'm breathing in


The Roches - Star of Wonder

Always grew up around Christmas music. The family favorite was The Roches' "We Three Kings" Can't have a compilation that reflects my memories and feelings of Winter without delving into this. The harmonies... just gorgeous. This song is a bit of magic. I'm not a believer, but the awed faith in the vocals here make me... almost.

Star of wonder in the heaven, wonder what you want of me, should I follow you tonight?


Tori Amos - Winter

Portraits of getting older, of letting life slip through your fingers. Tori's epic ballad from "Little Earthquakes". A song for her father, and for reflecting of Winters past, promises kept and broken.

Hair is gray and the fire is burning
So many dreams on the shelf
You say I wanted you to be proud of me
I always wanted that myself


a-ha - Angel in the Snow

a-ha recorded so many great songs; "Angel in the Snow" from the 'Memorial Beach' album is a particular favorite of mine. It's warm and full of love, and with a vocal with the power to melt.

Angel, angel or so
Wherever you may go
Mmm, yeah
I'll follow
Wherever you may go


Sugarcubes - Deus

High school. Clear memories of walking around my home town with friends, or on my own, trying to find something to do. Walkman on, as always. My sophomore year of high school, that winter, I was immersed in "Life's Too Good" - a weird, fascinating, compelling, tough, utterly original record. "Deus". It was right around the time I was losing faith in God and religion, and I guess this off-kilter vision of God made sense to me at the time. I was anti-social, and even at family gatherings I would usually have my walkman running. I specifically remember listening to this track on Christmas Eve, privately feeling wicked that I was playing a song that repeated that God does not exist... ahhh high school, LOL. Yeah, I was a moody little sullen kid, but I still love the song.

To create a universe you must taste the forbidden fruit

Pet Shop Boys - Birthday Boy

"Christmas eve, he's born again". Pet Shop Boys brilliant allegory, beautifully layered and executed. I still think you'd be hard-pressed to find anybody with a body of intelligent, superbly produced pop music over the past 25 years that can equal the Pet Shop Boys. This is one of their hidden masterpieces, from the overlooked "Release" album. A contemplation of martyrdom, from Jesus Christ, to Mathew Sheperd dying alone on a cold wooden fencepost. We've seen it all before.

Christmas Eve
a time of joy
if you believe
in Birthday Boy
This time around
it's all a mistake
Is he deluded
or just a fake?


Eels - Dead of Winter

I couldn't think to do a "winter" mix without eels' amazing "The Dead of Winter". It captures something incredibly powerful and human. Standing outside in the freezing cold, trying somehow to come to grips with a loved one's devastating illness. That feeling of helplessness and grief - the silent, lonely moments when we try and contemplate what is happening and the fact that we can't change it. The emotion is frozen by a stark moment of clarity.

Eels' 1998 album "Electro-Shock Blues" is one of the most difficult to listen to out of all my collection, but it's perhaps the most gripping in it's raw portrayal of human emotion. And it also happens to be sublimely beautiful. There are moments, like "Dead of Winter", that are starkly painful. But there are also moments of whimsy and humor, nostalgia and hope. The name of this compilation (and my blog) obviously comes from this song. Life is indeed "the unfinished line" whether our storyline is over, or not.

So I know you're going pretty soon
Radiation sore throat got your tongue
Magic markers tattoo you
And show it where to aim
And strangers break their promises
You won't feel any
You won't feel any pain


Laurie Anderson - Slip Away

Spellbinding, haunted, sad and moving. Laurie Anderson's stately vigil over her father as he lays dying in a hospital room, and goes from living to death. Crossing the line. "Oh death that creep, that crooked jerk, he comes, he comes walking, he comes sneaking down that long irreversible hallways, grabs you in your sleep." Then outside, into the icy air of the hospital parking lot, fresh grief and pain - expressed with such grace and beauty.

i'm thinking how you taught me how to win
and how to loose
and how to fight the crippling blues that i was born with
bad dreams and nightmares


Sting - Why Should I Cry For You?

This is another song written after the death of a father. It's about fulfilling a promise and "going to sea" - living life, fully, your own life, as you want it. "Why Should I Cry For You" - - but you know that he does. But instead of crying, fulfilling a promise perhaps, taking strength and memories, and honoring your father through your own life. I admit to being an emotional wreck sometimes with certain songs, and this is one that actually does bring me to tears. Moving on with life, sailing through winter.

Under the Arctic fire
Over the seas of silence
Hauling on frozen ropes
For all my days remaining
But would north be true?

The Unfinished Line

Here's the cover and title for the compilation formerly known as "wintry mix". I've borrowed the name of the blog, from the eels' track 'Dead of Winter' - it seems a perfect title to capture the mood of the collection.

I will keep posting each track individually with commentary in the days ahead.

Counting Crows: "A Long December". (Wintry mix, track 1)

I've comleted my "wintry mix" compilation - It doesn't have a name or artwork yet, but it will shortly. I will post each track individually with lyrics and commentary, and then when complete will post the entire mix, with a link to listen.

For some reason the mix came out rather sad and poignant, and I think "loss" has been on my mind. Maybe it's the seasonal moodiness but winter always sorta brings me back around to thoughts of where I am in life, where we are all, our future, mortality, and reminders of the years inexorably pushing by us. Thoughts of Christmas as a child, and now myself as a nearly-40 year old man, and those we've lost along the way.

So it's a bit of a sad collection in some ways but it just mirrors my reflections and memories of winter. Many of the songs I associate with particular winter memories, and others just always come into my head this time of year because of their feel, or subject matter, or lyrics.

Starting off, Counting Crows, "A Long December". This was me not long out of college, living in Virginia on my own for the first time, trying to make a living and meeting people while working for almost nothing at a music store. Music of course had always been the constant in my life, and that hadn't changed. This song always touched me - the mournful reflections of hospital rooms in winter, the struggle to "hold on to these moments as they pass" - to live your live and enjoy the present because it may all be gone tomorrow. A beautiful song and seemed an appropriate opening track.



A long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember the last thing that you said as you were leaven'
Now the days go by so fast

And it's one more day up in the canyons
And it's one more night in Hollywood
If you think that I could be forgiven...I wish you would

The smell of hospitals in winter
And the feeling that it's all a lot of oysters, but no pearls
All at once you look across a crowded room
To see the way that light attaches to a girl

And it's one more day up in the canyons
And it's one more night in Hollywood
If you think you might come to California...I think you should

Drove up to Hillside Manor sometime after two a.m.
And talked a little while about the year
I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower,
Makes you talk a little lower about the things you could not show her

And it's been a long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember all the times I tried to tell myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass

And it's one more day up in the canyon
And it's one more night in Hollywood
It's been so long since I've seen the ocean... I guess I should

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

eels - "Dead of Winter"


Working on a new mix CD.. a "winter" theme. It's been a while since I've done a mix so i want to try and put one together. I couldn't think to do a "winter" mix without eels' amazing "The Dead of Winter". It captures something incredibly powerful and human. Standing outside in the freezing cold, trying somehow to come to grips with a loved one's devastating illness. That feeling of helplessness and grief - the silent, lonely moments when we try and contemplate what is happening and the fact that we can't change it. The emotion is frozen by a stark moment of clarity.

Eels' 1998 album "Electro-Shock Blues" is one of the most difficult to listen to out of all my collection, but it's perhaps the most gripping in it's raw portrayal of human emotion. And it also happens to be sublimely beautiful. There are moments, like "Dead of Winter", that are starkly painful. But there are also moments of whimsy and humor, nostalgia and hope. The name of my blog obviously comes from this song. Life is indeed "the unfinished line" whether our storyline is over, or not.

Standing in the dark outside the house
Breathing in the cold and sterile air
Well I was thinking how it must feel
To see that little light
And watch it as it disappears
And fades into the night

So I know you're going pretty soon
Radiation sore throat got your tongue
Magic markers tattoo you
And show it where to aim
And strangers break their promises
You won't feel any
You won't feel any pain

And the streets are jammed with cars
Rockin' their horns
To race to the wire
Of the unfinished line

Thought that I'd forget all about the past
But it doesn't let me run too fast
And I just wanna stand outside
And know that this is right
And this is true
And I will not
Fade into
Fade into the night

Standing here in the dark


Monday, November 7, 2011

Send us a blindfold, send us a blade



Send us a blindfold, send us a blade
Tell the survivors help is on the way
I was a blindfold, never complained
All the survivors singing in the rain
I was the one with the world at my feet
Got us a battle, leave it up to me

Find us a trap door, find us a plane
Tell the survivors help is on the way
I was a blindfold, never complained
All the survivors singing in the rain
I was the one with the world at my feet
Got us a battle, leave it up to me

What it is and where it stops nobody knows
You gave me a life I never chose
I wanna leave but the world won't let me go
Wanna leave but the world won't let me go

I was the one with the world at my feet
Got us a battle, leave it up to me
Leave it up to me

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I've come to set a twisted thing straight



Solitude stands by the window
She turns her head as I walk in the room
I can see by her eyes she's been waiting
Standing in the slant of the late afternoon

And she turns to me with her hand extended
Her palm is split with a flower with a flame

Solitude stands in the doorway
And I'm struck once again by her black silhouette
By her long cool stare and her silence
I suddenly remember each time we've met

And she turns to me with her hand extended
Her palm is split with a flower with a flame

And she says "I've come to set a twisted thing straight"
And she says "I've come to lighten this dark heart"
And she takes my wrist, I feel her imprint of fear
And I say "I've never thought of finding you here"

I turn to the crowd as they're watching
They're sitting all together in the dark in the warm
I wanted to be in there among them
I see how their eyes are gathered into one

And then she turns to me with her hand extended
Her palm is split with a flower with a flame

And she says "I've come to set a twisted thing straight"
And she says"l've come to lighten this dark heart"
And she takes my wrist, I feel her imprint of fear
And I say "I've never thought of finding you here"

Solitude stands in the doorway
And I'm struck once again by her black silhouette
By her long cool stare and her silence
I suddenly remember each time we've met

And she turns to me with her hand extended
Her palm is split with a flower with a flame

"Just a Little Light"

I've been listening to this song quite a bit lately.  It's been a dark month and a little light would be most welcome.





Well, there ain't nobody safer than someone who doesnt care.
And it isn't even lonely when no one's ever there.
I had a lot of dreams once, but some of them came true...
The honey's sometimes bitter when fortune falls on you.

So you know I've been a soldier in the armies of the night.
And I'll find the fatal error in what's otherwise all right.
But here you're trembling like a sparrow, I will try with all my might
To give you just a little sweetness...
Just a little sweetness...
Just a little light.

I have always heard that virtue ought be its own reward,
But it never comes so easy when you're living by the sword.
It's even harder to be heartless when you look at me that way.
You're as mighty as the flower that will grow the stones away.

Even though I been a stranger, full of irony and spite
Holding little but contempt for all things beautiful and bright,
Something shines around you and it seems, to my delight
To give me just a little sweetness...
Just a little sweetness...
Just a little sweetness...
Just a little light.

This could be just another highway, coiled up in the night.
You could be just another white-tail, baby, stranded on my brights,
There's a tingling recognition
Like the sound of distant thunder
And I begin to wonder
If the love I've driven under
Won't ignite.

So you know I've been a soldier in the armies of the night.
And I'll find the fatal error in whats otherwise all right.
Something shines around you that seems, to my delight
To give me just a little sweetness...
Just a little sweetness...
Just a little sweetness...
Just a little light.

Monday, October 10, 2011

tuna
rubber
a little blubber in my igloo
and I knew you pigtails and all
girls when they fall


and they said Marianne killed herself
and I said not a chance


don’t you love the girls ladies babes
old bags who say she was so pretty why
why why why did she crawl down in the old
deep ravine

c’mon pigtails girls and all those sailors
get your bags and hold down won’t you just
hold down cause Ed is watching my every sound
I said
they’re watching my every sound

the weasel squeaks faster than a seven day week
I said Timmy and that purple Monkey
are all down
at Bobby’s house
making themselves pesters and lesters and jesters and my
traitors of kind
and I’m just having thoughts of Marianne
she could outrun the fastest slug
she could
Marianne
quickest girl in the frying pan

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Paul McCartney: "McCartney" and "McCartney II" reissues

Imagine being one of the dominant commercial and creative forces in the world's biggest band preparing to release his first solo album.   How to make a statement?  On "McCartney", Paul threw together a half-baked collection of ad libbed instrumentals, song snippets and throwaways - with one bonafide classic McCartney love song thrown in for good measure.  That's not to say the album is bad; it isn't at all.  It's barely sewn together nature is the charm.   Rather than face the impossible and combat an impossible task of living up to The Beatles' monstrous legend, Paul rejected the pressure and wiped the slate clean.   It's a sweet little album born from a period of venomous turmoil as The Beatles' slow and painful disintegration reached its final stages.  It sounds almost like a tonic.   Newly remastered, it sounds warmer and more charming than ever, and Paul's scorching ballad "Maybe I'm Amazed" - with one of his best-ever vocals - has never sounded better.  "McCartney" laid waste to The Beatles' mythology as powerfully as John's soul-baring "Plastic Ono Band" album - just in an entirely different way.   John unleashed his demons;  Paul sought care-free escape.

A decade later, after years recording and touring with Wings, Paul returned to solo recording and "McCartney II".   The insanely catchy ditty "Coming Up" landed him a #1 hit, and the album was a bit of a commercial return for him.  But the material was still very basic and generally uninspired.  The synthesizer experiments on "Temoprary Secretary" resulted in a ghastly novelty number that Paul inexplicably released as the album's 3rd single.  "On My Way" - with Paul's plodding drums - sounds barely a demo.   It's a strangely soulless album with an aura of purposelessness.   Very little inspiration here - it all sounds routine.   There are a few positive moments, but generally speaking "McCartney II" is only for the completists.  At least  it sounds good - these reissues have been done with care and are a definite improvement on what has previously been available. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Neil Young: Best of the Last 25 Years

I've been listening to Neil Young quite a bit lately, mostly focusing on the later part of his career. I love his early stuff, and most folks prefer classic albums like "Harvest" and "Rust Never Sleeps". But he's remained incredibly prolific over the last quarter century, and his late-era catalogue is definitely worth exploring. While there are missteps, he's mostly been on a long string of inspiration that seems a bit taken for granted. I've compiled my favorite tracks of the last 25 years, one per album (excluding all live releases apart from the MTV unplugged collection). Selections from Neil Young solo albums are here alongside recordings with Crazy Horse and CSNY. These are my personal favorites from each album, and they are all songs that I feel deserve a wider recognition as being some of the best work of his amazing career.



1. Hippie Dream (“Landing on Water”, 1986)

The 80s were a struggle for Neil. He hopscotched from one genre to another, not really finding a sustained groove with any of them. The material – for the most part – just wasn’t there. After venturing from the weird electronic experiments of “Trans” to nostalgic rockabilly on “Everybody’s Rockin’” to the maudlin country of “Old Ways”, 1986 brought Neil to a fairly straightforward pop-rock album: “Landing on Water”. Danny Kortchmar’s production is laden with 80s clichés and as a result the album now sounds dated, but there are signs of life from Neil. Several tracks are keepers, especially the bitter and acerbic “Hippie Dream,” a wicked sneer at the phony idealism and hypocrisy of some of his 60s colleagues who buried their pious delusions of peace and love into an orgy of money and drugs. As compelling as anything he recorded in the 80s, “Hippie Dream” is a fascinating peek into Neil’s disdain and disillusionment over the leftover wreckage from the Summer of Love, the dark underbelly of the Woodstock mythology.

Another flower child goes to seed
In an ether-filled room of meat-hooks
It’s so ugly… so ugly.

2. When Your Lonely Heart Breaks (“Life”, 1987)

“Life” is a collection of new songs recorded live with Crazy Horse, and it represents another half-step back to respectability for Neil. No, it doesn’t have the grungy vibe and swing that you’d expect from the Horse, but in hindsight things are clearly moving in the right direction. “Life” features some solid tunes, and one killer track – the forlorn, lovesick rock ballad “When Your Lonely Heart Breaks”. Neil’s yearning vocal is heartfelt and strong, and the band keeps it simple and sparse. Even an artifact of its era – a ghostly synthesizer that pulses in the background – isn’t enough to derail one of the better Neil Young songs of the 80s.

What’s your problem, she’s gone?
You’re still movin’, movin’ on
You got memories… she got strong.

3. Coupe de Ville (“This Note’s For You”, 1988)

Neil’s next genre exercise was a foray into horn-heavy blues/rock with the Bluenotes, but while the live performances were smoking hot and bootlegs from the era have been cherished by fans, the studio album – “This Note’s For You” – was mostly flaccid. There were a few exceptions – the title track which MTV famously spurned and then embraced, the long, swinging opener “Ten Men Workin’” and – especially – the haunting, obsessive ballad “Coupe de Ville”. Taut and filled with a palpable sense of dread, it’s one of Neil’s standout tracks of the decade by a wide margin.

I had a few cheap thrills
But they cost me a lot more
Than I could give.

4. Feel Your Love (“American Dream”, 1988)

Neil next appeared on an ill-advised reunion album with his drug-addled former mates Crosby, Stills & Nash. “American Dream” suffers from a plastic and overblown production, and the only songs of even remote interest are Neil’s – and his contributions aren’t exactly going to go down as among the best of his canon (to put it mildly). And yet… there is the lovely “Feel Your Love” tucked away near the end of the record. A downbeat and simply elegant ballad, it’s by far the finest moment on an otherwise mostly unlistenable album. It would feel right at home on the later, largely acoustic albums like “Harvest Moon,” “Silver & Gold” or “Prairie Wind.” “Feel Your Love” is a forgotten gem of a song.

High on a balcony, right where we used to be
This city dancing like a sparkling sea
I wanna catch a wave, I wanna swim to shore
Walk on that same beach like I did before

5. Cocaine Eyes (“Eldorado” EP, 1989)

Neil ends the decade with a molten blast of searing rock and a welcome return to greatness with the “Eldorado” EP and its accompanying full-length “Freedom.” “Eldorado” was released only in Japan and Australia, but it quickly became legendary and highly sought by fans across the globe. The blistering opening track, “Cocaine Eyes”, is widely regarded to be a scathing attack of Stephen Stills. Neil turns everything up to 11, and just lets it loose for the first time in, well, far too many years. It’s so loud the air is fuzzing with electricity, and feedback pulses directly into the unwary listeners’ cerebral cortex. It’s the successor to “Rust Never Sleeps”, and it only took a decade to arrive.

Some might go for poison
And some go for too much stuff
Some just go to sleep at night
And forget to wake up

6. Crime in The City (Sixty To Zero Part I) (“Freedom”, 1989)

“Freedom” was a landmark album, one of Neil’s best. Launched by the raucous anthem “Rockin’ in the Free World,” it substantially returned Neil to national prominence and ushered in a career renaissance that has, for the most part, continued to this day. “Freedom” was a deep record loaded with strong material and very little fat; a stellar mix of rockers and ballads that stand up alongside anything he’s done. At the forefront is the epic nearly-9 minute “Crime in the City”, a collection of gripping vignettes of decadence and urban rot. Like much of “Freedom,” it is miles ahead of almost everything else Neil did in the 80s, and showed a renewed creative spark that he would continue to ride over the next 2 decades.

And make sure that he's hungry
And make sure he's alone
And send me a cheeseburger
And a new Rolling Stone

7. Mansion on the Hill (“Ragged Glory”, 1990)

Back with the Horse, Neil’s career surge continued with the widely praised “Ragged Glory”, a collection of long, lumbering guitar epics. This is classic Neil Young & Crazy Horse – stripped down, blazing guitar, that distinctive shambolic, loping drum beat, tight harmonies and fluid melodies. “Mansion on the Hill” is one of the more accessible (i.e. short) tracks on the album, and it’s a doozy – an electric folk-rocker that echoes hazily of “Cowgirl in the Sand” but with a fresh coat of paint.

I was in a hurry
but that don't matter now
'Cause I have to get off
that road of tears somehow.

8. Unknown Legend (“Harvest Moon”, 1992)

After the hard-rocking “Ragged Glory”, Neil – as he so often does – took a left turn back to his country-folk roots and delivered a sequel of sorts to his most famous album, “Harvest.” “Harvest Moon” was a commercial and critical success, and continued his string of hits. It opens with a poignant peek into Neil’s relationship with his wife Pegi. “Unknown Legend” is a tribute brimming with love, respect, and unabashed admiration for the free spirit with whom Neil shares his life. Linda Ronstadt provides background vocals like she did 20 years earlier on those classic “Harvest” singles, and once again the late great Ben Keith soars on the pedal steel. The production is warm and glowing, the feeling from the soul.

She's been runnin' half her life
The chrome and steel she rides
Collidin' with the very air she breathes

9. Philadelphia (“Philadelphia” soundtrack, 1993)

Neil rose to the occasion when Jonathan Demme requested a song for his Oscar-winning AIDS drama “Philadelphia.” Bruce Springsteen’s stately “Streets of Philadelphia” earned more airplay and attention, but it couldn’t match Neil’s track for sheer power and breathtaking beauty. A sublime vocal performance, Neil’s falsetto floats ghostly over a graceful piano and string arrangement. Somber, elegiac, utterly gorgeous… Demme’s film needed a song of extraordinary power for its wrenching finale, and Neil Young delivered a classic.

Someone is talking to me,
Calling my name
Tell me I'm not to blame
I won't be ashamed of love.

10. Transformer Man (“Unplugged”, 1993)

Originally recorded for his 1982 album “Trans”, this forgotten nugget was resurrected for Neil’s MTV Unplugged album with superb results. Dedicated to his son Ben, who was born with cerebral palsy, the acoustic presentation here strips the vocal effects and electronics of the original recording and gets to the soul of the beautiful song beneath. “Transformer Man” is as lovely and touching as anything Neil has ever recorded. Neil’s devotion to his son shines through in this song, in his annual Bridge School Benefits, and in a million other ways, and is inspiring to behold. So many people misunderstood “Trans”, and only in retrospect do we know that it was written and recorded as Neil and his wife grappled with the struggles faced by their young son, and Neil’s quest to reach and communicate with him. “Transformer Man” is a powerful statement of love.

So many things still left to do
But we haven't made it yet
Every morning when I look in your eyes
I feel electrified by you

11. Trans Am (“Sleeps With Angels”, 1994)

Dusty desert roads, outlaws, drugs, killers, foreboding and mournful, “Trans Am” is a Quentin Tarantino movie distilled into an ominous 4-minute rock shuffle. Neil’s recorded numerous “car” songs over his long career, but “Trans Am” must be the darkest. Its parent album, “Sleeps with Angels,” was another artistic triumph. Recorded with Crazy Horse and produced by Neil with David Briggs, it’s a somber, brooding album loaded with killer songs, haunted characters and distorted guitars. Like most of the rest of the album, “Trans Am” is low-key, drenched in atmospherics and minor keys, and drifts vividly into a dangerous underworld that fascinates and disturbs.

The golden gate was open wide,
the sun came shining through
Where once the angels stood and cried
everything was new

12. I’m the Ocean (“Mirrorball”, 1995)

Another turn from out of nowhere: in 1995, Neil recorded an album with Seattle alternative-rock titans and enthusiastic Neil Young admirers Pearl Jam. It seemed an obvious match. Pearl Jam had frequently covered Neil’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” and “Fuckin’ Up,” and they joined forces with Neil on an incendiary live performance of “Free World” at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards. They churned out the sonic powerhouse “Mirroball” in only 4 days. Neil let himself get carried away by their abandon and harnessed their energy for all it was worth. “I’m the Ocean” is the centerpiece of the album – a philosophical litany and unflinching look back at Neil’s life and career. “People my age, they don’t do the things I do” he sings. Topping 7 minutes, “I’m the Ocean” rocks like an avalanche of boulders careening into a valley, unstoppable and thrilling… Jack Irons pounds the drums with such desperate abandon they blast straight into your skull, the young guns in Pearl Jam just doing their best to keep up before the whole thing falls apart… pure adrenaline.

I'm an accident
I was driving way too fast
Couldn't stop though
So I let the moment last

13. This Town (“Broken Arrow”, 1996)

Back to the Horse, and the disheveled “Broken Arrow”. Neil gives the distinct vibe of not giving much of a fuck with this album, especially compared to some of the carefully crafted work he produced earlier in the decade. Maybe that’s the whole point… going back to the unhinged and unpolished locomotive rock that Crazy Horse does best. Unfortunately the material just isn’t strong enough to make it compelling: there is no “Cowgirl in the Sand” or “Like a Hurricane” or “Down by the River” for sure, not even anything equal to the epic guitar squalls from “Ragged Glory” just a few years past. The songs are thin on inspiration and the whole thing is hard to penetrate and generally uninteresting. The obvious exception is “This Town,” a nostalgic and relatively gentle track that, although it has the vibe of a half-written demo, does possess a wistful charm. It’s a glowing high point on what is unquestionably Neil’s least successful album of the 90s.

Some people think that it's not OK
To sleep around and kiss the hours away

14. Slowpoke (“Looking Forward”, 1999)

Perhaps to eradicate the putrid stench of “American Dream,” Neil once again collaborates with his CSN cohorts, and this time the results are significantly better - - to a point. The tracks offered by his bandmates are still largely forgettable, but 3 of the 4 songs Neil donated to the project are absolutely topnotch: the title track “Looking Forward,” “Out of Control” and the warmly beautiful “Slowpoke.” All of these songs really belong on Neil’s next album, the acoustic based “Silver & Gold”, as they would have transformed that album from just a really good Neil Young record to an all-time classic. They are rather lost here surrounded by the subpar CSN material, and it’s a shame because they rank with his best work of the era. “Slowpoke” might be seen as autobiographical – “when I was faster, I was always behind” – but it’s too enigmatic to be sure. Mournful in tone, with sumptuous harmonies, somber wailing harmonica and a vocal that seems steeped in regret, “Slowpoke” is a sad little song that is hard to peg and harder to forget.

Something pushed back
the curtain again,
The stage is empty
and the crowd is thin.

15. Silver & Gold (“Silver & Gold”, 2000)

As pure an expression of love as you’ll find in Neil’s career, “Silver & Gold” is a beauty, as is the album it graces. Perhaps his most unjustly overlooked record, “Silver & Gold” is a stripped-down acoustic collection of consistently powerful tunes that seem unusually personal. Strong from start to finish, it is well worth discovering and savoring.

Workin' hard every day
Never notice how
the time slips away
People come, seasons go
We got something
that'll never grow old.

16. You’re My Girl (“Are You Passionate?”, 2002)

Recorded with Booker T and the MG’s, “Are You Passionate?” is a unique record for Neil. Sadly, it doesn’t quite gel, and the primary reason is the general lackluster material. A missed opportunity. As always with Neil, even with albums that generally bomb, there are high points and on “Are You Passionate?” the peak is “You’re My Girl”, a breezy soulful ode to his daughter. Neil gets a rap for being cantankerous, and no question he can be, but his most revealing and openly heartfelt songs tend to be about his family – as grumpy as he can be, he never shies away from showing his soft side.

You went heading into summer
on a natural high,
With the world at your feet.

17. Bandit (“Greendale”, 2003)

“Greendale” is a rather inscrutable concept album that delves into family drama, politics, and ecology. After the uninspired “Are You Passionate?” Neil needed a new direction and he found it with an album that found many listeners scratching their heads. The tracks – intended to be sung in the voice of the various people in the story – are mostly long, rambling character portraits. It’s an intriguing album and one that rewards upon multiple listens. “Bandit” is the stand-out track; he growls the half-spoken verses, intentionally sounding every one of his years. The subject is a young man troubled by drugs and debt and reaching his rope’s end… and then the gently lilting chorus, “someday you’ll find what you’re looking for.” The voice of experience. Harrowing and hopeful, “Bandit” has a quiet intensity that is riveting. Musically it’s one of his best productions, a shuffling beat and acoustic guitar with a deep bass-line that sounds like the twang of a giant rubberband.

You're invisible, you've got too many secrets.
Bob Dylan said that.
Or some’in’ like that.

18. The Painter (“Prairie Wind”, 2005)

The first single from “Prairie Wind,” another collection of acoustic-based material, is perhaps Neil’s strongest track of the new century thus far. “Prairie Wind” is largely a quiet, reflective collection of songs – perhaps inspired by the recent death of his father Scott Young. Shortly after its recording, Neil would have a surgery to repair a brain aneurysm, and knowledge of this condition may have also informed the album. It’s nostalgic without being grim. “The Painter” – which earned Neil a Grammy Award nomination – sounds like a summation of sorts, a leisurely flip through an old photo album, a fleeting visit with old friends and memories.

It’s a long road behind me,
And I miss you now.
If you follow every dream,
you might get lost.

19. Shock & Awe (“Living With War”, 2006)

The ongoing turmoil in Iraq during the reign of George W. Bush inspired Neil to return to the unabashedly political songwriting as he did so many years earlier with “Ohio.” His anger and outrage spawned an album that delved into different aspects of life during wartime, especially focusing on the effects of those who suffered the most - - the soldiers, and their families. There wasn’t much subtlety in songs like “Let’s Impeach the President” and “Shock & Awe”, and Neil certainly was heavily bashed in certain quarters because of it... but he never hesitated to say exactly what he felt. Musically it’s a blunt force; clashing guitars and lyrics dripping rage and venom, spat out in righteous anger and indignation. Written and recorded quickly, it sounds fresh and immediate, and beyond anything else… raw, like a fresh wound. The songs are never going to rank among his best, but the force of Neil’s convictions carries it. It’s an important snapshot of turmoil, blood and pain, and a courageous statement for an artist who has never feared taking risks.

Thousands of bodies in the ground
brought home in boxes to a trumpet’s sound
No one sees them coming home that way
Thousands buried in the ground

20. Boxcar (“Chrome Dreams II”, 2007)

“Chrome Dreams II” was a sequel to an album that never was. The original “Chrome Dreams” from the late 70s never saw the light of day, its songs scattered on subsequent albums or still unreleased. “Chrome Dreams II” was a rather uneven collection of new material and older recordings, including the phenomenal 18 minute epic “Ordinary People” recorded during the Bluenotes era of the late 80s. “Boxcar” dates from around the time of “Freedom” – it was on the original lineup of the record, when it was to be called “Times Square”, but was ultimately shelved until nearly 20 years later. A simple song, but effective; built around a banjo line and a shuffle beat, “Boxcar” is a lonely little song, unsettled and a bit ominous, a furtive trip to nowhere.

I'm just a passenger on this old freight train
I ride a boxcar through the night
It doesn't matter where I might get off
It doesn't matter where I light

21. Light A Candle (“Fork in the Road”, 2009)

“Fork in the Road” is another tossed-off album, much like “Living With War,” only this time the topic is more prosaic – Neil’s fascination with his Lincvolt automobile, which runs solely on alternative energy. As a song collection it’s rather bland and uninspired, Neil’s enthusiasm not quite able to carry it. While much of the album deals with his automobile fetish, the title song is an angry tirade over the state of the economy, and the corporate bailouts which so riled and divided the country. Most of the album is electric charged straightforward rock, but “Light A Candle” stands out as a lovely, gentle acoustic ballad that is by far the gentlest moment on a record that is ultimately a difficult listen and loaded with throwaways.

When the light of time is on us
We will see our moment come
And the livin’ soul inside will carry on

22. Love and War (“Le Noise”, 2010)

Last year saw Neil collaborate with famed producer Daniel Lanois on “Le Noise,” a collection of songs with only vocals and guitar – no drums, no bass. Lanois amped up the effects and the results are intimate and intense, with surging electric feedback looping and swirling in layers through the speakers. “Love and War” is the quietest track, and a remarkable gaze into the past. Neil sums it all up here in two words: love and war, and all the possible permutations they represent. The raw-nerved anger of “Living with War” is absent here… it’s regret, wisdom, the sad voice of experience. Neil continues to give the real deal, long after he could have retired. He could have simply issued infinite sequels to “Harvest,” polite acoustic-folk, until he disappearing onto his ranch. Instead he continues to explore his heart and soul and those of others; he continues to experiment, walk different avenues and allow his muse to take him where it will. It doesn’t always work, but that’s the point: he’s not afraid to try. He never has been. That is why he’s undeniably one of the all-time, unparalleled greats in rock history.

I said a lot of things that I can't take back
But I don't really know if I want to
There've been songs about love
I sang songs about war
Since the backstreets of Toronto
I sang for justice and I hit a bad chord
But I still try to sing about love and war

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bob Dylan turns 70

I can't even begin to imagine how many countless hours I have pored over my Bob Dylan collection, listening and marveling at the words and sounds. The man is a genre to himself; untouched, unrivaled in rock music history. We should all cherish the fact that he is still with us, still touring, still recording. He could have stopped long ago. Had Bob Dylan fallen by the wayside like many of his contemporaries, we would all be the poorer for it. I wish I could thank him personally for all of the enjoyment and wonder he's provided me, and millions of others.

Rolling Stone magazine recently listed their picks for the best 70 Dylan tunes in honor of his birthday. It was an interesting list, but they seemed to have forgotten nearly everything post-"Blood on the Tracks." I wanted to do a list, but so much has been written and said about Dylan that it's pointless to go back to the old stuff; all of his 60s and 70s essentials have been wrung out and written about and dissected so many times, there's really nothing more to say. And anyway, I have a soft-spot for his later years; in Dylan terms, "later" being since the dawn of the 80s. Although his "later" material will never be as lauded as his 60s peak, and you have to dig a little deeper for the gems, I would argue that there are high points that rival anything he's ever done.

Here are 10 of my favorite Dylan tunes from the last 30 years, in chronological order:



"Every Grain of Sand" - 'Shot of Love', 1981

At the end of his "Christian" period, which was often characterized by heavy-handed and self-righteous screeds, and on a subpar album with mostly filler, somehow Dylan came up with his purest and loveliest expression of religious faith. The version that ended up on 'Shot of Love' was overwrought; the essential recording is the demo. Recorded simply, with Jennifer Warnes gamely singing along despite barely knowing the song, the demo far outshines the finished product. It IS the song. A dog barks in the background, but it doesn't matter. The feeling is there; beautiful, sincere, reverent. Emmylou Harris would later record a stunning version, and it woulld be revisited by other artists as well. But this bare-bones home recording tops them all. This version was ultimately released in 1991 on his "Bootleg Series" box set.

I hear the ancient footsteps like the motion of the sea
Sometimes I turn, there’s someone there, other times it’s only me
I am hanging in the balance of the reality of man
Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand


Unfortunately, like many Dylan tunes (damn you, Sony), this is not on Youtube. It's well-worth the 99 cents to download via Amazon.com, here: "Every Grain of Sand (Demo)"



"Jokerman" - 'Infidels', 1983

The 'Infidels' album was a bit of a return to form for Dylan in the early 80s; it was generally well-received, although the good vibes wouldn't last on subsequent releases. It had a handful of gems, especially the first single "Jokerman". Produced by Mark Knopfler, with its pseudo-Caribbean rhythm and laid back feel, it features some of the most incisive lyrics he'd put forth in years. You never know exactly who he's talking about, here; as often with Dylan, much is up to the listener's interpretation. "A friend to the martyr, a friend to the woman of shame. You look into the fiery furnace, see the rich man without any name." Jesus? A church figure? Dylan himself? A politician? God? Satan? All of the above? Some of the above? Who knows. But out of his 80s material, this is some of his sharpest and most engaging songwriting.

Well, the Book of Leviticus and Deuteronomy
The law of the jungle and the sea are your only teachers
In the smoke of the twilight on a milk-white steed
Michelangelo indeed could’ve carved out your features





"Blind Willie McTell" - 1983

Recorded during 'Infidels' but inexplicably left off the album, and then widely bootlegged, "Blind Willie McTell" was the stuff of legends until it finally saw the official light of day in 1991 on the 'Bootleg Series' box set of rarities and outtakes. It's a stunner; it is widely considered by die-hard fans as one of the best of his entire output. Stark, haunting imagery of the deep south against a sparse backdrop of simple piano and acoustic guitar; the tension so thick its palpable. One of the finest vocals he ever delivered, maybe the finest. Listen late at night; turn off the lights; get some good headphones; turn it up. Utterly spine-tingling.

Well, God is in His heaven
And we all want what’s his
But power and greed and corruptible seed
Seem to be all that there is


Sadly, not on Youtube. Download via Amazon.com here: "Blind Willie McTell"



"Man in the Long Black Coat" - 'Oh Mercy', 1989

Fast forward 6 years to his undisputed best album of the 80s, the Daniel Lanois-produced 'Oh Mercy'. After a string of mostly dismal failures, 'Oh Mercy' was a sudden reminder of what Dylan could still produce when the stars aligned. With strong tunes like "Ring Them Bells," "Most of The Time," and "Everything is Broken", among others, 'Oh Mercy' is as strong a collection as anything he'd done. Lanois gave it just the right treatment; sparse, Southern, a bit gothic and mysterious. Dylan's voice was getting rougher, but as always with him it was all in the phrasing, and the meaning he could convey through inflection; perfect example here on this classic, "Man in the Long Black Coat". A dark fable of mystery, once again returning to the deep south and the ghosts there that Dylan loves to visit. Another iconic figure of lore like so many Dylan had conjured throughout his career; we can only speculate about the meaning. Dylan provides only ominous hints and forbidding growls.

Preacher was a talkin’, there’s a sermon he gave
He said every man’s conscience is vile and depraved
You cannot depend on it to be your guide
When it’s you who must keep it satisfied


Download here via Amazon.com: "The Man in the Long Black Coat"


"Series of Dreams" - 1989

Recorded for 'Oh Mercy' but ultimately shelved until the Bootleg Series box in 1991; "Series of Dreams" is sorta my Dylan anthem. I probably love it more than any of his other songs. My favorite is the demo that showed up on the "Tell Tale Signs" rarities collection in 2008; a bit longer, with different lyrics, and a starker production. I can't really explain how much I love it, but it's one of my top 3 or 4 songs by any artist.

In one, the surface was frozen
In another, I witnessed a crime
In one, I was running, and in another
All I seemed to be doing was climb


Download the demo here via Amazon.com: "Series of Dreams (demo version)"


An edited version of the final studio mix:




"Make You Feel My Love - 'Time out of Mind', 1997


Dylan's next great album came in 1997, once again produced by Daniel Lanois. 'Make You Feel My Love', like many Dylan songs, has been covered by a wide variety of artists; but nobody can match the earnest, raw, naked emotion of Dylan's original. He spends much of the dark 'Time out of Mind' ruminating on aging and death and regret; and yet, here he is hopeful, crooning in his weary voice, still yearning for love. Another timeless song in Dylan's canon.

When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love


Download here via Amazon.com: "Make You Feel My Love"



"Things Have Changed", 2000

Dylan won an Academy Award for this track from the film "Wonder Boys." As tight and focused as anything he'd done; a wounded and cynical vision of the world. Wry and showing its age. The polar opposite of the romanticism of "Make You Feel My Love".

Lot of water under the bridge... lot of other stuff too
Don’t get up gentlemen, I’m only passing through





"Mississippi" - 'Love and Theft', 2001


Released on 9/11/01, "Love and Theft" was born into a time of pain, blood and ash. Somehow it suited the American psyche of the moment. A travelogue through the back roads and woods of America, there was much to admire on "Love and Theft". 'Mississippi' was the pinnacle; philosophical and coy, looking back while still peering ahead. It was covered cheerily by both Sheryl Crow and the Dixie Chicks, and they gamely tried, with the Chicks in particular turning it into a fiery country stomper. But as with 99% of Dylan cover tunes, even the good ones, it missed the point. By now Dylan's voice is harsh; when he growls "Say anything you wanna, I have heard it all", you believe him, no questions asked. "Mississippi" sounds like an Epilogue. To what, i'm not sure.

Well my ship’s been split to splinters and it’s sinkin' fast
I’m drownin’ in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it’s light and it’s free
I’ve got nothin’ but affection for all those who’ve sailed with me


Download here via Amazon.com: "Mississippi"



'Cross The Green Mountain", 2003


This ambitious epic was recorded for the civil war movie "Gods and Generals". Dylan once again ruminates on the south, and the wounds that still gape bleeding. A late-era classic; some of his loveliest and most powerful imagery. Haunting, surreal, unforgettable. It's an interesting genre exercise for Dylan, and he delivers a thoughtful performance with depth and beauty.

The lights coming forward
And the streets are broad
All must yield
To the avenging God



Download here via Amazon.com: "Cross the Green Mountain"


"Beyond Here Lies' Nothin'", 'Together Through Life', 2009

And here we come to 2009, the present day (or as close to it as we can get). Staring down the barrel of 70, Dylan presented "Together Through Life" - and continues to tour, almost compulsively. His voice is shot and many nights the melodies are only faintly discernible through the gravelly croaks. But some nights, and on some songs, the magic peeks through. And voice be damned, it's still Bob Dylan on that stage; he has earned the right to keep going until he damn well wants to stop. Let them pry his guitar and microphone from his cold dead hands, and then he'll be done.

'Beyond Here Lies Nothin' is a grim bluesy construction, for sure. Angry and forbidding; an unflinching gaze into the abyss, with a shockingly violent video. But it's just one song... not long after producing this track, as dark as anything he had done, Bob Dylan was putting the finishing touches on an album of joyful Christmas standards. He doesn't follow my expectations, or yours, or anyone's. That is Dylan, and that is how he's operated his entire career. Will 70 be the end? Why should it be?

And when the end comes, he will have left behind a legacy that will be revered for generations to come. I'd say he must take some comfort in that, and maybe he does.







So Happy Birthday to you, Bob. And THANK YOU.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

U.S. Royalty: "Mirrors"


Washington, DC band U.S. Royalty just released their first full-length album, "Mirrors", and it is exceptionally good. Well worth checking out - in particular, the track "Equestrian".

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011

15 David Bowie tracks

Happy Birthday Mr. Bowie!! He is 64.

And in honor of his birthday, 15 of my favorite Bowie songs, spanning most of his career.


"Always Crashing In The Same Car" from 'Low'


"Sons of the Silent Age" from 'Heroes'


"Lady Grinning Soul" from 'Aladdin Sane'


"The Bewlay Brothers" from 'Hunky Dory'


"This is Not America" with Pat Metheny Group


"The Heart's Filthy Lesson" from 'Outside'


"China Girl" from 'Let's Dance'


"New Killer Star" from 'Reality'


"Under Pressure" with Gail Ann Dorsey


"Scream Like a Baby" from 'Scary Monsters'


"Time Will Crawl" from 'Never Let Me Down'


"Jump They Say" from 'Black Tie White Noise'


"Stay" from 'Station to Station'


"You Belong in Rock 'n Roll" from Tin Machine II


"Moonage Daydream" from 'Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars"

Sunday, January 2, 2011