Could this be the most self-aware song ever written? 'I'm the world's most opinionated man,' sings sweet-voiced David Crosby in a tone of utter resignation. Bear in mind he'd already dealt with fame, failure, bereavement, heroin, booze and yachting by this point. It's a very stripped-down arrangement, with even CSN's trademark harmony kept to a minimum. And Crosby's rueful laugh towards the end is a real killer. Should I die soon, stop by my funeral and you'll hear this song... From a very underrated album, recorded after that toerag Neil Young had come and gone.
This is ABBA's best song. The syncopated drum-track in the verse is smart and the general feel of the song is cool. But the best part is the harmonised singing in the chorus. The background harmony which drops down a tone or two (imagine Jonny Marr shifting his guitar down two bars in a chord progression and you're there) is total class.
This sounds very different from most of what I've recommended. In fact, there are days when I wouldn't want to listen to this song at all. It is pretty incredible, however. I like it both for its remarkable mood and instrumentation (this is a Phil Spector production), and for its lyrical content (a melancholic but resigned tale, remembering a love affair). Leonard sings 'A heavy burden lifted from my soul/I learned that love was out of my control', with a reverb effect on his voice, accompanied by a sweet string arrangement and a faint, echoey backing choir. His delivery is casual, yet committed - a style that definitely influenced Nick Cave.
from Death of a Ladies' Man, available on CD (CBS)
I'm just reacquainting myself with the entire Low album after buying it on CD (my LP has been out of my reach for a few years). It really is utter genius. If they were in any other context, I don't imagine I would enjoy some of the guitar solos featured in this song. Here, they work brilliantly though. The musical basis of 'always crashing in the same car' is quite simple, but the superb musical performances and odd, otherworldly production give it an incredible richness. Bowie's vocal is mournful, and doesn't dominate the track.
20 May 05 ·frmars: The sound on Low is so particuliar thanks to Brian Eno's collaboration. Same with Bowie's "Heroes" and "Lodger". 3 albums known as the Berlin trilogy.
Listen to Brian Eno's solo stuff and shoot in stars...