Shuffle of the week #2

This is an ode to the shuffle. How better to get a good insight in your digitized album collection than by a classic shuffle? Finally discover the albums you never got into, finally throw the ones away you will never get into and worship those classics that never grow old again. The Shuffle of this week:

1.    Death Cab For Cutie – 405 (We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes, 2000) [singlepic id=47 w=80 h=50 float=left]
The shuffle started with the fifth song from the second album of this American indie rock band. Not much to add, hardly listen to their albums anymore.

2.    Pixies – Here Comes Your Man (Doolittle, 1989)
[singlepic id=53 w=80 h=50 float=left] It continued with an absolute alternative rock classic from the Pixies’ second album Doolittle. At first I thought my shuffle had hit The Beatles’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, using the same opening chord. The Byrds-riff that follows keeps this one a favorite.

3.    Beatles – Come Together/Dear Prudence/Cry Baby Cry (Love, 2006)
[singlepic id=45 w=80 h=50 float=left] With a small delay, the Fab Four play at last. Having the most songs of all artists in the collection, it’s no surprise to hear them again. This is the Love version of Abbey Road‘s opening track, mixed by George Martin and son. The transition to McCartney’s ‘Can you take me back where I came from’ certainly adds value to this Lennon-classic.

4.    Pink Floyd – Money (Delicate Sound Of Thunder, 1988) [singlepic id=52 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Another classic rock evergreen in an edited release, as Pink Floyd plays their Dark Side of the Moon classic live in New York. With an extended intro and solos, it contains ten minutes of guaranteed joy.

5.    Beach Boys – Here Today (Pet Sounds, 1966)
[singlepic id=44 w=80 h=50 float=left] Probably my favorite Pet Sounds track after, obviously, ‘God Only Knows’. The music written by Brian Wilson is just absolutely genius, filled up by  Tony Asher’s sad lyrics, sung by Mike Love. It starts with just a little glance now!

6.    Cotton Mather – Aurora Bori Alice (Kon Tiki, 1997)
[singlepic id=46 w=80 h=50 float=left] Now this Texan rock band deserves a much broader appreciation. This album in my opinion is one of the most refreshing guitar albums from the past 15 years. The lead singer makes you think Lennon is still alive now and then, and the guitar licks just keep coming!


7.    Moody Blues – House of Four Doors (In Search of the Lost Chord, 1968) [singlepic id=49 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Legendary song from a legendary album of a legendary band. Amen.


8.    Morrissey – You Know I Couldn’t Last (You Are The Quarry, 2004) [singlepic id=50 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Took me a while to get into The Smiths and in the end I succeeded. Curious if the same will apply to Morrissey, till now it does. It takes me a while.


9.    Paul McCartney & Wings – Helen Wheels (Band On The Run, 1973) [singlepic id=51 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Talking about legendary albums, huh? This track did not even appear on the UK versions as it was released as a single long before all the other hit singles kicked in. The album is without any doubt McCartney’s absolute solo masterpiece.

10.    Mogwai – Secret Pint (Rock Action, 2001) [singlepic id=48 w=80 h=50 float=left]
The shuffle closes with the closing song from the third album of Scottish post-rockers Mogwai. That album goes on the mp3 player right away, long time since I listened to it.

“Architects may come and architects may go and never change your point of view.”: Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon & Garfunkel)

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Year: 1970

Genre: Folk Rock

Preceded by: Bookends (1968)

Followed by: –

Related to: Paul Simon – Graceland



Today we return to 1970, the year Déjà Vu was released. We also return to quarreling band members and vocal harmonies, because not only The Beatles broke up in 1970, so did their American contemporaries of the sixties, Simon & Garfunkel. But before they did, they delivered the world a last pièce de résistance with Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel met each other in primary school while growing up in the state of New York. The first group they formed was labeled with the artistic name ‘Tom & Jerry’. It was not until 1965 that they acquired world fame with their monster hit ‘The Sound of Silence’ as Simon & Garfunkel. Other albums and singles followed, until they recorded their fifth and final album Bridge Over Troubled Water, after which they broke up. Garfunkel was pursuing an acting career at that point, starring in the movie ‘Catch-22’. Remarkable detail: the role that was assigned to Simon was completely erased from the original script.

Bridge Over Troubled Water (on which Simon wrote all the songs except the covers ‘El Condor Pasa’ and ‘Bye Bye Love’), was named after the opening track which became a rock classic. Especially the piano work of Larry Knechtel, band member of Westcoast group Bread and session musician for amongst others The Beach Boys and The Mamas & the Papas, is outstanding. However, this track is not at all representative for the album, which contains very cheerful tracks like ‘El Condor Pasa’, ‘Cecilia’ and ‘Keep the Customer Satisfied’.

‘El Condor Pasa’ was based on traditional Andean folk tunes, brought together in a full-fledged song by the Peruvian Daniel Robles. Simon picked it up and made it the most famous western song featuring panpipes. It’s followed by ‘Cecilia’, and whether it’s about  some lover or a songwriter’s block, it’s a real earwig. The trilogy of joy is completed by ‘Keep the Customer Satisfied’, one of my personal favorites.

After all the joy comes resentment part one, with ‘So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright’. Originally, Garfunkel (who had studied to become an architect) just asked Simon to write a song about the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Simon had no clue who this was, but turned the song into an announcement of the upcoming breakup with his former pal. Simon also addressed Garfunkel with the song ‘The Only Living Boy In New York’. Garfunkel went to Mexico to act in his movie, leaving Simon behind in New York, writing songs for this album.

In between this tracks is a single (‘The Boxer’) and it’s B-side (‘Baby Driver’), which were released already in 1969. ‘The Boxer’ became one of the duo’s greatest hits, despite (or maybe thanks to) the lyric-less chorus. It’s an autobiographical song, with Simon telling us he feels unfairly criticized. He temporary filled in the chorus with ‘lie-la-lie’, but never came up with replacing lyrics afterward. The penultimate ‘Bye Bye Love’ is a live recording of a song most famous in it’s Everly Brothers version, later also recorded by former Beatle George Harrison.

The duo reunited to tour again every decade since 1970, for example in 1981 with the famous concert in Central Park, entertaining over 500,000 people. Each time they play a range of songs from their last album, on which it’s crystal clear that this is a duo about to break up, but those guys decided to throw one big last party together.

Top Tracks:
1. The Boxer
2. Keep the Customer Satisfied
3. El Condor Pasa (If I Could)