Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Fran's Top 10 Favorite Instrumentals

Regardless of how abstract, lyrics can get the point across.  They can let you know what emotion or feeling the band is trying to convey.  Take the lyrics away and it's not so easy.  You're on your own to decipher the song.  Instrumentals are truly a lost art.  Especially by bands that have a lead singer. Below are my Top 10 instrumentals.  There is one for just about every moods.  Yes, there are obvious ones I did not choose.  Sorry "Moby Dick".  These are the ones that meant the most to me.

1. "Clementina" by Xymox - This is definitely a summer night rain storm song for me.  It's one of those songs that makes me feel alive.  It's dark wave sound is provocative and ethereal.  Twist of Shadows is a fantastic album in it's own right with it's vocal being shared between its members but this one was always the standout.  I don't understand how it wasn't better received, especially in 1989 when bands like Depeche Mode and New Order were exploding.

2. "Midsummer's Daydream" by Triumph - Before the internet there was this thing called music discovery.  Sometimes is came with a price but when it paid off it was a jackpot.  Our local radio station was broadcasting live from a sellout Triumph show and I had never heard of them before.  That night I picked up this album.  Ahhh, those Canadian rockers.  This song appeared of the conceptual second side of the album based on the subject of time.  It shows off the technical side to their guitar work.  I love that it's not all amps and lights.  Do yourself a favor and pick this one up if you are a fan of 80's rock.

3. "316" by Van Halen - I know I know.  With instrumentals like "Eruption", how could I pick this one?  This isn't just Eddie shredding.  On this one he creates a mood.  Not something that Eddie was known for doing.  This one was so different that it has always stood out to me.  I can picture him alone just chilling and playing this song.  To this day I can just dial this one up and smile.

4. "Switch 625" by Def Leppard - This instrumental comes from Def Leppard's brilliant High and Dry.  As the album became popular in the states the band had no inkling as they were between still having their factory jobs and being locked away to record Pyromania with Mutt Lange.  I had heard this on the radio many times without knowing who it was.  This galloping rock ditty is all "Steamin'" Steve Clark.  R.I.P. my man.

5. "Jessica" by The Allman Brothers Band - OK.  Maybe this one is obvious but these are famous for a reason.  I still remember discovering this one during my Grateful Dead phase.  It reminds me of really good summer days.  There is nothing like discovering the classics when you are younger.  These are the types of songs I miss discovering.  A big nod to Dickey Betts and Les Dudek.

6. "Maggot Brain" by Funkadelic - Three words.  Eddie - Fucking - Hazel.  He recorded this ten minute solo in one take at the age of 21.  George Clinton told him to play like your mamma died.  That he did.

7. "Session" by Linkin Park - Between the drumming and the sound effects this song was played hundreds of times over in my car.  You can't hear this song and not think of the Matrix.  I wish it were the first Matrix though and not Reloaded.  I know Linkin Park tends to get lumped in with bad 90's rap/rock but this track is all groove.

8. "One Step Beyond" by Madness - This song was my introduction to the nutty sound of Madness.  I remember staying up late, pre MTV days, hoping to see this video on the local half hour video show in Philly.  It was a porthole to a time and place I didn't know existed.  Although I love the vocals of Suggs this song will always hold a special place in my heart.  Childhood always wins out.

9. "Oscillate Wildly" by The Smiths - Johnny Marr could do no wrong during this era.  This track was the "B" side to "How Soon Is Now?" and later included on Louder Than Bombs.  The funny thing about this track is that I can totally hear Morrisey's vocal over top of this but it never happened.  I'm not sure why but had it happened it wouldn't be as stellar of a result as it is an instrumental.

10. "Pimpf" by Depeche Mode - This is such a powerful track named after a magazine for Hitler Youth.  It was the "B" side for "Strangelove" and was also on the album "Music For The Masses".  I saw Depeche Mode on this tour and this was the song used to open the show.  It is very stark much like the album itself.

I would love to know your Top 10 Instrumentals.  Make sure you leave them in the comment box below.  Remember, there are no wrong answers.

See you when the needle drops!!!


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