“Devo were impossible to ignore when I first started hearing them in about 1978. Because there had NEVER been anything remotely like them. Even a diehard prog-rocker like me got that. But being the genius I was in my late teens, I found them easy to dismiss as gimmicky fun, a one or three hit wonder at best. I mean, they weren’t actually important or anything. Then one day I was hitchhiking, caught a ride with a punk sort of guy who had the first album on, playing loud. Gut Feeling came on as we were crossing the Second Narrows Bridge, everything steely industrial grey, giving way to the great North Shore mountains, and let’s just say, I realized I was wrong, wrong, wrong … yet again.” (Philip Random)
“The title says it all, and the lyrics back it up with a solid vice versa, speaking as they do to the stupid notion that genres are in fact competing nations which, at best, should just avoid each other. F*** that sh**! Though it is worth noting, not every band is, was or shall ever be on the level of Funkadelic circa 1978. My point being, nobody says you can’t do whatever you want musically speaking (at least nobody from my end of things) but that doesn’t mean you get to just slap your bass guitar, dress like a pimp and call yourself funky. Not if you’re older than twelve. You’ve got to earn that.” (Philip Random)
The Clash’s second album Give ‘Em Enough Rope may not be their best, but it sure delivers with Safe European Home, the-only-band-that-mattered captured at peak ferocity, moving beyond mere punk into a realm that is best thought of as superlative. And the words aren’t entirely stupid either, though the same perhaps can’t be said of Rudy.
“I mostly hated so-called jazz-rock fusion at the time – so many of my fave Prog heroes getting caught up with showing off or whatever, forgetting to actually make interesting, astonishing music. But National Health (straight outa Canterbury) seemed to mostly get it right, keeping it sharp, innovative, fun. And in the case of Squarer For Maud, it even gets epic, particularly once the cello cuts loose toward the end. And then there’s that rap about numinosity (a word I’d never heard before). Of or relating to a numen; supernatural. Filled with or characterized by a sense of a supernatural presence. Now that’s my kind of music.” (Philip Random)
“There’s not enough Funkadelic on this list. I’m sorry. It’s not my fault. Seriously, try to find any used Funkadelic vinyl in metro Vancouver that isn’t either hacked to shit or priced way out of my range. It doesn’t exist. But I did finally steal a copy of One Nation Under A Groove from somebody whose name I can’t divulge (for obvious reasons), but trust me, he’s an asshole. Jesus even said it was okay, and alcohol. And anyway, if I do end up going to hell, it won’t be for that.” (Philip Random)
“My introduction to Talking Heads went something like this. Maybe 1978, artist guy (obviously high on quality drugs) walks up to me at a party and says, ‘Where does everybody live? In some kind of building. What does everybody eat? Food. More Songs About Buildings and Food is about everybody.’ And it was good at parties.” (Philip Random)
“No, this is not The Cure advocating hate crime. It’s an examination of existentialism, as spare and unflinching as the French novel that inspired it. That said, we did play Killing an Arab a lot on radio during that first Gulf War. Late winter, early spring 1991, tens of thousands of Arabs being killed for no particular reason, except maybe keeping prices down at the gas pumps. Doesn’t get much more existential than that. I haven’t owned a car since.” (Philip Random)
“Sally Oldfield being Mike’s big sister, Water Bearer (the song and album that contains it) being smooth, ethereal, fresh as the waters of Rivendell itself. Indeed, it’s right there in the lyrics for Songs of Quendi (found deeper into side one) – these sounds aren’t just redolent of what you’d expect to hear on a Saturday night at Elrond’s joint, they’re purporting to be the real thing. Which would be laughable if they weren’t just so darned nice. Or as I once heard someone say about Abba – it’s the musical equivalent of taking a hot bath, then going to bed with clean sheets, except these particular sheets are woven from some mystical silk that transports you to dreams of the undying lands found beyond the great ocean of Belegaer.” (Philip Random)
Exposure is a song (for lack of a better word) that Peter Gabriel and Robert Fripp conceived for Gabriel’s rather unsettled second album. Bleak, abrasive, creepy, prophetic – it was determined (it seems) to drive a wedge between what each had been up to in the past with their previous outfits, and the brave new future on the verge of boiling over as the 1980s dawned. Then, to drive the point home, Fripp made it the title track of his 1979 debut solo album, although now a different singer (a woman named Terre Roche) was tearing up the atmosphere, taking things to the point of genuine pain. Because, to quote Mr. Fripp, ” … the old world, characterized by large, unwieldy and vampiric organizations, was dead.” And what did the new one sound like? Small, independent, mobile, intelligent. And up for a fight, no question.