108. eat the rich

“In which Motorhead make it clear, it must be done, the rich must be eaten. It’s the only way we’re ever going to set all the children free. And Eat The Rich (the movie) in all its punk, sloppy, inconsistent atonal elegance is a much overlooked masterpiece. How could it not be, with Lemmy on board as the communist insurgent’s right hand man? But he’s no communist. Nor anarchist, leftist, activist of any kind. He’s a hard rock bassist, which is its own justification, it seems. Which is pretty much everything I could ever say about the monster that is-was-shall-always-be Motorhead. You don’t explain it, you just get it (or not). Maybe not the kind of stuff I listen to a lot in my day to day life … but every now and then, f***ing essential.” (Philip Random) 

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176. Christianity is Stupid

“Speaking of Jesus and surrealism and full-on agit-prop satire, Christianity Is Stupid has to rate as one of Negativland‘s high water marks. I remember it being particularly useful roundabout Christmastime, 1987, peak of the so-called Winter of Hate observances. Which, I suppose, are best understood as the mirror opposite of 1967’s Summer of Love  observances, neither being exactly what they were advertising. In other words, there was more than little fear and loathing caught up in all that overhyped San Francisco hippie shit (even if some of it was no doubt wonderful); likewise, there were traces of peace and love to be found in the massively under-hyped Winter of Hate (even if much of was deliberately abysmal). And whatever was going down (or perhaps up), Christianity is Stupid has to stand as one of its key anthems, a record you generally played at people (as opposed to for them). It even caused a proper controversy, which still seems to be playing  out. And oh yeah, the whole damned album‘s a masterpiece. Assuming noise is your thing, interruption, interference.” (Philip Random)

Negativland-1987-posing

(image source)

184. locust

“Of course 1987 would be a locust summer, being the midpoint between the two winters, 1987 and 1988, that would come to represent the full de-flowering of the so-called Winter of Hate, Current 93’s David Tibet being its sort of patron saint and/or hell demon. But seriously, this stuff is sinister for damned sure, but also mysteriously beautiful and heartfelt. Just because a man is pointing into the maw of Moloch does not make him an agent of Moloch – just a messenger, filing a missive on the topic of Apocalypse (ongoing) by way of wigged out folk music by way of deep and dark industrial sturm + drang, or as a friend put it late one psychedelic evening, ‘this neo-Christian-pagan rigmarole I can’t seem to get enough of.’ The album in question is called Imperium, and yes, it goes places.” (Philip Random)

196. Alex Chilton

“Right sound, wrong timing. That was me and The Replacements, who were exactly what you needed in around 1987 if you were desperate for something/anything genuine in the realm of booze-soaked-truth-telling-poetry-infused rock and roll. Which I guess I wasn’t. I was more into noise and beats and psychedelics and other higher, more quantum concerns at the time. But five years later I was drinking again and finding it very easy to fall in love with Alex Chilton (the song not the man) – me and children by the millions. But seriously, all love to the man to for inspiring a song that could inspire such love, Alex Chilton being one of the guys from Big Star, still maybe the greatest band that hardly anybody’s heard (there’s none on this list because I’ve never found any affordable vinyl). And before Big Star (when Alex was still a teenager) there was a group called the Box Tops, who had a monster hit called The Letter. Love that song.” (Philip Random)

(photo: Daniel Corrigan)

214. supernaut

“I’m thirteen, lying in bed and unable to sleep for reasons of existential magnitude, so I’ve got the radio on to keep me company, tuned to FM, of course, because I’m at least that cool. Anyway, this song comes on, heavy and wild, the singer howling about how he wants to reach out and touch the sky. But I didn’t catch who it was. Next day at school, I I’m quizzing everybody, but nobody knows what I’m talking about, and anyway, they’re mostly into Elton John or Three Dog Night. Long story short. It took fifteen years to get my answer, care of Jared, a marijuana dealer I knew at the time who played bass in various hard rock outfits, knew his heavy history. I mentioned the ‘I want to reach out’ part and he instantly said, ‘Black Sabbath Supernaut,’ like I’d just become magnitudes less cool in his eyes. How the hell could I not know Supernaut!? But I was just glad to have the answer, life suddenly feeling a little more purposeful, complete. Supernaut, found on side one of Vol. 4, which Jared had, so on it went, heavy and cool as I remembered. Life before the interwebs. You just had to keep digging.” (Philip Random)

242. new mind

New Mind is the lead track from the Swans‘ fifth album Children of God, and thus the first real evidence that this band wasn’t just heavier than God and/or Lucifer (as their earlier, more resolutely murky stuff had proven), but probably better too – musically speaking. Because holy shit, what an powerful f***ing band! As for New Mind itself, I’m not sure I want to know what it’s about, except to say that it feels like the work of some angry god on a rampage, or maybe one of those Japanese movie monsters that tears an entire city to pieces due to some unexplained grievance. Or maybe it’s all that sex in our souls damning us to hell, which just doesn’t seem fair.” (Philip Random)

Swans-1987-live

283. the cross

“They say there are no atheists in foxholes. Also Prince concerts back in the day. The memory is of seeing the Purple One live in 1988, the Lovesexy tour. The stage was round. The sound was exquisite. The action was non stop. It was everything a rock and roll show was ever supposed to be, and more. And the musical highlight of the evening, the song that pinned all fifteen thousand of us to the wall was a power anthem about a certain cross and the guy that had to carry it, and how we’ve all got to do the same, one way or another, up that hill to eternity. Yeah, I believed.” (Philip Random)

Prince-1988-live-gtr

326. no new tale to tell

Love and Rockets definitely felt fresh when they first hit in around 1985. Ex-Bauhaus players lightening up some, delivering solid psyche infused rock and pop at a time when pretty much nobody else was thinking that way. But by the time their third album hit, Earth Sun Moon, I guess I was looking elsewhere, because I didn’t really notice No New Tale To Tell until years after its release. In fact, it was the flute solo that hooked me via somebody else’s mixtape. Not since Jethro Tull …” (Philip Random)

Love+Rockets-1987-promo

346. savage

“The Eurythmics were quite cool at first, a breath of fresh and soulful air in amid all the synth-pop of the early-mid 80s. But by 1987, I’d mostly lost interest … except for Savage, the song in particular. Bitter yet vulnerable, and definitely dangerous, like some 50s movie hard-as-nails beauty losing her looks, maybe resorting to murder, but you couldn’t stop feeling for her. Joan Crawford would have played her. And you probably would have cried at the end even if she deserved everything.” (Philip Random)

Eurhythmics-1987-AnnieL