80. little fluffy clouds

“The Orb‘s Little Fluffy Clouds was a hit, sort of, just not in the Americas … except for certain subterranean situations. Like that time in 1995, The Orb have finally made it to town, the club known as Graceland, surprisingly full. They play a long set, mostly texture and groove, precious little in the way of what you might call ‘song’. But it’s The Orb – so not unexpected. And then, final number, they drop the old hit, Little Fluffy Clouds, except I have no idea it’s such a hit – the whole packed room suddenly kicking up three or four gears, moving in complex unity, achieving escape velocity. At which point it occurs to me that Little Fluffy Clouds is a god damned anthem for a nation I didn’t know existed. Something to do with beauty being its own argument, its own justification, its own ideology even. Which is to say, the ends can never justify ugly means, because the means are the end. You don’t get to paradise by doing ugly things. Just a fleeting thought perhaps, as substantial as little fluffy clouds passing by. Except here I am remembering it, years later. Enough gravity for that.” (Philip Random)

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111. come together

“There are many versions of Primal Scream‘s Come Together floating around out there, but I’m going with Andy Weatherall‘s mega remix because of what the Reverend Jesse Jackson says in the sample which more or less carries it – that there are no genres, Rhythm and Blues and Jazz are just labels, to which I’d add Disco and Funk and Punk and Hip and Hop and Country and Western and Techno and Dub and Heavy and Metal and Glam and Goth and Rock and Roll and so on. There really are only two kinds of music. Good and Bad. I like to think I’ve invested some of the best parts of my life in digging for the good stuff, which in this case, got me to Britain, 1991, ecstasy rampant, all the toughest thugs having fallen in love with all humanity, everybody coming together in exquisite simultaneity. A little messy perhaps (and chemically dependent) but brilliant nonetheless, transcendent even. One for the ages. Actually, they’re all for the ages now. One thousand down on this list, one hundred eleven to go … ” (Philip Random)

151. Zoom

Zoom is about the future apparently (the 1973 album in question being called 1990), a trip to the moon to be specific, though men had already been walking the moon for four years by 1973, smacking golf balls around even. Either way, this is the Temptations (arguably the greatest all male vocal group ever) together with their producer Norman Whitfield boldly and beautifully going as far (and as long) as they ever would, indeed as far as man ever has, a thirteen minute trip, which if taken at the speed of light would actually get you past Mars. Not bad for a bunch of guys †from the wrong side of the tracks, Detroit.

216. never enough [big mix]

“If there’s a typical Cure track, the extended (BIG) mix of Never Enough is not it. What it is, is truth in advertising. In other words, big. So much so that I’m going to suggest that its keen sense of pumped up sonics pretty much defined the near future of rock infused pop (yes, champions of U2’s Achtung Baby which came out a good year later – I’m talking to you). As for the song itself (which never showed up on a proper Cure album), it’s just more evidence that when it comes to a certain kind of delirious desire put to pop, Robert Smith has few equals. And you can dance to it.” (Philip Random)

Cure-1990-live

259. soon

“The first thing I ever consciously heard of My Bloody Valentine was Andy Weatherall‘s 12-inch remix of Soon. And it was good, immediately figuring in all the mixtapes I was making at the time, 1991 being a serious watershed year for me. I’d taken the baleful rage and angst of the 1980s further than most, and loved it often as not. But now it was time for a change, and here it was, often as not lyrically vague as it was musically expansive, like 1960s psychedelia all over again, only bigger, richer, pumping cool light and amazing colours. And then the album Loveless showed at the year’s end, and I finally heard the actual original version of Soon, and holy shit, it was everything I could’ve imagined, only more so, the future having arrived.” (Philip Random)

mybloodyvalentine-soon-1991

 

279. enjoy the silence [the quad: final mix]

“In 1981 or thereabouts, if you told me that Depeche Mode would still be around come the 1990s, I would’ve laughed in your face. They were just pretty boys pushing buttons, and not even as well as other boys were pushing buttons. And yet there they still were nine years later, and not just surviving – actually relevant. Case in point Enjoy The Silence – The Quad: Final Mix which seamlessly blends four separate Silences into one  beautiful fifteen plus minute monster. Adrian SherwoodDavid HarrowGareth JonesHolger HillerMimi Izumi Kobayashi and Tim Simenon were all involved but it’s the overall flow that matters. What did 1990 sound like, you may ask? Some of the silences were amazing.” (Philip Random)

DepecheMode-wordsUNnecessary

282. I am the resurrection

“Speaking of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, call this one punk rock, Ecstatically inspired. In other words, blame it on the drugs. Or whatever it was that got the Stone Roses mixing up mystical insight and balls out provocation in such a way as to declare themselves both the resurrection and the son (singer Ian Brown anyway). I Am The Resurrection being the epic final track of their 1989 debut album that really did blow the roof off of things. The whole album, that is, every song essential. Call it a masterpiece, messianic even. These Roses really were perfect, they had all the answers, they were showing the way. But then, I guess, they started doing different drugs.” (Philip Random)

StoneRoses-1989-studioLive

287. freak scene

“I kept hearing about Dinosaur Jr. back in the late 1980s but I never consciously heard them. Apparently, they were a throwback to the pre-punk days of big wild guitar solos, epic intentions … but in a good way, which sounded promising. Then I finally did heard Freak Scene some time in 1990 and hell yeah, truth in advertising. Except they were anything but a throwback — guitar so sheer and beaming with fractal light, it was carving gateways into the future. Or at least that’s what it felt like that time at the Commodore, the top of my head lysergically removed from the rest of my body. In a good way. Later, I drove home, still quite high, listening to classical music on the radio – some Shostokowich as I recall. And it all made perfect sense.” (Philip Random)

DinosaurJR-1988-studio

719. we gotta get out of this place

“In which Jello Biafra hooks up with Vancouver’s own DOA to deliver a surprisingly faithful cover  of one of the essential Rock Anthems (speaking of Eric Burdon). Maybe the essential rock anthem. I think I heard Bruce Springsteen say that once. This situation’s killing me. Might be school, might be a job, might be prison, a bad relationship, your family, your own asshole. Doesn’t matter where you are, there’s only one way to go, and that’s OUT. With a vengeance.” (Philip Random)

(art: Winston Smith)