388. The Journey + I see you

“London’s Pretty Things were always there in the swinging 60s, in tune with the times, if not in time with them (if that makes any sense), which means that by 1968, they were launching into realms psychedelic and beyond with the epic tale of Sebastian F Sorrow, a full-on integrated cycle of songs that hit the culture many months before the Who’s Tommy would make the notion of a rock opera a genuinely big deal. No, SF Sorrow didn’t sell that well, doesn’t generally get name-checked when the experts are trying to make sense of the age, but for me anyway, it stands up better than Tommy, minute for minute, song for song, maybe because it’s only a one record set, with the high point coming on side two, when SF Sorrow encounters the mysterious Baron Saturday (intended to represent Baron Samedi of Haitian Voodoo notoriety), who ‘borrows his eyes’ for a trip through the underworld, with terrifying consequences.” (Philip Random)

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807. White man in Hammersmith Palais

Speaking of bass culture, (and contrary to popular belief) it needs to be said that White Man in Hammersmith Palais was neither The Clash‘s first reggae song, nor its best — that was Police + Thieves (or maybe something from Sandinista). But it was the first one they actually wrote, Joe Strummer to be specific, slipping out of his punk mindset long enough to wax poetic on politics and music, Robin Hood and Hitler, black and white, everything really.

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917. sometimes

Rousing anthem of resistance from the Midnight Oil album that finally put them over the top somewhere outside of down under. Philip Random recalls being ambivalent to both song and album until one day in London, “… a long way from home, out of money, lonely as hell, but it’s a nice day so I’m out walking the Strand, and Sometimes pops up on a friend’s mixtape and holy shit, it suddenly says it all. Let the powers-that-be unleash their violence, push us to the wall, beat us to a pulp, we won’t give in. And then I’m looking up at all these centuries old monuments and statues of respected gentlemen who no doubt did their bit to crush the poor, the meek, the hungry, the foreign, all for the greater good of EMPIRE, and then I’m laughing because I realize they’re all covered in pigeon shit.”

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