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Television - See No Evil
From Marquee Moon (1977)
Given the sad news about Tom Verlaine’s passing (Ooh, how the darkness doubled), I think I should write about a song from possibly my favourite album Marquee Moon. Hard to pick just one though; all of the first five tracks are masterpieces:
See No Evil - Best interlocking guitars, best immediate energy
Venus - Most evocative mood, clever lyrics
Friction - All action, just will not let up
Marquee Moon - Initially perhaps the least great of the songs, but then the real song starts at 4:30, and builds up to the ultimate crescendo
Elevation - Best guitar solo. (If we don’t count the entire second half of the previous song as a guitar solo.)
The last three tracks are excellent as well.
It seems so perfect.
Michael Stipe has said that See No Evil is the best rock song. I don’t know about that, but it arguably has the best rock song essence, with simultaneous guitar riffs, vocal harmonies, and a guitar solo.
When I listen to Television or Beach Boys, I sometimes wonder why there aren’t more bands sounding like them. Or any at all, really. This also leads to a problem with even defining the genre of the band. Television is often described as a punk band, or as playing a genre of punk. However, I do not agree with this categorization at all. Wikipedia describes punk rock as:
Rooted in 1960s garage rock, punk bands rejected the perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often shouted political, anti-establishment lyrics.
Television has essentially none of these traits. It instead has sophisticated melodies, long compositions that are even more excessive than mainstream rock, and no shouted political lyrics. I see no punk rock.
A line from a review I read that stuck with me:
Sometime in the future, some Martian kid who can't get dates and hates sports will sit in his room, blaring this music and wondering how life can possibly sound this great.