A Musical Timeline (1983 – 2007)
The oldest band that I can remember that I still like would be Simon and Garfunkel. Every song on their Greatest Hits album was truly great. Simon had wonderful imagery in his poetic lyrics. Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. These words made me want to go the Scarborough Fair just to find out what Paul was talking about. These guys had seamless transitions and incredibly catchy choruses in many of their songs. They have a melancholic sound but it still sounds hopeful, inspirational. This band shows the true power of reverberation and delay and how they serve to create a musical atmosphere. Mix that with smooth, harmonic vocals, driving, intricate guitar work, and plenty of other orchestral instruments, its hard to resist.
Three Picks – Bridge Over Troubled Water / The Only Living Boy In New York / The Boxer
I’m not going to lie. I had a Beatles haircut when I was a kid. It was the only way my mother knew how to cut hair. That was just one way that I was able to relate to the Beatles. To me, the Beatles invented pop music. Most of their number one hits had the hook of the song in the name, which made it easy to remember their songs. For example, Hey Jude, She Loves You, Help!, Yellow Submarine, Come Together, etc. These guys represent the epitome of rock and roll, and their evolution as a band still relates to what bands go through in the music business. They started like every other band these days. They struggled. Eventually, they took it to America where they made it big on the radio stations with “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”. Next, they entered the studio and focused more on effects and experimented with more intricate melodies. The Beatles received criticism over a plethora of things, such as drug use, being more popular than Jesus, choice of girlfriend (Yoko), etc. This led to the inevitable breakup, and each member started their individual projects.
Three Picks – Let It Be / Penny Lane / Yesterday
The first tape I bought with my own money was Green Day’s Dookie. That was in fifth grade during the Sam Goody store days. Green Day was so cool, that it became completely cool to despise them in middle school. They were so popular that you could not tell who was really a fan, because most people would say they loved Green Day. This band is successful because they brought the punk rock image to the masses. Billie Joe Armstrong showed the public that tricky guitar solos were unnecessary. If you are honest to your audience, however defiant or depressing it may be, then people will listen. After the release of Kerplunk, Green Day found that they were no longer poor. This led to their “selling out”, or signing to Reprise Records. Green Day almost makes “selling out” seem punk, which is a struggle for every popular punk band. I’ve always been one to believe that Green Day remained true to their music.
Three Picks – She / Having a Blast / Pulling Teeth
Nirvana was famous for being infamous. Many suspected Kurt Cobain of being gay, when he was really just anti-homophobic. Kurt made it his goal to avoid the mainstream sound, which was actually what made Nirvana so popular in the end. Cobain struggled with producers, record labels, and he never seemed proud of his own work. Many of Nirvana’s early work captured the spirit of teenage angst. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” became a grunge rock theme song. Cobain was honest in his lyrics, which told stories of darker days and desperation. He touched upon subjects that are still considered taboo to this day. Songs like “Rape Me” or “Moist Vagina” come to mind.
Three Picks – Pennyroyal Tea / Heart-Shaped Box / All Apologies
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Thursday may be a love-it-or-hate-it type band, and not everyone has heard of them, but the effect that Thursday had on the current rock scene is undeniable. They brought rock out of the streets, and into the basements of the college-driven city in New Brunswick, NJ. To me, they represent a perfect model of a DIY band. This band almost broke up due to problems with Victory Records, a label intent on marketing Thursday’s sound. They even encouraged their fans to download “Jet Black New Year”, a song off of the EP in question, instead of buying it from Victory Records and music stores. Emotive vocals, clean, droning guitar riffs that inevitably distorted, and a dynamic bass and percussion pairing helped set the stage to what rock is today. Their music would sing of nostalgia then suddenly burst into an angry desperation.
Three Picks – I Am The Killer / This Side Of Sadness / Understanding In A Car Crash