Back in the crazy outlaw days of internet music, when Napster was still a thing and before piracy completely killed the music industry, I wwas busily downloading all of the music I owned and very little that I didn’t. Yes, I was pretty weird like that. I didn’t have a computer fast enough to rip the CDs that I owned, but I didn’t want to be constrained to single albums when I listened to music on my computer, so I went about finding it all online. Even when I did get stuff that I didn’t already own, I tended to not listen to it a lot. One day, as I was trolling around for music (it was largely disorganized and often of poor quality), I came across a file labeled “Depeche Mode/Nine Inch Nails/U2 – Into A Darkened Room.” Intrigued, I downloaded it. I was fairly certain it wasn’t a U2 song, as I’d never heard of it. Maybe it was some mythical live mash up with Bono, Trent Reznor and Dave Gahan all on stage?
Turns out, it was neither Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, nor U2. It took me years of searching, but I eventually found the name of the actual band: Sublevel 27. Of course, even as I looked for the video just now, I learned that it was recorded by Sublevel 27’s precursor, Inertia 8. Some people haven’t been willing to let go of the notion that it’s Depeche Mode, going as far to argue with the writer in the comments. I’ve been listening to this song for years, and it’s kind of awesome. So how fortunate that it makes it into this week’s lineup with some Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, and U2?
Interestingly enough, the subject material is not universally upbeat. The video for U2’s cover of “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” is probably one of their craziest videos, which is saying a lot because the era that it came out of was their “let’s make weird videos” era.
But the gem of this crop is “Happiness is the Road” by Marillion. The second verse tends to play in my head when I’m feeling stuck or down:
I met this man In Utrecht Netherlands
He was a doctor of the body and the soul
He said to me: Man, there’s a book you have to read.
I feel your pain, it makes me cry
But these tears are yours – not mine.
You’re focussing on all of your bad yesterdays
The worry lines are getting deeper every day
And deep inside you, no surprise – there’s a crisis!
You might have been to blame
But you can’t go on this way
Must I watch and pray?
While you torture yourself with what’s behind you
Torture yourself with what awaits you
Dragging that guilt and regret inside you
Anxious of the goals that always evade you
Your mind will find a way to be unkind to you somehow
But all we really have is happening to us right now
Happiness ain’t at the end of the road, happiness is the road. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that.
Gone is my one of my favorite U2 songs from Pop, but I actually prefer the new mix they did for the Best Of 1990-2000 album. I didn’t really like Pop when it came out, because I thought it was such a radical departure. It was only after I learned that some of the song titles actually appear hidden on the cover to Zooropa, and that it was just an extension of the experimentation that began with Achtung Baby, that I really gave it a solid listen. There are some intense tracks on there – “Please,” one of their more pointed political songs, “If You Wear That Velvet Dress,” a sultry romancin’ tune, and “MOFO,” which is a much more complex examination of Bono’s relationship with his mother than a cursory glance at the title would reveal.
Of course, after all of that, I’m still going to be listening to a lot more BÖC today.
Two great tracks from Poe in here. Poe had two albums, Hello and Haunted, which were both beautiful pieces of work. She had some insanity with her record label, and has yet to record a third after 13 years. It’s one of those situations where the first two were so good that I really want a third, but I’m afraid it might not be as good.
Haunted was a weird album that served as the musical companion to an even weirder book, House of Leaves, by Poe’s brother, Mark Z. Danielewski. If you’ve never read it, highly recommend getting the book and the album together. Also, a tape measure. You’ll definitely want a tape measure.
I’ve only seen Blue Öyster Cult once, but they were a fun act. I got the the chance to see Sarah McLachlan at the last Lilith Fair revival, and she played a 30 minute set that included two covers, one ensemble song with the other artists, and one song from a soundtrack that didn’t make it onto an album. Parking in Camden cost more than the ticket to the show. I would love to see her in a full concert setup though. I’ve seen VNV Nation twice, and despite being a completely electronic band, they put on a very high energy show that’s a lot of fun.
I’ve seen U2 a total of five times in concert: Elevation tour 2001 at the First Union Center, Vertigo Tour 2005 at the Izod Center and Wachovia Center, U2 360 2009 at Giants Stadium and 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field. The last two were the worst and best of those shows, respectively, but a “bad” U2 show is still a U2 show and it still blows your mind.
I don’t have as many songs starting with ‘Blue’ as I do ‘Black,’ but I do have more songs with ‘Blue’ in the title. A lot of Pink Floyd in there, too.
I couldn’t find a video version of Bullet the Blue Sky from Rattle & Hum, but it’s one of my favorite versions, and possibly my second favorite clip from the movie (the best being Sunday Bloody Sunday, one of the most powerful and charged U2 performances.)
Some of my band favorites are on this list: “Blue Dress” by Depeche Mode, “Chasing Blue Sky” by Queensrÿche, “Post Blue” by Placebo. This list does show my age, though, with some great 90s stuff scattered about.
We’ll start the list off with three creepy videos, two (predictably) from Tool, and one from The Birthday Massacre.
A long list, but chock full of good stuff. Pink Floyd always seems to find their way into these lists, this time with like fifteen solid hours of music in two songs. OK, maybe not fifteen, but close well over 40 minutes.
Starting with my first “hard rock”/prog rock love, Blue Öyster Cult, through Floyd and Marillion, and even hitting some Barry Manilow before finishing with This Ascension, who were a gothic/ethereal outfit from San Francisco who I was introduced to by the same person that got me hooked on BÖC. 1991’s Light and Shade is my favorite of their albums
Special occasions aside, I figured I’d start close to the beginning of the alphabet. Some gems in here! I’ve seen Tapping the Vein live about 60 times, back when they were still playing the Philly scene.
I had all of the singles from Achtung Baby on tape, and wore them out playing them over and over for months. Alex Descends Into Hell was one of the sleeper b-sides, not quite connected to anything else, but definitely in the experimental vein of the album.
And finally, I’ve linked to my favorite remix of Alejandro, just for my wife.