What’s the point of starting something if you don’t finish it strong? These songs don’t just tell a story, they bring it on home with senses-scrambling virtuosity:
Morrissey. The title track on his 2014 album “World Peace is None of Your Business” makes him the Edward Snowden of music. And although “I’m not a Man” curses meat and muscle, he is one of the good guys. The song builds up to a grisly outro shrieking in steely flashes of silver, then makes a bright red squirting mess. What kinds of pigs are being put to the knife?
Pink Floyd. I see the outro to “Comfortably Numb” in a rich geometry of green, to burgundy-black and back. It’s a great song, but as a commenter elsewhere put it, it’s a commercial extrapolation of their signature song “Echoes.” There’s a guitar break in “Echoes,” he continues, just before the final verse, that sounds like a sunrise or a sunburst or an explosion of light. I agree, one of David Gilmour’s best moments.
Prince. “Purple Rain.” One time while listening half-asleep to its terminal falsetto cries, I saw a man’s spirit ascending over vistas of mountain ranges. The crazy diamond of Minneapolis made whatever he touched shine in violet and pink hues of the visible spectrum, not the least his cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” at Coachella.
The Beatles. Paul McCartney has been the steady Delta to John Lennon’s restless Gamma, and no story of their friendship bears it out better than “Hey Jude.” Lennon rejected his first son Julian in favor of his second son Sean because he fell for his Sean’s mother. McCartney, the stand-up guy, took Julian under his wing and wrote that song to cheer him up, changing “Julian” to “Jude” for reasons of meter. The long na, na, nana na na outro chorus is soft blue and breezy.
Pearl Jam. No, this time I will not be talking about this blog’s most favored hit “Black” and its anguished why why, whyyyy! howl of a dispossessed generation. Rather, I am looking at Vedder’s story of feral motherhood, the song “Alive.” A USO band once visited our outpost in the Far East. A young Lieutenant from our company jumped on stage and a band member handed him an electric guitar. We watched in awe as he and the band’s rhythm guitarist dueled-out a fifteen-minute freestyle version of that song’s outro.
Eric Clapton. It is also this blog’s position that the Baby Boomer sense of identity not be stroked with approving references to the icons of their youth. But the fact is that until we topped them in 1991, their musical achievements were unsurpassed and “Layla” stood among their best. There is a downshift around the 3:00 point, sepia colors of summer nostalgia, seagulls, sand, water and sky.
The Eagles. Don Henley liked to call out the American hubris, most pointedly in the epic ballad “The Last Resort.” And there was a time for that — but that time has passed. We purged the cuckservatives, our last necessary act of inward-aimed aggression. From here on, it’s as star commenter Greg Eliot puts it:
In short, time to close ranks and get on board… the days of “loyal opposition” are gone, and ANY opposition in the quest for a future for White children is not to be cavalierly or treasonously rationalized as independent thought.
There is no more new frontier, we have got to make it here. The steady rhythm of the song’s outro paints broad streaks of orange, the hazy sun sinking in the sea. We know what to do.