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That perfect song and why it is so


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Why it is so?  Just listen.  The guitars,  the driving beat from the drums.  The lyrics, "There's a tattooed heart with an arrow through the middle with a name that looks like Joe..."

Los Lobos is in my pantheon of the greatest American band of the last 50 years.  Bold claim, I know, but goddamn, they have delivered some outstanding music.

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1 minute ago, baboso said:

Los Lobos is in my pantheon of the greatest American band of the last 50 years.  Bold claim, I know, but goddamn, they have delivered some outstanding music.

I got in that argument many times maybe 10-20 years ago, when they were really rolling.  I completely agree.  "Kiko" is one of the best albums ever put out by an American band.  I mean, it's just fucking phenomenal.

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1 hour ago, Mole said:

I don't know if it's perfect or better than perfect. This is the most unbelievable performance I've ever heard. Lalah Hathaway's vocals are obviously mind blowing, but the band is smoking, and after the polyphonic singing starts up towards the end (she's comping for herself like a keyboard player and hitting all the changes, check out the interplay between her and the organ), the band cranks up the energy and just blows the roof off of the thing. It's cool to see great musicians obviously blown away by each other and collectively raise to another level. Lot's of former UNT kids in this too, so Mean Green represent.

 

Holy shit.

Actually, the polyphonic singing sounds a lot like the DLR shriek. Like at the beginning of "Jump," for example.

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I have been lucky enough to see them live 4 times.  The first was right after they hit it big in the mid 80s with "Will the Wolf Survive" in a little club with me and about 300 vatos.  Absolutely awesome.  They did an acoustic show in Birmingham when I was there that was just insane.  Next time was in Atlanta and they were fully electric, played their own stuff and did covers of Cinnamon Girl and Politician that about melted my face.  Hulla was there with me and we were both like, "Holy shit," I may have just witnessed musical perfection.

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On 1/12/2021 at 10:10 PM, Mach 1 said:

I'll submit two:

One is for the combination lyrics and song

And lyrics that are a bit more opaque, but the music is the best

 

 

I wanted to play but this post stole all of my thunder. I'm like Jimmy because a song that hits me as perfect changes from day to day but these two never change for me.

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I'm with you [mention=1170]baboso[/mention].  To me, the two greatest American bands are Los Lobos and The Heartbreakers.  About 90 years between the two of them with very few member changes.   

I have to confess my general ignorance on Los Lobos. Where should I start with them?
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i checked my ipod (remember those?) that has close to 20,000 songs and this is the song I have played the most.

my perfect song : Husker Du - "Celebrated Summer"

  • punk dynamics
  • classic intro - introduce¬†the guitar riff, isolate the bass for a sec, drum snare cracking thru
  • power pop melodies abound
  • quiet/loud (stolen a lot since then)
  • monstrous loud melodic guitar solo
  • wistful¬†lyrics

"Do you remember when the first snow fall fell?

When summer barely had a snowball's chance in hell?"

 

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I can completely get on board with "American Girl", "Rock With You", and "Dock of the Bay".  No question about any of those.
It's a different day, and I said I'd probably pick a different song every day for a month.  This song is perfect.  Most people think of it as pop candy, but it has some the nastiest guitar tones in recorded history.  It fucking blazes, you just have to listen past the (awesome) vocal harmonies.  He straddled a line between 60s/70s psychadelic haze and pure pop, and I have no idea how he did it. 
Yep, perfect.  Wouldn't change a thing.
 
 


And that’s only his second best song.

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Paul Carrack.  What a phenomenal singer.

I'll tell this story because I don't care that I've told it a half dozen times:  my wife is a big Eric Clapton fan.  So, when he came to the Erwin Center maybe ten (?) years ago, I got us tix.  First row of the mezzanine, so nobody in front of us, nice seats stage right.  Clapton did a set list you'd expect, it was cool, he's not my favorite but whatever, he's a damn fine guitarist.  Then at some point he mumbled something about letting his keyboard player take a turn, and out of nowhere Paul Carrack (who I had not recognized) was doing an absolutely stellar rendition of "How Long" by his band Ace.  I was gobsmacked.  A total surprise.  (By the way, that song is not about a cheating lover, it's about a bandmate who was two-timing Ace and working with other players on other projects.) 

THEN, color me double gobsmacked, Carrack ripped into "Tempted" by Squeeze, which of course he sang (save a line by Elvis Costello).  

I must confess, "Tempted" is probably my favorite song of all time.  It's completely suitable for this thread.  For that matter, so is "How Long".  But Squeeze was a band I just figured I'd never see, and there it was being played right in front of my face, and it sounded PERFECT.  I mean, if you get the lead vocals right and have a band full of pros, how far off is it gonna be?

I think I could nominate dozens of songs for this thread.

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There are several I’d say are just perfect songs: whether in their time or place as the fella says, or in general.    Here are several:

Reminds me of a trip driving through a blizzard to my Grandad‚Äôs funeral, and my uncle was in the truck with me the whole way from Dallas to Pittsburgh (snowing from door to door) ¬† ¬†We listened to the album on loop ¬† ¬†He died of throat cancer a few years after that ¬† ¬†I danced to this song with my mom at my wedding, as the mother/son dance, and out of respect for my uncle, her brother¬†making that trip with me for my grandad‚Äôs (Dad‚Äôs dad, my namesake) funeral. ¬†‚ÄúSetting‚Äô sails, spinnin tales, and fishin for whales, with a lady, that we both enjoyed‚Ä̬†
 

Some of y’all aren’t religious. That’s fine.  I am.   That’s fine too.  This is one that’s just about perfect in delivery, pitch, tone, and all.  Just a wicked song.  I want it played at my laying down.  


some others I’ll nominate:

-Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum

-Rain Song by Zeppelin (might be the best zeppelin song, just absolute musical perfection) 

-She by Green Day (just an absolute masterpiece of mixed sound, and one of the most perfectly drummed songs I’ve ever heard) 

-Dear Mr Fantasy by Traffic (Winwood, just making it happen)

-From Afar by Vance Joy (just a heartbreaking tale we’ve all been through, and his voice is so incredibly humiliatingly awesome) 

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, Trey3216 said:

Some of y’all aren’t religious. That’s fine.  I am.   That’s fine too.  This is one that’s just about perfect in delivery, pitch, tone, and all.  Just a wicked song.  I want it played at my laying down. 

I'm not a big country music consumer, but I remember when that song came out.  It struck me then as a terrific example of just how great a singer Ronnie Dunn is.  He's criminally underrated in that world, as far as I can tell.

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22 hours ago, tbone_ said:


I have to confess my general ignorance on Los Lobos. Where should I start with them?

I would start with the 2-disc compilation entitled Just Another Band from East L.A.  It covers the early (and, IMO, best) part of their career ranging from the late 1970's Spanish-language stuff into the early 1990's.  There's a lot of good stuff from that period that didn't make it on to the compilation, but it'll give you a good overview.

image.jpeg.61ccdb5d77856b5b79a50d3eca90d35b.jpeg

 

If you want to start with one of their studio albums, I recommend How Will the Wolf Survive? from 1984.  IMO, it's their best album.

image.jpeg.15eafd3ce163a692010e28b1f9760941.jpeg

Someone else mentioned Kiko and the Lavender Moon, and that's a good one as well.  I happen to like Wolf a little better.

 

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15 minutes ago, Carl Spackler said:

I would start with the 2-disc compilation entitled Just Another Band from East L.A.  It covers the early (and, IMO, best) part of their career ranging from the late 1970's Spanish-language stuff into the early 1990's.  There's a lot of good stuff from that period that didn't make it on to the compilation, but it'll give you a good overview.

image.jpeg.61ccdb5d77856b5b79a50d3eca90d35b.jpeg

 

If you want to start with one of their studio albums, I recommend How Will the Wolf Survive? from 1984.  IMO, it's their best album.

image.jpeg.15eafd3ce163a692010e28b1f9760941.jpeg

Someone else mentioned Kiko and the Lavender Moon, and that's a good one as well.  I happen to like Wolf a little better.

 

Sort of the beauty of Will The Wolf Survive is that it's got classic American rock mixed in with the more Mexican influenced stuff.  It's all good, but Wolf has a nice mixture.

This just STOMPS.

I can thank Bull Durham for making me a Lobos fan.

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Good topic.  

My nominee... Gimme Shelter 

Sonically, it isn't especially well recorded or mixed (even when compared to its same-year peers).

It has a pretty dramatic tempo change... which seems accidental and not planned.  

You can hear the band cheer "Whooo!" in the seconds after the Merry Clayton voice crack... which I'd argue was the high water mark for rock music.

I can think of a lot of songs that represent better writing, better lyrics, better melodies, and grander themes, but I can't think of a better rock song.

 

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On 1/15/2021 at 3:02 PM, jimmyjazz said:

Paul Carrack.  What a phenomenal singer.

I'll tell this story because I don't care that I've told it a half dozen times:  my wife is a big Eric Clapton fan.  So, when he came to the Erwin Center maybe ten (?) years ago, I got us tix.  First row of the mezzanine, so nobody in front of us, nice seats stage right.  Clapton did a set list you'd expect, it was cool, he's not my favorite but whatever, he's a damn fine guitarist.  Then at some point he mumbled something about letting his keyboard player take a turn, and out of nowhere Paul Carrack (who I had not recognized) was doing an absolutely stellar rendition of "How Long" by his band Ace.  I was gobsmacked.  A total surprise.  (By the way, that song is not about a cheating lover, it's about a bandmate who was two-timing Ace and working with other players on other projects.) 

THEN, color me double gobsmacked, Carrack ripped into "Tempted" by Squeeze, which of course he sang (save a line by Elvis Costello).  

I must confess, "Tempted" is probably my favorite song of all time.  It's completely suitable for this thread.  For that matter, so is "How Long".  But Squeeze was a band I just figured I'd never see, and there it was being played right in front of my face, and it sounded PERFECT.  I mean, if you get the lead vocals right and have a band full of pros, how far off is it gonna be?

I think I could nominate dozens of songs for this thread.

Wow. Just wow. 
I don‚Äôt feel I¬†can¬†contribute to this thread because I simply ¬†cannot pick ¬†what I think is the ‚Äúperfect song‚ÄĚ (literally impossible for me)-But you heard two that I would‚Äôve eventually mentioned- BOTH¬†in one fateful glorious night. I am so stoked¬†for you!¬†
What an awesome opportunity!

SO.COOL.

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Los Lobos Recs:  Both compilations mentioned above are fantastic.

Studio Releases:  My two favorites are listed above.  I can't imagine my life without either of them.  Bought them both on the day they were released.  Musicianship is stellar and the material is as solid as it gets.

"Will The Wolf Survive" is a great party album. Perfect for backyard bbq, beer drinking and general merriment.
"Kiko" is sit-your-ass-in-a-chair-and-soak-it-in record. 

When Baboso and I saw them, I was really surprised they played the title track to "Kiko".  I still get chill-bumps thinking about that moment.  I always thought that album was the best Neville Brothers album ever released, if that makes sense.  

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