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Music Consumption: Television
03/09/1998 Television: Marquee Moon

What can I possibly say about this? It's absolutely essential. (Do you sense a 70's vibe to my current listening habits?) Buy it, buy it now. Listen to the solos. Listen to the interplay. Listen to the whole damn thing over and over. It's been listed on enough "best guitar album" and "classic" lists, that--if you at all like music made with guitars--you pretty much have no excuse for not having listened to this.

Well, actually, you do. Television and Tom Verlaine never got the representation they could have from their various record companies. They tried, I guess, but it didn't seem smart--not enough copies were pressed, promo copies weren't sent to the right radio stations. I've seen evidence of this in a promo copy of Cover with the sticker of a local radio station that played, at the time Cover was released, adult mush-pop and/or lite dance music. Bad call.

But back to Marquee Moon. Maybe the only flaw on this is the way Andy Johns recorded Tom Verlaine's vocals--there's almost no bottom end to them at all, just treble. His later vocals have a bit more of a chest-voice sound to them. I don't know, maybe he did sound this trebly in the '70s, when his voice was several thousand packs of Gitanes fresher. In any case, the guitars lock and spar, pivot around different distinctive points, and the songs go from here to there in the most unlikely and (after several listens) inevitable ways. It beats most of its descendants hands-down, and it still sounds fresh after (is it really?) 21 years. And who/what else can you say that about?

Of course, it's got to be depressing for an artist to have a venerated debut work. Where do you go from there? Try Dreamtime, recently reissued, and, if you can find it, Words from the Front. Flash Light is also a masterpiece, but I haven't listened to it in quite a while--for about a year and a half I listened to it almost every day. Maybe I should take it out again. Also check out Warm and Cool. It's instrumental, and (as far as I know) the most recent thing he's released, apart from the Miller's Tale collection.

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