Friday, August 24, 2007

Track of the Day: 8-24-07

Today's Track of the Day:

King Crimson - "21st Century Schizoid Man"

King Crimson is, without question, my all-time favorite band. Better, even, than Wilco. This - the very first track from the very first album - remains one of their best songs. KC has had a lot of lineup changes, and the first was pretty good. Greg Lake handled the vocals, and (with apologies to Adrian Belew) remains the best singer the band has had. On this track, though, he isn't asked to do much besides shout the lyrics - lyrics which, it has to be said, are more interested in sounding badass than making sense, but still pack a punch nearly 40 years on: "Death seed blind mans greed/Poets starving, children bleed/Nothing he's got he really needs/Twenty first century schizoid man."

The real meat of the song, though, is the jawdropping instrumental section, where the band does some wild, intricate playing - really fast tempo, really weird time, and TIGHT. It's sick, is what I'm saying. Also, despite the freaked-out jazzy stuff they're doing, the song rocks. Fast, loud, and heavy - and also really, really complex.

I once say KC in concert in San Francisco, and the opening act was a truly awful metal band that decided to "pay tribute" to KC by ending their set with a cover of this tune. I gained a new and deeper appreciation for exactly how hard it is to pull off listening to these guys absolutely butcher it - with (1) fewer musicians and (2) 35 years or so to have learned it.

The recorded version on In the Court of the Crimson King, though, is superb.

1 comment:

Kyra said...

You write very well.