Confession time: When I first saw the topic last Thursday I regretted volunteering to guru. Let me explain. It's not that I thought that it wouldn't be an enjoyable week – after all, who doesn't love random fusions of fizzing static; shrieking guitars; harmonic pianos; air raid sirens and demented exclamations? It's really been a pleasure to listen to all your suggestions and bask in the sheer absurdity we produce when we play our game.
No, for me the dread was solely focused on this final stage: the write-up. In the few months I've been visiting I've witnessed a breadth of ingenuity in compiling fun and interesting write-ups. We've ran the gamut from erotic steam-punk fiction through poetry and I've seen on display a musical knowledge I couldn't hope to match. And I was left with a dilemma – how to string together songs into a coherent write-up when by our own criteria they're not even coherent within themselves?
So I got thinking about misleading starts. Why begin as you mean not to go on? Why make promises that you never intend to keep and adopt premises that you immediately drop? And I was stumped. I was tossing ideas and theories around in my head ever since last Thursday and nothing would stick.
But of course, as ever in life, the answer came in the form of a British comedy troupe .... Monty Python. The undeniable masters of the ludicrous, experimental and deceptive opening. All comedy relies upon the establishment of a premise and its subsequent demolition. Monty Python takes this artform to its logical conclusion as skit and spoof rolled seamlessly into one another and ideas tumbled down in turn. Just try to count the number of pseudo-beginnings that are abandoned in this two-minute clip.
Now I'll admit I was feeling pretty pleased with myself with coming up with that conclusion. I'd managed to pin down the reasons why these artists deceived us, playing intros that led us down the rabbit hole. For impact, amusement, to subvert expectations and for emphatic effect. I'd finally cracked what connected these seemingly disparate and diverse songs. Eureka!
But it still get me any nearer a write-up. Bugger.
See, I'm more than 300 words in and I've still not mentioned a band name or song title, let alone given reasons why I picked certain beginnings over others. I've not explained how the first notes of certain songs can represent an entire movement (as reader angryirishpunk pointed out) when they're not even representative of the songs that introduce. Or how some intros sound nothing like the rest of the song yet set you up perfectly to hear the rest. Or why some just seem to have fun within themselves. Honestly, how could I put together a write-up that does justice to the songs you've put forward?
But the Song Bar always provides. As John Cleese says: “Now for something completely different.”
In the spirit of the week my intro might be convoluted and rambling but my lists are straight to the point:
Ah? Has it started yet? A-list:
My Chemical Romance – Welcome to the Black Parade
Foo Fighters – The Pretender
Yoshida Brothers & Monkey Majik – Change
Pinkyshinyutrablast -Holy Forest
REO Speedwagon – Tough Guys
Paramore – Misery Business
Jet – Are You Gonna Be My Girl
The Barracudas – Summer Fun
Status Quo – Down Down
ELO – Rockaria
Humble Pie – 30 Days in the Hole
Emiliana Torrini – White Rabbit
Begin at the Beginning B-list:
Crazy World of Arthur Brown – Fire
The Marcels -My Melancholy Baby
Green Day – Extraordinary Girl
Peter Hammill – Imperial Zeppelin
Eminem – Without Me
Tom Tom Club – Wordy Rappinghood
Kate Bush – Hounds of Love
Squirrel Nut Zippers – Ghost of Stephen Foster
Montrose – Space Station #5
Jennifer Warnes – First We Take Manhattan
The Clash – The Call Up
Kilamanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble – Lobby
Wax Fang – Majestic
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: What comes next? Songs with surprising, strange or disguised intros. The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
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Fancy a turn behind the pumps at The Song Bar? Care to choose a playlist from songs nominated and write something about it? Then feel free to contact The Song Bar here, or try the usual email address.