Oh Me Oh My, I Think It's Been An Eternity
You'd Be Surprised At My Degree Of Uncertainty
Brian Eno (1330 Points, 25 Votes)
Years Active: 1970-present
: I'm guessing if you're here on this thread and posting on an indie rock message board, you probably know who this guy is, but just in case, I'll give a quick summary mostly ripped from AMG & Mark Prindle reviews:
To start, Brian Eno was involved in a whole shit ton of stuff. He started out in glam band extraordinaire Roxy Music and made two pretty great records after which he moved on to begin his very own solo career as ENO (later on known as Electric Night Orchestra). And it is this ENO that I will be talking about. An ambient pioneer, a guitar riffing glam rocker, a hit producer, an avant-garde innovator, and much much more (including being just an all around weird dude who drank his own pee and wore lipstick & nipple clamps on stage), Brian Eno was a man who understood music and how to write great songs. He understood craft, but beyond even that he understood texture. He knew the ins and outs of classic Beatles style pop songs as well as the ability to craft tone overlapping tones of blissful beauty. An ARTIST if you will. He also produced a shit ton of records including Pitchfork favorites like David Bowie's Low (as well as the rest of the Berlin trilogy), Cluster, DEVO, No New York, Talking Heads, and hell even U2 and James (I think?). And then of course there was his own career. Which I'm going to try and cover bits and parts of.
First off, Ambient records have never really been my thing. I like a few, but I'd never rank them anywhere near a good old pop & rock album. And for that reason, I'm just not really going to go into Eno's ambient stuff (as great as it all can be). So for all you ambient boarders, I'd suggest talking to avec or st park or someone for a good place to start. As to me? I'm going to talk about his POP albums. The one's full of hooks and noises and lots and lots of warm humming synthesizers. Like his first three: Here Come The Warm Jets
, Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
& Another Green World
. To sum these albums up real quickly (well more the first two at least), these are albums that are full of dark, experimental, sinister, and incredibly catchy pop songs. Sure there's a lot of weird shit about trying to tie his shoe and Regina's vagina as well as some heavy metal riffs (Third Uncle!!), typewriter percussion (China My China) and lots and lots of warm British jets of piss passing over and over again (Here Come The Warm Jets), but the truth of the matter is that Brian Eno wrote pop songs. Songs that more than likely made the likes of Brian Wilson & Paul McCartney just a little jealous. Like, "Backwater" and "Baby's On Fire", and man oh man, "St. Elmo's Fire" (!!!) I mean hyperbole aside, "St. Elmo's Fire", now there's a song. Honestly a top ten song of all time for me. Sublime in the best sorts of ways. Sound systems have been crafted from this song as well as iconic cinematic masterpieces. For example, I was watching 2001: A Space Odyssey last night, and "St. Elmo's Fire" could have sound tracked the whole thing. Just slow enveloping layer after layer of pop bliss washing over and throughout your entire body. I don't know what to say, it's just got this cool & crisp otherworldly dreamscape quality to it. Maybe it was the drugs or just the cultural landscape of the time, but the 70s more than any other decade seems to have been able to pull this feeling off. Most likely though it was just that Brian Eno is some sort of genius sound wizard (which of course he is). That makes the most sense to me at least.
But back to the albums. I'm a big fan of any of his first three (as well as Before And After Science
), but I think I'm going to end up singling out Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
as my favorite. It's just got the most pound for pound pop rock jams of any of his albums. It starts with the fantastic 1-2 glam rock punch of "Burning Airlines" & "Back in Judy's Jungle" and moves right into the dark & haunting riffs of "The Fat Lady of Limbourg" (and when that horn comes in at 2:13, oh man!). Then of course there's the great proto-industrial "The Great Pretender" as well as the heavy metal riffing and just all around awesome "Third Uncle" not to mention the weird lullaby "Put a Straw Under Baby" the pop classics "The True Wheel" & "China My China" and the lush flooding sounds of "Taking Tiger Mountain". All in all a fantastic album with layers upon layers of pop songcraft.
But really, the same could be said of the dark pop masterpiece Here Comes The Warm Jets
as well as the swirling song textures of the fantastic Another Green World
. These are the things Brian Eno albums are made of (or at least his early ones). Lots and lots of dark monsterish hooks enveloped within rolling waves of warmth and melodies. Anyways, I don't really have much else to write. I think he's great and he made #20 on my list and you should probably give all these songs a listen or two because they're all incredible and worthy of any quality boarder's time. Oh and also, while his music is fine at any volume, like most any music is, and his ambient stuff is probably good for falling asleep to, when it comes to the stuff I've been talking about, you really should listen to it at a loud volume. Like on headphones or with your head between two large speakers. Cause as I mentioned above his music is full of TEXTURE, and lot's of it. So do yourself a favor and welcome it in. – stphone
: Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
: "St. Elmo's Fire"
"Baby's On Fire"
Ranked Highest By
: Magnus Malcolm (#3)
Also Ranked By
: Nick, vurt, pink (#5)