Monday, October 19, 2015

EDITOR BOY'S TOP 200 SONGS OF THE '80s (175-148)

Apologies for the delay of game.  I could blame writer's block again, but that's only half true. Work and life got in the way and slowed things down, and being motivated to jump back in was tough. But I got so lost in it I did more than 25 tunes this time.  I still want to finish before X-Mas and need to get back to record reviews (yes!).
There's a nice eclectic mix to this lot... But it's still all tunes that really resonate with me and seriously define the decade and how it was a big happy mess.


"Boredom Is The Reason"
It was really weird to move out to Los Angeles in 1986 and see what had happened to all the punk and hardcore kids after the Decline Of Western Cilization et al.  Not that I cared or followed much after Black Flag's Damaged and the Dead Kennedy's Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables.  Everything seemed to drift away from melody and hook in transfer for something less fun and interesting. More brooding metallic punk was not what I was looking for. 

"Boredom Is The Reason" is a flash of good old fashioned punk rock verve with solid lyrical consciousness ("you wear a swastika to shock and offend, it becomes so passive, just another trend") that seemed beyond the grasp when it hit in 1984.

THE ANGELS (aka Angel City)
"No Secrets" 
This was one of those seemingly edgy New Wave songs that aired on late night video shows like Hollywood Heartbeat, Rockworld and HBO's Video Jukebox.  In retrospect it's basically a straight ahead rock song touched up with those punchy late 70s guitars and a nervous singer.  Since it rarely made it beyond college radio airplay, it's always had an air of secrecy to it.  For us kids trying to keep the TV volume down at 2am when we saw it for the first time, it was really a seriously heavy blast of modern rock that made us feel like there was something else out there besides Bruce Springsteen and Dire Straits.

"A Broken Horse"
LA's early '80s paisley underground spawned a lot of goodies in a very short span.  It really peaked between 1983-1985.  And even though the Brothers Roback split--Dave went off to form the pre-jazzy Star outfit with former Dream Syndicate member Kendra Smith--by the time this EP was made, the SOUND of the band had evolved to it's most deeply refined and inspired. For me, this was the dream moment of everything you wished the Byrds and Neil Young could be in the (then) present day.

"Academy Fight Song"
Of all the Burma biggies (especially "That's When I Reach For My Revolver" and the definitive hardcore rush, "That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate") this one feels the most universal.   And to some degree it is their most standard sounding rock song.  But that doesn't detract from it.  It's a hook to die for; the "not not not not"s echoed for years until I tracked this tune down (being a lone single in the pre-CD reissue years made it scarce).  

"Deep One Perfect Morning"
As much as the worship and praise deservedly gets thrown towards the debut, Psychocandy, the 2nd LP still had moments that showed the band hadn't lost fire or the ear for something that could keep you hooked forever.

"Never Let Me Down Again"
If there was any point where their validity was sealed, it was with this tune.  The ever so slightly changing of the guard; away from the twee and clank of the 84-86 run and into some dense foreboding future.  And even some see it as a murky gloom, this one really balances out with an intense, slightly euphoric build that doesn't relent.  

"Perfume Garden"
Even though this is where the band is produced within an inch of losing their identity, it never gets away from what is the essence of the band, which is the muse of Mark Burgess.  A gorgeous surge of a tune and some brief quick shutter glimpse of a moment.

At some point in the early '80s Todd Rundgren decided to take one last crack at writing a great power pop song a la "Couldn't I Just Tell You."  One of them ("Heaven's Falling") he gave to Cheap Trick for the LP he produced, Next Position Please. The other was this gem which ended up on Utopia's 1984 LP, Oblivion.

"Wide Awake"
This is one of those out of the blue strokes of pop magic that proves you should never under estimate anyone.  Elliot's lone solo outing (much like Ace Frehley's solo debut) was far more impressive than the big shots in The Cars (Ric Ocasek and Ben Orr).  Secret weapon was Jules Shear, who co-wrote the tunes with Elliot.

"Da-a- a-a nce"
With very few exceptions (The Vapors), most mod bands paled in comparison to The Jam.  But most had at least one or two fleeting moments of pop genius.  For The Lambrettas, it was this short and to the point nugget.  Punchy (and a bit dated), it still holds up due its momentary style and innocence. Not to be repeated.

"Heaven Help Me"
For me this is the unofficial spiritual connector to the Jesus & Mary Chain's "Just Like Honey."  For us Stateside they appeared from an odd distant (UK) label, Blanco Y Negro. Both tunes evoke some distant Phil Spector vibe but respectively create some modern middle '80s template; one drenched in reverb and distant feedback, the other (this tune) more traditional with piano and Tracey Thorn's torch singer delivery.  This moment predates the Reid Brothers' by only a few months. 

"All Day"
In retrospect I find it silly to see people divided about this band and their early synth pop beginnings.  A lot of it has enough depth to compete with anyone's fave early '80s UK import a la Soft Cell, Gang Of Four, Heaven 17.  And that's how I prefer to remember them, even though the groundbreaking scream of "Stigmata" was indeed a big deal. This is the sound of walking into alternative dance clubs and not knowing what the fuck you were listening to.

"Wild Flower"
It's still an odd and slightly tragic reality to know that this band's godhead and genius debut (1984's Limping For A Generation) is virtually unknown whilst their lone legacy is a so-so pop hit called "Digging Your Scene."  What's missed is a brilliant concoction that mixed Marc Bolan along with pre-Acid Jazz Jazz swing and some sense of early '80s New Romantic verve that equaled Martin Fry in its smashing sense of outward aplomb. 

With song titles like "He's Shedding Skin," "Atomic Lullaby," "Fat Cat Belusha," "Professor Supercool," "Man From Russia," "Waiting For Mr. Moonlight" and "Trashtown Incident" it should've knocked down more doors. Alas, the public didn't bite and the boys dumbed it down to break the scene.  "Wild Flower" is the classic single that never was.

"Uncertain Smile" (12" version)
There's still something so very "other" about this record. And it hit at a point when there was an anything goes mentality. So why not 10 minutes of something hypnotic and unique?  Matt Johnson would go on and become a pretty well known '80s alternative musical figure but this entry point still remains his most audacious. Very deeply intriguing.

"Freak Scene"
Even though 1985's "Repulsion" really felt like a harbinger of what would become the slacker and indie aesthetic, it is 1988's "Freak Scene" that holds up as the stunning classic.  And seriously, they never improved upon it despite exploring heavier and weirder spaces and getting tagged in the grunge scene.

"Ode To A Koala Bear"
McCartney's lowest point musically was 1981-1985.  Sure he was creative and could come up with a tune... And despite the well-intentioned Tug Of War the sense of the magic and spark that was Macca seemed hard to find. After Back To The Egg the cherry picking became a lot harder. It wasn't until he aligned himself with 10cc's Eric Stewart by mid decade, that he began to blossom again, and his late '80s collaboration with Elvis Costello ended things on a high note.

So, why this "lost" tune?  Well, it might have to do with the fact that Paul can sometimes be at his best when he is not over-thinking or trying too hard. His gifts are so deeply entrenched in him, that sometimes a "ditty" is pure magic and can hold as a timeless pop classic.  Not that this one is, but it definitely holds up.  There is very little known about it, but it definitely FEELS and sounds like a musical answer to John's "(Just Like) Starting Over."


Before The Smiths there was Orange Juice. Besides their label mates Aztec Camera (who really gave Johnny Marr a lot to chew on) Edwyn Collins and company really created an obtuse pop netherworld that left boys like Morrissey dreaming of something else besides the New York Dolls.  It's pop, but it's quite weird.
This is the moment where everything seemed up for grabs with unabated youthful pop vision.

"Brush Me Back"
Like R.E.M., who they drew a lot of inspiration from, Dumptruck's '80s output has a significant point where they break from the more obscure artful sense and become more direct.  Unlike, R.E.M., with Dumptruck this was a good thing. Their first two albums were the type that got most of us indie college pop nut jobs all in a tizzy.  In retrospect, they sound a bit uneven.  Seems Seth Tiven's muse would grow and become fully formed by 1987 when a lot of the buzz was on the way down. Many of our faves by this point had either broken up (Bongos) or had splintered (dB's).  So, when 1987's For The Country came out it was one of the greatest unexpected surprises. Too bad it was 1987 and not 1995 where they would've given The Jayhawks' Tomorrow The Green Grass a serious run for its money as the best alt-country album.
"Brush Me Back" is a timeless gem that has the classic effortless grace of Neil Young.  Seth Tiven deserves the highest praise for being able to create this at a point when no one else (except Flying Color) was even in the same time zone.  Producer Hugh Jones (yes!) is the secret weapon.

"Dear Friend"
Even more obscure and removed from the mainstream than Dumptruck was this proto-alt Country pop band who really knew their way around a hook and made one quick debut and fell off the face of the earth.  The only thread of hipster cred came with producer Tom Mallon who joined American Music Club around the same time.
"Dear Friend" is a glorious roots-rock based Power Pop classic; just a little bit more twangy than the Plimsouls but still very '80s California-esque. 

"I Remember"
The power pop side of punk that would become de riguer after 1992 when Green Day exploded, was still a great underground secret in 1987 despite the best interests of The Descendents who really did all of the hard labor by laying down the groundwork.  Leave it to the Canadians to help solidify a movement. Along with The Nils, John Kastner's Doughboys made the late 80s an exciting time for underground punk that thrived on hooks and melody (and brevity).
"I Remember" is the great introduction I had, and it has yet to age or lose impact.  It's always an immediate, "Turn it up!" moment.

"In Green Fields"
One of the coolest things I got to see in the '80s was my childhood friend Frank Daly become a legitimate player in the underground punk rock scene.  Not that long after our air guitar stints as Kiss in my parent's basement, Frank jumped into the fray as a member X1 Whiteman (among others) until he met Mark Arnold and joined Raw Material which ended in as mysterious a way as Ritchey Edwards' exit from Manic Street Preachers. Mark and Frank were lucky to join Mike Conley for the last phase of M.I.A. circa 1986. Big Drill Car was formed just as M.I.A. was ending.  They debuted in 1988 with their Small Block EP.  In 1989 they hit their stride with CD Type Thing which included this classic which set the blueprint for most to follow.  Now, if only Frank could get a check for paving the way for Green Day and the rest who took the formula to the bank.

"Build A House"
Personally, this tune should be in my top 20, but I'm trying to balance my personal faves with choices that had some impact. And it definitely sucks that this formation of Dancing Hoods never took hold after only one godhead album, 12 Jealous Roses. (A debut EP had preceded it.) Dancing Hoods were a double threat with Bob Bortnick and Eric Williams as lead singers. Guitarist, and future Sparklehore main man, Mark Linkous had yet to step out of the shadows; he did lend a hand in the songwriting process, however.
Bortnick would end up holding onto the band after he and Eric split in 1987.  
What got lost in the split was the pure pop essence of Williams.  On 12 Jealous Roses its songs like "Build A House" that give it a deeper value than just another garage power pop elpee.  This was one of the few that could hold its own against The Plimsouls and Hoodoo Gurus. "Build A House" will forever be one of the greatest love songs ever written in the middle 1980s. Still makes my summer playlist every year.

"Smalltown Boy"
Some '80s synth pop songs transcend their trappings and are far above mere dance floor fodder.  And almost all of them came from the UK.  As much as I enjoy a lot of synth pop, there's a ton I can live without.  Can't exactly say why, but the difference between "Smalltown Boy" and everything by The Communards is massive. Chalk it up to pop luck.  Wonder in a moment.  An echo of some classic melancholy woe.  This one's got it.  And you can dance to it.

"Cico Buff" 
So there's lists and there's compilations and there's a lot of Cocteau Twins music to dig through; most of which all is of some real interest.  But for all the praise and reverence for early stuff like "Lorlei" and "Sugar Hiccup" I don't seriously connect to their stuff until 1988's Blue Bell Knoll which is probably a very unhip thing to say.
Nonetheless, try and find a more gorgeously hypnotic song than this one. For me, this is it.  A peak.

"From Blenheim Crescent To Cheyne Walk"
If I didn't have a French Connection (writer and DJ, Jose Ruiz) I would've never heard of Johan Asherton.  In France, the '80s saw a big resurgence in garage rock and a vociferous following for '70s punk legends who never got their due (Johnny Thunders, Elliot Murphy, Willie Alexander). 
Asherton was part of the new uprising with a band called The Froggies. He went solo by decade's end.  This track is a very cool, to the point, acoustic homage to Marc Bolan that gets past being just that and goes one better by making it fresh and new for the turn of the decade.  A truly inspired moment.

"New York, New York" 
It's easy to get long winded about Andy Shernoff and Handsome Dick Manitoba. Simply put, The Dictators were/are one of the all-time greatest live rock and roll bands to walk the earth. And their legacy, after all these  twisting years has finally gotten most of its due. Their time spent in the wilderness that was the 1980s was only seen by diehard New York area fans who caught their incendiary live reunion shows.  Top Ten went on to form the Del Lords and by the late '80s Andy, Handsome Dick and Ross The Boss formed Wild Kingdom with JP Patterson and Daniel Rey.  This lone ball of fire track, was a "lost" Dictators track that finally got its due on the Mondo New York soundtrack.  To say it RIPS is an understatement.  Lemmy blinked for this one, I'm sure.

"New Thing"
I had zero tolerance for almost all of the 1980s hair metal bands once Mutt Lange forgot what a snare and kick drum were and began to indulge with samples and sequencers to make it all poofy and pointless. It all went south so fast with Motley Spue and the rest of 'em.  Even standard bearers like Cheap Trick fell victim of songwriting teams and faceless power ballads.  What a fucking mess it was. 
Leave it to some closet Off Broadway fans to bring some sense of classic pop virtue and old school '70s hard rock dynamics.  Sure, they had the hair, and the drums were still a bit poofy, but at least there was a real drum track. And this one just jumped out of the radio and said, "Here's how it's done!" Sadly it was bit too late, but these Chi-town boys did at least get some cred and recognition and became a fave among the cross over power pop fans who had a sweet tooth for good hard rock.

"Ace Of Spades"
This could be in the top 20 and is probably the greatest hard rock song of the decade.  Alas, my '80s tastes seriously vary, but I will put this stone cold classic right next to Prefab Sprout as something akin in its sense of purity and vision. It's all in the attack.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

EDITOR BOY'S TOP 200 SONGS OF THE '80S (200-176)

So, it's 2015 and Pitchfork posted their list of the greatest songs of the '80s as voted by their staff of writers...  And I feel motivated to post mine.

The Pitchfork list is a pretty cool list, all things considered, since they're aesthetic is of such a varied mix viewed from a younger music journalistic vantage point than us who grew up on CREEM and Rolling Stone.

There's a decent amount of ground breaking rap/hip hop and reggae and interesting choices of post punk and techno, which they balanced out with a mix of mainstream pop hits; although that's where I started to wince a little. As much I've come to accept some of the "bad" 80s production styles, there's still stuff that can not hold up.    

Bad is bad is bad. And I still haven't found one single convincing positive thing to say about Art Of Noise. And Shannon's "Let The Music Play" is still as clunky clanky annoying sounding as Starship's "We Built This City."  And like Bob Stanley's reference to Madonna in his book "Yeah Yeah Yeah," I feel there is a lack of specialness to her that permeates her 80s material.  

And that goes for almost all '80s pop from Whitney Houston to Lionel  Ritchie to anything the Bee Gees wrote, to the almighty  Michael Jackson. Sorry, but three great songs ("Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," "Billie Jean" and "PYT") does not make someone the king of pop.  Prince obviously knows he owns the '80s as far as pop goes (so does Pitchfork).

Pitchfork also left out what I thought would be some obvious Pitchforkian choices (Cramps, Gang Of Four, Chameleons , English Beat ). Their post-punk choices went a little too heavy on The Smiths and Joy Division/New Order.

What I'm posting here are my faves with maybe a few thrown in for historical impact.  But, genuinely, this is what I dig; although I should admit via full disclosure I did purchase Madonna's "Burning Up" 12" and Wham's "Wham Rap" EP as well as Cyndi Lauper's solo debut, but that was as far as it went for me with following such '80s top 40 artistes.   Years of DJ-ing 1992-2015 has made me constantly reassess the decade.

The '80s is the decade where top 40 music truly gets a lot worse (despite the brouhaha about 1984). The stuff that sticks is either underground, semi popular or an import of some stripe.  And despite anyone hardly caring outside their respective homelands, Australia and New Zealand were fertile creative musical places.

I'm starting with 25 at a time.  I can only write so fast.

 "We Feel Good (Future's Looking Fine)"
Two words: John Leckie.  Although this is probably the most un-John Leckie record of all. But I still personally refer to it as the ultimate New Romantic Euro dance single of the early '80s.  A true one-hit wonder of a band; and the classic example of how everything of this ilk goes downhill after 1982.

"Let Me In"
Somewhere around 1972-3 the art of the soft Lennonesque pop/rock tune got started with the likes of Sleepy Hollow, Blue, and ELO and would invariably appear the rest of the decade with Pilot, The Rollers etc.  Late to the party were Iowa's (yes, a fucking band from Iowa!) Hawks. What keeps the art of such craft from sounding out of step with its period is the actual inspiration and performance of the song.  And truth be told, as nice as the ballads that April Wine and REO Speedwagon were cranking out at this time, this is really what most of us Beatle fans and soft AM pop aficionados were looking for. Under closer inspection, it was the gifted Kirk Kaufman who came up with most, if not all, of the band's ace tunes.  This was his tune for the ages.

"Moon Is Blue"
One of those stray gems of a tune seemingly out of nowhere circa 1985.  A huge fave of my late friend Greg Dwinnell.  And something of a stretch for the label that released it, 4AD; being that it is some oddly retro futuristic 80s epic soul tune.

"Love Will Tear Us Apart"
I bought this the year after it was released without ever hearing it.  Still never totally loved it, despite the obvious brilliance.  Ian Curtis sang a bit too low and bellowing for my taste.  I really prefer the flip side version on the 12" which sounds like Pete Townsend is playing guitar on it.

"12:00 High"
From Staten Island came this post-punk power pop trio.  With focus on the power--most significantly via super drummer Peter Parker--the self titled debut on  Stiff/Epic was (and still is) a monster, sounding something like The Knack on steroids with a New York twist and just a hint at Brian Setzer's 50s gee tar sensibility. (Wise old tale sez that it was sir Setzer who stole the Gretsch Duo Jet concept from DL lead singer Patrick Barnes). They were groundbreaking and didn't know it.  "12:00 High" is a ferocious slab of just wanting to get out and be out and be alive.

"Nothing Really Matters When You're Young"
Some places in post-punk USA 1980 held creative spirits flying high.  And Screen Test (3/4s of The Flashcubes) really should've been a force to be reckoned with outside of their Syracuse, NY home base, as they were one of the few who completely captured the incendiary nature of The Jam and Elvis Costello's Attractions.  This track off their debut EP is just that, capturing that fleeting energy when everything still seemed up for grabs.  Not a bad concept.

They are always great in very small doses and for their '80s output the jokes are best when they rise above stupid and reach clever.  Not sure where "Shadrach" actually sits (Biblical and AC/DC references?), but musically it's really what you'd wish most '80s rap could achieve which was an intense mix of early '70s funk with anything else an intense scatter brain cared to throw out there in kitchen sink style. Done.

This was one of those albums discovered mostly by geeky record collectors who grabbed it out of the cut out bins at Every Record Store USA.  We were the lucky ones who stumbled on the Virgin (USA) pressing which wisely opted for this gem as the opener.  A pace setter of soul searching UK pub pop a la Graham Parker with a more winsome twist.  The rest of the LP was a treasure trove.  But it was this tune that opened the doors.

"Sign Of The Times"   
Probably the best UK femme pop tune at the turn of 82-83.  Even Culture Club never nailed the '60s soul vibe for the new  romantics with such ease and grace.  The Spice Girls wished they had one single half this magical.  Befitting it's title, the sign of the times late 1982 was "anything goes" with a keen sense of '60s pop verities, soul and Brit pop combined.

"Prime Mover"   
Amazing shit like this sounds like it should be the easiest thing to crank out, but in the daze of crappy hair metal that was the late '80s, the dearth of great straight ahead hard rock was indeed felt.  Even Guns N' Roses were never so flash and dirty at the same time. Faster Pussycat came close with "Babylon." It would take a few years until The Wildhearts would get it down to a science.

"Madonna Of The Wasps"   
He had a ton of contenders but this one stands up as the quintessential Robyn Hitchcock moment, if you had to choose.  So I did.  Tomorrow I will change my mind.

"A Celebration" 
Of course they have a ton of big ones which most of us got sick of, which is why this "lost" tune (a lone 7" between October and War) holds strong.  And it really is U2; bold and anthemic, but still so very young, which is why it remains charming.

"I Don't Know Why I Love You"  
Yes there were a lot of great moments in the post punk world and bands like Comsat Angels, The Sound, The Church, and The Chameleons (to name a few) really created a ton of gems. By decade's end, The House Of Love seemed like the only ones holding on to 1982 with nary a keyboard in sight and enough kick in their gut to make you believe John Hughes didn't ruin the '80s after all.  I mean, at least somebody besides bands who were underground, realized drums machines, bad  saxophones, and tinkly keyboards were not where not where it was at in 1989.

"Just Too Bloody Stupid"   
When hype for someone like The Stone Roses goes into overdrive whilst a band this good gets a minimal buzz that quickly turns to crickets, it makes you you go, well... "Just too bloody stupid."  For anyone who has little tolerance for Morrissey's shtick and lyrical audacity, there's this Marr-influenced best kept secret. 

"Mirror In The Bathroom"   
This should be a lot closer to the top 50, but I saved that  space for the equally timeless pop classic "Save It For Later."  This, along with The Specials' "Gangsters," is the ultimate Ska track.  Flat out riveting and wicked cool.  None more better.

"Murder In My Heart"
Proof that some 1960s British Invasion bands survived after the bludgeoning of late 60s hard rock, and all that entailed, up until 1977 when punk tore it apart.  Such was the dismantling of Rock Stars that opened doors again for bands like The Searchers who were sharper and wiser and had more chops and pop finesse than the upstarts.   
Still basically a cover band, they got signed by Seymour Stein's Sire Records and created two decent comeback LPs. The latter (Love's Melodies) was jam packed with tunes given to them by The Motors and covers like Big Star's "September Gurls" and this gem penned by the dude (Ronnie Thomas) who wrote "Girl Of My Dreams" for Bram Tchiakovsky.

"Parallel Lines"    
The '80s were a strange decade for most of our fave artists who peaked in the early to mid 1970s.   Todd stayed just as busy going from solo artist to Utopia member  and back to solo for decade's end with his best collection of pop tunes since 1978's Hermit Of The Mink Hollow. Unless there's another genius lost tune laying around, "Parallel Lines" stands as his last bona fide classic ballad.

"Space Age Love Song"    
There's no need to go into details.  This is still a gem.  As long as I don't have to look at the lead singer, it's all cool.  And that guitar player was brilliant. 

"To Hell With Poverty"   
Teeth and more teeth and some kind of edged-out freak of a DOR beat.  The line, "We'll get drunk on cheap wine" is one for the ages.

"Can't Stop"  
Out of the ashes of The Undertones (sans Feargal Sharkey) came TPE in 1985.  Guitarist John O'Neil was always the brains ( song stylist) so it wasn't a surprise when they debuted with something this intense.  For the rest of the world in 1986, it probably felt almost like heavy metal.  Not quite; just brilliant post-punk the way it should be.

"The Living Kind"   
Just one big glorious rush of Australian jangle power pop. Produced and engineered by the under appreciated Alan Thorne in 1986 with no idea of the new crap that was on the radio.  Someone had to do it.

"How Much More"
Yeah, they had hits, but with the exception of the genius "Our Lips Are Sealed," the depth was more deeply exposed on LP cuts like this (originally the b-side to their Stiff debut, "We Got The Beat" in 1980). And it captures the ineffable power pop moment of LA 1979-1980 to perfection.

Sui generis as anything cut in the post punk era which is saying a LOT. And it's that bizarre mix of glam stomp and Adam's own fixation on the band concept/visualization which makes it hold interest this far on.  And it sounds great played loud.

"Holding Onto The Earth"
Wandering the desert of what was the early '80s Christian pop world as Leslie Phillips, it took a few years before she met T Bone Burnette who steered her towards a more secular, yet still spiritual alt pop sound.  In 1988 "Sam" debuted with The Indescribable Wow; her crowning pop moment, despite a more rewarding and critically acclaimed future in the '90s.   And this tune, is a spellbinding masterstroke.

"She Sells Sanctuary"  
Post punk and goth hit some intense crossroads and peaks with epic tracks like this and Siouxsie's "Cities In Dust" and Echo & The Bunnymen's "The Cutter."  The latter, like this one, is rock built up with all the proper smoke and mirrors to make it utterly spectacular and transcendent.  The brief drum break near the end is the classic send off to end all send offs.