Saturday, 5 March 2011


My penny'orth on the solos debate ...        

This is a tough one. The guitar solo was one of many ingenious lovely things that died in the nineties. Conspicuous musicianship sounded archly reactionary after the electronic incursions of the previous decade. Cue the Britpop nadir. (But see below for some articles for the defence!)      
For me though, one possibly underrated figure is Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo:

[from 2:10, and again at about 3:10]

"If I was Johnny Carson I'd say that was a wacky wacky guitar solo", says the voice of authority that is John McEnroe (?!). No wonder his show got canceled.

Clearly, we're into avant noise territory here, so it's often more a case of extended scene-stealing jammage than of solos per se. As in this:

[starts to get particularly good just before 6:00]


Nice shredding action here [from 3:12]:


Wonderfully wayward stuff in this [from 1:43]: 

This was released in Feb 2000 but has great stuff all the way through so I'm gonna slap it down anyway:

Exultant lilting orientalism at the end of this [from 2:45]

 Okay so here's where it gets parlous.
I'm fairly sure you can get down with this moment of visionary lo-fi clarity, particularly as it's buried on an album by an otherwise deeply noxious band:

[from 1:11]

I like how early in the song this is. Clearly a guitarist's first "proper" choon. As in: I've just written a verse and a sort-of chorus; what now? SOLO!

I also love this [from 2:08]

Some very winning (pre-Darkness-therefore-justifiable) ironic metallica. And I like that it's Lauren Laverne's brother who plays it, a nice example of sibling harmony to set beside more ambivalent contemporary cases.
And .... I might never live this down, but finally I'd like to put in a heartfelt plea for the following, partly because it was one of the first things I ever learned to play in 1996 as a 12 yr old nipper, but also because it's FUCKING SWEET!
[a short incendiary burst around 2:30] 

Now there's a transgressive taste-move for you.  
I could unleash more Britpop heresies but perhaps best to leave it there for now.


Paul said...

the in a room solo is great! i always thought the drippy middle 8 let the song down a bit, but was justifiable as a spring board for the solo to launch off

Frederik Bové said...

I think you are spot on with your comments on You're So Great. It is a wonderful song, clealy written by a guitarist. His singing is kinda inept. His words are kinda inept, culminating in the sweet but rather unpoetic 'You're so great and I love you'. But then he speaks the only way he knows: Through the six-string. In this way it is kind of a less obvious version of Natasha Beddingfields brilliant 'These Words'. (How's that for transgressive?)

I also really liked Dodgy when I was younger. But I was more like 16... And it was in Denmark... And the year was 2003... So I was less excused... But Free Peace Sweet was cool, it almost managed to copy all other britpopbands of the time, without an inch on annoying originality. And in fact, I think a few of these also-ran britpoppers need to be rehabilitated. I mean albums like Dodgy - Homegrown and Kula Shaker - Pigs, Peasants & Astronauts. Compared to recent britrockers like Kaiser Chiefs or Razorlight or other not-good stuff like that, they really took a lot of chances. There are some weird hidden gems in there.

Grk! said...

I always thought it was Marie who played the lead break on "Plonka". Also, it's not ironic 'Tallica, it's heartfelt Lizzy.

Grk! said...

Apart from that solo, "Punka" is a load of smuggery.