Sunday, May 24, 2009

Do Not Separate

This weekend The Current (the local, hipstery non-classical, non-news NPR music affiliate, for those who are unfamiliar) is doing a "block party weekend." They're taking requests for artists, and playing three songs at a time for each. Last night as I was driving around, I called in to request some Bowie, unawares that they had played a Bowie set immediately before the Beastie Boys set that had just ended. Thankfully, they threw in "Under Pressure" at the end of a subsequent Queen set, so I at least got a little shot of the White Duke.

Later, I caught the tail end of a Led Zeppelin set, hearing the second half of "Black Dog." Afterward, the DJ listed the songs from the set, and said that we'd heard "Heartbreaker." Without "Living Loving Maid," I thought? What a letdown! Those songs go together. It's a direct segue. Had I been listening, I would have sung right along, expecting to go from "Heartbreaker! Heartbreaker! Heart!" to "With a purple umb-a-rella and a fifty-cent hat!"

(Incidentally, according to Wikipedia, the songs were never played together in concert, because Jimmy Page didn't really like the latter. Also incidentally, unless the song is in someway inspired by the writing of Tolkien, Zeppelin lyrics are properly quoted with exclamation points.)

Anyway, this got me thinking of other song combinations that are properly played together:

There are other combos that I prefer, but aren't what I'd call necessary. For instance, the end of "Buddy Holly" feels like it should lead into the beginning of "The Sweater Song." And in the alternate universe where They Might Be Giants are a Top 40 hit machine, a DJ would never play "If I Wasn't Shy" off of Apollo 18, without immediately following up with "Turn Around."

Anyone else got examples of necessary or preferred song combinations?


Scott said...

"Brain Damage" into "Eclipse" on Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon."

"Flaming Telepaths" into "Astronomy" on BÖC's "Secret Treaties"

James said...

It's hard to imagine "Mean Mr. Mustard" or any of the second side of Abbey Road without the rest of it. Although someone told me recently that "Golden Slumbers" was their favorite song of all time.

Speaking of Bowie, most of the Berlin trilogy (excepting the obvious singles) should be played in exactly the sequence that Bowie and Eno intended in order for them to be enjoyable at all. "V-2 Schneider" on shuffle does nothing for me, but after "Blackout," it works. I'd argue that it's like any album that creates a sonic world (including most of the ambient genre that Eno pioneered, possibly excepting Boards of Canada) - you have to hear the context to hear what's great about each individual song.

More than anyone wanted to read on the subject, as usual.