Monday, 7 April 2014

The Best AAA Screams (Top Ten, News, Views and Music 239)

This week's top ten is real scream! Sometimes emotional adrenalin runs so high among AAA musicians that words are no longer enough. The scream is an undervalued device in music but it certainly ratchets the drama up a notch in a whole stream of songs - AAA ones included. Pink Floyd's Roger Waters is of course a master of the scream, so much so that listeners tend to get nervous in his work if there hasn't been one along for ten minutes. Other bands have had a go too, though, hence this list. By the way for the purposes of our list a 'scream' is the dictionary definition of a 'loud sharp piercing cry, usually unintelligible and denoting distress' - so we're not counting screams of joy or screamed phrases of a song (which means that AAA classics like 'Helter Skelter' 'Mother' and 'Scream Thy Last Scream' don't make this list). 

1) Pink Floyd "Careful With That Axe Eugene" (B-side 1968)

The song has been building moodily on its two-note phrase for about three minutes to the point where the tension is absolutely agonising. And oh the relief when Nick Mason finally stops coasting on the drums and absolutely thrashes the hell out of them, ushering in a gloriously climactic Roger Waters scream. Scarier than any horror movie and sounding more zombie than human, Roger's scream is a masterpiece in expressing all the pent up agony and rage in the instrumental. For the curious there are allegedly words being spoken by Roger in a whisper: Down, down. Down, down. The star is screaming. Beneath the lies. Lie, lie. Tschay, tschay, tschay. Careful, careful, careful with that axe, Eugene. The stars are screaming loud’. However for most fans the song manages to conjure up its imagery of a mass murderer simply from the hilarious title and that howl of pain and despair. Director Antonioni loved the song so much that he hired the Floyd to re-record it (as the minutely less blood-curdling 'Come In Number 51 Your Time Is Up!') and was less than happy that the Floyd gave him actual 'songs' to go with it unlike the scream-fests he was expecting.

2) John Lennon "Cold Turkey" ( A Side 1970)

For Lennon the whole of 1970 was about screaming. The book 'Primal Therapy' by Professor Janov was the towering influence on the 'Lennon/Plastic Ono Band' album where John howls and screams out the pain of his childhood in the most AAA scream-filled album. Opening track 'Mother' famously ends with two minutes of blood-curdling screams that are at least a minute and a half longer than comfortable. And yet none of the album features a wordless painful 'scream'. The closest Lennon comes is the only marginally less painful Plastic Ono Band single 'Cold Turkey', an ode to the singer's painful heroin withdrawal (he and Yoko were expecting a baby so had vowed to come off the drugs - sadly it didn't work and Yoko had a miscarriage). Although most of the song is simply constructed, more like a 1950s verse-chorus song that Lennon's usual asymmetrical writing, the last 90 odd seconds of the song break every boundary going, the guitars tied to the song's simple seven note riff that act like lead weights on the feet of the narrator. Lennon then explores every vocal box of tricks in his capacity, gurgling, drooling, howling and eventually screaming out his anguish in a blood-curdling yelp that seems to surprise him as much as everyone else. The yin to 'Because's calm and peaceful yang, both songs are odes to the up-and-down rollercoaster of life on heroin and its ability to make you feel both the good and bad in life at its most extreme.

3) The Who "Won't Get Fooled Again" ('Who's Next' 1971)

A nine-minute song needs something to keep it going and the unexpected re-building of the tension around the 7 and a half minute mark is excruciating. The synthesisers slowly loop round from their psychedelic wanderings, keith Moon kicks off one of his greatest of all drum breaks and finally Roger Daltrey launches into an ear-splitting howl of anger and despair. If the opening section of the song sounds largely optimistic, with lines about overthrowing tyrannical narrow-minded regimes, the weary reprise makes it clear that throughout its long troubled history mankind has never yet been able to govern itself fairly. 'Meet the new boss - same as the old boss!' is the song's final taunting cry as Roger's growl conjures up spirits of the French Revolution, the American Civil War and a thousand more revolts and uprisings besides.
4) Pink Floyd "Great Gig In The Sky" ('Dark Side Of The Moon' 1973)
Clare Torry famously thought she'd blown it after taping her first go at her wordless vocals for Rick Wright's gorgeous song about mortality and death. Asked to use her voice 'like an instrument', her ebbing and flowing over Rick's simple piano chord sounds unmistakably 'real' (Clare said later she was thinking about her recently deceased Granny when she was singing it) and features a real pick of emotion towards the end when - after railing against her fate for nigh on four minutes - Torry quietly accepts her fate. Her screams sound almost calm here in context but sound as blood-curdling as any on this list when 'borrowed' out of context for 'Dark Side's opening collage 'Speak To Me'. 

5) The Moody Blues "Departure/Ride My See-Saw" ('In Search Of The Lost Chord' 1968)

Most 1960/70s Moodies albums start with something equal parts odd and memorable. The second album - about the search for a 'lost chord' that will unite mankind in peace and happiness and harmony - is arguably the weirdest, consisting of drummer Graeme Edge's recited poem about unfulfilled needs. In a nutshell mankind keeps happy memories at the front of his brain in the hope of one day finding a peaceful life that will consist of only these things, which 'they use to help us, to find...' and we never find out what comes next because it gets cut off by a blood-curdling scream that leads directly into the comparatively happy song 'Ride My See-Saw', bassist John Lodge's piece about finally feeling he's where he should be in his life playing in a band. Edg'e's demented scream is unsettling enough to hang around for the rest of the record, though, where the closest this album comes to serenity is keyboardist Mike Pinder's ode to meditation 'Ommmm'. 

6) Yoko Ono "Midsummer New York" ('Fly' 1971)]

No wonder Lennon got so turned on by primal scream therapy - his wife had been using it for most of her career. There are millions of examples we could have used - heck, 'Yoko/Plastic Ono Band' is a whole 45 minutes of screaming at different speeds and pitches - but our choice is perhaps her most mainstream 'scream'. 'Midsummer New York; is Yokoi's response to the 1950s rock and roll Lennon has just introduced her to and her feeling of one-ness with an art form that's the closest thing in music to the Haiku poetry she was brought up on in her childhood. Everything in the narrator's life is shaking in this song - out of fear, out of joy, nothing stands still and Yoko's response is an equal mix of terror and celebration as she inverts the riff of 'Shaking All Over' and rattles the microphone with such power that everything vibrates along with her when you play it. Eerily the song is about feeling out of place in New York, afraid of what might happen just nine years before John's death. 

7) Pink Floyd "Run Like Hell" ('The Wall' 1979)

Roger Waters is back on this list again, with a blood-curdling scream that appears ducked low in the mix during Pink Floyd's catchy as hell song about paranoia. Character Pink is by now so late on in the building of 'his wall' that he's looking over his shoulder the whole time 'feeling the bile rising from his guilty past' and his schizophrenic personality chip away at him from the left and right speakers before finally joining in a snarling 'you'd better run!' Roger sounds like he's having far too much fun here screaming his head off to a backing track of crashing cars and heavy footsteps. Get the hell out of there Pink, this won't end well...

8) Nils Lofgren and Grin "End Unkind" ('1+1' 1972)

Does this count as a scream or is it more of an eerie laugh? Either way, the conclusion to the 'rocking' side of Grin's finest album is deeply unsettling, a song about the narrator's split feeling between wanting to stay friends with a girl whose just dumped him and his desire for revenge suddenly sprouting into a shouting contest between Nils Lofgren and drummer Bob Berberich near the end of the song. A sneezing hi-hat keeps the song on its toes and sounding like it's about to fall over at any time, but nothing prepares the listener for the shrieking cackling disembodied voice that takes the last word on the song and mocks the narator something rotten. On the days of vinyl ran round and round the groove until the needle got lifted off the player (sadly it's really cut down on the CD). Why this frightening other-worldly sound hasn't turned up in a horror movie yet I'll never know...

9) The Kinks "State Of Confusion" ('State Of Confusion' 1983)

We covered this song on our site not long ago - suffice to say the fact the ever erudite Ray Davies is having such a bad time he can't do anything else but scream at his problems signals what an awful period this was for the elder Kink brother. The rest of the song is unsettling too, with a long list of problems that need solving, an angry relentless riff that keeps nagging away and a vocal that's covered in spit and sawdust. But it's that opening scream that you take away most from this song, a howl of pain that says more than the song's lyrics ever could.

10) The Beatles "Hey Jude" (A Side 1968)

Finally, 'Hey Jude' might not seem the obvious candidate for this list: I mean, 'Hey Jude' is generally considered an uplifting song of hope and overcoming obstacles. But have a listen to Paul McCartney's vocal right in the middle of the song before the 'na na na na's start. 'Judy Judy Judy 'snarrrrrl' the vocal goes, instantly transforming the song from a lovely memorable pop song into something so much more (more than one Beatles commentator has pointed out that the style and phrasings of the song is closer to blues than pop anyway and the wild shriek Macca comes up with it certainly sounds bluesier, like it's full of meaning). This sets up the rest of the song nicely, the 'na na na' phrases sounding like the celebratory coda to a party after years of struggle than simply a bit of random 'na na na'-ing.

So there you have it: screaming or shouting or singing we'll be back next week with more news views and music - see you then! *howllll*

A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY  Entries 2008-2019
1) Chronic Fatigue songs

2) Songs For The Face Of Bo

3) Credit Crunch Songs

4) Songs For The Autumn

5) National Wombat Week

6) AAA Box Sets

7) Virus Songs

8) Worst AAA-Related DVDs

9) Self-Punctuating Superstar Classics

10) Ways To Know You Have Turned Into A Collector

11) Political Songs

12) Totally Bonkers Concept Albums

13) Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

14) Still Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

15) AAA Existential Questions

16) Releases Of The Year 2008

17) Top AAA Xmas Songs

18) Notable AAA Gigs

19) All things '20' related for our 20th issue

20) Romantic odes for Valentine's Day

21) Hollies B sides

22) 'Other' BBC Session Albums

23) Beach Boys Rarities Still Not Available On CD

24) Songs John, Paul and George wrote for Ringo's solo albums

25) 5 of the Best Rock 'n' Roll Tracks From The Pre-Beatles Era

26) AAA Autobiographies

27) Rolling Stones B-sides

28) Beatles B-Sides

29) The lllloooonnngggeesssttt AAA songs of all time

30) Kinks B-Sides

31) Abandoned CSNY projects 'wasted on the way'

32) Best AAA Rarities and Outtakes Sets

33) News We've Missed While We've Been Away

34) Birthday Songs for our 1st Anniversary

35) Brightest Album Covers

36) Biggest Recorded Arguments

37) Songs About Superheroes

38) AAA TV Networks That Should Exist

39) AAA Woodtsock Moments

40) Top Moments Of The Past Year As Voted For By Readers

41) Music Segues

42) AAA Foreign Language Songs

43) 'Other' Groups In Need Of Re-Mastering

44) The Kinks Preservation Rock Opera - Was It Really About The Forthcoming UK General Election?

45) Mono and Stereo Mixes - Biggest Differences

46) Weirdest Things To Do When A Band Member Leaves

47) Video Clips Exclusive To Youtube (#1)

48) Top AAA Releases Of 2009

49) Songs About Trains

50) Songs about Winter

51) Songs about astrology plus horoscopes for selected AAA members

52) The Worst Five Groups Ever!

53) The Most Over-Rated AAA Albums

54) Top AAA Rarities Exclusive To EPs

55) Random Recent Purchases (#1)

56) AAA Party Political Slogans

57) Songs To Celebrate 'Rock Sunday'

58) Strange But True (?) AAA Ghost Stories

59) AAA Artists In Song

60) Songs About Dogs

61) Sunshiney Songs

62) The AAA Staff Play Their Own Version Of Monoploy/Mornington Crescent!

63) What 'Other' British Invasion DVDs We'd Like To See

64) What We Want To Place In Our AAA Time Capsule

65) AAA Conspiracy Theroies

66) Weirdest Things To Do Before - And After - Becoming A Star

67) Songs To Tweet To

68) Greatest Ever AAA Solos

69) John Lennon Musical Tributes

70) Songs For Halloween

71) Earliest Examples Of Psychedelia

72) Purely Instrumental Albums

73) AAA Utopias

74) AAA Imaginary Bands

75) Unexpected AAA Cover Versions

76) Top Releases of 2010

77) Songs About Snow

78) Predictions For 2011

79) AAA Fugitives

80) AAA Home Towns

81) The Biggest Non-Musical Influences On The 1960s

82) AAA Groups Covering Other AAA Groups

83) Strange Censorship Decisions

84) AAA Albums Still Unreleased on CD

85) Random Recent Purchases (#2)

86) Top AAA Music Videos

87) 30 Day Facebook Music Challenge

88) AAA Documentaries

89) Unfinished and 'Lost' AAA Albums

90) Strangest AAA Album Covers

91) AAA Performers Live From Mars (!)

92) Songs Including The Number '100' for our 100th Issue

93) Most Songs Recorded In A Single Day

94) Most Revealing AAA Interviews

95) Top 10 Pre-Fame Recordings

96) The Shortest And Longest AAA Albums

97) The AAA Allstars Ultimate Band Line-Up

98) Top Songs About Sports

99) AAA Conversations With God

100) AAA Managers: The Good, The Bad and the Financially Ugly

101) Unexpected AAA Cameos

102) AAA Words You can Type Into A Caluclator

103) AAA Court Cases

104) Postmodern Songs About Songwriting

105) Biggest Stylistic Leaps Between Albums

106) 20 Reasons Why Cameron Should Go!

107) The AAA Pun-Filled Cookbook

108) Classic Debut Releases

109) Five Uses Of Bird Sound Effects

110) AAA Classic Youtube Clips Part #1

111) Part #2

112) Part #3

113) AAA Facts You Might Not Know

114) The 20 Rarest AAA Records

115) AAA Instrumental Songs

116) Musical Tarot

117) Christmas Carols

118) Top AAA Releases Of 2011

119) AAA Bands In The Beano/The Dandy

120) Top 20 Guitarists #1

121) #2

122) 'Shorty' Nomination Award Questionairre

123) Top Best-Selling AAA Albums

124) AAA Songs Featuring Bagpipes

125) A (Hopefully) Complete List Of AAA Musicians On Twitter

126) Beatles Albums That Might Have Been 1970-74 and 1980

127) DVD/Computer Games We've Just Invented

128) The AAA Albums With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

129) The AAA Singles With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

130) Lyric Competition (Questions)

131) Top Crooning Classics

132) Funeral Songs

133) AAA Songs For When Your Phone Is On Hold

134) Random Recent Purchases (#3)

135) Lyric Competition (Answers)

136) Bee Gees Songs/AAA Goes Disco!

137) The Best AAA Sleevenotes (And Worst)

138) A Short Precise Of The Years 1962-70

139) More Wacky AAA-Related Films And Their Soundtracks

140) AAA Appearances On Desert Island Discs

141) Songs Exclusive To Live Albums

142) More AAA Songs About Armageddon

What difference does a name make? Arguably not much if you’re already a collector of a certain group, for whom the names on the album sleeves just...

This week’s top ten honours the humble motor car. The death trap on wheels, the metaphor for freedom, the put-down of capitalism, a source of...

This week we’re going to have a look at the 10 AAA singles that spent the most weeks at number on the American chart ‘Billboard’ – and it makes for...

Following on from last issue’s study of the American Billboard charts, here’s a look at which AAA albums spent the most weeks on the chart. The...

There are many dying arts in our modern world: incorruptible politicians, faith that things are going to get better and the ability to make decent...

This week we’ve decided to dedicate our top ten to those unsung heroes of music, the session musicians, whose playing often brings AAA artists (and...

Naturally we hold our AAA bands in high esteem in these articles: after all, without their good taste, intelligence and humanity we’d have nothing to...

What do you do when you’ve left a multi-million selling band and yet you still feel the pull of the road and the tours and the playing to audiences...

‘The ATOS Song’ (You’re Not Fit To Live)’ (Mini-Review) Dear readers, we don’t often feature reviews of singles over albums or musicians who aren’t...

In honour of this week’s review of an album released to cash in on a movie soundtrack (only one of these songs actually appears in ‘Easy Rider’...and...

Hic! Everyone raise a glass to the rock stars of the past and to this week’s feature...songs about alcolholic beverages! Yes that’s right, everything...

154) The human singing voice carries with it a vast array of emotions, thoughts that cannot be expressed in any other way except opening the lungs and...

Everyone has a spiritual home, even if they don’t actually live there. Mine is in a windy, rainy city where the weather is always awful but the...

Having a family does funny things to some musicians, as we’ve already seen in this week’s review (surely the only AAA album actually written around...

Some artists just have no idea what their best work really is. One thing that amazes me as a collector is how consistently excellent many of the...

159) A (Not That) Short Guide To The 15 Best Non-AAA Bands

160) The Greatest AAA Drum Solos (Or Near Solos!)

161) AAA Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speeches

162) AAA Re-Recordings Of Past Songs

163) A Coalition Christmas (A Fairy Tale)

164) AAA Songs About Islands

165) The AAA Review Of The Year 2012

166) The Best AAA Concerts I Attended

167) Tributes To The 10 AAA Stars Who Died The Youngest

168) The First 10 AAA Songs Listed Alphabetically

171) The 10 Best Songs From The Psychedelia Box-Sets ‘Nuggets’ and ‘Nuggets Two’

172) The 20 Most Common Girl’s Names In AAA Song Titles (With Definitions) 

180) First Recordings By Future AAA Stars

185) A Tribute To Storm Thorgerson Via The Five AAA Bands He Worked With

188) Surprise! Celebrating 300 Album Reviews With The Biggest 'Surprises' Of The Past Five Years Of Alan's Album Archives!

190) Comparatively Obscure First Compositions By AAA Stars

193) Evolution Of A Band: Comparing First Lyric With Last Lyric:

200) The Monkees In Relation To Postmodernism (University Dissertation)

202) Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain': Was It About One Of The AAA Crew?

217) AAA 'Christmas Presents' we'd most like to have next year

221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links)

222) Five Random Recent Purchases

223) AAA Grammy Nominees

224) Ten AAA songs that are better heard unedited and in full

225) The shortest gaps between AAA albums

226) The longest gaps between AAA albums

227) Top ten AAA drummers

228) Top Ten AAA Singles (In Terms of 'A' and 'B' Sides)

229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos

230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams

231) An AAA Pack Of Horses

232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams!

233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings

234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles

235) The Best AAA Orchestral Arrangements

236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics

237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right

238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson

239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums

240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo

241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) 

242) AAA Christmas Number Ones 

243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articles  plus worst releases of the year)

244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015

245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious

246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria

247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015

248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015)

249) The Revised AAA Crossword!

251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry)

252) Guest Post: ‘The Skids – Joy’ (1981) by Kenny Brown

254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown

255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018

256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019

257) Tiermaker

258) #Coronastock

259) #Coronadocstock

No comments:

Post a Comment