Aerosmith has dominated my life over the course of the last week, but they aren’t the only artist I’ve been listening to. This week’s playlist highlights my two favorite Aerosmith songs ever written, but also a protest anthem for the ages, a Folk crooner I’d never heard before, and one of the most famous songs ever written. Many of these songs utilize conflicting emotions to create intriguing dichotomies. Some are more straightforward. But all are among the greatest songs I’ve ever heard.
“Lord of the Thighs” – Aerosmith
Aerosmith has always been my favorite band as they’re largely responsible for getting me into music in the first place. I was first acquainted with their music through hearing the hits like “Cryin” and “Dream on,” but the deeper cuts are where their true masterpieces lie. For me, this is the crown jewel, a dark, 4-minute epic that tells the story of a back alley pimp. That opening alone featuring a hypnotic riff that seamlessly merges Steven Tyler’s piano and Joe Perry’s rhythmic electricity is one of the greatest Rock intros of all time.
“Rockin in the Free World” – Neil Young
One of my favorite Bruce Springsteen songs is “Born in the U.S.A.” because it fools naive red-blooded American patriots into thinking it’s an equally patriotic song, but the lyrics paint a much more somber picture. “Rockin in the Free World” did the same thing. Neil Young’s delivery throughout the verses, particularly when he hits the line “I don’t feel like Satan but I am to them” is goosebump-inducing, and that snarling guitar riff heightens the tension.
“A Day in the Life” – The Beatles
Often ranked as The Beatles’ greatest song, “A Day in the Life” is at the very least their most fascinating. They were so great together, John Lennon and Paul McCartney could write two completely different songs and then merge them together to create something completely new and inspiring. Somehow this relatively simple song encapsulates a plethora of different emotions; no two people ever experience it the same way. But they all agree that it’s something special.
“Sick as a Dog” – Aerosmith
If you were to read the lyrics before hearing the song, “Sick as a Dog” seems like it would be just as dark as “Lord of the Thighs.” Instead the band counters that negativity with joyous musicality that creates an infectious dichotomy. Legend has it that the band drops out before the coda to trade instruments with each other just for fun. These guys were on top of the world, drugged out of their minds, but riding the high for as long as they could.
“Silver Raven” – Gene Clark
I’ve never heard anything from Gene Clark before this song, but as soon as the dark, moody acoustic blew through my speakers as Clark’s Johnny Cashesque battered crooning guided it along, I was absolutely blown away.
For more playlists, including my master Burnes’ Turns playlist that contains over 2,000 songs, search for Andrew Burnes or Burnes’ Turns on Spotify.