“Marquee Moon,” the fourth song, and last track on the first side, is all the proof you need to make a lot of overblown claims for the album’s legacy. Verlaine and Lloyd are unrelenting as they duel, leading up to a bridge whose huge solo is made even larger by the tiny twinkling of a piano key. And again, we have Verlaine spinning a decadent Lower East Side fairytale, filtered through the mind of somebody influenced by too much French poetry. This all goes on for a few minutes, and then there’s this gap where the band really does get into Grateful Dead territory, just messing around with their instruments, keeping the beat going, finally building it to a crescendo that leads them back to where they started, reciting the poetry I would rip off nearly twenty years later…
The Dying of thirst passage of this song is astonishing. Even more astounding is how important the skit at the end is to the song—and to the entire record. How is it that a blockbuster rap record climaxes with a baptism scene and the words, “Remember this day, the start of your new life, your real life…”?
good kid, m.A.A.d city might be my favorite record of the year.
I loved Freaks and Geeks when it first aired. This pitch-perfect scene makes me want to revisit it. Bill alone making himself a grilled cheese. The mirroring shots between him and Garry Shandling (drinking, teeth, Bill pointing at himself). The laughing with food in his mouth. Comedy with this kind of pathos is, I think, one of the highest art forms.
From Ghosts of the Great Highway, a record that is still improving on each listen for me… like Richard Buckner’s Meadow, a record that has quietly become one of my all-time favorites without my having really noticed.