Sunday, April 22, 2007

Top 25 Albums #19

It's been a while since I talked about a specific album in my top 25 countdown, so here we are with #19:

I'm imagining I didn't "discover" Black Sabbath until at least ten years after it was released in 1971, when I was just 3 years old.

I must have heard the music on the radio before I ever sat down and listened to the record, on cassette, most likely. "War Pigs," "Paranoid," and "Iron Man," all on side 1, arguably the heaviest side of music ever released, traipsed around FM radio, and continue to do so.

"Paranoid," the title track, has come to represent frontman Ozzy Osbourne's persona.

The famous beginning lyrics:

Finished with my woman 'cause
she couldn't help me with my mind
people think I'm insane
because I am frowning all the time
speak to a sense of alienation and frustration that saturates the Osbourne oeuvre, which teenage angst totally feeds from.

And "War Pigs" is the ultimate anti-war anthem, with a dark, menacing side.

Astonishingly, it seems perfectly normal that the first rhyming couplet of the song,
"Generals gathered in their masses/just like witches at black masses" matches the same word "masses," but with two distinctly dark, sinister meanings.

I was always smitten by "Iron Man". And that opening, heavy riff that has been mocked and mimicked to the point of cultural significance. Just go up to anyone and say "Duh-duh-DA-NA-NAH! Da-na-na-na-na-na-NAH-nah-nuh" and they generally know you're trying to imitate the unique throbbing of Tony Iommi's heavy riffs. The song "Iron Man" was voted number 1 on the TV music channel VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs.

Whereas most may say that three songs make this album, the other songs on the record "Planet Caravan," "Rat Salad," "Electric Funeral," "Hand of Doom" and "Fairies Wear Boots." Of these other "lesser," yet still-influential tunes, "Fairies Wear Boots" is my favorite of the bunch. It's interesting to see the song's origins now (see hyperlink above).

Here are some extras. Video of "Electric Funeral":

And check out this footage from British tv in 1970, performing "Paranoid":

And I'll leave you with "Fairies Wear Boots":

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