Important underrated SP songs
Here we go with a little chronologically list of way underrated SP songs that mean something to me.
Obscured (1994 / Pisces Iscariot)
Since everyone seems to focus on Starla concerning PI (which is a milestone, indeed), by myself I am thinking about Obscured as the albums greatest piece. This has this melancholic and hypnotic atmosphere of SP that also shines through some Gish tunes aswell, but it never was built up so convincingly and flying like here. It feels like drifting somewhere in space...this a dreamer's song and I really wish, that one would be reintroduced live. Of all early SP songs, that's probably the one that sums up Billy'y poetic abilities the best.
We Only Come Out At Night (1995 / MCIS)
I always thought there was a better point to the tracklist of MCIS than just the flow. Listening to the albums feels like the band moving away from their awkward indie rock band scene (disc 1) to a more dark and melancholic territory (disc 2) to finally rest into that gothness that would peak on Adore and shift into desperation on the MACHINA.
Though all of disc 2 feels way more gloomy than on the first one, I think the turnaround is that overlooked tune.
After that it goes deeper and deeper into sadness and night with every following tune being even slower than the one before.
It's a statement, the title says it all: The day is over, SP can't pretend to be like all the other bands anymore...they have to emrace the darkness they always kept.
By Starlight (1995 / MCIS)
Again disc 2 of MCIS.
I never really heard anyone ever mentoining that one when it comes to the great moments on the album.
By starlight, once again, has that great airy atmopshere SP only could built up...listen to the overdrive on the guitar, it's amazing!
As a song itsself, it's the most yearning and most desperate lovesong on the other side of the ocean.
Listening to that song half asleep makes you feel happy and sad at the same time...besides Ruby this one would be my favourite of MCIS.
Chewing Gum (1997 / Adore Demos)
Maybe the most typicaly post-MCIS SP song...and it's an outtake!
Thinking of "the SP sound" this is the best example one could hope for.
Chewing gum has it all: Uncomfortable lyrics, a great melody, one of Billy's best singings and the almighty SP atmosphere concentrated on 3 minutes like never before (and after).
Simple as that.
Winterlong (1997 / Adore Demos Tape II)
This has to be one of the greatest moments in Billy's songwriting. Just playing the unplugged guitar and sampling his singing (by the way, I'm not talking the Judas O version), Winterlong builts up pure angst and desperation without being sappy at all.
And it's drugging the listener like hell.
Billy himself often stated that this song was so special to him, he could neither place it on Adore nor MACHINA (and it was reintroduced on the comeback tour!).
If there were 5 SP songs I could take with me to the island, Winterlong was one of them.
Winterlong is pure magic, hats of to Billy for that.
The Tale Of Dusty And Pistol Pete (1998 / Adore)
Alien and familiar at the same time.
Many fans seem to disagree with that song and I just don't get it.
It perfectly showcase the fragility of love, lust and time and has - hands down - maybe the best chorus Billy ever wrote. It's addictive (and I usually place back the needle to the beginning of it once or twice when I listen to Adore).
The lyrics are so strange, though that glimps of rape in the last verse suddenly brakes down the whole thing to a more sadening and hopeless level.
I dunno what the true intention of Billy was at all but this my #1 on Adore.
With Every Light (2000 / MACHINA)
I used to hate the tune when MACHINA I was new (like almost everything on it). It didn't feel to have any coherence or special meaning.
But it rapidly grew on me and I suddenly got the point of it, maybe 5 (!) years after. This is a song about the great silence. About dripping away from this cruel world and finally being set free in in a better place; in death to be exactly.
It's about letting go and though it's one of the most worshipful songs to death I have ever heard it's hopeful and soothing at the same time. Because it is alright to let go. Here we go with SP and their darkest side. And this is one of the band's deepest efforts.
If I'm ever going to die (ha ha ha) this is the song I would like to die to.
Age Of Innocence (2000 / MACHINA)
To be fair, this song is not underrated and it is a fan favourite but it must be mentioned here.
Pretty much like With Every Light this one sets a very dark statement:
Human Beings are cruel. Love is a farce.
We all are fucked. This is the final party before the great bang.
What a worthy finale to their last official album release.
It also has my favourite lyrics by the man:
"cause for the moment we are free we seek to bind our release too young to die, too rich to care too fucked to swear that i was there ".
Let the apocalypse come in.
In My Body (2000 / MACHINA)
No surprise since I am talking about this tune all day but that is simply their best.
Musically, it's journey back to the 80s dark wave, simple drumming not much variation and lyrics about lonliness.
But the way Billy combines that gothic elements with the typically SP sound, his special singing and some of his most personal lyrics ever is amazing.
Yes, Jimmy sounds undercafted; yes, this could also be a solo song by the man; yes it might miss the explosion everyone was waiting for.
But at it's core, this is SP, this sums up everything the band stood for (and why they had to let it be in 2000).
Someone in here stated that the songs always sounds like waking up from a long and life threatening illness.
I couldn't have had a better exmple.
SP rocked a lot.
SP started as bunch of post-Hippies. They came up with Nirvana and all that hipster bands and were mistaken for being just "the other grungers from midwest".
But at the center of the heart, SP always were the last, most experimental and - hands down - the very best allaround gothic rock band that was unlucky to show up maybe 10 years too late.