Hello, from one quarantine to another! I hope you’re all practicing social distancing and staying sane at the same time. In this Speakeasy Sounds, we’re going to look at familiar artists with songs and albums that aren’t as well known. I’ve got new-to-you tunes right here to get you through these crazy times. If we all keep our heads together now, we will get through this for sure. Remember, it’s darkest before dawn.
With that, let’s get into this edition of Speakeasy Sounds!
A Tribe Called Quest (hip hop)
You know them, and you already love them. A Tribe released their final album, “We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service,” in 2016. This album is essentially a superstar album with features from many different artists, including Kendrick Lamar, Elton John, Jack White and Busta Rhymes. If you have these folks on an album, you are bound to strike gold.
The whole album is complete and gets you to move, whether physically or mentally. If you have the time, you should listen to this album front to back. It is not exactly a concept album, but it is consistent with other tracks in chronological order.
While you’re on the album, peep their song “Mobius.” “Mobius” is a solid song with bars from Busta Rhymes that give you chills, the good kind.
Dead Kennedys (punk)
If you’re already into punk, I’m sure you’re hip to the Dead Kennedys. The Dead Kennedys are all about being anti-corporation, anti-labor and anti-phonies. Most people would recognize songs from their album “Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables,” but I’m going to talk about a different album. One of my all-time favorite Dead Kennedys albums happens to be “Frankenchrist.” The album has controversy from the cover to the songs on it. Even the release of the album was controversial. Los Angeles police tried to confiscate the original Frankenchrist from lead singer Jello Biafra.
This album keeps you woke from beginning to end. While you’re waking up with Frankenchrist, make sure to listen to the Dead Kennedys’ “MTV Get Off the Air.”
Thin Lizzy (rock)
If you don’t know if you’ve been listening to Thin Lizzy, I will reassure you that you have been. You will most definitely recognize their songs “Whiskey in the Jar,” “The Boys are Back In Town” and “Jailbreak.”
Few people know that Thin Lizzy is actually an all-Irish band. There’s something to spice up your group chats in a quarantine!
There are so many great songs to suggest from Thin Lizzy. For this hidden gem, listen to the song “Running Back.” I love this song because it shines more light on their Celtic origin than their other songs. Their albums do not need to be listened to in any specific order, nor do their songs. You can jump from album to album, song to song and always hit beautiful melodies and face-melting guitar solos.
The Rolling Stones (rock)
The Rolling Stones put out so much music that there’s bound to be a plethora of overlooked songs. They have been making music longer than most of us have been alive, and they still play live shows.
Any album by The Rolling Stones shines a light into the insight of Mick Jagger (vocals) and Keith Richards (guitar). Each album carries a certain feeling that they never imitate or recreate. This is one of the many reasons why I love the Stones so much.
For this listen, we’ll be talking about their album “Let It Bleed.” This is not a concept album, but I urge you to start it from the top and let Jagger and Richards lead you down the rest of the album. Towards the end of the album, you’re going to hear the not-so-known-song “Monkey Man.” In this song, we hear one of the handful of times that Mick Jagger screeches to imitate a monkey. One of the other times would be in the beginning of the Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil.” If you did not know, when Jagger is screaming in the beginning of that song, he is imitating the sound that his pet monkey made.
Pink Floyd (psychedelic rock)
Pink Floyd itself is an entirely different beast to tackle when looking for hidden gems among the albums. These gems go on to include watching The Wizard of Oz line up with the music from “The Dark Side of the Moon,” to secret messages encrypted in the songwriting.
For the sanity of the reader, I will stick with an album and a song.
Pink Floyd’s album “Meddle” will always and forever be underrated. You might recognize a song from this album if you grew up on classic rock. The album cover is an interesting piece itself. Many believe the album cover to be of a nose. Pink Floyd later clarified that the album is supposed to be an ear underwater. Only with this information, and a slight turn of the head to gain a different view, will you be able to see the ear.
While you are taking in this masterpiece, listen to “Echoes.” The song itself is twenty-three minutes and thirty-two seconds long (23:32). Yes, it is an extremely long song, but the feeling and listening experience that this song gives you is all worth it. I recommend closing your eyes and letting the echoes take you in.
Well, that will about do it for this Speakeasy Sounds! I hope you are all well and staying distanced. We will get through these times. If you want to talk about music or being quarantined, feel free to contact email@example.com or reach me through Instagram: iamterryterryiam.
Terry Lee III is a junior at Kent State with a major in journalism and mass communication. Terry is from Canton, Ohio. He spends his free time biking, reading and listening to music. He also enjoys many forms of art, including film and poetry. You can follow him on instagram @iamterryterryiam and Twitter @terryleeiii.