Archive for the ‘Popular Culture’ Category

“Satellite of Love,” U2, released 1992. 

Using the themes of love and betrayal against the backdrop of a televised satellite launch, one-time Velvet Underground front man Lou Reed penned this space sonnet, which was first released in 1972.  However, the U2 version is a great example of a cover improving an original work.  U2’s soaring final chorus moves the song from the realm of the ordinary to the superior. 

Does “Satellite’s gone way up to Mars/Soon it will be filled with parking cars” reveal Bono’s support for planetary missions or is it more analogous to “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot”?   Four and a half stars.

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What is the most prevalent theme in popular music?  Without question, it has to be love.

However, there are, of course, a number of other common topics.  Space and nuclear war are not among them.  However, if you are at this blog, you may have an interest in building a playlist that addresses a far-too-often-unexamined musical category, the songs of space and nuclear war.

I’ll dribble out some as time and conditions permit…here’s a personal favorite: Space Truckin’ by Deep Purple.

Released off their superb 1972 Machine Head album and recorded near the smoky Lake Geneva shoreline, Space Truckin’ evokes hybrid images of interplanetary travel and surreal R. Crumb black-light posters.  Few songs known to mankind can drop key space phrases like Venus, Mars, Milky Way, Borealis, moon shot, and solar system in less than sixty seconds.  In addition to the fascinating space images, Purple vocalist Ian Gillan’s awesome pipes provide a superb example of rock craftsmanship.  A five star Song of Space and Nuclear War.