On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Can – Future Days (1973)
The sun sets on 1973 but our journey will continue. Today, it’s farewell to the UK and across the English channel we go into mainland Europe. It would be nice to stop off in France or maybe Belgium, but no, dear reader, for we are venturing to Germany. We’re having a spot of krautrock today from Can who were formed in the late 1960s. When we pick up their story in 1973, Can have a singer by the name of Damo Suzuki and their fourth album, Future Days, has been released. Comprised of only four tracks, 1001 Songs has opted for the opening song, the self-titled Future Days for our listening pleasure.
Future Days is 9+ minutes and Can take their time in getting the ball rolling here. The song opens with the sound of the elements, a strong breeze swirling in the background, before the music gradually comes in. Suzuki’s vocals begin to enter the fray also but often they are faint and indiscernible. Lyrically, he seems to be singing of an individual(s) who are always in mind of the “future days” of the title, being on the run from some unknown threat, squirrelling money away for hard times still to come, always fixated on looking ahead. The narrator seems keen for this person to be gone, unimpressed with their actions and demonstrating a clear desire for distance.
Can’s music here is krautrock but avant garde as well. Future Days is a slow-burner but that does not make it necessarily dull to listen to. An interesting blend of sound effects and music is intriguing to say the least though it’s a shame that Suzuki’s vocals are often lost in the melody. This would be his last album with the group and though they continued into the rest of the decade, this period is considered amongst their peak years. Future Days is an acquired taste for music fans, some will love this, others will struggle to see the point.
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Beach Boys – God Only Knows (1966)
The Doors – The End (1967)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
The Kinks – Days (1968)
Derek & The Dominos – Layla (1970)
David Bowie – Life on Mars? (1971)
Rod Stewart – Maggie May (1971)
Stevie Wonder – Living for the City (1973)