Masterpieces In Modern Music

After someone tried to convince me this (solid song) was a modern musical masterpiece, it made me think, what songs would I call masterpieces? Of course, the cliche nine minute long ballads would get the attention, and sometimes deservingly so, but whate songs do I find most beautifully written and performed. Check out my short list and share your opinions on today’s musical masterpieces, there’s no right or wrong (unless you give me a Rihanna song).

“Wet Sand” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Off the Red Hot Chili Peppers 2006 Stadium Arcadium album, “Wet Sand” combines beautifully written metaphorical lyrics with fantastic guitar work to deliver a both powerful and enjoyable tune. the lyrics:

“You don’t form in the wet sand.”

have many interpretations. I believe that it is about someone holding on to their principles (read a past blog post about principles here), and not changing who they are amid distress. Overall the song starts soft and smooth, but subtly and artfully moves towards faster and heavier guitar work until the final crescendo guitar solo (stellar) making this a epic masterpiece and my favorite song of all time.

“Konstantine” – Something Corporate
With lyrics good enough to be read as poetry, this track, sometimes bedeviled as a girly ballad, fits the cliche nine minute long masterpiece bill perfectly. About Andrew McMahon’s troubled romantic relationship and his mistakes therein, the passion and regret is palpable. The name “Konstantine” is a reference to Constantine the Great for whom the city of Constantinople was named. He is generally lauded as the first Roman empire to convert to Christianity, and issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all religions throughout the empire. The reference is made due to the forgiveness inherent in Christianity and the forgiveness his “Konstantine” showed him. He spells Konstantine with a K because her publicly used pseudonym was Krystal.

Tommy D of Tommy D Talks also contributed two masterpieces to this list, and if you’re so compelled you can contribute your favorite as well. The two songs and blurbs below are selections/write-ups from Tommy D.

“Blackbird” – Alter Bridge
The magnum opus of one of the most talented and technically sound bands in existence today. This song, released on the eponymous album in 2007, takes the listener in so many different directions, and at eight minutes in length, has a truly epic feel. “Blackbird” is about a good friend of lead vocalist Myles Kennedy who was terminally ill and ultimately passed away. In the song, Kennedy expresses his hope that his friend would ultimately find peace:

“Let the wind carry you home,
Blackbird, fly away,
May you never be broken again.”

The song starts out with a slow, haunting guitar pattern from the great Mark Tremonti before evolving into a highly intense, emotional piece. It’s hard to pick out the best part of the song—everything is truly astounding—but the double guitar solo between Kennedy and Tremonti is what really stands out to me. In fact, Guitarist magazine voters picked this solo as the greatest of all time.

Kennedy describes “Blackbird” as one of his greatest musical accomplishments:

“That was a really special song, I’ll never forget how it felt when we’d completed that. We tapped into something that doesn’t come along on every record, that’s for sure. We were really happy that the people who support us really embraced it as well.”

“Vicarious” – Tool
“Vicarious” is one of the best songs from one of the most experimental and influential bands of our time, Tool. Released in 2006 as the opener of the album 10,000 Days, “Vicarious” delves into the notion that people get a vicarious thrill out of the media’s coverage of other people suffering (“I need to watch things die from a distance; Vicariously I live while the whole world dies”). Vocalist Maynard James Keenan then urges listeners to come to terms with this disturbing truth with his repeated question of “Why can’t we just admit it?”.

Not only is song thought-provoking, but the musical structure is superb. It opens with an infectious arpeggiated riff before becoming a solid head-banger. The song takes you on quite a journey that includes a stellar, extended interlude. Seven minutes later, you realize that you just listened to a masterpiece.

Thanks for the contribution Tommy D. So there you have it, four masterpieces in modern music. Please share your thoughts. Again, Tommy D hosts his own blog about cinema that you can visit here.

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