30/12/2020: “Marquee Moon” by Television

In the 70s, the golden age of classic rock, you could do a 10 minute song and not raise too many eyebrows.

If the Arctic Monkeys or another modern rock band made a habit of releasing 10 minute tracks, they’d probably be panned as grandiose and prententious – times have changed.

But, key in the 70s as now, is having enough coherent material to fill the time convincingly. That’s what sets the epics from the slogs.

Funnily enough, the wider album, Marquee Moon, released 1977, is often cited as a seminal post-punk work. But to me, this song is more like prog rock. Certainly, the band were musically trained to degrees the average punk outfit would spit at!

Lyrically, I can’t understand what he’s saying. Don’t care really, as the guitar is what gives the song its flavour.

There’s catchy pop riffs, sprawling solos, sly hooks. The particular ‘step’ of the bassline makes the song almost danceable, rare for an undertaking of this kind…

The band sparked reams of florid critical praise for the album, but for me, this is the standout track.

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