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Last Active 10-18-18 6:32 pm
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TOM VERLAINE: Don't you forget us #17

Seventeenth instalment in my forgotten/dismissed/underappreciated Post-Punk (and all of its subgenres) bands list series: The one who made Television a thing and the one who made it plummet into the ground as well. Tom Verlaine had a whole solo career people tend to forget about (or choose to ignore, in order to avoid experiencing the same thing he did to Television, but what do I know).
9Tom Verlaine
Flash Light


Flash Light is an odd precedent. For the first time in Tom's solo discography, he went away from the hurtful stylistic changes that were drowning his previous albums and decided to go back to basics, but ended up sounding more tepid. That is because this album is about the least convincing and encouraging song-writing display of all of Tom's albums. Everything on here is near-forgettable, which isn't true even with Television's lowest moments.

Go-to tracks: Song, Annie's Tellin' Me
8Tom Verlaine
Warm and Cool


Here and now it is official: Tom Verlaine has gone mad. Or maybe he hasn't and this exercise in atmospheric, guitar caressing sort-of-jazz-like...something... is actually intentional. Probably so, but ill-advised. Either way, Tom has come forth with his most experimental album to date. Experimental in being so subtle and vague that you can't even really classify it to any one genre, much less liken it to any of his previous work.

Go-to tracks: i dunno, it all feels like one long track-like thing
7Tom Verlaine
Around


Copy+paste what I said about Warm and Cool, please and thank you.

Go-to tracks: Rain Sidewalk, Flame, A Burned Letter, Rings
6Tom Verlaine
Cover


An album that is fairly underwhelming all-in-all, but at least holds its ground in being typically Verlaine. While a similar tactic of overlong and not fully developed songs like on Flash Light was implemented, everything on Cover has that oddly distressed atmosphere to it that just adds a sprinkle of zaniness charm to eveything. So have points for that, album!

Go-to tracks: Travelling, Miss Emily, Rotation
5Tom Verlaine
The Wonder


What to call this album? Partially among his most overlooked efforts, and partially among his most critiqued. So do I call it an underrated album, because of the lacking reception? But the reception it had was dismal. So underwhelming then? Well, the reception was still not all that grand to warrant an under-/over- whelming status. It's just kind of awkwardly in the middle, not pretending it can ever reach the top, but not scraping the bottom of the barrell either.

Go-to tracks: August, Stalingrad, Pillow, Cooleridge
4Tom Verlaine
Words from the Front


Words From the Front is an album similar to any other Tom's work, in that it uses a lot of similar song-writing techniques, his vocals are still of the same nasally quality and the tangly guitar work still does charm my soul, but where this album went wrong is in individual song lengths. Tom here attempts to make each song slightly longer and stretch out the melodies, which actually exposes his writing as vulnerable not just in style, but also in its strength, because the longer tracks each end up as most tedious. Nothing much happens in them, but they keep on going and going, resulting in a rather tiringexperience.

Go-to tracks: Postcard from Waterloo, True Story, Coming Apart
3Tom Verlaine
Tom Verlaine


Tom's solo debut had much of the same flare that followed Television's first album Marquee Moon. Nevertheless, this self titled album, while with cover certainly seeming like a new wave disco rip-off, feels a little chaotic and jerky in its approach to guitar work, lacking thatMarquee Moon smoothness and care. That is odd, because from the genre perspective, this album feels much less punk-oriented (guess the absence of other members' influence is strongly felt).

Go-to tracks: The Grip of Love, Kingdom Come, Flash Lightning, Red Leaves, Breakin' My Heart
2Tom Verlaine
Dreamtime


I find it quite difficult to determine the "best" album in Tom's solo discography, because having a handful of albums (even if two) so similar in quality, song quantity and song memorability just kind of puts them all into one flat row next to one another. So let's say that the best of that row is the one that jumps around stylistically the least and is more appropriately timed to be satisfying enough, but also not overstaying its welcome. Here you have it, Dreamtime.

Go-to tracks: There's a Reason, Always, The Blue Robe, A Future in Noise, Mary Marie
1Tom Verlaine
Songs and Other Things


This is the point in any musician's career, when he either blindly and naively pursues all the same ideas that got him here, but are far from relevant now; or on the other hand, this mght also be the point, where the musician matures and realises that he is a well-established persona and it's okay to delve into other directions almost 40 years into his career. That is not to say that Tom hasn't been delving into the unconventional side before. It's just that that unconventional side has always been rather a directionless attempt at being artsy and not really providing anything of substance (looking at you, Around and Warm and Cool). Now, previously I mentioned that it is difficult to figure out what could qualify as his "best" work, so be it this. The most straighforward guitar-driven, mostly singer-songwriter kind of stuff, but still with a drop of that good old swagger.

Go-to tracks: Orbit, Blue Light, The Earth Is In the Sky, Lovebird Asylum Seeker, All Weirded Out, The Day On You
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