on December 30, 2003
To me, a classic album is one in which I can return to time and again and rediscover the joy and excitement I found in it the first time I played it. This is true with Television's 1977 masterpiece MARQUEE MOON. In addition, the bonus material adds over 30 minutes of music to the original release. The most significant being the inclusion of their 1975 independently released single "Little Johhny Jewel," a 7-minute song originally spread out over two sides of the original 45, now spliced together as a single track. The other bonus tracks are alternate versions of "See No Evil," "Friction" and "Marquee Moon," along with an untitled instrumental. Like the Velvet Underground, Television never sold many records, but their influence is significant. ESSENTIAL
on September 15, 2006
Marquee Moon was rated the #2 most oustanding/influential debuts by Q magazine and definitely deserves the title.
Television's music has the excitement and energy of the punk generation, but unlike most of their contempoaries (other regulars at CBGB's such as the Ramones and the New York Dolls), this band has technique and talent (gasp, yes).
Tom Verlaine is truly gifted in both songwriting and guitar playing. His lyrics are like triple entendres and thought-rovoking. Every note of his intricate guitar solos add to the song, never ostentatious.
The other members are no less adept in their respective instruments; Richard Lloyd is as much responsible as Verlaine for the record's beautiful entwining guitar passages. Fred Smith and Billy Ficca make up the rythm section, both very solid and fluid musicians.
Marquee Moon was worth every penny of the [...] i spent and more. Tom Verlaine's strange voice and the lengthy guitar solos may not be to everyone's taste, i agree, but personally i cannot imagine anyone not being blown away by the amazingness of this album. I listen to and love many bands, from the smiths to sonic youth to the beatles, but i have never been as captured by a sigle album as this one.
on May 8, 2004
So what are you looking for in this review? An affirmation of this band's place in history? I'm sorry, I cannot offer that. For you see, this band will be forgotten. When the mists of history come sweeping down, Television will be forgotten, but the Clash and the Sex Pistols will be remembered. But, for those who were ever still, sitting in silence with headphones wrapping them up, protecting them when Tom Verlaine's second solo in Marquee Moon hit... well, you know. His fingers needling those aluminum strings might as well as been plucking your heartstrings. This I know. I have never heard a guitar express sorrow such as this. Such furious, raging, flamboyant sorrow. Tom's playing on this album is ghost-like, otherwordly. His fingers are aliens transplanted from a world drowned by feeling. Cities under oceans of emotion. Richard Lloyd, Fred Smith, Billy Ficca are not background players here. They create the fabric of the dream, Tom's guitar couldn't play in the clouds if these three men didn't send him there with a beautiful rocket up his ass. Need proof? Listen to Television, then listen to Tom's solo albums. The music on this album is something, if given time, precious time, will in Oscar William's words, immortally wound you. It will stay in the folds of your heart until you're old, and the opening chords to Friction still give your crippled ass a januty step. The feeling and conveyance of sweet dread in Elevation will stick to the bottom of your feet forever. Prove It's rambling nature being saved by an insane solo will stir in you a belief of redemption. Torn Curtain's dark emotional melodrama will send you seeking scenes of your life in the stars. Every track here tells a ragged story of glory. Like Joe once shrieked, love and glory all becomes another story, but the question, will you.... listen to this story? If the Ramones were a beautiful drunken girl with huge (...) reading Dr. Seuess in a lovely voice, then Television was a Doestievski lookalike high on opium reading in a jittery voice some ancient text whose words, though wonderous, are no longer understood.... And, that's all I have to say.
on March 11, 2012
I am in love with this album. When I first heard Television, I hated them, it is definately an aquired taste. I heard See No Evill first and could not take it.. but the more I listened the more I fell in love with this band!
Guitar work in this is amazing, I love the singer more and more each time I hear him! They are not what you would classify as punk, although they emerged from that scene, they are more alternative, because their songs are alot slower and more "intense" than most punk. They sound similar to the Velvet Underground in a way.
The added tracks on this were interesting, they didnt really do anything for the album. I would have liked to just own the non extended version, but you can just not lsiten to the rest if you dont want to! It's interesting to hear other stuff.
All in all, best album I have EVER bought! BUY IT!
on December 11, 2005
I bought this album two weeks ago and I can't stop listening to it...whatever, its not punk, who cares? Even when I'm not listening to it I find the music and the lyrics stay embedded in my brain. I usually hate long drawn out solos but I love the 10 minute Marquee Moon and then the bonus track Little Johnny Jewel. I don't know if I'll ever be able to stop listening to this album.
Television are always mentioned in the same breath as Talking Heads, The Ramones and Blondie because they all used to play at CBGB in New York in the 70s. I own plenty of albums from those other three bands, but Marquee Moon is the one I always return to. For some reason, it's a bit of a cult record. I only really got into it completely around 15 years ago, but I mention it at every opportunity.
What makes Television unique is the guitar interplay between Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd. I'm not a musician, so it's hard to describe some of the sounds. I just know that no other band ever did this.
The lyrics are clever and the musical structure is complex. See No Evil is so accessible that it's almost pop, but pop with a raw edge. It's followed by Venus, which continues in the same vein, if a little darker. Friction kicks in with a cascade of guitar notes, and then starts spiraling into madness. The lyrics fit perfectly, and it's hard not to smile every time I hear "You complain of my dic-tion."
Even if the first three tracks don't capture your interest, it's hard to ignore what comes next. The title track is absolute perfection. Most fans would agree that Marquee Moon is the best song Television ever recorded, and it's even better live. The opening vocals are eerie and set the scene.
"I remember how the darkness doubled"
"I recall, lightning struck itself"
"I was listening, listening to the rain"
"I was hearing, hearing something else"
Make no mistake, this is a song that transports you to another world. Verlaine's vocals are more like David Byrne than a rock artist, but his limitations don't ruin the delivery. If you make it through this list, you'll notice that few of the bands can really sing. I like things a bit messed up. Just when you think the song has weaved its spell and can't possibly do any more, it returns to the opening verse. It absolutely has to be there to make the song feel complete.
Marquee Moon does not contain a weak song. Make sure you buy the remastered version or you'll miss out on Little Johnny Jewel. Television may also have been responsible for the best live album ever recorded, Live at the Old Waldorf.
on March 27, 2004
This has got to be a holy grail record of guitar rock, punk, whatever you want to call it. Makes me wonder why Sgt. Pepper and Revolver are considered so incredibly essential when they are boring and as dull-as-hell when compared to the eccentricities,
god-like guitar parts, and other-worldy songs in Television's Marquee Moon... A Taxman? or A Marquee Moon? I'll take a Marquee Moon any day.
How does a band create such a masterpiece as a debut record? Capital-driven magazines such as New Musical Express won't be so quick to label no-so-masterful debut albums as "masterpieces" after hearing this record. Marquee Moon is a truly rare experience, and no wonder why an R.E.M singer once believed that Tom Verlaine and company were "God" - for the duration of this incredible and rare recording, they really sound like rock gods spilling out new possiblities of what rock music can be. Throw this record into outerspace, ladies and gents, cos it doesn't belong to the forces of gravity. Thank you Television!
on February 27, 2004
My thoughts when I first checked out Marquee Moon? The original version had eight songs. How could a record with eight songs be praised so highly?
Because all of them rock. And as an album, they mesh together remarkably.
Verlaine's vocals are what make, or break, the album for the listener. For many, they can take a bit of an adjustment in musical taste. But the thing is that they're powerful enough to make that happen. On Marquee Moon, he's not a screamer or a whiner. He's a strong, emotional vocalist. Songs like "Friction" and "Elevation" prove the point. He could be singing "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" and many would be glued.
Don't expect the Sex Pistols... the disregard for all authority isn't here. Don't expect The Ramones... Marquee Moon is a more complicated sort of fun. Don't expect The Clash... it's not as outright political. Don't expect the Velvet Underground... though that's getting closer. Television's style is simply their own, and the reason why they're considered "punk" is because they were part of the great New York musical scene of the 70s. Their music requires an attention span, a bit of patience, and an admiration for pure musicianship.
What are the highlights? Listen, and find out for yourself. You may be tempted to say "everything"... which is a good few tracks, even if it's the eight song version.
on January 20, 2004
Unfortunately hampered by the limiting term, "punk," Television often gets lumped with the usual CBGB acts such as Blondie and the Ramones. This is far from a valid grouping, seeing as how Television has far more musical sensibility and prowess than Ramones. I'm not trying to compare apples to oranges here because Television and the Ramones are two absolutely different bands, however, it is necessary to explain in order to differentiate Television from the rest of the bands with whom they inevitably get namedropped.
Marquee Moon is the first Television album, and by far, some of the most beautiful music that has ever graced my ears. The reason for my earlier vehemence against the label, "punk" was because I really don't see any reasons fitting that the group should be called "punk" musically. There is no distortion on the guitars, no sloppy three-chord thrash, and no screamed or shouted vocals. Verlaine's crooning is a perfect compliment to the well-coordinated twin-guitar weaving crafted by the musicians, in fact, Verlaine reminds me a lot of Colin from Wire. I would assume as well, that if you like Wire you would like Television.
Even though I stated that it is my opinion that this is not "punk," it is definitely not conventional rock either. The guitar solos are far from superfluous and are nothing short of jaw-dropping. It's easy to experience a wide range of emotions while listening to this album because it delves into so many areas with its melodies. The drumming is not extremely complicated or overly technical which is perfect for this sort of music.
If you're into art-rock, pre-punk, and the like, I strongly suggest checking out Television, there is very much to be enjoyed with this band.
on January 13, 2004
"Punk", or "not punk"? Who cares? This is a classic rock and roll album in every sense of the word, and shows us just why we love rock music so damn much. Everything within- with the possible exception of "Torn Curtain"- is tightly written, crisp sounding and incredibly cool.
See No Evil jump starts the album with what I consider the coolest intro to any song, ever. Lloyd's guitar comes in jamming one note, and the bass kicks in, and immediately Verlaine wraps his guitar around Lloyd's and they duke it out. Excellent drumming is a bonus. Venus sounds like a classic the minute you hear it, and it is. A graceful riff is adorned by Verlaine's wavery voice.
I can mention here that yes, Verlaine's voice is weakest :technical: performance. Personally, I wouldnt have it any other way- its a great contrast to the ultra tight playing. But some people might be annoyed by it, a lot, so check out the tracks here to see if you are on of those people. I love the voice, and its the most punkish thing going on here.
Friction has that great angular intro, and more excellent, fluid guitar work. This leads directly into the behemoth, the self-titled 10 minute track. Let me just say: this is the shortest 10 minute song I have ever heard. It flows brilliantly. Its structured rather like Free Bird, except without the crazy Southern feel and the solo is infinitely, infinitely better. This is the greatest solo I have ever heard. Technical playing be damned, its abso-friggin-lutely amazing. Musical chops are present but a bonus, and not the main attraction- listening to masturbatory guitar is not my favorite kind of music.
The rest of the album is much quieter, as if realizing the first four tracks have drained us. Elevation, Guiding Light and Prove It are all lovely classic sounding pieces. Torn Curtain is a little too overdramatic, and Verlaine's voice doesn't complement the over-the-top background very well.
Nonetheless, Marquee Moon is a guitar lovers dream album. The record sounds fresh, crisp as an autumn afternoon and it does remind me of the fall. Its an album sparkling with energy but containing it all, and expressing it musically. Get this, now.