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 December 12, 2003
Marquee Moon is simply one of the 10 best hipster
records ever made. Mike, the owner of Subterranean
records in NYC, puts it squarely at #1. Every single song
on this record is stellar. It is Passionate, explorative,
and firmly on its own unique course. It is rich in
flavor, and defys deconstruction. Due to its quirky
uniqueness, this album is an acquired taste. Like a
sushi orgasm, or LSD. Several people that I have turned
on to this record, were unimpressed at first, only to
fall in love with it later. If you like the same old common,
derivative, unimaginative, over-produced, superstar crap,
then this record is not for you. The cadence of the guitar
lines in Venus De Milo are so beautiful, they will give you
chills. In the crescendo of the title track, Verlaine makes
his guitar sound like sea gulls. Elevation is taught, edgy,
and dripping with as much mood as a song can possibly be made
to hold. Some people do not respond to the herky-jerkiness
of Verlaines vocals, but they are well suited to the material.
The album has a bit of european flavor. Actually, one has to
describe this album in broad strokes, because there is no
artist that make sense to compare them to. Television blaze
their own trail. Marquee Moon is honestly and truly a classic
masterpiece, Television's jewel. The albums Adventure (2nd
release), Television (3rd release), and several Verlaine solo
albums, all have their moments, with an occasional great song,
but they all seriously pale to Marquee Moon. It deserves a place
in any desert island list. The true test, is that this record
is as relevant and effecting today, as it was in 77. One of
my fondest memories is having seen Television and Talking Heads
on the same bill at CBGB'S, a storm of epic proportions. Helpful
note: On first listen, do not play this record as background
music. Open your mind, relax, square off with your stereo, and
enjoy the swirls of passion, subtlety, vivid color, and
otherwise, ENJOY THE RIDE!
All Good Things,
on November 29, 2003
I've been hearing about this album for ages and have purchased it 3 times over the last 15 years, each time with the thought that I must be missing something as it's always so highly praised by everyone. With the reissue I figured it will sound glorious and maybe I'll finally get it.... well I still don't, the songs are still mediocre and really the guitar interplay is not the the holy grail of rock n roll like people cite it as... interesting yes, but not this incredible thing everyone has made it out to be. I also disagree with everyone's opinion about the additional material ruining the integrity of the original concept etc. that' just a load, it's a cd for crying out loud, you can program it to stop when you want it to. My opinion on the "untitled instrumental" is that it's probably the best thing on here showing a more surf music side to the band and it actually almost has a melody which most of the original album lacks in my opinion. One interesting thing I noticed after recently purchasing the reissue of Crocodiles by Echo & The Bunnymen just after listening to the Television reissue is that The Bunnymen were definately influenced by Television, you can here it in the straining vocal and the guitar interplay between Ian McCulloch and Will Sargent, it may not be as fancy to you guitar geeks but the interplay and choice of notes etc. is much more satisfying in my opinion, so if you want GREAT songs cool punked up attitude mixed with some psych influences purchase the remastered version of Crocodiles instead of Marquee Moon... oh yeah and it has loads more bonus material, and yes Amazon sells this as an import to... I'll go dodge the hail of bullets now. Cheers!