9 Songs, 36 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Tom Verlaine’s 1979 debut solo album after the (first) breakup of New York’s art-pop torchbearers Television finds the frontman/guitarist embracing the sort of concise songwriting that Television had explored on the previous year’s Adventure. So this album is likely close to what Television's third album might’ve sounded like. In fact, the opener, “The Grip of Love,” is a fully realized unreleased Television song. It features Verlaine’s jagged guitar counterpointing his equally jagged (yet oddly appealing) vocals until both seamlessly resolve on the chorus. One of Verlaine’s songwriterly gifts is his ability to create glacier-sized choruses that unexpectedly rise and hit hard; just listen to the majestic “Kingdom Come” (beautifully covered by David Bowie on 1980’s Scary Monsters), “Souvenir from a Dream,” and the popping “Red Leaves.” Lyrically, Verlaine is a master at nailing cockeyed insights (“Everywhere you go/You make the right mistake”). His guitar playing is both raw and refined, and underrated as always. Television’s Fred Smith plays bass here, and a young Bob Clearmountain (Bruce Springsteen, Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi) did the final mix.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Tom Verlaine’s 1979 debut solo album after the (first) breakup of New York’s art-pop torchbearers Television finds the frontman/guitarist embracing the sort of concise songwriting that Television had explored on the previous year’s Adventure. So this album is likely close to what Television's third album might’ve sounded like. In fact, the opener, “The Grip of Love,” is a fully realized unreleased Television song. It features Verlaine’s jagged guitar counterpointing his equally jagged (yet oddly appealing) vocals until both seamlessly resolve on the chorus. One of Verlaine’s songwriterly gifts is his ability to create glacier-sized choruses that unexpectedly rise and hit hard; just listen to the majestic “Kingdom Come” (beautifully covered by David Bowie on 1980’s Scary Monsters), “Souvenir from a Dream,” and the popping “Red Leaves.” Lyrically, Verlaine is a master at nailing cockeyed insights (“Everywhere you go/You make the right mistake”). His guitar playing is both raw and refined, and underrated as always. Television’s Fred Smith plays bass here, and a young Bob Clearmountain (Bruce Springsteen, Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi) did the final mix.

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