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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

British Rock - The Verve's most overlooked gems (top 34)

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      Why listen to The Verve?! Listen because their despondent alternative rock songs contain raw energy-freeing you from life's constant struggle. While listening to the music you will quit trying to be happy, have the relationships work, and stop worrying about death. You will become free. The Verve's career, which contains many forgotten gems, stems from 1991 and lasts through 2008. Each of these years, the verve have had a distinct sound. The sound you need to feel strong in your current difficult time is here.
Richard Ashcroft with long hair and a cigarette standing next to a car. Band the Verve's A Storm In Heaven album artwork
A Storm In Heaven Album Artwork

       The Verve's alternative rock b-sides are more exploratory than their famous songs. Discovering B-sides from A Northern Soul and Forth, from unreleased demos and singles is like exploring and endless network of caves. It's our hope the verve reunite to fill our cup with more alternative rock jewels. In the course of writing this review, I listened to over 83 rare songs The Verve created outside of the Urban Hymns and A Storm In Heaven eras1. I present to you the most melodic and / or most rocking 34 songs, which will sustain your attention and excitement. Click on the blue links or embedded videos to listen as you read; read one random song at a time if you wish.

'91 Unreleased Demos 
The Higher I Go 
Buried in a batch of unreleased songs lies The Higher I Go. A song with a steady pop beat and front-and-center vocals. The jangly guitars add to the pop rock feel. For more information about this song and the other demos check out this excellent resource on the Verve: http://www.thevervelive.com/2010/05/higher-i-go.html 2.

Open Your eyes it's Worth It 
The 1991 alternative rock music scene is special. Creative bands like The Verve also have made their mark in this time frame. However, they put gems on the cutting floor, never to be released. The Verve spearhead Open Your Eyes (It's Worth It) with vocals but Nick McCabe is amazing and unforgettable on guitar.

All In The Mind comes out to the world as a single.

 This song is filled with excellent guitar riffs. The song's video accentuate these guitar riffs with appropriate imagery. The video's scenes also attest the singer's narration. The Verve members are in a titty bar which corresponds to the song's themes of madly burning mad love and lust. However, the madness or passion is all in his mind. Then the music slows, you don't know what's coming next. What can you expect with the Verve? Who knows. The consistent mysteriousness of their lyrics keeps you guessing; is Is he talking about a relationship or exploits with hookers? Probably a relationship. The song finishes mysteriously as Richard wears a wig and makeup.


The alternative rock music continues to drive the song as it crescendos during the musical solo. At times the vocals raise the level of your emotion. Lyrics like:

I was born to fly, pretty high
refers to reaching limitless possibilities. This song is well known in the UK, but not often heard in the United States. Not surprising, considering most United State souls only listen to what is on the radio or television.

Later that year, the Verve release an EP with great singles: A Man Called Sun, Feel, Endless Life, and She's A Superstar.

The Verve EP
A Man Called Sun
The beginning of A Man Called Sun sounds like a truck waiting behind the delivery dock to be unloaded. The music continues with beautiful choruses, beautiful verses, and beautiful mystifying meanings. Overall, a beautiful psychotropic song.
Clock on a beach. Sunrise. Band The Verve's song A Man Called Sun Single Artwork
A Man  Called Sun Single Artwork
 The song is a bit repetitive until a musical solo amplifies the Verve's rhythm section (bassist Simon Jones and drummer Pete Salisbury). This rhythm music brings a relaxing experience to the listener. An experience you've never had. meanings. Overall, a beautiful psychotropic song. The song is a bit repetitive until a musical solo amplifies the Verve's rhythm section (bassist Simon Jones and drummer Pete Salisbury). This rhythm music brings a relaxing experience to the listener. An experience you've never had.

She's A Superstar
She's A Superstar sounds different than the verve's other songs in '92. The difference is immediately found through Nick McCabe's guitar. In addition, Simon Jones unique sounding bass bounces in your ear. Furthermore, Ashcroft's lyrics are deeper than most songs, but he lets' the Verve's kaleidoscopic sound take you away to your happy place. This happy place is a result of a unique musical rhythm, most highlighted at 2:30, where you become hypnotized. Later, the rhythm section and vocals take over with triumphant sounds. These four celebrating musicians sound like an orchaestra. This rock song sounds alternative, complex, and is a long trippy experience for the listener!

She's A Superstar has unexpected twists and turns like a good roller coaster, you never know when another thrilling drop is coming. The Verve continue to play new sounds until the song ends. However, they do repeat the best parts of the song. As the song comes to a close you realize you are on top of your problems, thoughts of troublesome relationships and endless days of getting nowhere fade fast. The mellow guitar and urban sounds continue, after this new, exciting and epic experience you are simply left -muddling through your thoughts.

Feel
You want to experience this gentle mind-expanding song. The Verve have an unmatched musical beat with out-of-this-world singing. If good music is your cause, this is it! You heal as you listen because the song sounds similar throughout, requiring little brain effort.

Endless Life
Let the healing last forever with this song's sound and imagery.

Endless Life has great unprecedented hallucinatory alternative rock sounds you didn't think standard rock equipment can make. Nick McCabe leads the way in making the instruments not sound like instruments. His goal is to make the guitar sound like a synthetizer and non-guitar-like.3
If you look closely to the song's lyrics you will be blown away by emotional depth and meaning. The lyrical idea of everlasting life is nothing earth-shatteringly new, but the message has never been delivered like this. Follow the lyrics to enjoy this rare song.

'93
Voyager
is an extremely rare, live bootleg (fan recording of a show) of a 1993 Verve concert. The concert features one unreleased track: South Pacific.

South Pacific
South Pacific sounds much better on stereo than on a lap top computer. Music buffs know this; however average slugs like me experience these songs from my laptop. When I play video games and sometimes even read. Good times. I urge you to listen to these songs as you read! Blast this song, shatter your windows, and let me know what explanation you give to the cops for the noise violation call. Freedom from society is the vibe making this song fun. Most times in society you can't say things like,

South Pacific is where I'm gonna end my days
Gonna die under a wave

Freely talking about death and not caring what people say is liberating and what alternative rock is about. Haven't you had enough of people's tiring games? I have. And nothing is off topic on this blog, no rules exist, just enjoy the melancholic yet fun music. This song is usually one of the last delights Verve fans discover.

'93
A Storm In Heaven
A complete album with singles this Blue and Slide Away. Here I describe Verve A Storm In Heaven.

'94
No Come Down is a compilation album of verve b-sides through a Storm in Heaven. The compilation includes some underrated classics including One Way to Go and a longer, live performance of Gravity Grave than on The Verve EP.

One Way to Go has an amazing guitar or bass riff. The instruments gradually join the song.

The lyrics are so relaxing because they follow good poetic meters and tempos. This makes for effortless listening. Richard's singing concludes each line with a slow tempo; thus creating a peaceful atmosphere. And the space between each verse gives quiet strength to the listener. So, quit trying so hard to master your emotions. Instead, just let go of them.

Gravity Grave appears on both No Come Down and The Verve EP. The version of Gravity Grave on No Come Down is the better, and longer extended version.

Apparently the song is about drugs 4 but I would love to hear Richard Ashcroft weigh in on its meaning. The song gives you an out-of-this world experience. Leave popular norms, continue deeper into The Verve's musical cave.

The slow vocal tempo relaxes you, while the intense alternative rock music pumps you up. You end up in a maniacal trance, tuned into the strong bass lines, echoing guitar riffs, and a soft and steady drum beat. Respond to this beat, let the music take you to a place you've never been.

'94
Mover
This song has an non-relaxing steady beat. The lyrics to this unreleased song bring intense darkness:
"I can't sleep at night, I'm a mover"
Sleeplessness is one of the most depressing and sickly things a person experiences. This song describes the darkest conditions - war. The song then takes this negative energy and delivers a dsyphoric state of mind which comforts sleepless listeners. You are brought to a higher gear, and your social inhibitions disappear; like the soldier you do anything to survive the impending crisis.

'95 Album
A Northern Soul
Summary
A Northern Soul features some great songs that create a unique listening experience. The Verve deliberately produce a blurry alternative rock sound led by Nick McCabe's guitar.

Richard brings madness to the album, the lyrics reflect this. The singing is easily audible over the music. The Verve's madness even infected producer Owen Morris who had a nervous breakdown during the recording. Owen Morris threw a chair through a window. The Verve did acid during the recording.5

A Northern Soul has a scary looking album cover haha. The title track is different than anything you have heard. The dance beat comes from a heavy use of the wah wah pedal. The Verve guitarist Nick McCabe implies it's more important to get the desired sound even if means playing the guitar unconventionally or using keyboards. He believes this doesn't make anyone less of a musician.3

The theme of absolute madness runs through the song's lyrics. The murky sound, which is not poor production as commonly thought, mirrors the drug-fueled insanity, Richard's relational heartbreaks and Owen Morris's nervous breakdown.5 Can you handle the madness of this song?

On Your Own

The ringing acoustic guitar melts your heart with wonderful sadness. The lyrics do the same:
Tell Me It's True
that I need you. . .
lies .....
got to get rid of this hole inside
The noose hanging from the tree in the foggy night in the video indicates suicide. This stems from love's heartache. The lack of acknowledgment the singer feels reveals his loneliness. Embracing these feelings when listening to this song brings you healing.

This is one of the best live versions of any alternative rock songs you will ever hear.

This Is Music
A classic rock song with a heavy guitar riffs and great singing. The lyrics aren't impressive but the guitar riff is! The rhythm guitar has a watery sound that melts in your ear. Perhaps a guitar solo would have made the song better. However, because of the mixing where music and vocals are the same volume you can isolate one instrument's sound; whether guitar, bass, drums or vocals.

Although the music video at the end has Richard fall off the building, I'm sure there was a mat, no worries. Don't you miss out on This is Music.

A New Decade
Blast this on the stereo! A great watery powerful guitar sound SCREAMS with the singing of compelling lyrics.
Overall, this pleasurable song is contemporary to listen 20 years later. Dust off this song in this new decade.

History
Ashcroft based his melody from William Blake's poem London. Many of History's lines commence with "In every ... "6
In total, it is Richard expressing his caring thoughts towards his lover that he hopes will understand him.

Enjoy this highly emotional music video:

But keep in mind the album version has an additional 1 minute 28 seconds of great music than this video.
At the end it is so emotionally intensive.
"But the bed ain't made" "It's filled full of hope" "I've got a skin full of dope" So emotional in fact, that History delivers in an unforgettable and current way in the minds of today's listeners.

No Knock on My Door
Immediately the LOUD guitar chords bring somberness. Discover Richard's compelling romantic story and feel adrenaline in your veins. This reaction in inexplicable but listen and you will understand my point. You feel a fun combination wretchedness and pure relaxation. Ashcroft's passionate singing with a sincere message brings you to reflect aimlessly on your life. The guitar chords ricochet to bring never-ending somberness. No Knock On My Door continues with a rare guitar solo from the verve, featuring a full wall of dusky sound.

When Richard sings,
Im Shaking you realize everything is shaking: you, Ashcroft's voice, and the guitar chords continually quiver in this new experience.

Stormy Clouds
Exactly as the first lines indicate, you want to listen to a story:
I wanted to tell you my story
of how my life seemed to change in a matter of days

You desire to lean back and absorb this musical anecdote.
You probably will get the album after reading this and subsequently hear the album version. So rather than giving you a low quality youtube upload I present an interview with Simon Jones and a live performance of Stormy Clouds. The Verve bassist describes the 1997 tour as Neon Wilderness from the album Urban Hymns plays in the background. Here is that live version:

Bands like the Verve, that play almost exactly like the album version are great live bands. However, Nick McCabe is an uncommon talent in the alternative rock genre, because he would play variations during each live show. He never moves around because he is focusing on his equipment's sounds.3 Similarly, Ashcroft spontaneously injects analogous emotions into each live song.

When I was having a nervous breakdown in college because I couldn't balance sports, academics and a social life and subsequently couldn't sleep this song was able to sooth me into sleep. Knowing that lack of sleep caused me injuries and made things worse I would be in a terrible panic when I suffered insomnia before a big day. But by embracing the superior craziness of Stormy Clouds I am able to relax, and at least get a few hours of sleep. You are guaranteed to have a similar experience with this song. Travel through the pain:

I'm tearing up inside
Don't be scared, come on inside
She brings the rain, these new horizons
See through the pain
Stormy clouds

Not many songs are more powerful or lesser known.

So It Goes
This song relaxes you with a slow tempo. The laid back guitar riff is not all that easy to
play but the verve play flawlessly. The lead guitarist takes on rhythm guitarist duties and creates a variety of melodies. Never do you feel, the verve members are trying to show off.
The Verve like to jam to get their amazing rhythms and this song was no different. McCabe was a fan of these sessions, in part because of the acid and ecstasy that was done. McCabe referred to the recording of A Northern Sould as one of the happiest times in his life. However, the song is thematic of a broken relationship - the dark lyrics:
I'm just a poor little wifeless fella Another drink and I won't miss her
lead you to mixed emotions. So It Goes becomes a solid listening exploit.

Reprise
Reprise may be the greatest piece of alternative rock music you will ever hear. Verve drummer Pete salisbury and guitarist Nick McCabe thought the album contained some of the best music ever made. Psyche yourself up and listen to the song in one take and discover how the song starts great and becomes increasingly magnificent.

The song is comprised of bass and drums with a strong, steady catchy beat. Nick McCabe leads the group, playing with controlled madness while being the main connoisseur of the variation in sound.
This sound definitely takes you somewhere, like in a video game the longer you collect jewels or money the greater the result, well, with the longer this song is great the more colossal its value. When I hear good hard rock music I want the song to have considerable length. More is better; and it allows you to do other things while enjoying this song in the background.

"That was amazing" Richard proclaims at the end of Reprise, how right he is! It really does sicken me how Justin Bieber was selling out Arenas and was a household name while songs like Reprise go unnoticed.
I highly recommend listening to a rare live version of Reprise. I just reviewed an album, A Northern Soul, that is unknown in America, but is definitely worth hearing and buying now :)



Now we enter a hidden chamber - the album's forgotten b-sides.

A Northern Soul
b-sides
Let the Damage Begin
Power of a relationship is this song's feeling. These strong emotions can give me comfort over any relationship heartache. Maybe they can for you too. This song describes a good relationship, and we all understand the sexual innuendo of "damage". haha
Musically, I love the harmonious rock sound, vocals and music fit perfectly together. B-sides are typically discarded for a reason, but the Verve created b-sides to have quality tracks in support of their singles, which is how music is sold in the UK. There is nothing second rate about Let The Damage Begin.

I see the door
One of the most beautiful, emotional songs you will ever hear. This song grips your soul and never lets go. In an odd way you will receive strength from the song's lovely sadness and brilliant words. We are dealing with deep forces of personality. The song's beautiful acoustic guitars add to the feeling of a vulnerable person emptying their soul. Indeed, the guitars tug your heart strings. Musically the drums stand out, while the bass and guitar are solid.
Richard is a true poet and knows how to keep the same length and meter to each line. He extends notes or shortens words to fit this perfect rhythm. I recommend headphones for the full experience. I like the art for this b-side, so I recommend this video:
Scared that you don't want me there, my love
This song explores and exorcises your emotions, listen and free yourself. The verve did so well to architect this song both poetically and musically, why would they hide it? You would have to ask Richard I guess. It's inexplicable this was not on an album. Equally puzzling is the fact that no b-side compilation album for music after No Come Down was made. Who is their manager?! Verve manager, can you explain the decision to not more heavily advertise the Verve On Your Own single in the United States?

Back on my feet again
A slower intensity song that allows you to take a breath. Back On My Feet Again uses electric guitars that are played softly. Chill
out to the slow tempo of the music and vocals.
The chorus: Back on My feet again . . . crescendos into greatness. To fully understand the Verve's energy one must experience the thrill of being in love. Something I should try to give me the excitement I crave.
This music is enlightening without being preachy. Ashcroft is arrogant for the sake of his music as one article 7 puts it, but he is not a pompous douchebag like Bono.

A Northern Soul has some great tracks. Forth also does well, containing great album tracks and b-sides. It's a crime against humanity these songs are not more publicized. My friend Matt often wondered this, relying on me to find their hidden songs on the internet. I did find concert bootlegs and the great songs listed here.

In 1997, The Verve achieved mainstream popularity with Urban Hymns. But I am focusing on their lesser known but still amazing songs. In 2008, The Verve make a comeback 8.

2008
Forth

Sit and Wonder
Sit and Wonder has a heavy atmosphere musically and vocally.
McCabe has plenty of space in the song to explore his atmospheric guitar. To hear this song in less compressed, high definition sound, listen in surround sound or on a C.D. Simon Jones bass reverbs as Ashcroft's singing flows beautifully. However, his lyrics are heavy:
The demons in my mind
these lyrics describe depression or mental illness, and the feeling of being trapped in sin.

Forth was the verve's first record in over a decade and was a highly anticipated album; Sit and Wonder was one of the first songs released and brought much buzz. I greatly enjoyed this initial release.

Sit and Wonder was originally an 85 minute jam condensed to a 7 minute alternative rock / pop song.9 If you are excited by music that is both unique and is true rock and roll then you will find this song simply glorious.
Rather Be

Rather Be is enjoyable. The song's main pillar is uncomplicated music, the verve brilliantly compose a fun vocal melody over this music. Rather Be was released before Forth came out and was part of the album's exciting anticipation. I listened and I liked what I heard. This uncommon, quality music is so enjoyable it relieves headaches. But don't expect to hear this on the radio.
The music video is laughable as Richard walks alone through a forest. Where is the band? Were they sick on filming day?

Judas
Judas is based on Richard Ashcroft's social experiment. Richard is a fun guy to think of doing such a spontaneous and public social experiment. Ashcroft was in a New York Starbucks and used Judas as the name for his order. People were shocked when his order was called. The result of Ashcroft's experiment is that even today this infamously historical name brings social castration.10
This song is psychedelic like Catching The Butterfly from Urban Hymns. Nick McCabe is proud of his guitar work in that song and probably is on Judas as well.3
The Verve have fantastic teamwork in Judas; Ashcroft lets the band play without dominating the song with his vocals. While the band plays to accompany his vocals. And Nick McCabe plays beautiful guitar over it. Finally, the result is a smooth exploratory song. Judas is such a relaxing tune, it's perfect to listen while driving the highway at night time, as the rain slides down your windshield. Enjoy this colorful song you probably haven't perceived yet.

Valium Skies
Get some Valium and listen to this mellow alternative rock tune. The guitar sounds like cotton candy. In addition, the emotions are very sad. I suggest you let go of your emotions, quit trying so hard to

Nick McCabe reposing Valium Skies
be happy, but relax like you never have before. This song is about a partner that unconditionally supports you.
Forth is an overlooked album. Two in depth interviews transport excitement for this album. Part one of the interview. Part two of the Forth Interview. The Verve really expressed themselves in these "reflections of darkness" interviews. But a link no longer exists.

Appalachian Springs
This song is so enjoyable and detail oriented, it's not surprising Richard Ashcroft spent a decade toiling over its merits. Ashcroft sings perfectly with resonating musical beats. No patch in the world can stop you from listening. Your good mood will rise as the song crescendos around 2:50 with the transcendent ahs because this is a Verve musical solo. Nick McCabe describes this song with its uncontrollable surging of energy, as quintessential Verve. 10 The Verve members are each in fifth gear.

As before, I chose a video featuring the artwork from the verve album the song originates.
But what does the song mean? Richard describes not recognizing yourself in the mirror after an all nighter. But he ultimately leaves the listener to interpret the song for herself. Nick McCabe's praise of this track speaks high volumes. After festering in Ashcroft's mind for a decade you can hear Appalachian Springs.

'08
Blue Pacific Ocean
Perhaps one of the funnest songs; never to be released! Ashcroft and McCabe shine over the rhythm section, comprised of Pete Salisbury (drums) and Simon Jones (bass). Simon Jone's bass alone is quite cool, but Ashcroft shows his range going from his usual voice to a very deep older sounding voice during one of the bridges of the song. The lyrics have pleasant imagery which the home made music video matches.

Major Force
Major Force has a truly great rhythm. Verve bassist Simon ones stars in this song as Richard's Na na na floats above the music. What's not to like about the interesting background vocals and catchy beat? Around 2:50 the guitars uncivilize. Major Force changes your psychological environment.

The nature of great British rock bands like The Verve is to quickly produce experimental b-side songs that immediately support their singles. Sometimes working instinctively leads to superior work. Unfortunately, people seldom hear these awesome b-sides.

All Night Long
All Night Long builds slowly into feelings of nostalgia on a peaceful Sunday morning. Simon Jones leads the song as Nick McCabe reaches his crest through tinkering on his guitar. Richard's regretful tone in his singing is incredibly moving. The sad sounding chords accompany this deep, beautiful and soulful singing.

Ashcroft pleads:
And If God can't give me grace
God can forgive me Oh Lord
Oh Jesus forgive me
Ashcroft has had a dramatic spiritual change from his nothingness lifestyle from A Northern Soul era. In 2000, he shows different sides of life, and hope in his debut solo album Alone with Everybody. 11, 12 This sentiment continues into 2008's Forth.

Ashcroft mentions negatively Jesus in This is Music, but in All Night Long he sincerely asks forgiveness from Jesus. What's the point? Without fear, Ashcroft always sings whatever is true to his heart at the time, his words and music comes alive in relevance. Listen today, and you will be fully impacted.

Unreleased Demos
Oh Sister Demo
The guitar brings an interesting vibe and perspective. Also the fast singing and tempo add to the vibe. I really like when Ashcroft's swears because it gives the song a bad-ass vibe. This very light-hearted song gives off the rebellious and exciting vibe. Again, a shame it wasn't made into more. Why do bands like The Verve throw away and not fully pursue songs like Oh Sister?

C'mon We're Making It Now
This song saw exposure as an Ashcroft solo track, but was rarely heard by The Verve. C'mon People We're Making it Now is one of many rare Verve tracks youtube user shoegaze76 features on his channel.
The Verve's version is extremely different from Ashcroft's solo version because of its raw guitar and laid-back energy. Not easy listening but far more original than any American Idol song.
I have said it before: If you are looking for Urban Hymns 2, listen to Richard Ashcroft's solo album Alone with Everybody. However, Forth is a group effort that features the Verve's signature mind altering sound. The band mates were pleased that Appalachian Springs is quintessential Verve10.

New Verve gems can continually be discovered on Youtube.
The Verve Change My Life
Enjoy a verve festival and let me know of more great rare verve tracks you come across.
Change My Life - an unreleased track (recorded between 1990-1993) with a catchy guitar riff. It's a shame Ashcroft couldn't agree with McCabe, and release and market more of the verve's guitar oriented songs. The other verve members do compliment McCabe brilliantly in this song. This is alternative rock at its finest!

A blight on the music industry is that Change My Life was never released. Hearing mediocre songs on the radio and low quality youtube versions of Change My Life is tiring. The unforgettable drums and guitar bring across cool energy. The energy you feel informally jogging, walking on a warm summer night with a breeze. The kind of night where you check out the waves. Again, it's a wart on the music world this song wasn't released.

Ending
The Verve came up with some awesome space-rock singles from 1992 to 1994. In my previous article, I discuss the A Storm in Heaven era (1993). In 1995 The Verve produced A Northern Soul, including its great b-sides. I highlight individual tracks but there are more verve gems to investigate. In 1997 The Verve wrote Urban Hymns, in this article I cover that era. In 2008, a reunified The Verve cultivate the music of Forth. Blue Pacific ocean is just one amazing song to come from the Forth era. Last call to readers: tell me the overlooked music (unreleased tracks, singles, albums, b-sides) that fascinates you. Look for Richard Ashcroft's solo projects, and Nick McCabe and Simon Jones' project Black Submarine13. That is where the magic resides. Thank you!

And for the best listening experience remember to use Ncredible NTunes. The awesome sound of the NCredible NTunes is available at WIRELESSWAVE stores across Canada For a limited time they're Free with the activation of select handsets on the Rogers network. so come on down and check them out!

Credits
Focus on the 74 sources that comprise my piece. On these sites, use the site navigation to find what you are looking for. Thanks again, happy listening! message me for these sources.