BY ABI WHISTANCE
Sometimes words aren’t necessary for something to be a bloody good tune. From the legendary riffs of Frank Zappa to the harsh industrial sound of Throbbing Gristle, an instrumental can be just as soul-satisfying as a lyrical masterpiece.
Throbbing Gristle – 20 Jazz Funk Greats
Contrary to the name, this is definitely not what you’d call a jazz funk great. Notorious for their experimental electronic creations in the midst of the anyone-can-make-a-record-label hype of the seventies, Throbbing Gristle provided an all too cool sound to the relatively detached music scene of Kingston upon Hull, a sound that soon became iconic to the era. Argued to be some of the most influential members of the early industrial scene, their instrumental track 20 Jazz Funk Greats is a pretty good example of the post-punk world circa 1979, demonstrating a newfound ability to make a great track through unadulterated experimentation and noise-making.
The Smiths – Oscillate Wildly
Quintessentially Smiths-like, Oscillate Wildly proves once again that Johnny Marr’s jangly riffs have us all just as hooked from start to finish as Morrissey’s gloomy vocals. A double entendre for the cult 19th century poet Oscar Wilde, this scintillating tune is warm and sprightly; Arguably a rarity for The Smiths, and perhaps due to the lack of Morrissey’s nearly always bleak outlook on life being incorporated. If you’re looking for a quick pick me up, this is it.
The Wedding Present – Scotland
It’s not very often I hear a record that makes me redirect my attention from whatever it is I was doing to the radio exclusively, but this is one of them. Beautifully gut-wrenching, Scotland may well be one of the most well thought-out and cohesive pieces of music I’ve ever heard. An illustrious combination of piano and distorted riffs works in a completely new way here; the raw heat of the anger and sadness of the track hitting you like a steam train every single time you hear it. A complete shift in style for indie rock unit The Wedding Present, but nonetheless a fantastic one.
Frank Zappa – Peaches En Regalia
With such an abundance of work it was difficult to decide which Zappa record to include on this list, but settling for Peaches En Regalia felt right. A founding father of early progressive rock, Frank Zappa never failed to inspire generation after generation with his unusual style and eclectic sound, demonstrated rather brilliantly with this track. One of his more well-known instrumental pieces, this jazz fusion number was outlandishly progressive for its time, combining stunning piano flourishes with a copious amount of suave.
Booker T. & the M.G.’s – Green Onions
This list would not be complete without paying homage to one of the most well-thought-of instrumental tracks of all time. The soundtrack of the swingin’ sixties, Green Onions is one of the most popular twelve bar blues records ever recorded, teetering on the edge of genius. Compiled of classic rock and soul with a fantastic organ line hook, Booker T. Jones masters the art of unpretentious yet effective.