Saturday, November 18, 2017

Certain Songs #1047: Luna – “23 Minutes in Brussels” | Medialoper

Album: Penthouse
Year: 1995

Dean Wareham has always been upfront about his love for both The Velvet Underground and Television, and indeed, the influences of each band run deep in Luna’s songs, so it’s no surprise one of their very greatest songs combines an easy rolling Lou Reed-type rhythm guitar with a typically exploratory Tom Verlaine-type guitar solo.

But this time, that guitar solo is played by Tom Verlaine himself.

At first, “23 Minutes in Brussels” isn’t much more than a fuzzy, repeating guitar riff, and a lyric vaguely reminiscent of “Proud Mary,” but then it slowly builds into a lovely chorus asking a question that he probably knows the answer to.

Say a prayer
For you and me
Say a prayer
Tell me do you miss me?

Slowly, Tom Verlaine works himself into the song — a little stab after the first verse, some stings before the second chorus, but it’s after the second chorus where he — well, “takes off” doesn’t really describe it — launches into his solo, taking all the time in the world, and leaving huge amounts of space between each little run until he suddenly isn’t.

It goes on for a good long time, until Wareham starts singing the chorus over and over and over with Verlaine providing commentary and Stanley Demenski’s drums are now crashing on nearly ever beat, and by the time you realize that “23 Minutes in Brussels” has worked itself into almost a frenzy, it falls apart, and quietly meanders to its end.

“23 Minutes in Brussels”

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