Television – Marquee Moon: #856 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Television - Marquee Moon

Why is Television’s Marquee Moon on my best 1,000 albums ever list?

Post-punk, new wave, intellectual guitar rock? Any which way, it’s all good.

What does Television’s Marquee Moon mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?

I’m a big fan of punk rock and new wave music. Of the “major” bands and artists that came out of the original punk wave in the late 1970s, Television is a band I was introduced to much later in my own life, during a time when I sat down and literally tried to educate myself on a number of New York-based outfits, including the likes of Blondie (who I was familiar enough with but wanted to learn more) and the New York Dolls.

And amongst that group, Television kind of languished in terms of music I was vaguely aware but “really should get more into.” The reason why, I came to realize, is that Television doesn’t have the visceral adrenaline rush of the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” or the wild glam grandeur of New York Dolls’ “Personality Crisis.”

Television, and Marquee Moon, is similar to the Talking Heads in that it’s heady, eclectic, guitar-driven music that skirts the lines between post-punk, new wave, guitar rock, and intellectual rock.

The important thing is that when I “got there” with Marquee Moon, it finally clicked that it’s really good!

The title track, “Marquee Moon,” is certainly very non-punk in terms of its running time of ten minutes and 38 seconds alone. But when you let it wash over you, it takes us on a fully worthwhile journey filled with precise guitar licks, rock solid yet off-beat rhythm that feels very Talking Heads-y, and great vocals from Tom Verlaine. And the chord changes and musical flourishes remind me of Steely Dan, another intellectual rock act if there ever was one.

I have similar feelings about “Elevation” (not the U2 anthem rocker, kids), a song that would both easily fool me as a Talking Heads track but also has a recurring guitar line that reminds me a lot of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ excellent “Californication” (which was released decades later, of course).

“Friction” has a fun Elvis Costello feel to it. And really you could go on and on about the sounds and influences on Marquee Moon. It’s a solid-as-oak album of eight songs and 45 minutes that gets better on each listen.

This album sounds like

Just recounting the bands I mention above: Talking Heads, Steely Dan, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Elvis Costello. Pretty good company.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.

Some stats & info about Television – Marquee Moon

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? New York Bands, Punk Music, New Wave, Rock Music, Guitar Rock, Post-Punk, Intellectual Rock
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #107
  • All Music’s rating5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Marquee Moon released? 1977
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #856 out of 1,000

Television’s Marquee Moon on Spotify