The Best Tracks of 2015, #16

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16. Baroness, “Chlorine and Wine”

I mentioned it a couple days ago on this blog: great strife can yield great art. Not that you want the strife to ever happen, mind, but if it happens, if you’re strong enough you might as well use it as fuel. Three years ago Baroness were set to make a big splash with an excellent double album, but an horrific bus crash in England brought it all to a sudden halt. Band members were hospitalized, rehabilitation took a very long time, and a couple members left the band in the wake of it all. But John Baizley’s external wounds healed, Baroness was bolstered with a new lineup, and he got to work on healing those internal wounds, which you can hear on the extraordinary seven-minute classic rock epic “Chlorine and Wine”. Structurally it’s a stunner, showing just how far this band has come in the songwriting department, achieving a level of tenderness, power, grandiosity, and redemption that Queen pulled off time and again. The song builds and builds as Baizley appears to address his long hospital stay When I called on my nursemaid / Come sit by my side / But she cuts through my ribcage / And pushes the pills deep in my eyes”) capping off with a glorious climax (with Brian May style flourishes, natch) which sees him cry out “Please, don’t lay me down”. He has a kid to raise, he has art to make. Human beings are too indefatigable to give up that easily, and you hear that. This song is a triumph. (Spotify) (YouTube)

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