Surrealistic Pillow is the album that brought Jefferson Airplane into international eyes and really helped the band take-off, from my understanding. Marty Balin, the band’s founder, had a desire to combine elements of The Beatles’ brit-rock influence with a more folk sound. The result of this desire was Jefferson Airplane, and their second album was Surrealistic Pillow, a 60s-70s flower-power, psychadelic, folk-rock album that has a few standout points and a few really recognizable tracks.
- She Has Funny Cars
- Somebody to Love
- My Best Friend
- Comin’ Back To Me
- 3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds
- D.C.B.A. – 25
- How Do You Feel
- Embyronic Journey
- White Rabbit
- Plastic Fantastic Lover
For reference, I’ve been listening to albums a few times as background music, and a few times just listening to the lyrics and instruments. I’ve also been researching some basic information through Google and Wikipedia, to get some kind of understanding of the situation surrounding the release of different albums. I’ve also been checking out lyrics online.
As I mentioned, there are a few really recognizable tracks on this album that most people (including myself) would recognize, even if you didn’t realize you were listening to Jefferson Airplane (exhibit A, me). “Somebody to Love” and “How Do You Feel” both are familiar tracks. Oh, and “My Best Friend”.
Throughout this whole album, I definitely can hear that West-coast U.S.A., San Francisco free-spirited rock sound in this album. Especially in “My Best Friend”. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album, actually. I love the transition from verse to chorus, and the great vocals to back it up. This is just a really great, laid back tune that shows off how tight they play together.
Now at this point, I’m not sure what else to write. Listening to this album, once again, I guess I can hear why this is an iconic album. Like I’ve already mentioned, its got that sort of flower-power, San Fran sound that combines a more rootsy, folk sound with some great rock elements. I’m not sitting here listening to this album thinking “WOW, I LOVE THESE TRACKS”, but I definitely appreciate the significance of them in the evolution of music over the last 60 years. (Oh, I should mention that “Embryonic Journey” just came on as I’m writing this, and that’s definitely a track that stands out to me on this album. Funny, but true. It’s a really beautiful guitar track with a great sense of clarity from start to finish. It kind of feels like a 2-minute breath of pure, fresh air. I love it.)
In my research, I found that “White Rabbit” was one of two singles off this album that did really well. The other was “Somebody to Love”. I didn’t love White Rabbit actually, but I loved the album-ender, “Plastic Fantastic Lover” and how the lyrics forever place this album at the beginning of the personal computer era.
Interestingly enough, Jefferson Airplane only played together for about 6 years, and played their last gig in ’72. There were other bands that formed after, including Jefferson Starship and just Starship. Still, the original band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. That’s a pretty big accomplishment for a band that only last 6 years. Very cool.
Have a listen to this album. I think you’ll enjoy it. Or at least most of it.