If I were to make a top ten list of my favorite songs right now, this song would be on it. This song was on it ten years ago and it’ll be there ten from now. I can make this bold statement because “Farm on the Freeway” by Jethro Tull is a great song.
I can almost hear you say, “Well, duh. Who would put a terrible song on their top ten list?” True. But I may have a mediocre song or two in my top ten for other reasons: a fantastic solo, an interesting melody, compelling lyrics or pounding energy. This song makes the list just for being great. Like a well-crafted guitar, each part was made with care and precision. If done correctly, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. So true here.
Somehow scrutinizing each part doesn’t do the song justice. Sure, the composition of this song is incredibly dynamic. There are soft parts and loud parts. Simple parts and parts that are more complex. The experience is cinematic. The lyrics are absolutely perfect. It’s the only song that I know that talks about eminent domain, an unconventional topic for a song to say the least. Despite the unusual topic, the lyrics are interesting, memorable, and poignant. The performances are very musical. This song features guitars, bass, flute, voice, drum machine and synth. The live instruments are played exceedingly well, especially Ian Anderson’s flute and Martin Barre’s guitar.
Despite all of these key points, they don’t quite capture the completeness of “Farm on the Freeway.” The only word one can use when all others fall short is “great.” This song is great. I can describe it all day and never summarize what one word can accomplish. Simply. Great.
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Jethro Tull has always left the path of a conventional “Rock Band” since they formed long ago. I remember first hearing “Aqualung” as a teenager, and thinking, flute in a rock song?, now that’s something you don’t hear every day! I know there are people who still believe that Jethro Tull is the name of one of the band members! This CD has always been a favorite of mine also. My favorite cuts, including this one of course, are “Budapest”, and “Said she was a Dancer”. Barre’s guitar always reminds me of Mark Knopfler. “Crest of a Knave” is a great way to introduce yourself to the great sounds of Jethro Tull!
“Crest of a Knave” has always been a favorite record of mine too.