Where have all the solos gone? It seems that after the '80s, the extravagance of guitar solos were so resented that they went from the raw sloppy basic grunge solos of the '90s to perhaps simply being faded out from music as a whole? Well we all know that this can't go on. Where would we be without all those guitar solos that have wordlessly captured emotions, ideas and spirit. If we're heading into a world that'll never top "Free Bird" then I don't want any part in it. Luckily we have things like these five fantastic songs by incredible artists, ranked in order of great guitar solos, to keep the art of guitar solos alive. With that, here is this year's top five guitar solos so far.
5. "Nothing Compares 2 U" as performed by Chris Cornell - solo by Keaton Simons
This particular brand of solo is especially absent from today's music. Slightly reminiscent of the often cited Django Reinhardt, the acoustic guitar solo on this song contains the proper spirit of jazz music. You can tell the musician isn't concerned with being cool, wowing anybody or avoiding risks. Simons serenely and properly walks with a guitar through a gorgeous acoustic landscape, going everywhere you know he would in ways you wouldn't imagine. This guitar solo proves what you need to capture the triumphant and troubled spirit of cool music. He embodies the man singing to a lover who's left, without leaving the harmonious and gentle optimistic setting of the gorgeous tune. Less is more.
4. "Blues In The Morning" by Keith Richards - solo by Keith Richards
Guitars originally set out to emulate saxophone parts and this is most apparent in blues rock like this. What earns this solo's rank in this list is not just the simplicity and efficiency of that lead guitar, but the pure power it has. The guitar in this song is saying something and it's very clear. Guitars have a voice that nothing else does, it sounds like a heart. Something classic rockers have perfected is the channeling of clear and unadulterated soul into and out of a guitar. Something Keith Richards has undoubtedly perfected over his lifetime, something he shows off on this unforgettable track from his new album Crosseyed Heart
3. "Asleep In The Pines" by Birds Of Night - solo by Alex Adams
We've said it on this site before, guitar solos are cool. These guys get it. There's something liberating about someone who isn't concerned with being considered show offy or pretentious. If you can do something with a guitar that's as impressive and musical as the gentlemen in Birds Of Night, you'd be doing us all a disservice by not sharing that. This solo abides by hard rock, metal guidelines. It's paced, biting, violent but at the same time gorgeous, and simply brilliant. This is the kind of high octane high energy shredding that's helped music stay exciting and inspiring. Thanks guys.
2. "Used Glasses" by Buckethead - solo by Buckethead
Of course he's on this list, how could he not be? Released earlier this week, Last House On Slunk Street
is 174 in a series of records called "Pike" [Ed. Note: I would never question how proficient Buckethead is as a guitarist. I have tried and failed many times to play his music on Guitar Hero but, holy s***, 174 records seems...excessive]. Which, is unbelievable and insane and strange. It's Buckethead, don't ask questions. Anyway the track that sticks out most seems to be "Used Glasses". You have everything there is to love about the inhuman virtuosic raised by chickens god of shredding in this one short track. There's no guitarist with a more commanding and precise control of the instrument and its effects, pedals, amplifiers. Buckethead does what he always does on this track; he melts your mind with a guitar solo.
"Tropics" by My Morning Jacket - solo by Carl Broemel
Psychedelia and medieval influence are things that have truly turned around what musicians do with a guitar. It shifted the idea that a guitar is a rhythm instrument or a cheap horn into the practice that a guitar can be a symphony, a choir or an acid trip. To put the guitar work of the song "Tropics" into sentences can't be done right because what the musicians do is transcendent. Fitting for a record all about rebirth and souls. The guitars in this track design and build a gorgeous cathedral and then gleefully demolish it. Dynamics, expression, precision and indelible melodies give "Tropics" by My Morning Jacket the title of 2015's best guitar solo by far.
There you have it people, try to keep these beautiful solos alive in the world, because without them some songs lack the depth and emotion that these tracks have, so go out there and keep guitar solos awesome.