249) Parliament — “Oh Lord, Why Lord/Prayer”
This is where it all began for Parliament (well, it really all began in 1955, but this was the first album). Alongside all George Clinton’s glorious ribaldry and side-splitting antics, the Wizard of Odd drops “Oh Lord,” a stunning “gospel lament . . . [Parliament’s] most reverent and straightforward cry against racial injustice” (Grace Birnstengel in Stereogum). This is a song for the ages, one that should have been etched in the grooves of the Voyager’s golden disc to demonstrate to alien civilizations both the best and the worst of the human spirit.
Ned Raggett in All Music Guide says that “[a]midst all the nuttiness [of the album], there are some perhaps surprising depths — consider ‘Oh Lord, Why Lord/Prayer,’ which might almost be too pretty for its own good . . . .” Sorry Ned, it is pretty enough for all our good.