Its title track is over 10 minutes long. Its lengthy and numerous guitar solos are individually credited in its liner notes. But at its core, Television’s Marquee Moon is shockingly economical—a tightly wound web of simple guitar parts wrapped around Tom Verlaine’s straightforward and impressionistic songwriting. Taken out of context, the guitar solos on Marquee Moon aren’t just unimpressive; they’re downright illogical. Everyone who plays guitar will, at some point, learn the solo from “Stairway to Heaven,” but it’s practically impossible to sit down and actually play anything from Marquee Moon. Like the Velvet Underground before them, Television’s songs focus on interplay and exploration, rather than individual melodies and chord progressions.
This, of course, is just icing on what is unquestionably the finest release from one of the most talented bands to be nurtured by the scum-soaked floors and paint-chipped walls of 1970s CBGB. The subtle buildup of “Marquee Moon,” the nervous energy of “See No Evil,” and the melodic tension of “Guiding Light” are all songwriting masterstrokes, articulated perfectly by able and adventurous players. The punk scene from which Television emerged is often cited as discarding the concept of musicianship entirely. And in a sense, this is exactly what Television did with Marquee Moon, recasting virtuosity as a function of the brain, not the fingers. –Matt LeMay / Pitchfork.com