October 6, 2017

165 Same Boy I Used To Be

  1. BUZZCOCKS: Everybody's Happy Nowadays. If I had to say "what kind of rock music do you like best?" I would say "Power Pop". Obviously I love The Beatles above all others, but the Fab Four is a too-easy answer, and it isn't really a "kind" of music anyway. I recently read a great list of Power Pop bands, full of artists I'd never heard of or didn't know played power pop. I think the name "Buzzcocks" had scared me away, or I assumed they were just anti-melodic punk music, which holds zero interest for me. What a pleasant surprise their album Singles Going Steady was! I lot of hard jangly punky power-pop on there.
  2. RA RA RIOT: Valerie. Totally randomly fell across this energetic cover of the Steve Winwood song. No idea who Ra Ra Riot is!
  3. ERIC CLAPTON & STEVE WINWOOD: Forever Man [live at MSG]. Speaking of Winwood, he duets with Clapton here. "Forever Man" is a pretty good song, but the original studio recording is from Clapton's mid-80s period when Phil Collins was overproducing his records with his muscular but contemporary sound. Sometimes when a good song is tainted by contemporary production, or a poor arrangement, a live recording can help salvage the composition. This performance of "Forever Man" is hardly spare, but it's an improvement, and it's fun to hear Winwood trade verses with Clapton.
  4. WEEZER: Feels Like Summer.
  5. BARENAKED LADIES: Too Little Too Late. Two nerdly pop-rock bands with a novelty flair!
  6. TOMMY KEENE: Places That Are Gone. Keene opened for Matthew Sweet last month at
    Brighton Music Hall. It was fun seeing this middle-aged suburban Dad-looking guy sing these terrific early 80s alt-rock songs that would fit right in between R.E.M. and Husker Du on college radio. Turns out this song appears on the Rhino Records Poptopia! three-CD collection I bought twenty years ago!
  7. THE EXPLODING HEARTS: Sleeping Aides and Razorblades. Another newly discovered power pop gem.
  8. MATTHEW SWEET: Time Capsule was the opening song from his Brighton Music Hall. It was never one of my favorite songs, but it stuck in my head for the whole week afterwards.
  9. PATTY GRIFFIN: Stolen Car. A haunting cover of the Springsteen song.
  10. PETE TOWNSHEND: Eminence Front. Townshend has released three "Scoop" albums, full of outtakes and demos of his solo work and Who songs. Here is another great example of a good song liberated from its original arrangement.
  11. PETER GABRIEL & YOUSSOU N'DOUR: In Your Eyes [live]. The LP version, from Gabriel's 1986 album So is legendary, but I always preferred the extended arrangement available on the b-side of one of his 12-inch singles. That's the arrangement I heard in the summer of 1987 when Gabriel and N'Dour toured together, the same year this recording was made.
  12. THE SMITHS: Bigmouth Strikes Again. Morrissey sings his own backing vocals on this.
  13. GUIDED BY VOICES: Little Whirl. I love the unfussy lo-fi recordings of unfinished songs!
  14. DWIGHT TWILLEY: Girls. Twilley and Tommy Keene are kissing cousins of the early-80s power pop scene.
  15. SLOAN: Everything You've Done Wrong. A band I'd heard of but knew nothing about.
  16. STEELY DAN: My Old School. We've lost Walter Becker and Tom Petty this year.
  17. THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS: Dancehall Domine. Very proud of myself for hearing this song on the TV show Speechless and thinking "this sounds like The New Pornographers" and Soundhound proved me right.
  18. TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS: Listen To Her Heart. Never a big fan of this song, but after Petty died, I saw a live video of Wilco covering it.