Ramones – I Wanna Be Sedated

This song and The KKK Took My Baby Away are my two top favorite Ramones saongs.

This song was released in 1978 on The Ramone’s album Road to Ruin. It has no chart history on Billboard but is one of their best-known songs. The Ramones were to the point, with no solos, no frills… just about the song.

I’ve heard them described as punk, bubblegum, rock, heavy rock and everything in between. I always thought they combined the elements of all of them.

When Joey Ramone wrote the lyrics for “I Wanna Be Sedated,” he was not joking. They were on tour in New Jersey in 1977 when the singer badly burned his face and chest with scalding water from a vaporizer he was using to soothe his throat.

He finished the show, then went to the hospital with second and third-degree burns. They pulled a bunch of shows while he recovered, and when they returned to the road in Europe he was still in constant pain. The song was scribbled down in London around Christmas, and the band cut it in 1978. Needless to say, it didn’t impact the charts, but today it’s one of their most-played songs on the radio. Joey Ramone said at one time it was his favorite Ramone track.

Joey Ramone: It’s a road song. I wrote it in 1977, through the 78. Well, Danny Fields was our first manager and he would work us to death. We would be on the road 360 days a year, and we went over to England, and we were there at Christmas time, and in Christmas time, London shuts down. There’s nothing to do, nowhere to go. Here we were in London for the first time in our lives, and me and Dee Dee Ramone were sharing a room in the hotel, and we were watching The Guns of Navarone. So there was nothing to do, I mean, here we are in London finally, and this is what we are doing, watching American movies in the hotel room.

I Wanna Be Sedated

Twenty twenty twenty four hours to go
I wanna be sedated
Nothing to do, nowhere to go o,
I wanna be sedated

Just get me to the airport, put me on a plane
Hurry hurry hurry, before I go insane
I can’t control my fingers, I can’t control my brain
Oh no oh oh oh oh

Twenty twenty twenty four hours to go
I wanna be sedated
Nothing to do, no where to go o,
I wanna be sedated

Just put me in a wheelchair, get me on a plane
Hurry hurry hurry, before I go insane
I can’t control my fingers, I can’t control my brain
Oh no oh oh oh oh

Twenty twenty twenty four hours to go
I wanna be sedated
Nothing to do, no where to go o,
I wanna be sedated

Just put me in a wheelchair, get me to the show
Hurry hurry hurry, before I go loco
I can’t control my fingers, I can’t control my toes
Oh no oh oh oh oh

Twenty twenty twenty four hours to go
I wanna be sedated
Nothing to do, no where to go o,
I wanna be sedated

Just put me in a wheelchair, get me to the show
Hurry hurry hurry, before I go loco
I can’t control my fingers, I can’t control my toes
Oh no oh oh oh oh

Ba ba baba, baba ba baba, I wanna be sedated
Ba ba baba, baba ba baba, I wanna be sedated
Ba ba baba, baba ba baba, I wanna be sedated
Ba ba baba, baba ba baba, I wanna be sedated

Sloan – Spend The Day …. Power Pop Friday

My friend Deke got me into this power pop band from Canada. Deke and Dave have introduced me to many Canadian artists that I hadn’t heard of before like Blue Rodeo, The Moist, Justin Bieber (Just Kidding Guys!), Tragically Hip, and more.  It still puzzles me why some very successful Canadian bands in the 80s-90s didn’t translate in the US.

Sloan got its start in Halifax during the early ‘90s. The band played around the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design before moving to Toronto. They got their name from a pot-smoking musician they knew in Halifax. He worked in a restaurant as a busboy and used to be known as “the slow one.”

The band made their recording debut on the Halifax, Canada CD compilation “Hear & Now” with the song  “Underwhelmed” before releasing their debut EP “Peppermint” in 1991 on their own label Murderecords. In 1992 Sloan signed with Geffen Records and released their full-length debut “Smeared”. The album had somewhat of a grunge style. They soon switched to power pop and they have some fantastic songs.

Hearing this band is encouraging for Power Pop. A few weeks ago I posted a song about The Beths and now Sloan who have new albums out. Their influences have been listed as The Beatles, Sonic Youth, Fleetwood Mac, and more. In this song, I hear a little Beatles and Who.

This song is on their new album called Steady released on October 21, 2022. It’s their 13th album to date. Guitarist Patrick Pentland wrote this song. There is a great review of this album here. I would recommend giving this power pop band a try.

Spend The Day

It’s not like living in your real worldIs better than my life on The Other SideI’m sick of wired and I’m tetheringAnd weathering somewhere out of my mind

Hide awaySpend the day in here with me a whileHide awaySpend the day in here with me a while

It’s not like every time your wide eyesLook at something that it’s full of liesYou’re gonna try and findThe who what why whereI refuse to recognize

Hide awaySpend the day in here with me a whileHide awaySpend the day in here with me a while

It’s not that living in your real worldIs better than my life on The Other SideI’m sick of wired and I’m tetheringAnd weathering somewhere out of my mind

Hide awaySpend the day in here with me a whileHide awaySpend the day in here with me a whileHide awayHide awaySpend the dayHide awayHide awayWith me a while

Beths – Expert In A Dying Field ….Power Pop Friday

I learned about this band from Graham at Aphoristic Album Reviews. I think the subject of this song is brilliant. It’s the title song on the album Expert In A Dying Field. The album was released in September of 2022 and is their 3rd studio album to date. It peaked at #1 in New Zealand and #80 in Australia in 2022.

Beths

Through the years in power pop…the lyrics take a back seat to the music many times.  The Beths music excites me because they don’t produce empty songs…they have substantial lyrics to go along with their irresistible hooks.

The Beths are a band out of New Zealand, that was formed by Elizabeth Stokes in 2014. The songs are full of guitar hooks along with Stokes’s clever writing and voice… make them fun to listen to. They have some 90s indie sound with a little of the 60s thrown in at times.

The members include Elizabeth Stokes ( lead vocals, rhythm guitar ), Jonathan Pearce (lead guitar, backing vocals), Benjamin Sinclair (bass, backing vocals)
and Tristan Deck (Drums, backing vocals).

Here is a link to the entire album on youtube.

From Allmusic by Marcy Donelson on the album

After quickly building a fan base in New Zealand and Australia with their live shows, Auckland’s the Beths burst onto the broader indie scene with an infectious, hook-crammed debut, 2018’s Future Me Hates Me. As suggested by the album’s title, Elizabeth Stokes’ self-depreciating lyrics were part of its charm, and the follow-up, 2020’s Jump Rope Gazers, reflected an even more hapless outlook as it explored strained relationships caused by the band’s new life on the road. Without skipping a hook, third album Expert in a Dying Field delves still deeper into melancholy, with lyrics navigating a breakup as well as pandemic life. Churning fuzz and ringing lead guitar begin a downcast but nonetheless driving opening title track that asks, “How does it feel/To be an expert in a dying field?/How do you know/It’s over when you can’t let go?” The song’s chorus picks up multi-tracking, vocal countermelodies, group harmonies, and crashing cymbals by its final incarnation.

It could be said that much of the album continues in kind, with memorable melody after memorable guitar hook after air-drum-compelling fill on a series of songs that border on midtempo, but the way it plays out is something much more off-balance. The Beths lean on the accelerator three tracks in, on the polyrhythmic “Silence Is Golden,” for instance, a song whose punky, racing rhythms and guitar histrionics are matched by a rambling, lilting vocal that only stops to breathe before the chorus’s repeated “Silence is golden.” Nearing the halfway point of the track list, the two-minute “I Want to Listen” is a gentler, McCartney-esque ditty with more complex chords and shifting harmonic progressions than are typical for the onetime jazz majors. Later, the chanting “Best Left” (“Some things are best left to rot”), while still wistful in tone, plays to the arena crowds. The group have said that Expert in a Dying Field was made with live performance in mind, and on that point, it delivers, right up until the plaintive closing ballad, “2 a.m.,” which finds Stokes left alone in a flash of headlights (“There’s a song that never fails to make you cry”). The album also delivers on vulnerable, rock-solid songs, a juxtaposition the Beths continue to master.

Elizabeth Stokes: “I really do believe that love is learned over time. In the course of knowing a person you accumulate so much information: their favorite movies, how they take their tea, how to make them laugh, how that makes you feel. And when relationships between people change, or end, all that knowledge doesn’t just disappear. The phrase ‘Expert in a Dying Field’ had been floating around my head for a few years, I was glad to finally capture it when writing this tune.”

Elizabeth Stokes: “When I first started this band … I was looking back towards [what] I liked when I was younger, sweetly sung melodies and super depressing lyrics”

Expert In A Dying Field

Can we erase our history?Is it as easy as this?Plausible deniabilityI swear I’ve never heard of itAnd I can close the door on usBut the room still existsAnd I know you’re in it

Hours of phrases I’ve memorizedThousands of lines on the pageAll of my notes in a desolate pileI haven’t touched in an ageAnd I can burn the evidenceBut I can’t burn the painAnd I can’t forget it

How does it feel (how does it feel)To be an expert in a dying field?And how do you know (how do you know)It’s over when you can’t let go?You can’t let go, you can’t stop, you can’t rewindLove is learned over time‘Til you’re an expert in a dying field(How does it, how does it feel?)

The city is painted with memoryThe water will never run clearThe birds and the bees and the flowers and treesThey know that we’ve both been hereAnd I can flee the countryFor the worst of the yearBut I’ll come back to it

How does it feel (how does it feel)To be an expert in a dying field?And how do you know (how do you know)It’s over when you can’t let go?You can’t let go, you can’t stop, you can’t rewindLove is learned over time‘Till you’re an expert in a dying field

Can we erase our history?Is it as easy as this?Maybe in other realitiesThe road never took this twistAnd I can close the door on usBut the room still exists

How does it feel (how does it feel)How do you know (how do you know)Can’t stop, can’t rewindLove is learned over time‘Til you’re an expert in a dying field

Oh, an expert in a dying field

Smithereens – Behind The Wall Of Sleep …. Power Pop Friday

This song has a Rolling Stones connection in the lyrics. I love the first line “She had hair like Jeannie Shrimpton back in 1965.” Shrimpton dated Mick Jagger before he was with Marianne Faithful. The second reference is an odd one to Bill Wyman, the Stones’ bass player.

The song was on their debut album  Especially for You released in 1986. They had released a couple of EP’s before this album. Pat DiNizo wrote the song and was influenced by the title of the H.P. Lovecraft short story, “Beyond the Wall of Sleep.” The song was about Kim Ernst. She was the bass player of The Bristols.

Pat DiNizo: “We’d done a gig with The Bristols, four fabulous women who looked, sounded and dressed like Roger McGuinn’s The Byrds, Kim had black hair, really long: ‘She [had hair like] like Jeannie Shrimpton back in 1965, she had legs that never ended, I was halfway paralyzed. She was tall and cool and pretty, and she dressed as black as coal. If she asked me to I’d murder, I would gladly lose my soul.’ Our first two hits were ‘Blood And Roses,’ about suicide, and this one, ‘If you’d ask me to I’d murder’—very dark material [laughs].”

In 1985 they recorded the album at The Record Plant, the famous recording studio that hosted John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen among others. They had to save up gig money to record.

Drummer Dennis Diken: “Those sessions actually almost didn’t happen, we had recorded Beauty and Sadness in Studio B. That was the room where Springsteen recorded The River, and a lot of other big stuff was done there. Studio A was also famous for historic sessions; John Lennon worked there. But we were the low guys on the totem pole, so we got a call on the afternoon of Good Friday 1985—when we were supposed to go in that night—saying, ‘Sorry, but we have a more important session booked in B now. We’re going to have to kick you upstairs to C,’ which was a much smaller room.

“We got on the phone with each other and said, ‘Hey, this ain’t too cool. Maybe we should wait until larger rooms become available again,’ but in the end, reluctantly, we went for it.”

The album peaked at #51 in the Billboard Album Charts. The song peaked at #23 in the Mainstream Rock Play charts.

Behind The Wall Of Sleep

She had hair like Jeannie Shrimpton back in 1965
She had legs that never ended
I was halfway paralyzed
She was tall and cool and pretty and she dressed as black as coal
If she asked me to I’d murder, I would gladly lose my soul

Now I lie in bed and think of her
Sometimes I even weep
Then I dream of her behind the wall of sleep

Well she held a bass guitar and she was playing in a band
And she stood just like Bill Wyman
Now I am her biggest fan
Now I know I’m one of many who would like to be your friend
And I’ve got to find a way to let you know I’m not like them

Now I lie in bed and think of her
Sometimes I even weep
Then I dream of her behind the wall of sleep

Now I lie in bed and think of her
Sometimes I even weep
Then I dream of her behind the wall of sleep

Got your number from a friend of mine who lives in your hometown
Called you up to have a drink
Your roommate said you weren’t around
Now I know I’m one of many who would like to be your friend
And I’ve just got to find a way to let you know I’m not like them

Now I lie in bed and think of her
Sometimes I even weep
Then I dream of her behind the wall of sleep
Behind the wall of sleep
Behind the wall of sleep
Behind the wall of sleep

XTC – Senses Working Overtime ….Power Pop Friday

What a great-sounding band XTC has been for years. I was exposed to many bands in the 80s like The Replacements, REM (before they hit), and Big Star but not XTC. I didn’t find out about them until their 2002 release I’m The Man Who Murdered Love. When I heard that song I knew I had to find out about this band. Way back when I published that post I also looked up this song that a fellow blogger (run-sew-read) suggested. It’s only taken me 4 years but I’ve finally posted it!

This song was released in 1982 on the album  English Settlement. The album peaked at #48 on the Billboard Album Chart, #15 in Canada, #12 in New Zealand, and #5 in the UK. The song peaked at #10 in the UK, #31 in Canada, #37 in New Zealand, and #38 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts.

When they went on tour for this album… it would be their last. That didn’t exactly help them cross over to a mass audience. Andy Partridge had a fear of flying and severe stage fright that could have been heightened by withdrawing from valium that he had taken since childhood. On April 3, 1982, they performed their last show in San Diego. After that first night of the American tour, the rest of the tour was canceled. My friend Dave from A Sound Day has more info on this band and album.

I do think XTC would have broken through to a mass audience if they could have toured. At the time some people in America had thought that Partridge died and some bands held tribute shows.

Allmusic Stephen Thomas Erlewine: XTC was one of the smartest – and catchiest – British pop bands to emerge from the punk and new wave explosion of the late ’70s. … While popular success has eluded them in both Britain and America, the group has developed a devoted cult following in both countries that remains loyal over two decades after their first records. … XTC’s lack of commercial success isn’t because their music isn’t accessible – their bright, occasionally melancholy, melodies flow with more grace than most bands – it has more to do with the group constantly being out of step with the times. However, the band has left behind a remarkably rich and varied series of albums that make a convincing argument that XTC is the great lost pop band.

Drummer Terry Chambers on their last concert: “The audience was electric, everyone was on their feet and cheering throughout. It was the first date of our first major U.S. headlining tour, playing decent-sized venues, and the future looked good. I had no idea that Andy [Partridge, singer] was in such bad shape. Even after the gig, when we were traveling to LA, we had no clue that anything was wrong.”

Andy Partridge: “We were bullied back onto the road and that really started to wind me up, I’d be there onstage thinking: ‘I hate doing this.’ The anger towards being made to tour and the mental stress it was causing me began to manifest itself in stage fright, which I’d never had in my life. It didn’t help that my mental state was being exacerbated by the impact of Valium withdrawal, which I’d been on since my early teens.”

“And I had no concept of withdrawal, and I had no concept of what would happen to you if you stopped taking this stuff, which… your brain becomes dependent on it,” Partridge said in 2006. “And after 13 years of quite high doses, you’re really dependent on it. … I was losing my memory, I was getting bouts of amnesia, I was getting physical problems like pains in my stomach, I was getting weird events like I couldn’t move my legs. And my brain came unwound. I started having panic attacks.”

Senses Working Overtime

Hey, hey, the clouds are whey
There’s straw for the donkeys
And the innocents can all sleep safely
All sleep safely

My, my, sun is pie
There’s fodder for the cannons
And the guilty ones can all sleep safely
All sleep safely

And all the world is football-shaped
It’s just for me to kick in space
And I can see, hear, smell, touch, taste
And I’ve got one, two, three, four, five
Senses working overtime
Trying to take this all in
I’ve got one, two, three, four, five
Senses working overtime
Trying to taste the difference ‘tween a lemon and a lime
Pain and pleasure, and the church bells softly chime

Hey, hey, night fights day
There’s food for the thinkers
And the innocents can all live slowly
All live slowly

My, my, the sky will cry
Jewels for the thirsty
And the guilty ones can all die slowly
All die slowly

And all the world is biscuit-shaped
It’s just for me to feed my face
And I can see, hear, smell, touch, taste
And I’ve got one, two, three, four, five
Senses working overtime
Trying to take this all in
I’ve got one, two, three, four, five
Senses working overtime
Trying to taste the difference ‘tween a lemon and a lime
Pain and pleasure, and the church bells softly chime

And birds might fall from black skies (Whoo-whoo)
And bullies might give you black eyes (Whoo-whoo)
And buses might skid on black ice (Whoo-whoo)
But to me they’re very, very beautiful (England’s glory)
Beautiful (A striking beauty)

And all the world is football-shaped
It’s just for me to kick in space
And I can see, hear, smell, touch, taste
And I’ve got one, two, three, four, five
Senses working overtime
Trying to take this all in
I’ve got one, two, three, four, five
Senses working overtime
Trying to tell the difference ‘tween the goods and crimes
Dirt and treasure
And there’s one, two, three, four, five
Senses working overtime
Trying to take this all in
I’ve got one, two, three, four, five
Senses working overtime
Trying to taste the difference ‘tween a lemon and a lime
Pain and pleasure, and the church bells softly chime

Blue Ash – Pleasant Dreams

Blue Ash is one of those bands that should have made it to the masses. That has always interested me why great bands like Blue Ash, Big Star, and so many others couldn’t find their way to mass popularity. I’ve been listening to their debut album and it stacks up against their peers at the time and definitely now!

This song reminds me of a great FM album track. Blue Ash toured and opened for such acts as The Stooges, Bob Seger, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, and more but for lack of sales they were dropped by Mercury Records in May 1974. You would think with those bands they would have picked up a lot of fans.

Blue Ash was formed in the summer of 1969 in Ohio by bassist Frank Secich & vocalist Jim Kendzor. Guitarist Bill “Cupid” Bartolin and drummer David Evans were recruited later that summer. They got their name from a road sign outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, pointing towards a small town called Blue Ash. During a three-year stretch of 1970-1973 the band recorded numerous songs along with hitting the road playing western New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia along with Ohio, performing over 250 shows a year. Think about that for a second… 250 – 300 shows a year!

Their first album No More, No Less was released in May 1973 and received rave reviews in the rock press. This album is usually always in people’s top twenty power pop albums. It is considered a power pop classic and is regarded as highly collectible among fans of that genre.

This one transports me to the seventies.  The intro is around a minute but I love the sustained guitar that kicks in after the intro ends.

Pleasant Dreams

When day is done and night has begun
A smile comes on my face
I know that I’ll be taking me
To a very pleasant place
It’s half-way across my mind
It’s not so hard to find

I’ve been there many times before
And everytime ti’s seems
I know that I’ll be back for more
I’m hooked on pleasant dreams
Without reality there’s
Nothing i can’t see

Can’t wait to go to sleep
It’s gonna be alright, It’s going to be alright
Can’t wait to climb in bed
Lay me down so I will have
Pleasant dreams tonight
Pleasant dreams tonight
I know that tonight
It’s gonna be alright

A copper king, a movie star
I’m anything I please
I slip into my private world
Which sets my mind at ease
I do the things I feel you know
I feel the the things I do

Can’t wait to go to sleep
It’s gonna be alright, It’s going to be alright
Can’t wait to climb in bed
To lay me down so I will have
Pleasant dreams tonight
Pleasant dreams tonight
I know that tonight
It’s gonna be alright

I wake up in the morning and
It seems I’ve come undone
I make believe I’m not asleep and
I’m pretending that it’s fun
I’m half the man I am
I’m twice the man I’m not

Can’t wait to go to sleep
It’s gonna be alright, It’s going to be alright
Can’t wait to close my eyes to
Lay me down so I will have
Pleasant dreams tonight
Pleasant dreams tonight
I know that tonight
It’s gonna be alright

Throwing Muses – Not Too Soon

This song is straight-ahead pop/rock with some cool vocal hooks. This song was off The Real Ramona album but did not chart.

The band was formed in 1981 by step-sisters Kristin Hersh (vocals/guitar) and Tanya Donelly (guitar/vocals), who were both at high school at the time. Initially called Kristin Hersh And The Muses, the line-up was completed by bassist Leslie Langstons and drummer David Narcizo. Tanya and Kristin wrote most of the songs. Tanya Donelly is singing this one. She admitted that her songs were a little more simple whereas Kristin Hersh’s were more eccentric.

They lived close to Providence, Boston, and New York and so they could play a club quite often in both places. They had a lot of colleges and some local newspapers, magazines, and radio stations to promote them.

They were the first American band to sign to the British 4AD label. Tanya would go on to form the Breeders with Kim Deal of the Pixies. She also formed Belly as guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter, with Thomas Gorman on lead guitar, Chris Gorman on drums, and Fred Abong on bass guitar.

Tanya was never replaced and the band is still active today as a trio with Hersh. The two step-sisters did get together in 2018 and do some shows together.

Not Too Soon

She colorblind tired eyesHer hallway achingShe’ll never move him, likes it that wayHe’s just a walker and he’ll never stop walking awayIt’s not too soon, he said, you know it’s not too soon at allAnd you might as well be dead, he saidIf you’re afraid to fall, I said, I know her

She said, oh, my, why do you stare so hard?Wrapped up like a doll in bad dreams and broken armsMake these old bones shiverIt’s not too soon, he said, you know it’s not too soon at allAnd you might as well be dead, he saidIf you’re afraid to fall, I said, I know her

The last time I saw you, you were standing in the darkAnd with a freezing face, I watched you fall apart

It’s not too soon, he said, it’s not too soon at allAnd you might as well be dead, he saidIf you’re afraid to fall, I saidDone your time, been in your placeI couldn’t look you in the faceand tell you that it turns me onit makes my stomach turnI know, I know her

REM – Talk About The Passion

During my break from blogging, I was listening to everything from arena rock, to alternative rock, to newer rock music. The Replacements and R.E.M were high on my alternative list. I like the early R.E.M. songs that don’t get as much attention nowadays because of the big hits that came later.

This was the second single from R.E.M.’s debut album, Murmur. The first single was Radio Free Europe released in 1983. The guitar melody/solo in this song actually comes from multiple acoustic guitars played by Mike Mills, Peter Buck, and producers Mitch Easter and Don Dixon.

The album was rated number eight on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s. In 2003, the TV network VH1 named Murmur the 92nd greatest album of all time.

The 1988 video, directed by Jem A. Cohen, expounds on the lyrics’ references to hunger by placing images of homeless people with a multi-million dollar warship.

Michael Stipe: “I had taken a French course at college, which I dutifully flunked out of, and Linda Hopper and I thought that the phrase, ‘combien de temps,’ that is, roughly, ‘how much time?’ was deeply meaningful and beautiful. I did sing it that way and it works here, if only here. We were 22 at the time after all.”

The song is credited to Berry, Buck, Mills, and Stipe as were most of their songs except for a few covers they did. This was a smart thing they did and probably is the reason for the longevity of the band and the continued friendship they have now. Many bands break up because one or two songwriters get all the publishing rights and make much more money.

Mike Mills on Bill Berry’s contributions: He would generally come up with several ideas for each record, and he would also be a really good editor for us. He was always very much about keeping them short, getting to the hook. He didn’t want to waste a lot of time and people’s attention noodling around.

Talk About The Passion

Empty prayer, empty mouths combien reaction
Empty prayer, empty mouths talk about the passion
Not everyone can carry the weight of the world
Not everyone can carry the weight of the world

Talk about the passion
Talk about the passion

Empty prayer, empty mouths combien reaction
Empty prayer, empty mouths talk about the passion
Combien, combien, combien de temps?

Talk about the passion
Talk about the passion

Not everyone can carry the weight of the world
Not everyone can carry the weight of the world
Combien, combien, combien de temps?

Talk about the passion
Talk about the passion
Talk about the passion
Talk about the passion
Talk about the passion
Talk about the passion
Talk about the passion

Replacements – I.O.U.

THIS sound is what I missed in the 1980s while growing up in that era. The Replacements were a throwback band in a lot of ways. The guitar could have come off of Exile on Main Street. The guitar tone does not sound pretty or clean…that sound went missing in the land of overproduction in the 80s.

IOU was more band biography as were several of their songs, Westerberg was eager to cancel out old relationships...“I want it in writing / I owe you nothing.”

The song appeared to be directed at former manager Peter Jesperson and guitar player Bob Stinson, but Westerberg said the literal inspiration came from an encounter with Iggy Pop: “I was on the bus with him after a show, and somebody asked for his autograph. He wrote, ‘IOU NOTHING.’ I thought it was the coolest thing in the world.”

This was off of the album Please To Meet Me recorded in Memphis with Jim Dickinson producing. Dickinson also produced Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers album a decade before. Bob Stinson was out of the band at this time and it was recorded as a trio of Westerberg, Tommy Stinson, and Mars.

Westerburg has said he wanted their albums to sound timeless…not as tied to the decade they were recorded in. For the most part, he got his wish.

This song kicked off the album Please To Meet Me with a bang. To these ears…the best pure rock band of the 80s.

I.O.U.

Give me a/get me out of this little stinkin’ fresh air
Ninety days in the electric chair
Step right up son
Gonna show you something ain’t never been done
You’re all fucked

Listen, it don’t cost much
I lay down the line that you touch
Never do what you’re told
There’ll be time, believe me, when you’re old
You’re all wrong and I’m right

Please be on your honor
Please be on your side […sucker?]

Listen to the story all right
I’m losing all I own on that dotted line
Step right up son
Gonna show you something ain’t never been done
You’re all wrong and I’m right

You see I want it in writing, I owe you nothing
Want it in writing, I owe you nothing
Want it in writing

Prisoners – Far Away

When the organ leads off…I would have sworn this song is from 1967 but no…it’s from 1983. They were part of the Mod revival in the 80s minus the mopeds and parkas of the early sixties.

It’s a song that I listened to once and thought…that song is ok…then I wanted to hear it again an hour later…after that, I listened to it all day at work. I like the small hooks placed strategically in the song.

All the instruments are on the mark and the singer has a voice that bends but never breaks. As I wrote this post…I’ve listened to it around 4 or 5 times…it’s almost like potato chips…you can’t stop at one listen…at least not me. It sounds like it could have been a cool Doors album track.

This British band formed in 1980 and debuted in 1982 with  A Taste Of Pink, on their Own Up label. They ended up with a few record companies that included Stiff Records. This song was on their album 1984 The Wisermiserdemelza.

They ended up making 4 studio albums altogether but called it quits in 1986 and later regrouped for a final single in 1997 but they failed to find commercial success.

Far Away

Velvet Crush – Time Wraps Around You ….Power Pop Friday

I first heard this band through a song called Hold Me Up a while back. Cool hooks, guitar sound, and melodies. This band has the distorted and jangly sound well mixed together. This song came off of the 1994 album Teenage Symphonies to God which is probably their best-known album. I have listened to this album a bunch and the songs sound like classic songs that have been forgotten. 

Vocalist/bassist Paul Chastain and drummer Ric Menck are the band’s two constant members. They had previously worked together in 3 other bands…Choo Choo Train, Bag-O-Shells, and The Springfields in the 1980s. 

 Guitarist Jeffrey Underhill played with them on their first three albums. The  album was produced by Mitch Easter who would produce R.E.M among other artists. He gets such a warm sound with Velvet Crush. Matthew Sweet has also worked with this band. 

Chastain, Menck, and Underhill reunited in 2019 to tour. 

Time Wraps Around You

To the summer of love, from the winter of fearSeasons change us around, the reasons not clearSo turn the pageTheir innocence can’t be savedBeginning again

Like the motions you make, the wave of your handLike the time that it takes to know that you canStanding byTo try and make you feel alright

This time wraps around youAnd I’ll wrap around youYou know I’ll stay

Through the summer of love, the winter so nearSeasons scatter good friends, and more every yearLooking backThen you findLearning thatIt’s time to leave the past far behind

You know it’s alrightThis time wraps around youAnd I’ll wrap around youThis time wraps around youAnd I’ll wrap around youThis time wraps around youAnd I’ll wrap around youThis time wraps around youAnd I’ll wrap around youThis time wraps around youAnd I’ll wrap around youKnow I’ll stay

Rain Parade – You Are My Friend

This is a band I discovered off of the compilation album Children of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the Second Psychedelic Era, 1976–1995. It was a follow-up to the Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965–1968. That album consisted of early American psychedelic and garage rock singles.

Children of Nuggets was the second wave of garage bands that consisted of psychedelic, power pop, punk, alternative, and alt-country, and also included the Byrds-influenced Paisley Underground Scene that was going on at the time. It was a nice break from the disco and synth-driven bands that were all over the top 40 during the 80s.

The Rain Parade was part of the Paisley Underground scene in Los Angeles in the early 80s. The Paisley Underground scene contained bands such as The Bangles, Green on Red, and The Long Ryders. There was no shortage of good songs in the period. They just didn’t get the push from their record companies and they were out of step with other bands like Duran Duran.

This song peaked at #28 in the UK Indie Charts in 1985.

Their roots were in punk music but in this band…instead of the Sex Pistols and the Clash, they went for the Byrds jangly guitars. They also resemble early R.E.M. in this song.

David Roback was in this band. He is most famous for being a founding member of Mazzy Star. He was also in a band with  Susanna Hoffs before she joined the Bangles.

You Are My Friend

You are my friend
So sad this had to end
Some broken things don’t mend
They lie where they fall
You say the knife
Is twisted in your back
You don’t remember that
It wasn’t in mind
But you’re my friend
And you know
Things are not the same
You can’t hide your lies
’cause this time
there’s nothing you can change

Friend
I’m sad it had to end
You can’t bring back the dead
They’ll burn you down
You’re much too smart
To waste your mind on me
And you know too late
Don’t be a fool
If you’re my friend
My friend
You are my friend
My friend

Guided By Voices – Glad Girls ….Power Pop Friday

I liked this song on my first listen. Guided by Voices is an indie rock band formed in Dayton, Ohio, United States in 1983. The band’s lineup has changed several times throughout the band’s history, with its only constant member being singer/songwriter Bob Pollard. They are still together and touring… Bob Pollard is with the current lineup.

If this band is anything…it’s prolific. They have had 35 studio albums, 12 Compilation albums, 19 EPs, 39 singles, 2 live albums, and 2 books! On top of that they have appeared on several soundtracks including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Crime and Punishment, Scrubs, and many more. They also counted Rik Ocasek as one of their producers.

Their first EP came out in 1986 and their first LP came out in 1987. They have released 14 albums since 2016.

Isolation Drills.jpg

Glad Girls was released in 2001 on the Isolation Drills album. The album peaked at #6 on the Heat Seekers Charts, #8 in the Indie charts, and #168 on the Billboard Album charts. Here is an interesting fact… “Glad Girls” was nominated for the High Times “Pot Song of the Year” award.

Metacritic gives the album a score of 83 out of 100. Sonicnet: Ditching lo-fi aesthetics for a more radio-ready sound in the spirit of, say, the Raspberries or Badfinger, Pollard has wisely chosen not bury his songs in oblique lyrical references and muddy tape hiss.

Glad Girls

Hey, glad girls
Only want to get you high
Hey, glad girls
Only want to get you high
Hey, glad girls
Only want to get you high

And they’re alright
And they’re alright
And they’re alright
And they’re alright

Glad girls
Only want to get you high
Hey, glad girls
Only want to get you high
Hey, glad girls
Only want to get you high

And they’re alright
And they’re alright
And they’re alright
And they’re alright

There will be no coronation
There will be no flowers flowing
In the light that passes though me now
In the light that passes though me

Hey, glad girls
Only want to get you high
Hey, glad girls
Only want to get you high
Hey, glad girls
Only want to get you high

And they’re alright
And they’re alright
And they’re alright
And they’re alright

There will be no graduation
There will be no trumpets blowing
In the light that passes through me now
In the light that passes through me

With the sinking of the sun
I’ve come to greet you
Clean your hands and go to sleep
Confess the dreams

Of good and bad men all around
Some are lost and some have found
The light that passes though me now
Yeah, the light that passes though me

Hey, glad girls
Only want to get you high
Hey, glad girls
Only want to get you high
Hey, glad girls
Only want to get you high

And they’re alright
And they’re alright
And they’re alright
And they’re alright

And they’re alright
And they’re alright
And they’re alright
And they’re alright

Pinkees – Danger Games ….Power Pop Friday

Aphoristical brought this song up to me a year or so ago and I have been waiting to write about it ever since.

Danger Games is a good dose of power pop and it reminds me a little of Squeeze. This song spent a total of 9 weeks on the UK charts peaking at #8 in 1982. The Pinkees career hit the skids amid a dispute between their label Creole Records and then High Street record store giant Our Price.

Guitarist Andy Price said: “People said our record had been hyped into the charts, after that nobody would touch us, Radio One refused to play our follow-up single ‘Holding Me Tight’, and the Pinkees sort of fizzled out.”

The Pinkees have a second life now. Jay Reynolds, son of Pinkees drummer Paul Reynolds, is a Grammy Award winner mixer and he asked his dad why his old band’s songs were not on Spotify.

Creole Records has gone through many ownership changes but now they are owned by BMG’s Sanctuary Records. A deal was made…now their album has been remixed by Jay Reynolds and released again. The Pinkees are not together anymore but Andy Price and Paul Reynolds are in a band together doing cover songs. They never did any Pinkee covers but they might now since their album was released again to the world.

Danger Games

Two lovers part
It’s just the start
Before too long they’ll be at war
Nobody phones their both alone
Just like they were before
Out on a limb more more suffering
It’s just a game that lovers play
Two broken hearts when love departs
It getting worse each day

It loves who love danger game we play
It drags you down throws your heart away

Love people say can, can change the way
They feel its just to late to try
Lights up a fag calls are a drag
A tear drops from her eye
She’s out in the car he’s drunk in the bar
They lead there lives in separate ways
We’re all the same we play the game

It happens every day
Its love who love
Danger game we play It drags you down
Throws your heart away

It love who love danger game we play
It drags you down throws your heart
It love who love danger game we play
It drags you down throws your heart
It’s love who love danger game we play
It drags you down throws your heart
It’s love who love danger game we play
It drags you down throws your heart away

Chris Bell – I Don’t Know ….Power Pop Friday

This one is a rocking song by Chris Bell. Chris was one  the founding members of Big Star. Alex Chilton would get more publicity…mostly because of him singing for the successful Box Tops. In the pop world, it’s tragic that Big Star wasn’t heard by the masses. They could have become huge but it’s something that we will never know.

The sound that Big Star had largely originated from founding member Chris Bell. Alex Chilton and Chris Bell wrote most of the first album and they modeled themselves after Lennon and McCartney. Their first album was praised by practically everyone but not distributed…people wanted the album but the album was not in the stores for people to buy. Chris left the band not long after that failure.

He kept recording in Memphis with different musicians. In the late seventies, there were rumors that Big Star would reform and tour Europe where they were getting known but it never come to pass. In the fall of 1978, Bell got a call from Car Records and they wanted to release a single with a song called  I am the Cosmos with You and Your Sister as the B side.  It was the only solo release Chris would see in his lifetime. Unfortunately, Chris didn’t get to enjoy it long. He died in a car wreck on December 27, 1978. He was only 27 years old.

Big Star’s and Chris Bell’s recognition started to rise through the eighties with bands like The Replacements, REM, and more singing their praises. The first glimmer of international recognition for Chris alone came in 1992 after Rykodisc released the first edition of his I Am The Cosmos LP. It compiled not only the tracks he recorded at Ardent Studios, but also his 1974-5 sessions at Shoe Productions in Memphis, George Martin’s AIR Studios in London, and Château D’Hérouville in France.

If anyone of you are interested in Big Star I would recommend this documentary (Nothing Can Hurt Me Now) and this book about Chris Bell.

I Don’t Know

Whatever it is you’re thinking
Sit down and let’s give it a try
You know that I’ll always listen
But sometimes I’m wondering why
You don’t lie to me
And I wouldn’t lie to you, oh no
Baby I’m feeling lost
I don’t know what I’m going to do
You don’t know what you’re putting me through
I gotta get away from you
Once in a while you’re lonely
Tell me if needed a friend
I’m wondering what is the matter
But you say that you can’t explain
But you don’t lie to me
And I wouldn’t lie to you, oh no
But baby I’m feeling lost
I don’t know what I’m going through
You don’t know what you’re putting me through
I gotta get away from you
Do you want me
I want you
You don’t want me,
I want you
Don’t you know I’m losing sleep at night
Sleep at night
I don’t know what I’m going to do
You don’t know what you’re putting me through
I gotta get away from you
Whatever it is you’re thinking
Sit down and let’s give it a try
You know that I’ll always listen
But sometimes I’m wondering why
You don’t lie to me
And I wouldn’t lie to you, oh no
But baby I’m feeling lost
I don’t know what I’m going to do
You don’t know what you’re putting me through
I gotta get away from you