Nov 242011

I love this record, adore it, I want it played at my funeral and I want to be alive during my funeral so I can hear it just one last time. Whenever I hear it I then have to play it another three or four times just to bask in the llveliness of it. I want to line up everyone who bought “Need You Tonight” by INXS in 1988 and demand to know why they didn’t buy this instead.

It is such a gorgeous song that I want to buy everything that The Mekons have ever recorded, and all of Sally Timms’ solo records, and follow them on tour just in case they play it. Here’s where it all falls down, though – I’ve heard almost all of their other records and they do nothing for me at all, leave me stone cold. For over thirty years.

By way of a reversal of the “one rubbish track on a great album” debate: Which band or artist (who have released at least two albums) would be completely without interest if it wasn’t for just one song which gives you a nice sunny feeling inside whenever you hear it and vindicates an otherwise not very interesting career?


  27 Responses to “Little Rays of Sunshine”

  1. While I’ve warmed a little towards solo Robyn Hitchcock recently, I’m still pretty certain that “I Wanna Destroy You” is the only Soft Boys song I need in my live. And I do need it.

    I’ve actually really gotten in the Mekons this year. I wind up listening to them a lot on Spotify, as it’s tough finding hard copies of their albums in the U.S., though not impossible. But you’ve picked an excellent choice for one song of theirs to love.

  2. When “Let Love Rule” by Lenny Kravitz was released in 1989, I thought it was a really good song – a smooth and lazy groove with some tasty organ and sax. I liked the way it slowly built in intensity. I bought Lenny’s first album, only to discover to my dismay that “Rule” was the only good track on it. While I still like “Rule”, everything else I’ve heard by Kravitz leaves me cold.

    By the way, Stan, don’t feel insulted if you don’t get many responses today – most Americans are either involved in or preparing for a major Thanksgiving food overdose. I’ll be pigging out myself later today.

  3. cliff sovinsanity

    The Pooh Sticks – The World Is Turning On

    Even the most suckiest bands can squeeze out a gem. The word “talent” doesn’t immediately spring to mind when discussing the Pooh Sticks. All their songs are pointless, inconsequential but often catchy. This song represents one of times when a power pop band gets everything 100% right. Enjoy, if you dare.

  4. cliff sovinsanity

    I don’t dislike The Mekons. I have yet to latch on to one of their genres and say, “I love this sound”. The postpunk stuff sounded amateurish, the country albums sound a little off, and this song sounds like something Lush would eventually do better. I never ventured towards anything after Fear and Whiskey. Either someone could make recommend a good entry point in their early 90’s career or I might have to rethink my opening statement.

  5. I’m with you on “…Destroy…”

  6. H. Munster

    I wouldn’t quite say that it “gives me a nice sunny feeling inside,” but not only is “Dirty White Boy” the only Foreigner song I can contemplate without nausea, I actually like it.

  7. Happiness Stan

    What, no “Queen of Eyes”?

    I love Robyn Hitchcock, but the problem with his solo output is that he has always been incapable of exercising any sort of quality control, he’d rather release five albums than take the best songs from all of them and turn out something that really works.

    The band albums are slightly more consistent – almost all of his bands are effectively The Soft Boys with members added or taken away depending on whether they’re having hits with Katrina and the Waves at the time. I’ve seen him umpteen times, with The Soft Boys and the Egyptians, and other bands which have the same line-up but which are called different things not only every night but are re-named several times during the set. I’d recommend the live set “Gotta Let This Hen Out”, (and not just because I was there at the Marquee when it was being recorded). It’s got “Brenda’s Iron Sledge”, “Heaven” and “Listening to the Higsons”, although (typically for Hitchcock) it starts with “Sometimes I Wish I Was a Pretty Girl”, which was never really funny or as clever as it wanted to be, and sometimes it can be quite difficult to make a case for an ironic sense of humour over misogyny in his music.

  8. Happiness Stan

    Ah, I missed the hint in the “thankful” thread, hope you all enjoy it!

  9. Happiness Stan

    I hadn’t heard that one, Cliff, they were the sort of band who’d crop up on The Tube on friday evenings and would be forgotten about by the time we piled down the pub. Catchy and short, good stuff!

  10. Some faceless Scottish band from the late-’90s had a tremendous Squeeze-like minor hit called “Roll to Me,” I think. I couldn’t wait to hear that song come on the radio or MTV, like when I used to wait for Bob Welch’s ‘Sentimental Lady” as a kid. The song lasted maybe 2 minutes. Anything else I heard by that band was godawfully boring. I should downliad that one song.

    In recent years “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” (the sing itself) dazzles when I hear it, but its goodwill does not carry over to the rest if the classic Genesis catalog.

  11. BigSteve

    I had been saving a bunch of these for an idea I had for a similar thread, so here goes:

    Motorhead – Ace of Spades
    Jane’s Addiction – Been Caught Stealing
    Rollins Band – Liar
    Beastie Boys – Sabotage
    Black Sabbath – Paranoid
    Abba – Dancing Queen

    In each case I don’t really like any of the rest of the artist’s work, but I REALLY like this one song.

    Oh and Chivalry off Fear & Whiskey is my Mekons song. I ended up with a bunch of their albums, and I like them all (and I like their new one very much), but I’ll never like any of them as much as that song:

  12. Happiness Stan

    Would that then be the one listenable Genesis song? I thought that there had to be one somewhere, I’ll check it out later.

  13. When you look it up focus on the low riff, the bass and synth, or whatever is playing that funky underpinning. It’s a song unto itself.

  14. Been Caught Stealing is so much this kind of song for me too.

  15. tonyola

    Some more of my contenders…

    Soundgarden – “Black Hole Sun”
    Grand Funk Railroad – “Mr. Limousine Driver”
    Violent Femmes – “Gone Daddy Gone”
    Dire Straits – “Skateaway”
    Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Susie Q”

  16. cherguevara

    +1 on this one. A short blast of guitar pop and the only memorable thing on that album – and the cover art is terrible too.

    To bring this somewhat full-circle, I recall seeing Robyn Hitchcock introduce this video on 120 Minutes. It was something like, “this is their first major-label album, hope that doesn’t do them in.”

  17. cherguevara

    Yeah… I still prefer this:

    Probably not worth putting these two songs in the same contest, that’s how you end up with the musical argument equivalent of the Jamaican bobsled team.

  18. misterioso

    Boy, I think the Soft Boys records are top notch and at least a half dozen of his “solo” records are as well, with another half dozen or so extremely strong; and even the lesser ones are usually at least half good.

  19. misterioso

    I think “Been Caught Stealing” would be the one Jane’s Addiction song I would like, too, except that I really detest it.

  20. That would be “Del Amitri”. They had a few good radio songs. I kind of lump them in with the “Bodeans” as bands that should have done better

  21. Live Forever by Oasis.

    I really like that song, especially the understated guitar solo. Everything else that I’ve heard by them makes me think of them as the British Collective Soul. I’m never offended by their music but I scratch my head and wonder, “who is so into this that they’re actually plunking down some hard earned cash to add it to their collection?”

    Similar to Happiness Stan, I’d like the Oasis fans to explain their actions. Or better yet, send me a list of all of their cds so that I can be assured that they really owned all of pop music’s crucial recordings before they made what is so clearly a disposable and discretionary purchase.

  22. Happiness Stan

    I’m not going to send you a list of all my CDs, but will make a small stab at defending early (and I mean before they took off in the US) Oasis records and shows. The singles were a real breath of fresh air for about the first year, and they churned out loads, with fantastic b sides as well, up to about Morning Glory. The first album was terrific, the second sounded good at the time, but it’s all too easy to look back and see the beginnings of the arrangements starting to bloat as Noel ran out of ideas and the songs became less consequential.

    From what I can tell from Wikipedia they only started having hits in the US around the second album time when they were starting to get big and bloaty, (and the Gallaghers sacked the rest of the band and replaced them with less characterful musicians) so I can totally understand why you feel this way. They reached where REM got to after about ten years in about thirteen months, and dragged the rest of it out for far too long.

    Their third album, “Be Here Now” was billed as a huge event, with shops opening at midnight to sell it to insomniacs, and was a great bit stinker of the great biggest smelly order, and even though I’ve not heard any of their albums after that I’d be prepared to put money on not having missed anything.

  23. jeangray

    Low hanging fruit man! Every song that you listed was a hit for said artist. That would not give a person the impression that you were familiar enough with the artist to judge if’n these truely were the best song of an artist that you don’t like anything else by. A hit song is usualy the lowest common denominator in someone’s catalog, hence why they became a hit in the first place.

    Weak showing. What else you got???

  24. jeangray

    Ditto to you! Easy targets you got there.

  25. jeangray

    “Roll to Me” reminded you of Squeeze??? You mus’ have a low opinion of Squeeze.

  26. mockcarr

    CCR seems out of place. You don’t like Fortunate Son?

  27. Boy that Mystery Date got you worked up! Sure, I think that song sounds like Squeeze, especially the middle eight, at the 45-second mark. First, check it out:

    Now, check out the middle eight in Squeeze’s “Is That Love,” which occurs at – you guessed it – the 45-second mark:

    I like Squeeze.

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