Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sonic Sunday: B-Side Bonanza Vol. 2

The B-side project rolls along this week, with five more great tracks. Remember, folks, my list still isn't complete so you are more than welcome to email me with suggestions and requests.

(Click any link, arrow, or tab on left side of page to launch the media player; CTRL-click to download.)

1. "Acquiesce," Oasis - I don't know what it is that makes me feel alive/I don't know how to wake the things that sleep inside/I only wanna see the light that shines behind your eyes

I've never been a huge fan of Oasis, partly because I've always seen them as over-confident Beatles imitators and partly because of my desire to punch Liam Gallagher's teeth down his throat. But I can overlook those things occasionally because Noel Gallagher does know how to write some extremely catchy songs. I guess the main problem is that too many of those songs sound alike. I kind of feel like the world only needs about 10-12 Oasis tunes, which would make up one really terrific album. You would expect a band like this to not have anything to offer in the way of b-sides, but "Acquiesce" is actually much better than the single it backed (the nice-but-nasally "Some Might Say") and, in my opinion, better than just about all of their singles except "Don't Go Away." It's also one of only a few tunes that features both Gallagher brothers' vocals and, despite their hatred for each other (Noel has made it clear that this song is about friendship, not brotherly love), their on-record chemistry really makes the tune something special.

Thom's smiling! GET THE CAMERA!!2. "How Can You Be Sure?," Radiohead - Seen all good things and bad, running down the hill/All so battered and brought to the ground/I am hungry again/I am drunk again/With all the money I owe to my friends

Radiohead have a ton of b-sides and, as a casual-to-moderate fan, I really don't have the patience to sift through them all. I knew I would probably include one of theirs in this mix, but how could I be sure which one? (Har har...see what I did there?) I had only heard a handful of their b-sides, so I asked Barbara of Bad Tempered Zombie for some recommendations. But since she's a true Radiohead geek, I thought it might be easier to do some "general public" polling. After asking a few other friends and doing some online research, it seemed like the two huge "fan favorites" were "Talk Show Host" and "A Reminder"— both of which I knew and disliked. So, just as I was getting ready to name "Fog" Radiohead's best b-side (one of Barbara's recommendations), I happened upon "How Can You Be Sure?" and loved it immediately. No surprise, considering that it was a b-side from The Bends, my favorite Radiohead album, but which had actually been recorded back before Pablo Honey. I've always preferred the less "artsy" Radiohead that this song features. I just love when they stick to simple songs with plaintive vocals sung over beautiful melodies. Call me crazy.

3. "Maidstone," Squeeze - The shopping precinct's closed, it's like a graveyard/The chain falls through the spokes as I unlock my bike/I cycle to the pub where I meet with my friends/And I know that it's love as she pours me my pint

Speaking of fan favorites, this is THE lost Squeeze track. According to Glenn Tilbrook, it's the band's most requested b-side, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's one of their most requested songs, period. (Who among us can resist the charms of the mandolin?) As if relegating this to back-of-the-single status wasn't bad enough, it backed "Sunday Street," a cloyingly cheesy song.

No one on this list would even exist if it hadn't been for us, you know.4. "Rain," The Beatles - I can show you that when it starts to rain, everything's the same/I can show you, I can show you/Rain, I don't mind/Shine, the world looks fine

My roommate argued with me about including this track since it was the b-side to "Paperback Writer," a non-album single. But I rarely listen to him. I mean, so what if the single didn't come from an album? It was still released as a single. Am I right? I'm right. Anyway, this song deserves to be on the list because it's beautiful and uplifting and it has backwards lyrics that don't summon the devil. They might bring Kachina dolls to life though, so be careful.

5. "U," Pearl Jam - Thought it was easy to fall in love but you, you, you/You're different this much I know yeah you, you, you/It might be your guile, it could be your mind/It might be the way you take your time/Oh, you, you, you

Finally, here is a song by not only my favorite band, but also an American band. It's about time someone broke up the monopoly the Brits had on this post. This is one of my favorite PJ songs (I know I probably say that about nearly all of them) because it's just so damn happy. It's probably the happiest PJ song ever, and was fittingly the b-side to one of their other most cheerful tunes, "Wishlist." Although I do appreciate how well Eddie Vedder does heartbreak, it's nice to catch him in such a good mood.

I actually posted this once before (on Eddie's birthday), but I was pissed that it was the Lost Dogs version and not the original. I was finally able to rip the original to my computer, so now you can all finally hear the proper version. As I mentioned back then, there aren't that many differences between the two versions, but there is an undefinable sweetness to the original that somehow gets lost in the re-recording. The charm was sucked out. It's the same thing that happened to U2's "Sweetest Thing," which I posted last week.

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Penny said...

Oh! Great list this week!! I love, love, love that Oasis song :)

McGone said...

I always loved McCartney's bass-work on "Rain." Excellent choice there.

red said...

I need to listen to more Squeeze. I general like everything I hear by them.

words...words...words... said...

You are right that "Don't Go Away" is Oasis's best song. And I didn't notice til just now that you changed the title on your Photoshop to "For Your Amusement". Nice!

Anonymous said...

My band used to rehearse with a cover version of "Rain". Really! And "Maidstone" is a great song. The place is just ok though. :)

Alice said...

i love b-side bonanza days! i get a fantastic mini-playlist at work without having to compile it myself!

in other news, i can't believe there's a beatles song i didn't know every word to already. i feel like a failure.

Richard @ The Bewildered Brit said...

Ooooh! For the period from The Bends until around Amnesiac, Radioheads B-sides were almost all excellent (though I agree with you about A Reminder--the whole "How am I Driving EP" is a bit of a letdown.

My favourite is Cuttooth, B-side to Knives Out. Thom was so fond of the lyrics that he reused them later in Myxomatosis.

Highly recommended (now I've said that, you'll probably hate it!):

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

I'm sure I have that Radiohead one my Itunes somewhere. I know I have all the stuff off the My Iron Lung EP, so it's probably on there. I'll do a search for it.

I know there's one on there called like, "You Never Wash Up After Love," or something like that, which seems a little picky. I mean, that's her problem if she wants an infection or something.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Well done, lassie! Big props for picking a pretty obscure but still highly accessible Radiohead b-side. You did yourself proud and Thom is sending you a basket of tea biscuits.

mo.stoneskin said...

It warms my little soul to see a PJ song there. They are probably my favourite, although my happiest moment while listening to Pearl Jam is during a bit of acoustic lead in a live version of Immortality I've got kicking around.

Del-V said...

The Beatles (like Led Zeppelin) didn't have B-sides. They put out every 45 as if it were 2 A-sides.

BeckEye said...

Not every 45. Rain was never a featured song. They did have some double A sides, like Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane and Day Tripper/We Can Work it Out, but Rain was definitely a b-side to Paperback Writer.

And Led Zeppelin had the one B side - Hey Hey What Can I Do, which I posted last week.

Jonathan Houghton said...

I still think your roommate was right about the Beatles song.

Candy's daily Dandy said...


Becks, I don't even know what this post is about because I can't stop laughing at THE GLAMBERT PHOTOSHOP PHOTO!!!!!

Oh honey, you have outdone yourself.
That is possibly the greatest thing I have seen in a while.
I needed that laugh.
I love you.


Who Does This Broad Think She Is?

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I am a winsome muse who was sent to Earth to inspire an artist to turn a vacant building into the world's coolest disco roller rink. We fell in love along the way, and I foolishly gave up my immortality. When the disco craze ended and all the roller rinks were shut down, that lazy bum wouldn't get a job. We broke up and I was stuck on Earth with nothing to do and no one to inspire. So, now I write a blog.

What Do Others Think of BeckEye?

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