Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sonic Sunday: B-Side Bonanza Vol. 4

And now for the b-side project's final installment! Thanks to everyone (not many of you) who sent me suggestions. And thanks for not getting mad if I didn't use them.

I either ran out of really good b-sides or ran into trouble actually finding some of the ones I liked (The Black Crowes' "Words You Throw Away" is a nice one that eluded me), so I'm going to have two artist repeats in this final list. And if you know anything about me, you might be able to guess who they are before you even look down.

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

1. "Dive," Nirvana - Pick me, pick me, yeah/Everyone is waiting/Hit me, hit me, yeah/I'm real good at hating

Aren't those lyrics embarrassing to all of the Cobain disciples who insist he's the voice of our generation? Sorry, couldn't resist a slight dig. I was given several Nirvana b-side recommendations, and nearly all of them made me want to pull my eyeballs out. This was the only true b-side (there were a few good unreleased tracks, which don't count) that I kind of liked. Strange, considering it's the b-side to the ultra-annoying "Sliver." I know I have a reputation for being a Nirvana-hater, but that's not completely accurate. See, my dislike of them mainly stemmed from the fact that the media and idiot fans always felt the need to pit Nirvana vs. Pearl Jam — something they still do TODAY — and of course Pearl Jam always came out on the bottom. And when I'm forced to sit and listen to a slew of songs with muddy, miserable lyrics and lots of screaming, it makes me even more angry to think that anyone considers Kurt Cobain a better lyricist than Eddie Vedder. And I will just stop there before I get really mean.

2. "Other Side," Pearl Jam - It's not the same without you up here/Can't find my wheels/Your absence is what breeds this fear/Warm breath and all it steals

Oddly enough, this b-side to "Save You" is one of my favorite Pearl Jam songs and Eddie didn't even write it. It's a Jeff Ament-penned tune, but so beautifully melancholy that you'd think it was Eddie's. This definitely should have made it to Riot Act. Actually, anything (even Eddie flushing his toilet for three minutes) should have been on that album instead of "Bushleaguer."

3. "The Butterfly Collector," The Jam - There's tarts and whores but you're much more/You're a different kind 'cause you want their minds/And you just don't care 'cause you've got no pride/It's just a face on your pillowcase that thrills you

Ah, speaking of great lyricists...who doesn't love Paul Weller? Probably the groupie(s) that he wrote this cutting song for. But who cares what those hose-hounds think? It's a shame that I couldn't include non-album singles in this list (but maybe there's an idea for another Sunday) because The Jam had quite a lot of those. In fact, the single this song backed was one — the fantastic "Strange Town."

4. "Velvet Goldmine," David Bowie - Velvet Goldmine, you stroke me like the rain/Snake it, take it, panther princess you must stay/Velvet Goldmine, naked on your chain/I'll be your king volcano right for you again and again

Although he had the right look and attitude, and is usually credited alongside Marc Bolan as one of the forefathers of glam, I always considered Bowie to be too intelligent and artsy to really fit in with the dumb, raunchy fun of true glam bands. But this song (the b-side to the '75 reissue of "Space Oddity") is one that always makes me take that statement back, because no one made the boys and girls wanna get down and dirty (with whoever happened to be nearby) than glittery Bowie.

5. "Young and Lovely," Blur - Kicking around in the center of the town looking in shop windows/Those mannequins look far too real at night/Friday's child doesn't know if it's awake or if it's dreaming/Says, "Don't worry Dad, I'll do my bit, I'll raise the flag/I'll be just like you"

This is a gorgeous "coming of age" song that pretty much everyone agrees should have been on Modern Life Is Rubbish, instead of relegated to the b-side of "Chemical World." I had a hard time leaving this one off the first volume of this mix (opting for "All Your Life" instead), so I'm glad that I ran out of other artists to feature. This song didn't make the album cut because producer Dave Balfe thought "Turn It Up" was more America-friendly (read: dumbed-down pop). The band's feelings about this horrible decision can best be summed up by Damon Albarn: "['Young and Lovely'] should have been on the LP, but it didn't get on there and fucking 'Turn It Up' did."

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

As a huge Black Crowes fan, I had never heard of "Words You Throw Away". I will have to find it.

Also, "Sliver" is a great song. Boo. But so is "Other Side".

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

I'll have to run that one by my Pearl Jam friends. I have some buddies who have a gazillioin imports.

McGone said...

I never bought into the media-fueled Pearl Jam vs. Nirvana rivalry, even though I know there was an actual basis for it. I've more-or-less fully embraced the entire Seattle scene of the early '90s, and even my current obsessions can be traced back to the flannel capital "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon"-like.

But do people really defend Cobain's lyrics as the be-all end-all? I once heard (via Grant Miller on my old blog, nonetheless) that Cobain would write two lines, get self-conscious and then write a third line mocking the previous two.

Anonymous said...

See, there you go with the Blur again.

Know what's funny and appropriate? My word veri right now is DEMONS. HAHAHA! Which makes me want to call their singer you love so much Demon Albarn.

BeckEye said...

WWW - You can actually find it on YouTube, but parts of it have a Chris Robinson interview annoyingly on top of the lyrics.

Dr. N - I'm sure your PJ friends will be very familiar with "Other Side."

McGone - I've had plenty of arguments with people who pull that "voice of a generation" crap about Cobain. In my opinion, if you're going to be the voice of a generation, you'd better have something to say. But HE never wanted that title, so I really can't dislike him. I actually quite liked Kurt and felt really bad when he died, but when the media and fans elevated him to some Christ-like status after his death, I started to get pissed off.

Veggie - Well, if he's an incubus, please tell him where I'm sleeping.

Shelly said...

Yeah, I think the saddest thing about Cobain was how much he didn't want the idolatry.

Richard @ The Bewildered Brit said...

Velvet Goldmine! I love how it kind of degenerates into what sounds like a Russian folk song at the end! Fantastic song.

dmarks said...

As for Bushleaguer, blind mindless partisan rage will cause something to get dated really fast. And after all, who wants political attack-ads on a music CD?


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