Certain Songs #633: Hum – “Stars”

hum you'd prefer an astronaut Album: You’d Prefer an Astronaut
Year: 1995

A primo slice of math-rock metal all tarted-up as alt-rock, Hum’s “Stars” was as unlikely of a radio hit as you could possibly imagine in the mid-1990s, or pretty much anytime, really.

On the other hand, “Stars” is definitely on the list of Prettiest Songs Ever Recorded, Metal Division. And even in the post-grunge days of the mid-1990s, it still sounded like nothing else on the alt-rock radio stations that played it.


Certain Songs #632: Huey Lewis & The News – “Workin’ For a Livin'”

huey lewis picture this Album: Picture This
Year: 1982

While the early days of MTV is usually remembered for focusing on photogenic British acts — and foisting upon the world folks like Duran Duran, Adam Ant & Billy Idol — the truth that they also helped the careers of non-photogenic ugly-ass folks who happened to make clever videos.

Right? So we also had huge hits by Greg Kihn, ZZ Top, Eddie Money and of course, Huey Lewis and the News, whose completely agreeable and totally inoffensive if slightly slicked up bar-band sound somehow battled Prince, Madonna & Bruce Springsteen for chart domination in 1984.


Certain Songs #631: Howard Devoto – “Rainy Season”

Howard Devoto+Rainy+Season+524322 Album: Jerky Versions of THE DREAM
Year: 1983

After co-founding and leaving both The Buzzcocks and Magazine, Howard Devoto’s next move was to put out his only solo album, 1983’s Jerky Versions of THE DREAM.

And while, truth be told, most of the album didn’t do all that much for me, I really loved the single, “Rainy Season.”


Certain Songs #630: The Housemartins – “The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death”

housemartins people who Album: The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death
Year: 1987

I always got the impression that the people who loved The Housemartins, really really loved The Housemartins, but for all of the buzz & critical acclaim that surrounded their two records, they never really did much for me.

The exception, of course, being the title track from their second album, The Queen is D, sorry, I mean The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death.


Certain Songs #629: Hop Along – “Sister Cities”

Hop along painted shut Album: Painted Shut
Year: 2015

“There all is aching.”

That was one of the experiences that “life reviewer” Forrest McNeil was asked to review in the first season of Comedy Central’s brilliant TV show, Review.

I won’t go into exactly what happened (though I will link to a clip), except say that not only did it involve a perfectly-cast Emo Phillips, Forrest could have saved himself a lot of time if he’d just put on Hop Along’s Painted Shut and discovered there all is aching in the vocals.