Certain Songs #1460: Paul Westerberg – “World Class Fad”

Album: 14 Songs
Year: 1993

While at the time, I thought that “Knockin’ on Mine” was the best of the 14 Songs, in retrospect, I think I was wrong.

Whether or not it was aimed at Kurt Cobain — the title of whose breakthrough album invoked both The Replacements and The Sex Pistols — there was no mistaking that Paul wanted to remind people of his ability to weld noisy guitars, shredded vocals, clever phrasing and an insanely catchy tune into a rock ‘n’ roll song that felt fresh and spontaneous.


Certain Songs #1459: Paul Westerberg – “Knockin’ on Mine”

Album: 14 Songs
Year: 1993

‘Mats fans who might have been somewhat scandalized by the slickness that encrusted Paul Westerberg’s contributions to the Singles soundtrack no doubt breathed a sigh of relief when they plugged 14 Songs into their CD player and the fuzzed-out electric guitar riff that opened “Knockin’ On Mine” came roaring out of the speakers.

This? This was more like it! An album opener to rival “Hold My Life” or “I.O.U.” maybe a tad bit slower, but rough-and-ready nonetheless, Paul’s voice somewhat buried in the mix, which at first is just a couple of guitars, bass and drums, the way the rock ‘n’ roll gods intended it. Whew!


Certain Songs #1458: Paul Westerberg – “Dyslexic Heart”

Album: Singles – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Year: 1992

OK, so first of all, let’s stipulate that no matter what it says on the label, All Shook Down was basically Paul Westerberg’s first solo album, which I think we all kinda knew at the time, but came even clearer when they broke up while touring it, as well as over the subsequent years.

But what was he going do next? That was the question that those of us who made best-of tapes called How The Replacements Saved My Life and considered Paul Westerberg the best songwriter of our generation were dead curious about. The answer came in the summer of 1992 with the soundtrack to Cameron Crowe’s love letter to Gen-X, Singles: Paul Westerberg was going to leverage his songwriting talent, tamp down his self-destructive impulses and try to get famous by writing high-quality, incredibly catchy pop songs.


Certain Songs #1457: Paul Simon – “Kodachrome”

Album: There Goes Rhymin’ Simon
Year: 1973

While I’ve always quite liked the records he made in the 1960s with Art Garfunkle, I’ve never really developed an affinity for Paul Simon as a solo artist, though I do quite respect his ongoing quest to add exotic flavors to his music, and because he’s always been so highly regarded, I’ve definitely sampled him off and on over the years.

But respect isn’t the same as love, and as Certain Songs is about love, I’m sure some of you might be disappointed to find out that after thinking about it, there’s really only one Paul Simon solo song that I truly love, and that’s his 1973 single “Kodachrome.” For the kids in the audience, think of Kodachrome as the filmic equivalent of a really cool Instagram filter.


Certain Songs #1456: Paul Revere & The Raiders – “Kicks”

Album: Midnight Ride
Year: 1966

Turn off! Tune out! Drop in!

Whether or not Paul Revere and The Raiders were truly as anti-drug as their biggest hit single — OK, “Indian Reservation,” was bigger, but that was Mark Lindsay with the Wrecking Crew, and only branded as “The Raiders” for maximum commerciality — seemed to indicate they were, but they sure did look like nice clean-cut young men, albeit ones who dressed up as Revolutionary War soldiers. Which you’ve noticed I can’t really let go of.