Archive | June, 2017

Certain Songs #923: The Len Price 3 – “Rentacrowd”

Album: Rentacrowd
Year: 2007

I think it was Kirk who turned me onto the Len Price 3, as they turned up on the hard drive that he, Tim & I used to pass music to each other during the first decade of the millennium. That was a great method of checking out new music, and I almost instantly loved the sound of The Len Price 3.

Why, because they sounded just like The Who circa 1965 or The Jam circa 1977. Rickenbacker guitars, “whoo-whoo” backing vocals, short smart snappy songs.

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Certain Songs #922: Lemonheads – “My Drug Buddy”

Album: It’s A Shame About Ray
Year: 1992

No seriously, exactly how weird was it in 1993? Not only did a major record company let a next Next Big Thing make a song about his drug-taking the centerpiece of his breakthrough album, they even funded a video for it.

And while they changed it to the more innocuous “Buddy” for the reissue that they appended “Mrs. Robinson,” that was a formality that probably fooled exactly noone, because from the organ-driven, languorous vibe of the music to the emotional truth of the lyrics, “My Drug Buddy” was an gorgeously chilling cry for help.

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Certain Songs #921: Lemonheads – “It’s A Shame About Ray”

Album: It’s A Shame About Ray
Year: 1992

And then there was the hot second where Lemonheads were the next Next Big Thing.

This would be early 1993, of course. You know, that weird post-Nevermind period that spawned all sorts of unlikely hits from all sorts of unlikely places. And while Lemonheads had been recording since 1987, Evan Dando had only recently perfected his punk-pop songwriting chops, and was convinced — or got convinced — that maybe he could ride those chops (and his insane good looks) to Cobain-esque heights.

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Certain Songs #920: The Left Banke – “Walk Away Renee”

Album: Walk Away Renee / Pretty Ballerina
Year: 1966

On the short list of Prettiest Songs Ever Recorded, Baroque Pop Division, “Walk Away Renee” is one of those songs that can inspire an equal amount of chills and tears, depending on whether you’re fixating on the gorgeous melody or the heartbreaking words.

It’s also, for some reason, one of those songs that I’ve never dug that deep into, like somehow understanding would ruin the beauty. So there were a whole bunch of things I never knew about “Walk Away Renee” until just now.

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Certain Songs #919: Lee Michaels – “Do You Know What I Mean”

Album: Fifth
Year: 1971

Yes, while Lee Michaels had another top 40 hit — his cover of “Can I Get a Witness” got to number #39 on the coattails of this one — he really was the quintessential one-hit wonder.

And you know how you can tell he’s a one-hit wonder: you can’t name a single other song by Lee Michaels — and in fact, you didn’t even know he covered “Can I Get a Witness” until I just told you (and I sure as hell didn’t know until I read it on Wikipedia 10 minutes ago) — but if you listened to the radio at all in the early 1970s, you know every single word of “Do You Know What I Mean.”

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