Archive | July, 2017

Certain Songs #948: Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – “Pretty Gone”

Album: Easy Pieces
Year: 1985

I’m guessing that to some people, this is one of the minor songs from Easy Pieces. But it actually looms large to me, because “Pretty Gone” is the song that actually inspired the original “Certain Songs” concept. Which was to write about songs that always reminds me of a specific moment in my life.

Won’t you put on your dress and come down to Magazine Avenue?

And while that concept has obviously mutated into the giant, never-ending beast that you now see in front of you, it doesn’t mean that the original handful of songs I wanted to write about — including “Safe European Home” and “Ramble Tamble

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Certain Songs #947: Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – “Rich”

Album: Easy Pieces
Year: 1985

None of the Lloyd Cole & The Commotion albums ever got a simultaneous release in the U.K. and the U.S., so the release date years are all screwed up compared to my memories and various lists.

Rattlesnakes didn’t come out here until 1985 and Easy Pieces didn’t come out until 1986, so all of my memories of those records and the parts of my life they were the soundtrack of are for those years.

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Certain Songs #946: Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – “Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken?”

Album: Rattlesnakes
Year: 1984

It’s been obscured by decades of reissues that had bonus tracks and non-album b-sides, but this little beauty was the last song on the original version of Rattlesnakes, and at first it felt too low-key to be an album closer, all infinite loop acoustic guitar and accordion synth and — wait a second, is that a drum machine?

No, seriously, is that a drum machine? I mean, Paul Westerberg could get away with it, because “Color Me Impressed” and “Hayday” were on the same record, but that’s some nerve of this intellectual Scottish pretty boy to put one on his record. Doesn’t he understand anything?

Of course he did. Because Lloyd Cole knew that none of that macho bullshit mattered once he started singing:

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Certain Songs #945: Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – “Rattlesnakes”

Album: Rattlesnakes
Year: 1984

As an album, Rattlesnakes is so full of great moments, it’s actually hard to just pick a few songs from it, so because I know that somebody reading this loves songs I’m not going to write about, I just wanted to shout out to things like the wordless first chorus in “Speedboat,” the setting-trees-on-fire guitar outro to “Forest Fire” and “all we ever shared was a taste in clothes” from “2cv.”

All of those songs got tons of play: on the radio, at parties, in my car, just about anywhere us college students were gathering in the mid-1980s.

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Certain Songs #944: Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – “Perfect Skin”

Album: Rattlesnakes
Year: 1984

Perhaps the definitive college rock album of the mid-1980s, Lloyd Cole & The Commotions’ Rattlesnakes was an absolute utter favorite in my burgeoning social circle in 1985. While some folks found the obliqueness of R.E.M.’s frontman too distancing and the whinging of The Smiths’ frontman a too annoying, then Lloyd Cole’s songs about his various romantic entanglements other young smart people hit the mark time after time after time.

And Neil Clark’s insanely catchy jangly guitar hooks didn’t hurt either.

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