Archive | January, 2018

Certain Songs #1116: The Mavericks – “Would You Believe”

Album: The Mavericks
Year: 2003

As great as Trampoline was, it was clear that The Mavericks were running out of commercial steam, and they hadn’t quite yet turned into the cult act I suspect they are today, so they were either dropped by or left MCA, and Raul Malo released the first of his solo albums.

All of which meant it was five years before they came back with any new music, though when they did in 2003, it was well worth the wait, as The Mavericks (confusingly, their second self-titled album) (thank you Peter Gabriel) continued along the path set by its predecessors: some pop, some blues, some rock, some country, and the highlight, the almost dance hall “Would You Believe,” which wouldn’t have been out of place as a Kinks single.

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Certain Songs #1115: The Mavericks – “I Don’t Even Know Your Name”

Album: Trampoline
Year: 1998

After being turned on to The Mavericks via the eclectic What A Crying Shame, I was definitely looking forward to the follow-up, 1995’s Music For All Occasions. And while that record continued the eclecticness, it felt lacking in songs to me (though the lead single, “Hear Comes the Rain” won a Grammy, so what do I know?)

Apparently, The Mavericks knew that too, because it took three years for them to put out another record, and when Trampoline came out in 1998, everything came together — all of their influences mixed together into a big stew.

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Certain Songs #1114: The Mavericks – “What A Crying Shame”

Album: What A Crying Shame
Year: 1994

The Mavericks are yet another artist that Rox turned me onto.

I don’t know if she had their first two albums at the time, but at some point she got me to listen to their third record, 1994’s breakthrough, What A Crying Shame, and for the rest of their original run, their records were a staple in our household.

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Certain Songs #1113: Matthew Sweet – “Millennium Blues”

Album: In Reverse
Year: 1999

Featuring:
Greg Leisz – Electric Guitar
Bruce Fowler – Reverse Trombone
Walt Fowler – Reverse Trumpet
Greg Kurstin – Organ
Ric Menck – Drums

After killing it in the first part of the 1990s with the 1-2-3 punch of Girlfriend, Altered Beast & 100% Fun, Matthew Sweet stumbled for with 1997’s Blue Sky on Mars, which replaced Robert Quine and Richard Lloyd with loads and loads of synthesizers, which was of course a good idea in terms of stretching out, but I didn’t think the songs were quite there to make up for the loss of the fun guitars.

And while the crazy guitars were still mostly MIA from 1999’s In Reverse, Sweet was taking even more risks, ditching the synths for baroque chamber pop psychedelia, which somehow turned it into a record that I wildly overrated at the time, mostly on account of its still stellar opening track, “Millennium Blues.”

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Certain Songs #1112: Matthew Sweet – “Smog Moon”

Album: 100% Fun
Year: 1995

Featuring:
Brendan O’Brien – Piano
Greg Leisz – Electric Lap Steel Guitar
Ric Menck – Drums

There are some songs that absolutely bring me back to a specific time and place every single time I hear them. “Smog Moon” is one of those songs.

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