Archive | January, 2018

Certain Songs #1102: Matthew Sweet – “Girlfriend”

Album: Girlfriend
Year: 1991

Featuring:
Robert Quine – Electric Lead Guitar
Greg Leisz – Lap Steel Guitar
Fred Maher – Drums

Along with Steve Wynn and Nicky Hopkins, Robert Quine is one of those guys who is going to show up in more than one artist’s Certain Songs entry.

I’ve already written about his work backing Lou Reed and Lloyd Cole, and will eventually discuss his work with Richard Hell, not to mention his semi-authorized bootlegging of The Velvet Underground.

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Certain Songs #1101: Matthew Sweet – “Divine Intervention”

Album: Girlfriend
Year: 1991

Featuring:
Richard Lloyd – Electric Lead Guitar
Ric Menck – Drums

Where do you start with Girlfriend? How out of left field it was? The two ace guitarists that Matthew Sweet recruited? The amazing production? The fact that it was a standout even during my all-time favorite not just year, but season of record-buying, the Autumn of 1991, where it was surrounded with Nevermind, Achtung Baby!, Apocalypse 91, the Illusion twins, Weld, Trompe Le Monde and Bandwagonesque?

Maybe, but let’s start with where Girlfriend starts, the falling from heaven of Richard Lloyd’s guitar and Matthew Sweet’s vocals that crash land into a bass-heavy beat that is equal parts Revolver and Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.

And this is how “Divine Intervention” sets lets us know the production strategy for Girlfriend: every instrument having its own space in the mix. Matthew Sweet’s bass in the center and his rhythm guitar over in one corner are barely on speaking terms i, while Rick Menck’s drums are set up over there in the other corner, along with Sweet’s slowly Velvety piano, all of which leaves plenty of space for Sweet’s vocals.

I don’t know where
I’m gonna live
Don’t know if I’ll find a place
I’d have to think about it some
Amd that I do not wish to face
I guess that I’m counting on his
Divine intervention

It also leaves room for Richard Lloyd’s guitar. Plenty of room. So much room.

I’m trying to remember here, but while I’d purchased both of Lloyd’s solo albums to date, neither one blew me away (Field of Fire, in particular, was sabotaged by terrible 80s production). And so, nothing that Lloyd had done since his amazing solo on the coda of Television’s “Ain’t That Nothing” prepared me for the onslaught of awesomeness that he unleashed on “Divine Intervention.”

Even before Sweet opens his mouth, Lloyd is already swirling and swooping around the song, commenting here and there, but waiting until after the second verse to truly take off after Sweet’s overdubbed “alright, alright,” spitting endless curlicues of notes that only get derailed during a particularly evil backwards tape reverse that takes the place of the third chorus.

After that, it’s just solo after solo, especially after Sweet stops the song again after chanting “When he comes the sun shines” to implore Lloyd to take off with a cheery “here it comes!

And as “Divine Intervention” fades in and out of its fake ending and then real ending, Lloyd remains completely on fire, and if you’d never heard Matthew Sweet or Richard Lloyd before, you could be excused for wanting more, a lot more, like this instant.

“Divine Intervention”

“Divine Intervention” live w/ John Hiatt (and Ivan Julian on lead guitar)

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Certain Songs #1101: Matthew Sweet – “Divine Intervention”

Album: Girlfriend
Year: 1991

Featuring:
Richard Lloyd – Electric Lead Guitar
Ric Menck – Drums

Where do you start with Girlfriend? How out of left field it was? The two ace guitarists that Matthew Sweet recruited? The amazing production? The fact that it was a standout even during my all-time favorite not just year, but season of record-buying, the Autumn of 1991, where it was surrounded with Nevermind, Achtung Baby!, Apocalypse 91, the Illusion twins, Weld, Trompe Le Monde and Bandwagonesque?

Maybe, but let’s start with where Girlfriend starts, the falling from heaven of Richard Lloyd’s guitar and Matthew Sweet’s vocals that crash land into a bass-heavy beat that is equal parts Revolver and Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.

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Certain Songs #1100: Masters of Reality – “Madonna”

Album: Sunrise on the Sufferbus
Year: 1992

Madonna

Madonna

Are you really lonely?

Don’t you believe someone can love you?

Madonna

Madonna

Do you really wanna be

A bad girl after all?

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Certain Songs #1099: Masters of Reality – “She Got Me (When She Got Her Dress On)”

Album: Sunrise on the Sufferbus
Year: 1992

When you name your band after a Black Sabbath album, but aren’t really a metal band and instead play the kind of bluesy hard rock that was the precursor to metal, you’re already stacking the deck against yourself a bit.

And so nobody really knew what to make of Masters of Reality’s self-titled debut album, both in 1988 when it was originally released and in its 1990 re-release. After all, it didn’t really fit during the hairmetal heyday, but it wasn’t quite as out there as Jane’s Addiction or an undeniable as Guns N’ Roses. So it made a small splash, but not much more.

And that was when things got weird: given that the lead Master, guitarist & songwriter Chris Goss sounded just like Jack Bruce, it only made sense that they recruit Ginger Baker to play drums.

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