Category: Certain Songs

Certain Song #767: The Jesus and Mary Chain – “Something’s Wrong”

Album: Psychocandy
Year: 1985

So in preparation for writing about the songs on Psychocandy, I read not one, but two books about The Jesus and Mary Chain. The first was the 33 1/3 entry on Psychocandy, which was terribly written, even if did impart some information, and the second was a better-written band biography.

And while I’m not sure I learned what I wanted to learn about the eternal mystery surrounding Psychocandy, both books insisted that their music had some roots in psychedelia, which I’d never really considered before.

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Certain Songs #766: The Jesus and Mary Chain – “My Little Underground”

Album: Psychocandy
Year: 1985

Ahh. “My Little Underground.” For 30 years, it’s been my second-favorite song on Psychocandy, just a skosh behind the song I’m posting about tomorrow, “Something’s Wrong.”

But, just as I realized that the one song I needed to see at the Replacements reunion was “Left of the Dial” and not the-song-I’ve-said-was-my-favorite-song-by-anyone-ever-for-years-and-years “Answering Machine,” as I started doing the run-up to writing about the songs on Psychocandy, I realized that “My Little Underground” might be my favorite song on it. Because it’s perfect. Just fucking perfect.

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Certain Songs #765: The Jesus and Mary Chain – “Cut Dead”

Album: Psychocandy
Year: 1985

One of the things about Psychocandy was the pacing.

It wasn’t all song after song of buzzsaw guitars and pounding rhythms: there were also songs that laid up on the noise, mostly, and provided a bit of a respite from all of the noise, usually over on a variation of the Phil Spector “Be My Baby” beat.

The most famous example of these songs was “Just Like Honey,” — which kicked off the whole album — but on the second side, the etherial “Sowing Seeds” took also this approach (and had Jim Reid confessing that he wanted peace, like he was a fucking hippie or something), but the most gorgeous of all was the lighter-than-air “Cut Dead,” which cut me to the core, both musically and lyrically.

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Certain Songs #764: The Jesus and Mary Chain – “The Hardest Walk”

Album: Psychocandy
Year: 1985

To this day, I don’t know if seeing The Jesus and Mary Chain play live just a couple of months after Psychocandy came out helped or hurt my love of the album.

After all, we already knew that part of their shtick at the time was to play incredibly short, auto-destruct sets, and so — unlike, say, seeing R.E.M. on the Pagentry tour, which was just a few months later — heading up to to San Francisco to see The Jesus and Mary Chain probably wasn’t going to deepen my understanding of Psychocandy, which was clearly a studio creation anyways.

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Certain Songs #763: The Jesus and Mary Chain – “Just Like Honey”

Album: Psychocandy
Year: 1985

“Cunnilingus and psychiatry brought us to this!!”
— Tony Soprano

While Psychocandy came out in the U.K. in November, 1985, it didn’t come out here in the colonies until January of 1986, which was when I ended up getting it.

For me, it was easily the most anticipated debut album since The Smiths or maybe going back to Murmur! Yeah, OK. Back then, there were a lot of highly-anticipated debut albums, and honestly, Psychocandy was just another one — an artist would put out a couple of amazing singles, even an EP, and so by the time the album came out, there was a fan base just salivating for a whole album of chewy goodness — so while I was definitely looking forward to it, I probably wasn’t dying for it.

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