Certain Songs #1223: The Mysteries of Life – “Shiver”

Album: Focus on the Background EP
Year: 1997

While they were working on their follow up to their major label debut album Keep A Secret, The Mysteries of Life put out a pair of indie EPs in 1997 — Anonymous Tip and Focus on the Background — that showcased a more playful side of their music.

Both EPs had surprising covers — The Jam’s “But I’m Different Now” and Talking Heads “Naive Melody” — guest musicians, and in the case of Focus on the Background, a song written by new bassist Kenny Childers.

Unlike any of the songs on Keep a Secret, “Shiver” was a full-blown uptempo rock ‘n’ roll song, driven by Frida Love’s Mo Tucker pulse and an insanely catchy call-and-response chorus:

We shiver round
We shiver round
We shiver round
And down (and down)
And down (and down)
And down (and down)
And down (and down)

There’s a rollicking piano, a longish guitar solo from Jake Smith, and at the end, completely and utterly joyous horns that weave in and around the long chorus coda. It’s all great and infectious fun, and one of my favorite songs from the mid-1990s.

“Shiver”

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