Album: Copper Blue
. . .
One of the secrets to the eternal greatness of Copper Blue is the sequencing, especially the first four songs on side one, which almost play like a mini-suite: the way the songs set each other up is fabulous. “A Good Idea’s” debasser line coming out of the end of “The Act We Act” is one thing, but the way the ringing guitars of “Changes” float out of the end of “A Good Idea” is almost beyond human ken. Which might be one of the reasons that “Changes” isn’t just my favorite song on Copper Blue, it’s up there with my favorite Bob Mould songs of all time, like “Celebrated Summer,” “Makes No Sense At All” and “Ice Cold Ice.”
Like those songs, “Changes” feels like it was made in a laboratory to my exact specifications. Big, noisy, catchy guitar riff? Check! Instantly and forever catchy melody? Check! Call-and-response? Check! Smart words? Check!! Handclaps? OK, no handclaps. Fine.
Still, though, after that opening riff singsongs against itself and Mould starts singing, I can’t help but swoon at how the guitar comes in after every line.
I want something like I remember
And I want something that lasts forever
I remember times you said
That you’d be true to me
Look at how the weather’s changing
Which leads to the eternal sigh of the chorus:
You’ve got those changes
With both his guitar and vocals singing harmonies on those repeated “changes, changes” over and over — and throughout the first half the song for that matter — “Changes” probably peaks out during the guitar solo, which contrasts one of Mould’s fiercest solos with that motif over and over again until I’ve died and gone to heaven. After that, it’s almost like Bob Mould knows that we don’t quite need this much loveliness for more than three minutes at a time, because the back half of “Changes” is something quite different.
With bassist David Barbe and drummer crashing all around him, trying to break the song apart all around him, Mould observes:
I have seen, I have seen
What these changes mean to me
If you’re thinking of changing
If you’re thinking of staying with me
We need to agree
We need to make some changes
We need what we need
Do I need you?
Do you need me?
That last question goes unanswered, of course, but there’s a second, longer guitar solo which starts with Mould singing “changes” a few times, but by now, he’s content to let his guitar sing the song to its end, a quick synth loop that — of course — wonderfully sets up tomorrow’s song.
“Changes” live in London, 1993
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