It’s kinda hard to write about The Feelies. I’ve loved these songs forever, but like — say, the Ramones or Best Coast — the things I love about the songs tend to stay the same for each song.
So, for example, “Away,” the penultimate song on Only Life, has been making me happy from the moment I heard it during the crushing summer of 1988, but I’m not really sure I can convey why.
I could point out that a lot of other Feelies songs, it kinda drifts in with slowly picked guitars, until the drums kick in and quicken the tempo to where the only way the guitars can keep up is to be strummed.
I can explain how I love the chorus, which features gorgeous group harmonies, but if I was going to do that, I’d just have to repeat the same word over and over again, like this:
And, of course, once again, I’d have to mention the instrumental break, which features Glenn Mercer and Bill Million dueling with their guitars like goddamned “Free Bird” or something, without ever once sounding like a conventional twin guitar solo.
I guess I could definitely mention the hyper-kinetic video — directed by Jonathan Demme — which features the band in front of a crowd of dancing folks at Maxwell’s in Hoboken.
And point out that if I was watching the Feelies at a club in 1988, damn straight I would have danced my ass off to this song, and probably every other song they played, and for just those couple of hours, everything would have been OK.
Official video for “Away” (Poor sound quality)
“Away” performed live in 1988