Vinyl love: The Decemberists “I’ll be your girl”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: The Decemberists
Album Title: I’ll be your girl
Year released: 2018
Details: Gatefold sleeve, Orange vinyl, Limited edition, Autographed

The skinny: Personally, I think all those people that are listening to The Decemberists’ eighth album and saying that the band completely changed their sound, haven’t really been listening closely to the Portland-based quintet all along. Sure, there are synths and some other experimentation in their use of instruments and song structure but I’ve always though this band has always done a great job of pushing themselves forward. Also, Colin Meloy’s awesome, literate lyrics and one-of-a kind vocals are still here so longtime fans should still be pleased.

Standout track: “Severed”

Best tunes of 1991: #27 Ministry “Jesus built my hotrod”

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“Soon I discovered that this rock thing was true
Jerry Lee Lewis was the devil
Jesus was an architect previous to his career as a prophet
All of a sudden, I found myself in love with the world
So there was only one thing that I could do
Was ding a ding dang my dang a long ling long”

I had a few friends in university that had the whole monologue to this song memorized, could spout it off in exactly the same tone, and would do so randomly to great effect. (You know who you are.) I personally could only ever remember the last couple of lines and the last bit, the “dang a long ling long”, never failed to make me laugh.

“Jesus built my hot rod” was the first single off Ministry’s fifth album, “Psalm 69: The way to succeed and the way to suck eggs”. It was released in 1992, I know, but this track makes my 1991 list because it was released as a single well in advance of the album, more than six months beforehand, if memory serves.

I blame my friend Elliott for getting me hooked on this track. He had purchased the cassette single, which featured the eight-minute, full version on side A and on side B, the “Short, Pusillanimous, So-They-Can-Fit-More-Commercials-On-The-Radio Edit” version, along with “TV song”. I actually liked the latter B side song first, with its hilarious “Connect the goddamned dots” lyrics, but with the constant rewind and playback of the A-side, I grew to love it as well.

The lyrics on “Jesus built my hot rod” are nonsensical, purportedly laid down by a quite drunken Gibby Haynes (of Butthole Surfers fame), and the aforementioned monologue and outro words were recorded afterwards to try to tie things all together. But this song isn’t about saving the world. It’s about angst and the music has plenty of it. Frenetic drumming and careening guitars match the pace of the samples of NASCAR racers roaring by. You turn it up loud and all you want to do is close your eyes and bop your head to the breakneck tempo as well as you can.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 1991 list, click here.

100 best covers: #89 Rogue Wave “Everyday”

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Like The Raveonettes’ cover of “My boyfriend’s back”, which we saw at number ninety-seven on this list, this cover of “Everyday” by Rogue Wave appears on the soundtrack for the video game, “Stubbs the zombie”. As I mentioned in that other post, I’m the world’s worst gamer and so have never played said game but it sounds compelling, excepting of course, the other problem with it: this blogger is not a huge fan of zombies. In fact, I’m a massive wuss. I used to read all sorts of Stephen King novels and watch any horror flick I could get my hands on when I was a teenager and deep into my twenties. Then, I was indefinitely ruined by “28 days later”, a zombie scenario that almost seemed plausible by comparison and that has set the template for any zombie story that has since followed. I refuse to even watch “Shaun of the dead”, which I hear is hilarious. Nope. I just won’t do it.

But I digress.

The soundtrack for “Stubbs the zombie” is filled with renditions of 50s and 60s classics as covered by hot indie artists of the day. (Check out the rest of the track listing on the Wikipedia page for the game.) For me, this cover of the Buddy Holly standout was the biggest highlight, getting me into a band of whom I had not previously heard. It just feels so different and fresh. A song that is so ingrained in our rock and roll consciousness as Buddy Holly’s original is barely recognizable until frontman, Zach Schwartz starts in on vocals. Instead, it almost sounds like a faithful Smiths cover, all jangle and reverb, resembling a second cousin to “Please please please”, though Schwartz sounds nothing at all like Morrissey.

The original “Everyday” is tap-tappy, like a sped up grandfather clock, rock and roll’s biggest geek, rockabillying his voice and keeping our attention with upbeat chimes. Rogue Wave introduces wave after wave of rolling guitars and a much fuller sound altogether, not quite hiding the tapping rhythms in the back room. It is much more laidback but no less happy.

Which do you prefer?

The cover:

The original:

For the rest of the 100 best covers list, click here.