Monday, July 17, 2006

THE GOOD: Grant Lee Phillips - Nineteeneighties

A few weeks ago I went to see She Wants Revenge. It was a decent show but a bit stale because all the songs came from the same album. There was no variation. I turned to my friend, Heather, and said, "These guys need to do a cover." The very next song was a cover of Depeche Mode's "Stripped." A great cover, by the way, that escalated the concert from entertaining to one of the best I've been to in years. Seriously, a song they didn't even write stole the show. Does that mean She Wants Revenge can't make good songs on their own? Absolutely not. What it means is our nostalgia to our past is stronger than our excitement about the present. Cover songs, as frowned upon as they are, tend to be the most popular tracks an artist plays. Why? Because there's dual familiarity there. On one side, you have an artist you're a fan of and on the other side, you have a song, you already know and love. How can the combination of the two be a bad thing? Well, sometimes it can be but most of the times, even a straight-knock-off cover can at least be entertaining.

Enter Grant Lee's new album of 80s cover songs. You all know these songs like the back of your hands (well, not each other's hands). So instead of reviewing the straight-forward acoustic renditions, I'll tell you where these versions would fit in the classic 80s teen cinema.

  1. Wave of Mutilation (The Pixies) – This song would come at the end of Some Kind of Wonderful when Watts kisses Eric Stoltz and gets her earrings.
  2. Age of Consent (New Order) – In Say Anything, when John Cusack and Ione Skye have sex in the back of his car and Johnny needs a cuddle.
  3. The Eternal (Joy Division) – This could play over the end of Heathers after Christian Slater blows himself up.
  4. I Often Dream of Trains (Robyn Hitchcock) – When Danielson and his girlfriend are dancing, this song would play.
  5. The Killing Moon (Echo and the Bunnymen) – When Duckie tells Molly Ringwald that he’s not going to ride by her house anymore, this song would set the mood perfectly.
  6. Love My Way (The Psychadelic Furs) – At the end of Pretty in Pink when Jake Ryan is waiting for Molly Ringwald while sitting on his car. Come on, you know the scene.
  7. Under The Milky Way (The Church) – After the kids in the Breakfast Club reveal all their deep dark secrets, this music would go perfectly over a montage.
  8. City of Refuge (Nick Cave) – In Weird Science, when the go to the jazz club, I could hear this song playing.
  9. So. Central Rain (R.E.M.) – You can’t go wrong playing this song after Lucas gets buried playing football. It’s the perfect “Aaahhh…” song.
  10. Boys Don’t Cry (The Cure) – Could have been a great song to play over the end credits in Stand By Me.
  11. Last Night I Dreamed That Somebody Loved Me (The Smiths) – When Ferris and Sloan are kisses seconds before Ferris makes his legendary dash through his neighbors’ backyards.
How it compares...

1. Ladies Love Oracle - B+
2. Mobilize - B
3. Virginia Creeper - B
4. Nineteeneighties - B-

Mp3s in the Water

1. Last Night I Dreamed Somebody Loved Me

Buy now

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