Tag Archives: music criticism

Vol.33: Twee Singers in a Guitar Cathedral (Fantastic Something’s “If She Doesn’t Smile (It’ll Rain)”)

Cover of Fantastic Something If She Doesn't Smile (It'll Rain) single

You mope your way, and I’ll mope mine.

Fantastic Something – If She Doesn’t Smile (It’ll Rain) (1984, Cherry Red)

Download the single, courtesy of the Sweeter Moments blog

Why It’s Perfect: Consider the title: If She Doesn’t Smile (It’ll Rain). Within the tiny emotional universe the song creates, it reads as a simple statement of fact. It’s a sunny day, and a boy is looking for a girl. It can’t be just any girl; there is only one girl, the girl who makes him happy. He cannot be more specific on this point, because the only thing he knows about her is that when she is not around, he is not happy. Sometimes he is lucky enough to catch a glimpse of her. If she does not smile when they meet, it will rain (precipitation presumably localized to the airspace immediately below his tear ducts). That’s just what happens next.

There is a fine line between coming off as childlike and appearing to be, well, retarded, but Fantastic Something manage it well Continue reading

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Filed under 1980s, alternative, indie, jangle pop

Vol.32: Joey Ramone Wanted to be in a ’50s Girl Group (Ramones’ “Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio?”)

ramones do you remember rock 'n' roll radio sire single cover punk phil spector

The Ramones holding the actual instruments they played on the track.

Ramones – Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio? (1980, Sire)

Why It’s Perfect: Recalling the recording of the Ramones’ legendary Sheena is a Punk Rocker single in Greg Milner’s book Perfecting Sound Forever, popular ‘70s record producer Tony Bongiovi was adamant that the faint timpani he insisted be included in the chorus was some sort of watershed for the band. Now, it’s easy enough to dismiss the word of Jon Bon fucking Jovi’s cousin, even if you’re among the infinitesimal fraction of listeners whose first takeaway from Sheena was “Hey, nice timpani,” but maybe he had a point. We’re used to reckoning the Ramones’ musical evolution in geologic time, but by the end of the seventies/century, band leader Joey Ramone had become much more interested in the recording studio, even hooking up with mad Wall of Sound genius Phil Spector for 1980’s divisive End of the Century.

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Filed under 1980s, punk, rock n' roll, Wall of Sound

PPS Presents… Fuck Eric Clapton! The 50 Best Guitarists Since ’76

He made this face every time he fucked George Harrison’s wife.

When I pick up a “[Some #] Greatest Guitar Players” list, I dread having to wade through the usual soup of Clapton, Hendrix, B.B. King, etc. to get to those names lurking at the fringes who have really expanded the possibilities of the instrument in the years since the blues and “classic” rock ruled the roost, the ones I haven’t heard absolutely beaten to death by greyhairs who insist rock hasn’t been great since [insert year they turned twenty-five]. So here is my semi-scientific list of what I consider to be the top 50 rock-related guitarists (or guitar tandems) since the advent of punk in 1976, which is a nice arbitrary dividing point. Continue reading

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