Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Main Attraction

Yesterday, masochist that I apparently continue to be, I was looking at Pitchfork's list of the "best" videos of the decade. Like the song list, some good stuff that just accentuates how terrible everything else is (I do have to thank them, sincerely, for introducing me to Boards of Canada's video (at #39, second on the page) for "Dayvan Cowboy", which I had missed until now and which is stunningly beautiful and actually brought me to tears. But then I think the enormity of the whole affair is summed up pretty nicely by the fact that Weezer's carnival of douchery "Pork and Beans" is actually, no exaggeration, number three. Ten years of videos and that's the third best. They also say "sometimes videos are just badass and nothing more" about The Dead Weather's laughable "Treat Me Like Your Mother" video. Yes, sometimes videos are just badass and nothing more, but not this one; I'll give you "bad" or "ass" but not both.

Anyway. Good song, mediocre video that I came across was The Avalanches' "Since I Left You". Beautiful song, puts the more recent efforts of Mr. Crap himself, Girl Talk, absolutely to shame. Oh, you mean you can rearrange and recontextualize samples of other songs to make music, rather than just to show off? Girl Talk is astonished. I hadn't by any means forgotten it, but it had been kind of a while since I listened to it, so it was pleasant to come across it again.

Then this morning at like 7 AM for some reason I decided to put on Tony Mottola's Warm, Wild and Wonderful, which is one of the calmer records Command ever released, an album of easy-listening pop covers that stands out among the millions of other such albums for being one of the very most pleasant and inventive. I've had it for years and possibly listened to it all the way through once before--I love easy listening albums from the 60s, but rarely think to put them on. Anyway, what should I find starting side two but a cover of "By the Time I Get to Phoneix", the Glenn Campbell/Johnny Rivers snoozer, which begins with what is definitely one of the major sounds in "Since I Left You"!

I spent some time trying to figure out which of the thousands of previously inexplicable (more understandable to me now that I've noticed how pleasant that intro is) interpretations of the song they sampled, just out of curiosity, but had no luck; everywhere just said Jimmy Webb wrote it or that it was a hit for Campbell but no one specified who performed the specific version sampled. Then I got distracted looking into the other samples in the song, and found that the vocals come from a song called "Everyday" by The Main Attraction. I had heard already that the original song says "since I met you" rather than "since I left you" and that the combination of the pitch shifting and the power of suggestion is what makes it sound otherwise on the Avalanches song, but I had never actually heard the song before. Very pleasant, very pleasant indeed. Sunny late sixties pop, vaguely psych and soul influenced but very much not either of them. Nothing hugely special, but nice enough that I could see listening to it frequently. Excellent, unusual vocal performance, as we already know from all the "aayaah" bits in "Since I Left You". So then I looked into the album it comes from, And Now The Main Attraction, and what's right after "Everyday" in the running order? A cover of "By the Time I Get to Phoenix". Huh!

Here's the whole album for you if you're interested: side a and side b (split into two because of Fileden's 50 MB upload limit for free users, and I'm poor). I'm pretty sure this isn't the version of "By the Time..." used in "Since I Left You", and I still haven't figured out which one is. Interesting curiosity that they sampled one song and then a different version of the song next to it on the same LP. Must be where they got the idea, or something. The album as a whole, again, nothing special, but remarkably pleasant.

And no, I don't know why I exclusively write blovels (BLOG NOVELS!) these days.

No comments: