There’s no such thing as the “greatest song of all time,” right? I mean, you can’t possibly narrow it down to one song. But if you could (which you can’t), I might just elect “Don’t Worry Baby.” I’m always surprised to remember that this song came out in 1964; it seems to come from another universe of inspiration than, say, the lead track on the Shut Down Volume 2 album, which was the faddy, frilly “Fun, Fun, Fun.” Certainly it hinted strongly at the richness of Brian Wilson’s creative imagination, and greatness to come.
Favorite song of the year is at least a little easier to select, and for my money, I’m going with “Mistake,” from the Australian trio Middle Kids. This entire album, Lost Friends, is the kind of thing everyone would have been listening to and talking about in an age when people paid more attention to albums and had fewer cultural artifacts bombarding their senses by the hour. If you’re inclined to listen to an actual album in real time, go check it out (Bandcamp link, for your convenience: https://middlekids.bandcamp.com/album/lost-friends). There isn’t a weak song in the bunch.
A few more notes of note:
* Michael Penn doesn’t get enough credit. That is all.
* I had entirely forgotten about this Ultravox song until I heard it during a long stretch of 1980s programming on WXPN back in November. How had I let this one slip away? Lament was the last top-notch Ultravox album in their New Romantic, Midge Ure era, and it holds up pretty well.
* Todd Rundgren doesn’t get enough credit either, and by the way, for those who care about such things, belongs in the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame already, I mean sheesh.
* I’m pretty sure no one’s ever segued October Project into the Buzzcocks before, and maybe no one will again. RIP Pete Shelley.
* And how about that Laws family? You may possibly know about brothers Hubert (flutist) and Ronnie (sax); but there were also sisters Eloise and Debra, who both have had careers as vocalists.
Oh, and an overall logistical reminder: I operate under the self-imposed limit of not featuring any one individual artist on an Eclectic Playlist Series mix more than once in a calendar year. January wipes the slate clean; all artists are available. And yet, even so, 14 of the 20 artists on this month’s playlist were not before featured even once this past five years. Nature loves diversity; why shouldn’t we?
Full playlist below the widget.
“In Little Ways” – Let’s Active (Big Plans For Everybody, 1986)
“Mistake” – Middle Kids (Lost Friends, 2018)
“Love Factory” – Eloise Laws (single, 1973)
“A Violent Yet Flammable World” – Au Revoir Simone (The Bird of Music, 2007)
“Don’t Worry Baby” – The Beach Boys (Shut Down Volume 2, 1964)
“One of Our Girls Has Gone Missing” – A.C. Marias (One of Our Girls (Has Gone Missing), 1989)
“Some Birds” – Jeff Tweedy (Warm, 2018)
“Strange Season” – Michael Penn (Free-For-All, 1992)
“Smack Dab in the Middle” – Ray Charles (Have a Smile With Me, 1964)
“To The East” – Electrelane (No Shouts, No Calls, 2006)
“Love of the Common Man” – Todd Rundgren (Faithful, 1976)
“Love is to Die” – Warpaint (Warpaint, 2014)
“One Small Day” – Ultravox (Lament, 1984)
“From Out of Nowhere” – George Wydell (b-side, 1966)
“Gotta Get Back” – Shelby Lynne (I Am Shelby Lynne, 2000)
“Sunday Morning Yellow Sky” – October Project (Falling Farther In, 1995)
“What Do I Get?” – Buzzcocks (Singles Going Steady, 1979)
“Turbo” – Kenny Dorham (The Arrival of Kenny Dorham, 1960)
“You Tell Me” – Paul McCartney (Memory Almost Full, 2007)
“Titanic Days” – Kirsty MacColl (Titanic Days, 1993)