Those Old Melodies: Songs Rediscovered

Published on May 30th, 2008 in: Current Faves, Issues, Music, Retrovirus |

Intro by Less Lee Moore

Recently I was listening to The Vines’ Highly Evolved album again. My history with this album is intriguing, and proves my theory that some music needs to be fully digested before you can appreciate it.

A friend of mine gave me this album years ago. I listened to it, hated it, and put it away. Then I read somewhere that singer Craig Nicholls was a huge Redd Kross fan. That made me want to hear the album again. Suddenly, I was in love with it and I simply could not believe that I ever dismissed it as rubbish. Yes, there was serious Redd Kross damage but there are worse things in the world than being influenced by Redd Kross and copping their style.

Vintage Redd Kross from We Got Power:
Clearly Craig Nicholls was taking notes.

After hundreds of listens, I put the CD away. I learned from my over-indulgence with Radiohead’s OK Computer album that you can have too much of a good thing. Highly Evolved never made it into my iTunes library, so when I was reorganizing my CDs in preparation for a move, I decided to add it.

Once again, my mind was blown. It was like the first flush of love. The song “1969” in particular was better than I had ever remembered it: the impossibly psychedelic yet crushing guitars, Nicholls alternating between lung-splitting screams and gorgeous harmonies, the ecstatic come-down at the end with what sounds like fake sitar. . . incredible.

I asked some of Popshifter‘s writers and readers to talk about their recently rediscovered songs. Some selections (like Jaime’s) are more like secret handshakes granting the listener access to a club for like-minded musical souls, while others prove that musically moving creations have no expiration date.

“Rockaway Beach,” The Ramones
By Jaime, Florida
For this suburban teenager, the only thing more liberating than punk rock was my car. My 1964 Falcon Futura turned heads, but its “stereo”—a cheap boom box—skipped with every bump. Between railroad crossings and hopped curbs, I bopped along with Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy. The “bruddas” accompanied me on many rites of passage in the old Ford: first unauthorized out-of-town joyride (I got caught), first accident (and resulting ticket), first boyfriend (and subsequent heartbreak). The relic is rusting in my driveway, but my heart still turns over when I hear buzz-saw guitar.

jessie’s girl single
Rick Springfield

“Jessie’s Girl,” Rick Springfield
By Katy Costa, New Jersey
When I visited my friend Kikky for a week in March, we spent half the time driving around and listening to Rick Springfield’s Working Class Dog on cassette. I’d obviously heard “Jessie’s Girl” plenty of times before, but within the context of the record, it was amazing. It felt like a religious experience. I couldn’t turn it off. We particularly took to “I’ve Done Everything For You.” I mean, just look at the refrain: “I’ve done everything for you/You’ve done nothing for me.” How fabulously accusatory is that? She and I have vowed to do a cover of that song some day—how could we not?

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