"Silly Love Songs"

>> Friday, September 25, 2009

Years and years ago, my sister gave me Songs For A Blue Guitar, an album by Red House Painters. Honestly, at the time I didn't much like it. But I'm not afraid to say that where my sister might read it because--it's one of those funny things--the record has just kept growing on me. It's probably been close to ten years, come to think of it. Guitar has ultimately become a favorite, a staple of the portable hard drive and regular guest star of the iPod, not to mention a CD that regularly goes in the changer (how quaint!), especially in the blue winter months.

So, once again, thanks, sis!

I was listening to the record again the other evening. Maybe I was in a melancholy mood or something, hence this post. In particular, I found myself drawn again to the Painters' cover of an absolutely terrible but famous Paul McCartney song, "Silly Love Songs." I've probably offended someone--the song was a huge hit for Sir Paul and has tons of fans, but I just think it's treacle, the kind of song that broke The Beatles up (Paul wanted to record things like "Silly Love Songs," John wanted to record things like "I Found Out"; screw Paul McCartney). But the Painters' version, which rips the song a new one, is... is... it sounds like Neil Young and Crazy Horse doing a strung out live version. I'm not the only one who notices that, I don't think: the YouTube comments on the below embed include someone saying the opening reminds him of Young's "Cortez The Killer," and that's about right; "Cortez The Killer" is lyrically a nadir for Young (Cortez was a bastard, but so were the Aztecs Young apologizes on behalf of; the only way the conquest of Mexico could have been better would have been if the conquistadors had died too), but musically... fucking-A, "Cortez" is one of the most spectacular--and I mean this in a good way--bits of epic guitar wankery ever committed to tape. And that's what the Painters do to "Love Songs," turn it into this out-of-control epic of frantic, overdriven guitars.

"Silly Love Songs" is dead, long live "Silly Love Songs."

I feel obligated to warn you. One, this embed (which is just the song, it's not actually a video) is eleven minutes long. (Eleven minutes AWESOME, I mean!) Two, I suspect most people will just hate it. It may even be an acquired taste. If you're a fan of Mr. Young's dazed take on Hendrix (I am), I think your ears will be pleased. If you're a fan of McCartney's simple syrup, well, you're not going to be happy. At all. I mean, they pretty much sodomize the song. (It had it coming. I know I'm not supposed to say something like that. I'm sorry. Some things are true. You should have seen how the song was dressed and the neighborhood it was in.) Oh, three--this copy kind of cuts out at the end.

Ladies and gentlemen, Red House Painters, "Silly Love Songs":


Carol Elaine Friday, September 25, 2009 at 1:26:00 PM EDT  

Mmmm, crunchy guitar goodness.

Eric, I'm starting to wonder if we were twins separated at birth (one of whom gestated several years longer than the other, apparently). Was your mother ever in the Chicago area in April 1966?

Eric Friday, September 25, 2009 at 2:34:00 PM EDT  

If she was, she would have been 13. :)

WendyB_09 Friday, September 25, 2009 at 3:21:00 PM EDT  

Gosh, I have got to get some income going so I can replace my crapped out speakers!!

Prefer Neil to Paul sans Beatles, so I'd probably like this. Neil tends to live on my iPod, as do his buddies Crosby, Stills & Nash.

Carol Elaine Monday, September 28, 2009 at 1:07:00 PM EDT  

13, huh? Technically possible, but unlikely.

My mother was in South Carolina in 1962 (when my older sister was born) and in Georgia in 1968 (when my younger sister was born) - maybe she made a secret trip to North Carolina sometime after that...

kimby Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 8:37:00 AM EDT  

Thanks Eric for sharing this...I LOVE it!!!

rbird Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 11:54:00 PM EDT  

Your welcome bro! I recently saw Mark Kozelek live finally. It was a great show. Have you listened to any of this other stuff? Aside from being a great songwriter, he also, under the name Sun Kill Moon, has a whole album of Modest Mouse covers that I think you'd really dig. I don't usually love covers of stuff, but he has a way of really deconstructing these edgy songs and giving them a whole new meaning.

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