"IT'S NEW TO ME" WEEK (OCTOBER 20-26, 2013)
Like the Josie Cotton albums featured earlier this week, this album is another fantastic find stemming from the Valley Girl soundtrack. The two Bonnie Hayes songs included in that movie are the first two tracks on this album (Girls Like Me and Shelly's Boyfriend). This is my favorite CD purchase of the past 6 months; it flips my switch for sure. Classic New Wave - uptempo, hook-filled, retro power pop sound complete with Farfisa organ. Hayes is not only a great songwriter, she's got the perfect voice for this type of music. Even hard-to-please critic Robert Christgau wrote, "she comes off smarter, surer, and more sisterly than just about any new rock and roll woman I can think of." Agreed.
In a ★★★★½ review, Allmusic calls this a "neglected '80s pop masterpiece." I have no idea how Hayes wasn't a bigger pop star - let's blame the record label. More than any album I've mentioned this week, this is the one I wish I had picked up when it was released. It would have gotten plenty of playing time in the Markmobile when I was in high school. As it is, this disc hasn't left my truck's player much since I got it. Highly recommended.
From what I can tell, Hayes teaches songwriting at Boston's Berklee College of Music. If this album is any indication, they're lucky to have her; I'd take a class with her anytime.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart. It was "bubbling under" at 206.
Tracks: I can't get enough of 'em. In addition to Girls Like Me and Shelly's Boyfriend, I really dig Joyride and The Last Word. Hayes' strong songwriting skills are clearly on display in Coverage (she would later write songs like this for Bonnie Raitt). The only song that doesn't quite work is Raylene, but that's just because the bass line doesn't really fit the Latin style until about 2 minutes in. Still, it's not so bad that I'll skip it.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None.