Note: the CD I listened to was the 2000 Rhino reissue with ten (!) bonus tracks.
From the 'Bout Damn Time Dept:
You might not believe this but I have no memory of hearing Marshall Crenshaw in the '80s although I would have loved it had I been introduced to his music back in '82. I was in a Rockpile/Nick Lowe/Squeeze phase at the time and this music is an Americanized version of British pub rock. I eventually picked up a greatest hits compilation and have (too) slowly been picking up Crenshaw's back catalog which is slowly fading into out-of-print status in many cases. I'm in complete agreement with Robert Christgau on this one:
This album seems simple because it is simple, yet it continues to unfold long after you believe its byways played out--not by exploiting the snazzy bridges and key changes of the traditional pop arsenal, but with lines repeated at odd junctures, choruses reentering when you anticipate another verse. Brushing by the everyday phrases that are the stuff of pop songwriting--cynical girl, she can't dance, the usual thing--to add a twist or make an oblique point, Crenshaw captures a magic ur-adolescent innocence without acting the simp. It's as sly and well-meaning as his love of girls. ATo that, I'll add that this album is an all-out blast to hear. It's a can't-sit-still, can't-feel-bad, put-the-top-down, can't-help-but-sing-along sorta thing.
Rolling Stone magazine gave it ★★★★½ (which is a ½ star too low IMO) and placed it at #72 on its list of the 100 Best Albums of the Eighties, calling the album "an alternately rousing and heartbreaking cycle of infectious pop rockers and ballads — none of them clocking in at more than 3:07."
|Smash Hits, June 24, 1982, p. 17|
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #51
Tracks: Picking favorite tracks is like picking a favorite donut - you can't go wrong with anything you choose. The best I can offer is today's favorites: There She Goes Again, Someday Someway, Girls..., I'll Do Anything, aw forget it - I'm just naming all the tracks.
Bonus tracks: The first four bonus tracks sound like they should have been part of the originaly album and the flow is seamless. I normally dislike demo versions, but the ones here are so good, I don't mind them a bit. Of the seven live tracks (most of them covers), the highlight is a cover of George Clinton and The Parliaments' Look At What I Almost Missed, while the weakest is the cover of Edwin Starr's Stop Her On Sight (S.O.S.). The only repeated song is Brand New Lover and that's included as a dreaded "hidden track" at the end of the CD. But don't let any of that stop you - find a copy of this deluxe edition ASAP.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None with this particular album, but I remember a facepalm moment when I was finally introduced to Crenshaw via the compilation CD Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the '80s, Vol. 5 in late summer 1994.
Previously revisited for the blog:
What's In The Bag (2003)
The Best of Marshall Crenshaw (2000)
Life's Too Short (1991)