Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Forecast: Cloudy With a Chance of Melancholy

There is almost no finer specimen than the catchy summer song. You just can't help but nod your head, tap your toes and wear a big grin. It makes you feel like a warm breeze... light and airy. It's as if your cares have blown away in copious amounts of hand claps and layered harmonies... for three minutes, anyway. What could be better? Well, for this grump, the best summer songs sound innocent enough, but the lyrics don't quite have that same sunny disposition. Heartbreak doesn't wait for the calendar to turn to September. Here are a few favorites:

Wait a minute. I'm not supposed to be TOO happy.
Elvis Costello - The Other Side of Summer (from 'Mighty Like a Rose')
"The sun struggles up another beautiful day
And I felt glad in my own suspicious way
Despite the contradiction and confusion
Felt tragic without reason
There's malice and there's magic in every season"

It's the cough in the second verse that makes this song perfect.
The Velvet Underground - Who Loves the Sun (from 'Loaded')
"Who loves the sun?
Who cares that it makes plants grow?
Who cares what it does
Since you broke my heart?"

Finally, a glimmer of hope.
The Chamber Strings - Make It Through the Summer (from 'Month of Sundays')
"If I can make it to September, I'm gonna tell her that I love her."

The forecast appears to be more of the same for tomorrow.


Dirk said...

What's a "cornetto", please, Brian?

Brian said...

Hi, Dirk. This will help.


Hold up a couple of these summer treats in just the right places for a fourth-grade laugh. Cornettos have become well known outside of the UK because of the numerous references to them in Simon Pegg movies.

george said...

Great Elvis song, Brian, never heard it before. Didn't the album get an absolute panning on release??

Brian said...

Your memories of 'Mighty Like a Rose' are spot on. The album came out in '91. I remember thinking at that time it was running neck and neck with 'Goodbye Cruel World' for worst EC record.

Having said that, The Other Side of Summer sounded like something he would have done with the Attractions, and I have always thought of it as a highlight. The production is quite heavy though. I read once there are 14 keyboard overdubs in the song. It took a while, but the two songs he wrote with Paul McCartney, "So Like Candy" and "Playboy to a Man" have grown on me. I have some demos of the two working together, however, and I liked them better than the finished product.

I saw EC on this tour. He looked like Jerry Garcia. I was still smarting from the Attractions dissolving, but he had surrounded himself with quite a band. Members included James Burton, Jim Keltner, Jerry Scheff and Marc Ribot. Thankfully, they played very little from the new album. Instead, they performed obscure old R&B and soul tunes. The crowd seemed underwhelmed, but I thought it was pretty cool that he went off the board. Some of those songs showed up on 'Kojak Variety, B-sides and reissued bonus works.