"Not the Girl You Think You Are"
Artist: Crowded House
First, Neil Finn as solo artist at No. 49, and now Crowded House at No. 26. Too much? I don't think so. Finn is one of the great purveyors of pop, and he needs absolutely no defense, but I will tell you why I have always been particularly fond of this band. On Feb. 20, 1987, at the age of 17, I went on a date with a gal I had admired from afar since the previous summer. It took that long because I sucked at such things, and she ended up with a boyfriend that fall while I sat on my hands. Pathetic.
I seem to be veering off course. Anyway, we crammed into my tiny Renault LeCar and headed to a Chinese restaurant for prawns and awkward first-date conversation. After the fortune cookies, I took her to the most romantic place I could think of... a record store. Yes, I'm that good. "Don't Dream It's Over" was beginning to get quite a bit of play on MTV (in fact, the song cracked the Billboard Top 40 the very next week), and I bought Crowded House's self-titled debut on cassette that night. As high school kids from the sticks often do, we drove around with no particular place to go as we got to know each other. The auto reverse on the tape deck did its job, and 'Crowded House' became the soundtrack for what I guess can be described as a special evening since we have been together ever since. As regular readers are aware, Mrs. LTL doesn't like all of the bands I do, but Crowded House is one we have both loved for nearly 30 years.
Crowded House had a couple of great albums in the 1990s, and there were many candidates from 'Woodface' and 'Together Alone' considered for this list. In the middle '90s there was to be a new album (ironically named 'Help Is Coming'), but the band called it quits before it was completed. Instead, in 1996, three new songs from those sessions were added to a "best of" called 'Recurring Dream.' Man, do I hate when bands add a new song or two to a hits package like that. It's nothing but a cash grab to get die-hard fans to buy an album they don't need. In most cases, at least one of the new songs inevitably sounds out of place when you pull it off the shelf a decade later. "I don't remember this song at all" is what you're bound to tell yourself. Well, "Recurring Dream" is a rare instance where the new stuff was at least as good as the hits, especially "Instinct" and today's selection. In fact, all three songs charted in the UK. Finn described "Not the Girl You Think You Are" as his stab at trying to write a song as if he was one of the Beatles, and it does remind me of ballads like "And I Love Her," but this is still Crowded House through and through. I put it up there with "Sister Madly" as, perhaps, my favorite from a very impressive cannon.
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