Thursday, October 22, 2015

Top 100 Songs From the 1990s (No. 7)

7. "She Sleeps Alone"
Artist: Epic Soundtracks
Year: 1992

Late one evening in the summer of '93 I searched the shelf of open records behind the counter for something to play while going through the routine of closing up the record shop. I came across a disc with a little sticker that said "Bob" on the case. That meant the owner of the store brought this one in from home. I was immediately drawn to the font and and color scheme of the album name and artist on the cover... or was it a band? What in the hell was an Epic Soundtracks? I had no idea at the time he was the brother of Nikki Sudden and that the two had been in Swell Maps before this, his debut solo album. Anyway, it seemed obvious to me the letters were meant to pay homage to 'Pet Sounds,' my all-time favorite LP, so that made me curious enough to give it a spin. By the fourth song I had the register all counted out and could have gone home, but I didn't budge until I had heard every note of 'Rise Above.' I was mesmerized. I turned out most of the lights in the store and just soaked in the sounds.

The final song was the six-and-a-half minute chamber-pop epic "She Sleeps Alone." I have listened to this one hundreds of times in the past 20-plus years, and it never ceases to move me. The cello and violin have this wonderful build and swirl, and I have told you countless times what a sucker I am for trumpet in a pop song. Mostly, though, I'm attracted to Soundtracks' piano and voice, which I find haunting, sad and beautiful. His influences are very easy to spot, and they are all biggies in my world... the Zombies, Brill Building, Harry Nilsson, Brian Wilson and, on his later albums, Phil Spector and even some Big Star. Sadly, there wouldn't be too many more records. He died in 1997 at the age of 38.

I mentioned Soundtracks one other time on this countdown. Kevin Junior was a good pal of his, and Junior's band the Chamber Strings got started just about the time Soundtracks passed away. If you enjoy the song featured today, I would highly recommend the Chamber Strings' album 'Month of Sundays.'


The Swede said...

My word, what an unexpected choice. Now that you come to mention it, you did warn us that Epic would return to this countdown, but I'd completely forgotten, plus I would never have dreamed that he'd wind up so near the top of the pile. Nikki and Epic both gone, really tragic.

George said...

This one just stopped me dead. Absolutely brilliant.

Echorich said...

Wow, what a song. I am fully committed fan to anything Epic Soundtracks, Nikki Sudden or Mick Harvey have ever recorded. This one is a tour de force.

charity chic said...

Very good indeed

Brian said...

Thanks for the encouragement, fellas. I saw that the Robster has Dinosaur Jr. today. I should have mentioned that J Mascis played drums on 'Rise Above.'