Educating Peter # 57

This week Michael has reached into his bag of ’80s songs and pulled out “Please Stand By” by The Shivvers, a Milwaukee power pop band. (I know they’re a power pop band from Milwaukee because their compilation album is rather helpfully called Lost Hits From Milwaukee’s First Family Of Powerpop: 1979-1982.)

Before I listen to the song, I feel compelled to comment on the band name. I think it’s dreadful. I can think of two reasons the band wanted to call themselves The Shivvers:

1. It’s normally so cold in Milwaukee that it doesn’t do justice to the temperature by simply saying it gives you “the shivers” – it gives you “the shivvers”.

…or…

2. It has something to do with “shiv“, the word used for a weapon used in prison. Maybe the band considered themselves so tough that they went around shivving people – because they’re “shivvers”.

But whatever the reason, I think the band name is dreadful.

By the way, Michael reminded me that I posted a song by The Shivvers ages and ages ago. It was their version of Eric Carmen‘s “Hey Deanie“, and I posted it as part of a “Hey Deanie” extravaganza. (The post contained five versions of the song.)

OK. Now for “Please Stand By”…

The Shivvers – “Please Stand By” (1981)

0:00-0:12 – Oh yeah. I like this introduction.

0:12-0:24 – This verse, not so much. It’s all a bit too staccato for my liking – especially the 2/4 bar (at 0:17) dividing the verse in two.

I’m afraid this verse is way too jumpy for me. It reminds me of one of the skinny-tie dance moves popular back in the day: pogoing. Now I’m picturing a lot of people pogoing in a sweaty venue, with this song being played very loudly.

0:24-0:30 – Wow. That part of the song passed by very quickly. Was it the chorus? I’m not sure, but I like how the last part of it (0:27-0:30) harked back to the introduction.

0:30-0:42 – Another verse. Pogo, pogo, pogo, pogo…

I do like the little fancy guitar frill at 0:40-0:41, though.

0:42-0:54 – The chorus again. I think.

Ding!

My brain just notified me of this:

The Shivvers – “Please Stand By” (1981) (excerpt)

Bobby Darin – “Dream Lover (1959) (excerpt)

0:54-1:06 – A key change, which means one thing: the middle eight.

Boy oh boy that was a short middle eight. This band doesn’t mess about with anything lengthy. Considering the brevity of this song, instead of “The Shivvers” I think it’d be more suitable to call them “The Brevities”.

This song’s probably going to finish sooner than I imagine, so I think I’d better start pay attention.

The singer is a little flat.

1:06-1:19 – Here’s another verse, and the singer is still singing a little flat.

I liked the guitarist’s frilly bit at 1:17-1:18. Unfortunately, it was obscured by the singer’s “please, please…”.

1:19-1:40 – And another chorus. This song is whizzing by.

“I want, a girl, to call, my own…”

Oh, here’s something different. The band are extending the end of this chorus (from 1:28). Fair enough. But I don’t hear the extension doing anything for the song except making it longer.

1:40-1:53 – Ah, here’s another middle eight. It sounds like it was shipped in from another song. (Or, putting it another way: it sounds like it belongs in another song.)

1:53-2:21 – A guitar solo. In two parts.

The first part is melodic, and I like how the guitarist made the effort to play something with a melody, instead of just a pile of phrases he’s learnt over the years.

After all that melodic playing, the guitarist chucks in a weird, fast thing (2:06-2:07).

And after the weird, fast thing, it’s the second part of the solo, where the guitarist goes into a different style of playing, with some bent notes (unfortunately, there’s a badly bent note at 2:12), and a couple of semi-successful attempts at pinching notes (2:14-2:16).

All in all, I enjoyed the solo.

2:21-2:33 – Another verse. And the singer sounds as she if she’s getting a cold. (Must be that Milwaukee weather.)

2:33-2:46 – And another chorus. Where did that acoustic guitar come from?

2:46-2:58 – Here’s another extension of the chorus, but this time with tricky singing.

Ding!

The Shivvers – “Please Stand By” (1981) (excerpt 2)

The Cars – “Just What Needed (1978) (excerpt)

2:58-3:13 – Yet another extension of the chorus, but a little different from the previous one. This one features a really flat note from the singer (3:01). It made me wince.

***

I didn’t mind “Please Stand By”.

Oh, and here are the full versions of the songs that were excerpted earlier in the post:

Bobby Darin – “Dream Lover (1959) (stereo)

Or, if you’re a ’50s purist:

Bobby Darin – “Dream Lover (1959) (mono)

The Cars – “Just What Needed (1978)

2 Responses to Educating Peter # 57

  1. Shannon Phillips says:

    You said: This is one of the reasons I loathe the music of the ’80s.

    You’re listening to the wrong 80’s music.

    • “You’re listening to the wrong 80′s music.”

      I dare say you’re absolutely right, Shannon.

      For the record (tee hee), I’d like to say that three bands in particular helped me cope with the ’80s:

      Midnight Oil (video)
      Matt Finish (video)
      Divinyls (video)

      There were some songs by other artists here and there that I liked a lot, but overall the 1980s is still my least favourite musical decade in the entire history of everything.

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