Educating Peter # 39

March 17, 2013

This week’s attempt to educate me in the ways of Michael’s View Of The 1980s (his view is that the music of the ’80s is highly enjoyable – my view is that it isn’t) is a song I don’t think I’ve heard before.

(Update: After listening to it I can safely say that I hadn’t heard it before. Or I don’t remember having heard it before. Either way, my brain had no recollection of it.)

The song is called “That’s What Life Is All About”, and it’s by the awkwardly named Paul Collins’ Beat.

Before I play you the song, I quickly want to let you know that its title reminded me of ELO’s “That’s The Way Life’s Meant To Be“. But it didn’t remind me of Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life”.

Paul Collins’ Beat – “That’s What Life Is All About” (1982)

Link

0:00-0:04 – When I pressed “play”, I immediately had two thoughts whilst listening to the song’s introduction:

  1. I thought the audio quality of the track had been inadvertently overloaded by the conversion to MP3, because everything sounded distorted. Yes, everything.
  2. It reminded me of Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue”. And it reminded me of “Peggy Sue” waaay too much.

As for point 1, after getting over the shock of hearing distortion, distortion, distortion, I realised that all that chainsaw-like ruckus was caused by two instruments that aren’t usually fuzzed: the bass guitar and the acoustic guitar. Fuzz bass occurs only occasionally on record (most notably in The Beatles “Think For Yourself”), but I’ve rarely heard a fuzz acoustic guitar. At the moment the only other song that I can think of apart from this Paul Collins one that has a fuzzed acoustic in it is Wheatus’ musically magnificent but lyrically detestable “Teenage Dirtbag”.

And as for point 2, I’m thinking of “Peggy Sue” so much throughout this Paul Collins thing that I’m not thinking of much else.. That’s not helpful for a decent appraisal of the song by Mr. Collins and his Beat.

Nevertheless, I forged ahead. To the rest of the song. By playing it.

0:04-2:32 – I’m sorry. All I can think of is “Peggy Sue”.

I’ll try this again, starting from when the singing comes in…

0:04-0:07 – “If you knew… Peggy Sue…”

Grrr.

0:17-0:24 – I think that was a chorus. Whatever it was, it had a lot of cymbals in it.

0:24-0:38 – “If you knew…”

0:38-0:46 – It’s that short chorus thing again. Wow, that’s a lot of cymbals.

0:46-1:13 – Ah, so this is the chorus. The other thing was a pre-chorus/refrain/interlude/bit-between-the-verses. It’s cute.

1:13-1:27 – Back to the verse.

As I’m listening to this song (and fighting thoughts of “Peggy Sue”), I’m coming to the realisation that this has more rockabilly in it than almost anything else. (What it has the most of is “Peggy Sue”.)

I’m comfortable with this being a rockabilly/hootenanny song. It’s “rockananny”, if you will. (Or won’t, as I’m guessing.)

1:27-1:35 – That little bit between the verses again.

1:35-1:36 – This gave me my first chuckle for the song. I liked how the whole band stopped playing so that everyone could sing the word “Baby”.

1:35-1:55 – Another chorus. I’m tolerating this song a little more.

1:55-1:56 – Time for the band to stop again so they can all shout “Baby”.

1:56-2:32 – Another chorus. Fair enough. And I just noticed all those cymbals that I’d forgotten about earlier.

***

I’m afraid, Michael, that your suggestion this week didn’t grab me in any particular way.

For me, this song was “Peggy Sue” with cymbals.

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