King’s X – “Lost In Germany” (1992)
I remember once reading about this band on a blog and got interested in them because they were described as a sort of prog metal band with Beatles harmonies. It piqued my interest so I grabbed Gretchen Goes To Nebraska (1989) (AllMusic reckons it’s their best album). I listened to it (three times) and was underwhelmed. The focus of each song seemed to be on the guitar part, with everything revolving around that (or, in other words, everything about the song was subservient to the guitar). I didn’t hear much in the way of Beatles harmonies – or memorable songs, for that matter. There were harmonies in the vocals, but nothing I’d call especially melodic. For me, the melodies just weren’t singable, hummable, or even memorable. And the song structures weren’t particularly memorable, either. The musicianship was good, and it was well recorded, but overall the album just didn’t float my boat. Unfortunately, it’s the same with “Lost In Germany”. Everything about it perfectly acceptable, but none of it sticks in my brain for any length of time. I can understand why King’s X have a cult following – they’re extremely good at what they do (heavy, slightly-proggy rock with multitracked vocals), but what they do isn’t really my bag. With everything I’ve heard from King’s X so far, I just wish it was more about the songs and less about the guitar. That said, I did like “Lost In Germany”‘s guitar part.
The Steve Miller Band – “Things I Told You” (1982)
Steve Miller goes New Wave. Ugh. Next.
Davy Jones – “Welcome To My Love” (1971)
Wikipedia tells me that “Welcome To My Love” was the B-side of Davy’s 1971 single “Rainy Jane”. It sounds to me like every cringe-inducing Las Vegas lounge song ever recorded, the kind of thing that’s been performed by every suit-wearing Las Vegas performer who ever lived. I honestly couldn’t tell when the record was made, because the song is so drenched with cheese and saccharine that I lost all sense of musical eras. For all I know, it could have been recorded in the Fifties, the Sixties, the Seventies, the Eighties, and the Nineties simultaneously. My first guess was the 1960s – which shows you how much I’ve been following the career of Davy Jones. Regardless of my poor Davy Jones-related guessing skills, “Welcome To My Love” tips just a little too far into chirpy cheeky chappy territory for my liking. It sounds like young Mr Jones is grinning uncontrollably throughout the entire song, and I find that unsettling.
The Shoes – “I Can’t Go Wrong” (1989)
The first thing I noticed was how dated the production sounded. Any band – even a skinny tie band like The Shoes – that tries sound up-to-date instantly makes them sound dated because they’re trapped in the sound of the time their track was recorded. Speaking of “dated”, the verses in “I Can’t Go Wrong” remind me of Dave Edmunds‘ “Girls Talk“. Apart from a possible similarity to “Girls Talk”, I can’t really think of anything in particular to say about “I Can’t Go Wrong” because I found it (warning: heresy alert), like all Shoes song I’ve heard, unremarkable. It comes, it goes, and as soon as it’s finished I don’t remember what I just heard. It’s a problem I have with most skinny ties bands, including The Shoes.
Baja Marimba Band – “Georgy Girl“ (1967)
This track, although pleasantly cheesy, suffers from a distinct lack of Judith Durham, Athol Guy, Keith Potger, and Bruce Woodley. For me, this version is a big miss. (Although I did like the drumming. It was very enthusiastic in the fills.)