494. jump

“In which Aztec Camera take the much loved Van Halen hit that I always loathed and render it first palatable by straining out all the annoying rec-room gymnastics, working a smooth soft rock groove, but then, just as things would normally fade out, everything erupts, tears a hole in stratosphere, leaves all memory of the Van Halen original flopping miserably around in a pile of spilled cocaine and brown M+Ms.” (Philip Random)

AztecCamera-1985

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821. Strange

“I realize it’s not cool to prefer REM’s cover of Strange to Wire’s original, but who even heard Wire’s first three albums when they were new? Not anyone I was hanging with. So to me, REM’s more jangly, more rocking, more fun take is the original. And given that it comes from 1987’s Document, that means they’re at their pre-mega-mainstream peak.  Still suitably artful and obscure, but beginning to enunciate.” (Philip Random)

rem-1987

936. here there + everywhere

In which Emmylou Harris, who never found a song she couldn’t somehow make her own, takes one of the very few sweet, poignant, utterly beautiful Beatles songs that we’re not all allergic to and, if anything, improves it. “If I ever actually get married, I can imagine it will be prominent in the day’s proceedings.” (Philip Random)

emmylouharris