29. O Superman

O Superman is one of those rare records that truly stopped time. Because pretty much everybody I knew at the time (1981-82) – the first time they heard it, they literally stopped. A what is this? moment. Quickly followed by Who is this? To which the answer was simple enough — just some girl named Laurie from New York, spiky hair, artist/poet type playing her electrified fiddle, messing with tape loops and stuff, speaking (almost singing) strange and angular truths. Nothing that many haven’t attempted since but unlike anything anyone had heard before. And she nailed it — whatever it was. And that part near the beginning, the bit about ‘Hello, I’m not home right now’ —  pretty much everyone had that as their answering machine message for at least a few days as O Superman swept coolly, smoothly, strangely through the world, like a virus from outer space. Yet I doubt it ever got a single play on local commercial radio. Neither the song nor the album, Big Science, which took everything further, weirder, bigger. It’s almost as if the people running things didn’t have a f***ing clue of what was going on.” (Philip Random)

599. I love you, you big dummy

“A big dumb love song c/o the Captain (Beefheart, that is) who had no tolerance for fools, or straights, or normals, or anybody anywhere that couldn’t grasp The Strange. But he clearly had a heart. A friend of mine used to insist that if he ever got married, I Love You, You Big Dummy would be the first dance. He did eventually get married but no, it didn’t get played first, last or anywhere in between. The divorce papers got filed less than a year later.” (Philip Random)

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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)

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