If I was in the fridge, would you open the door?
If I was the grass, would you mow your lawn?
If I was your body, would you still wear clothes?
If I was a booger, would you blow your nose?
Would you keep it? would you eat it?
I’m just trying to give myself a reason, for being around
Know something mortals? One of my very favourite ever things about blogging is when I listen to an album I haven’t heard in probably 20 years and it totally exceeds all my expectations. Plenty of the little blighters don’t live up to my memories and even more of them rank just about where I always thought they did, so it’s a real treat to encounter a bolter. One such from tonight is Lemonheads Come On Feel The Lemonheads, from millions of years ago back in 1993.
My memories of Come On Feel The Lemonheads were that it was the less-focused follow-up to It’s A Shame About Ray which had a couple of excellent songs on it. Mrs 1537 and I saw them touring the album in a show that was 2/3 brilliant and 1/3 yawny, I love the Lemonheads when they stuck to their power-pop grunge-lite, with added country stylings but wished I had brought a good book with me when they went all chaotic and self-indulgently weird*.
My favourite parts of Come On Feel the Lemonheads are mostly the brisk and breezy power popsicles that the Lemonheads seemingly couldn’t help fizzing out into the world in multiples of three. To pick a power pop posy here I would take ‘Being Around’, opener ‘The Great Big No’ and the rather gorgeously melodic ‘Into Your Arms’; but I could have picked out three others, easily. Each and every one just sounds like a sunny morning made flesh, some great tunes and Dando’s nicely understated vocals underpin it all – even Juliana Hatfield’s backing vocals irritate me less here than on It’s A Shame About Ray. Fact.
Don’t wanna get stoned
Don’t wanna get stoned
But I don’t wanna not get stoned
I don’t wanna not get stoned
My favourite track when I first bought the LP was the grungey ‘Style’ with its hyperactive drumming from David Ryan and Evan wittering on about being stoned/not stoned; on balance I think he opted for the former option. I still like it but I’m a sleazier, psychedelic-er guy these days than I was in 25 years ago and so the sleazy, psychedelic reprise ‘Rick James Style’ is far more where I’m at these days. Mr James guests on the cut of course, sounding like a particularly desiccated reptilian horndog. Speaking of guests, none other than Belinda Carlisle gives it the full tonsils on ‘I’ll Do It Anyway’ which sounds like a cover of a lost Go-Go’s tune**.
By far my favourite track on Come On Feel The Lemonheads is ‘Big Gay Heart (Against Violence)’, a fabulously heartfelt country styled blast against homophobia. I remember thinking how radical it was as a topic back then and to some intents and purposes it is still, a very welcome one as well. It really is a chunk of perfection. Dando sings it brilliantly, I love the contempt he puts into the lines,
Either way you got a bone to pick, can’t you leave that to somebody else?
I don’t need you to suck my dick or to help me feel good about myself
Which just contrasts with the warmth of the whole song, bolstered by some sublime slide guitar from the legendary Sneaky Pete.
Given that he was a wealthy, talented dude with supermodel good looks^ Evan Dando always had a surprisingly good line on melancholy too. The raw ‘Favourite T’ being a great case in point and a damn well-written song too, the deeply cynical ‘Paid To Smile’ being another – I could never get tired of too much sadness wrapped in an upbeat tune. Perhaps all this hints at the chemical issues that were to sweep across the horizon not too long afterwards, Lemonheads never sounded this good again.
So you see dear readers that Come On Feel The Lemonheads is a rather fine smorgasbord of an LP, a flavour or three for everyone in every mood. There are a few tunes here that don’t reach the heights but it is never less than a very enjoyable album, sometimes more. I should have played this as lot more than I have done in the last decade^^, which I will remedy.
But enough of all this analytical shit, what about the booger song? It’s called ‘Being Around’ is another real highlight on the album. It reminds me a lot of Barry Louis Polisar’s ‘All I want Is You’, which can only be a very good thing. It’s jaunty and perky, much like me.
Would I keep it? Would I eat it? both.
PS: One of my very favourite songs, Ben Lee ‘I Wish I Was Him’. My favourite song about how cool it would be to be Evan Dando, which was later covered by … Evan Dando.
He’s got six different flannel shirts
Airwalks not thongs
He even understands the words to Pavement songs
He’s got his new guitar toys
He loves Smudge and the Beastie Boys
*self-indulgently weird can be great, but Dando and Co. were just never good enough at it to make that all worthwhile. Proof? try listening to LP closer ‘The Jello Fund’ more than once in a 24-hour period.
**a compliment. I love the Go-Go’s!
^and a very pleasant chap too, as reported by a good friend of mine who got to hang out with him at the Glastonbury Festival for a spell.
^^Christ, I’m old.