|TOTO, voted America's Sexiest Band 1982|
A while ago I penned a review of the top ten songs on Spotify called 'Hourglass', prompted by a phase where I was listening to the Squeeze song almost obsessively. Undoubtedly, the format was a crashing failure, and I've never returned to that particular puddle of vomit...until today. We're back, baby!
Rivals both Boney M's 'Rasputin' and Squeeze's 'Hourglass' as the greatest song ever recorded. Singer Bobby Kimball is all over this piece; curiously, the lyrics fall into a strange yacht rock preoccupation of being a bad-ass criminal on the run, a la Boz Scaggs' 'Lido Shuffle' and Christopher Cross' 'Ride Like the Wind'. Sample lyrics:
Got some heat, got a gun
Song: 'Goodbye Girl'
Making their second appearance in this format, it's Squeeze. And it's the usual wide-eyed kitchen-sink earnestness from these boys. This time, Squeeze are not ditching their old lady to make a run for the border, no - true to form, they're the sadsacks left on their lonesome, getting robbed for good measure. It's charming pop-rock with a percussion track that sounds like a commuter train pulling into a station with a short platform. 7/10
This features one of the most horrendous synth tones ever devised. I wouldn't be surprised if it was initially perfected as part of a secret non-lethal weapons programme. Anyway, it crawls along with all the energy of an arthritic snail, but I have to concede the vocals are good and there is a little bit of wobbly Mick Karn / Pino Palladino style fretless bass, which made me laugh. 4/10
Song: 'Goodbye Girl'
Yup, it's the guy from Bread - I suppose TOTO owe him and his ilk for popularising a brand of mature soft-rock with a focus on chorus hooks and high production values. This is exactly as I had imagined it - a pretty soppy piano 'n' strings ballad with, yes, a big chorus hook. Gates sounds like a schlub, which actually works well given the context. It's okay. 6/10
Song: 'Goodbye Girls'
The most impressive thing about this slice of lo-fi postmodernism is that they get the word 'counterparts' into the lyrics. The vocals are faux-naif psychedelic, the electronics sound like a fax machine performing an extended death scene. Decent, I suppose, if that brand of hauntology floats your boat. 5/10
Does this have both a zither and a harmonica on it? That's neat. A little nondescript in the verses, but Rumer has a voice suited to confessional, intimate music, and the chorus is rather lovely, nodding as it does to the girl group sound of the Ronettes. Not bad! 7/10
Song: 'Kiss The Girl Goodbye'
When I saw the song title I thought to myself, "is this going to be about a horse?". It's not; rather, it's trumpet player Art Farmer blowing a sweet, warm and emotional slow jazz number. It's a joy to hear this kind of unfiltered, in-the-moment playing, both from Farmer but also his pianist accompanist, who creates a bed of twinkling arpeggios for the lead instrument to ease back into. Beautiful. 9/10
What did I give the Luke Bryan number? Two out of ten? Well, it's twice as good as this noisy bro-country slurry. I once endured a nine-hour drive from Colorado to Kansas where the radio station was permanently tuned to this kind of dogshit, and I swear I could feel my IQ dropping in real time. At least Bryan tries to connect with some semblance of human emotion; this is eighty percent proof moonshine nihilism, and seems to revel in the fact. 1/10 for somewhat resembling music.