Tuesday, June 30, 2009

House Of Love - Beatles And The Stones

(Fontana, 1990)

As one who loves the first half of the House of Love’s career, particularly the Creation period, believe me when I say that the performance on “Beatles and the Stones” is impeccable: it’s shuffly proto-Britpop loveliness with great vocals and moments of mellow-cello half-psych that border on charming pastiche. But the lyrics, OH the lyrics… they’re not so good. Sure, I can dig the line about how the Beatles and the Rolling Stones “made it good to be alone,” as most current and former teenkiddies know all about squirreling away with their headphones and a pile of albums for an afternoon of intense listenin’, but when Guy Chadwick states that those bands “sucked the marrow out of bones” and “put the V in Vietnam,” his trolley rockets right off the rails. Really: “Put the V in Vietnam”?! What does that MEAN? Is it supposed to be some tortured reference to the peace sign? If it is, well, shoot, this is hardly a deep thought, but I don’t think either the Beatles or the Stones ever did all that much to actively promote peace over in Southeast Asia. They just put out records, made mountains of cash, and mumbled a few vague platitudes about love as they descended further into drug-addicted, rich-guy isolation. All of which I envy! As did the House of Love, I guess, because, speaking of getting rich, they topped even the Jesus and Mary Chain for sheer product-avalanche insanity (or is GREED the word I want to use?) by releasing this single in TEN different configurations, with eleven separate B-sides and three versions of the title song spread across the formats. A real “gift” for the mentally-ill collectors out there. The B-sides on this one, the 7” with the blue cover that folds out into a poster of the band, are the atmospheric filler tracks “Love IV” and “Love V,” two instrumental sketches that bear no apparent relation to each other. Both appear on A Spy in the House of Love, while the A-Side is included in its original mix on the second self-titled album and in its superior remixed form, as heard here, on the later Best of and Fontana Years compilations.

1 comment:

Donald Brown said...

You're dead on on this one. Song sounds great, but if you're going to call a song "the beatles and the stones" you just can't get by with such cheesy lyrics. "The Beatles and The Stones: only one had Brian Jones."

Lyrics always reminded me of a stupid Electric Factory bit: a kid wants to come up with an unusual birthday wish for his teacher Miss Jones; calls her on the phone and leaps in, impromptu: "happy birthday, Miss Jones, you sure got nice . . . bones."