Sunday, November 23, 2008

66. Squeeze - Cool For Cats

Unlike some other bands of that era that got famous because of their style or gimmick or just because they hit the right place at the right time, Squeeze was oozing with talent.

Difford, Tilbrook, Holland and all those other guys who didn't matter as much as those three combined to make some of the greatest songs to come out of an era when great songs were not nearly as numerous as their overstyled, synth pop counterparts. Not that there's anything wrong with that; I loved the whole synth pop-new wave thing. I was just able to recognize that while most of the music of that genre was filled with fun beats that you could bop your head in time to after a few shots of tequila in a grungy-on-purpose club, Squeeze was different.

While a lot of people joined the Squeeze fan-wagon when East Side Story (1981) came out, I had a head start on the band due to my employment at a radio station in 1980. Ok, I wasn't an employee so much as a phone volunteer, one of those people who answered the 24-7 request line and handled the contests and listened to a lot of heavy breathing and requests for sexual favors that were unheard of in my little, naive corner of the world.

An advance copy of Cool for Cats made it into my hands in early 1980. The record had actually been released in '79, but New York radio was slow to pick up on it.

It was love at first listen. It was different, so far apart from anything I was hearing at the time. I grabbed a copy of the album and spent that night listening to it for hours, flipping the disc at least ten times. The lyrics to Up the Junction were simple, the rhythm almost monotonous. But somehow those two parts together formed a riveting song. Even Cool for Cats, with its machine-gun presentation of the lyrics was just so out there that I couldn't help but love it.

Sometimes I pine for the days when Cool for Cats was considered exciting and new. When that happens, I put this album on, close my eyes and relive the glory days of night clubs, spiked hair and torn, black stockings.

Favorite song: Cool For Cats
Squeeze wiki


Solonor Rasreth said...

I liked Cool for Cats, but I really didn't get into them until Argybargy.

It starts right off with "Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)" which is about as awesome a song as anything ever done by anyone and follows it right up with "Another Nail in My Heart" which is also great.

I love YouTube so much. I just went to Wikipedia and got the track listing for this album and was able to watch/listen to every song on it.

Timmer said...

I love "Annie, Get Your Gun." The opening guitar riff is so simple and puts a smile on my face immediately.

Carin said...

God, I loved those guys. I think I first saw them (ever - I was young when they broke up) on their "goodbye" performance on SNL or something. I spent an entire summer listening to nothing but Squeeze.

if I didn't love you I'd hate you ...

Steve said...

To this day I affect a cockney accent when singing Cool For Cats. But I *swear* I only do it alone in the car.