MP3: Crowded House - They didn't do 'Love Is All Around'
Crowded House are one of those great pop bands that the critical world is likely to forget. There's a number of things about them, such as their age, their dated clothes, slightly dated production, as well as the fact that they're were incredibly successful and are still radio mainstays to this day, that mean that they're probably destined to be lumped in with the Del Amitri's and the Wet Wet Wets of this world, which in my eyes is a bit of a tragedy. Its really surprising how many people I meet who when I've talked to them for a bit I suddenly find out that they're big Crowded House fans. Maybe we're afraid to be seen as listening to music thats associated with being middle aged, and so I thought i'd abandon all my hipster glory (of which I have much, my underlings), and admit it: Crowded House were rather brilliant. Yes a few of their super popular hits are a bit too lightweight (Weather With You being the best example), but other than that, just about all of their hits are just stunningly well written pop songs. There's always a little edge to them, something melancholic or off kilter that makes them very listenable. A good example would be Four Seasons In One Day. The melodies, and the vocal harmonies, are very very good, and it's really quite an eerie song to be such a big hit. Somewhat like someone like Tom Petty, when you take a look at the tracklist to the House's singles collection, 1996's Recurring Dream, you might really be shocked as to how many great singles they had (other than those already mentioned, remember these: World Where You Live, Fall At Your Feet, Locked Out, Don't Dream It's Over (used to great effect in the TV adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand), Into Temptation, When You Come, I Feel Possessed, It's Only Natural, Distant Sun, Chocolate Cake, Better Be Home Soon... It's rather a tremendous collection. All of their studio albums have some great stuff on them, and the bands Finn brothers have gone on to make some tremendous records. Notably before forming Crowded House, members of the band formed the seminal New Zealand band Split Enz, who I believe are currently doing a tour with the original lineup. As for the three MP3s i've put up, the first two are from a live best of CD that's included in some editions of Recurring Dream. First up is Whispers And Moans, one of my favourite tracks from their third album, 1991's highly successful Woodface. Second is Private Universe, a very very good single from their very much underrated (it may actually be their best record) and rather spooky fourth and final studio album, 1993's Together Alone. It's the strangest single they ever released, and this is a great live version. Lovely stuff. Third up is one of the bonus tracks from Recurring, a Beatles homage that's better than most Beatles songs, Not The Girl You Think You Are. I think on all three of these songs you really get to hear how damned refined the songwriting was, and also how fine a harmonic vocal sound the Finn brothers have. Overall, Crowded House may be bogged down with bad late 80s/early 90s style and production, but they luckily manage to overcome it with another pop genius that I can still love em. Hope you like the songs.