Saturday, January 05, 2013


Edwyn Collins' "A Girl Like You" is a track I have loved since I heard it on the Empire Records (1995) soundtrack. Later, it was used in the Charlie's Angels' sequel (2003) soundtrack, which, despite its (spot-on) cheesiness, is still a killer movie.

The darkness of "A Girl Like You" is fantastic. It throws minor chords at you like you're in a batting cage of despair, but with a sparce but meaty drum rhythm, keeping it peppy. It seems like the grim answer to Cake's "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" cheeriness. Both songs say the same thing: "Damn, girl!", but Collins takes to a dark place, and I love that. For all of Cake's heys! and hos!, Collins uses gothic chorals, and for Cake's vibraslap, Collins pulls out an old vibraphone, for a retro lounge sound. The vibes make it sound like the song playing in Don Draper's bad acid trip, but rubber-band wow-wow-wow walkdown after verse lines keeps it contemporary.

Here's the official video, but it's dated and not super. Above is the one I prefer to watch, because the live version is so spot-on, full of frenetic urgency, but maintains all the darkness. I'm not fussed about some of the guitar solos, but it evens itself out. [shrug] The only true drawback is the vibraphone is not live. On the recording it's played by the Sex Pistol's drummer(!).

Finally, on a little Speech Pathology note, Collins had a stroke in 2005 and suffered from aphasia afterward. He was recovered remarkably, but imagine how devastating that kind of brain injury would be to a musician.