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.


Anonymous said...

One of the best vocalists and songwriters of the last 40 years, Frankie Miller, had the exact same thing happen to him. Devastatingly, he didn't recover any significant power of speech, and the definitive blue-eyed soul voice has not sung since.

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