Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

I never bought that many Squeeze albums, and I was old enough to enjoy the band in their prime.

But everyone I knew owned Singles 45 & Under because it was one of the best deals you could get; for the cost of a single LP you had about six or seven singles that would never lose their flavor, ever. "Up The Junction," a wizened story song about the fire and fall of a relationship with no chorus at all (and one of the most British pop songs ever recorded); "Another Nail in My Heart," probably the apex of power pop romanticism; "Pulling Muscles From a Shell," with some of the best lyrics a rock song ever featured. That's not to mention their final two smashes, "Tempted" and "Black Coffee in Bed," full of delicious New Wave soul and sharp lyrical detail, about betrayal and lust and shame in ways that made the Top 40 seem more like Nabokov.

I was a Costello fan, and when I would meet people and interview bands who seemed more influenced by Squeeze, I always thought it was because they were just less smart and more mainstream in their tastes. As great as Elvis C. is, he never quite wrote the anthem of longing and despair that "Is That Love?" is, truly drawing from the Beatles for something much more directly thought-provoking than the jagged little narrative scribbles on "Imperial Bedroom" or "Trust." Ouch.

See them tonight at the Showbox on 1st Avenue, avoid most of their recent records, but pick up Singles at Jive Time or Easy Street or Sonic Boom for probably far less than five bucks today and have music you'll love for the rest of your life.