So, although the last entry was all about the horrible aftermaths of my irresponsible use of free time, I’m still filled with genuine joy and good cheer every Friday. If there’s something that keeps me from fully succumbing to despair as I trudge lethargically through the week, making my way in and out of meetings, navigating through the torrid ocean of soul-crushing tedium that even the most intellectually and creatively stimulating tasks at work feel like, it’s the promise of those two-and-a-half days of freedom at the tail end of the week. Loverboy had it right, man. “Everybody’s working for the weekend”. And if you think about it, even the weekend itself is part of the control system that binds us, the carrot on a stick that keeps us steadfast and full speed ahead. It’s depressing to think about. But fuck it. It’s Friday, and I’m pumped.
Here are six cheery Friday-afternoon songs I’ve found myself going back to over and over again the last few weeks. Thankfully for you, Loverboy is not featured in this list.
The Boy Least Likely To-
“I’m Glad I Hitched My Apple Wagon to Your Star”
Infectious schoolyard twee-pop of the cheeriest kind from this English duo (and seriously, who knew the English had it in them to record something so unabashedly happy? Is this the same country that gave us Ian Curtis? How does this make any sense?).
Shugo Tokumaru- “Parachute”
I have no idea what Shugo is ever singing (except for the refrain, which I’m fairly certain goes ‘parachute, parachute, parachute‘) but I know this track is full of sugary, twinkly pop goodness, and it gets me singing along in phonetic approximations that are sure to be incredibly offensive to any Japanese person who happens to walk by me as I sing obliviously along. See, I like this song so much it makes me accidentally racist.
Martha & The Vandellas- “Heat Wave”
You can keep your Beatles. You can keep your Stones. For my money, Motown and Stax records made the best music of the 1960s, effectively reinventing pop music and injecting a genuine energy into a long-languid song form. This great track by Martha & the Vandellas is one of the highlights. Big ups to The Who for turning me on to this one, and this entire songbook.
Pale Saints- “Language of Flowers”
I’ve loved this track for a long long time, after fortuitously finding it on Napster while looking for something else. A tragically overlooked dream-pop group from the late 80s, Pale Saints were a great group of musicians who released three solid, melodic, adventurous albums of ear-candy post-punk with a dash of shoegaze. I can’t even remember what it was that I was looking for when I first found them.
Surfer Blood- “Take it Easy”
Bouncy and propulsive like a good late-era Talking Heads track (seriously, this could easily fit in “Naked”) with an added youthful exuberance and COWBELL. Surfer Blood’s “Astro Coast” is an incredibly promising debut from this young indie band, and a solid album from top to bottom, filled with great songs, but none quite as bouncy and all-around good-vibeish as this.
The Cure- “Close to Me (single mix)”
What is it about Robert Smith that is able to peer into the soul of every neurotic, confidence-lacking male into the world and condense it into 3-minute pop songs? This seminal Cure classic combines giddy enthusiasm with crippling social anxiety and it somehow works perfectly. It’d be embarrassing of me to admit that this is my Friday-night get-psyched let’s-do-some-things pre-party song… so I won’t. But I do love this song with all of my heart, especially this version, featuring an awesome brass section that plays up the song’s self-effacing ridiculousness. “I never thought this day would end, I never thought tonight could ever be this close to me”. Preach it, Robert.