[Vinyl Vednesday is a weekly feature about three favorite vinyl finds. It’s not meant to be a dick-measuring contest, but it usually turns out that way. E-mail email@example.com with your own big finds!]
Records: The Beach Boys’ All Summer Long (1964, although I have a re-release from a later, unlisted date) on black, Fine Young Cannibals’ The Raw & The Cooked (1989) on black, and The Police’s Outlandos d’Amour (1978) on black.
Place of Purchase: I inherited my Beach Boys collection from my parents. FYC came from Disc World (R.I.P.). I’m honestly not sure about Outlandos, though. I either got it at Disc World or maybe the Philadelphia Record Exchange.
Thoughts: The Beach Boys are one of a handful of bands that I just kind of always knew about thanks to my parents, but didn’t really appreciate until later in life. I went through a similar phase with The Beatles – I can’t remember a period where I didn’t know the songs, but I can remember the point where I really, really started to love them on my own. I’ve gone through phases of extreme Beach Boys adoration – first in high school when I started to love the group’s extremely idealistic songs about youth, and later in college when I checked out their lesser known post-Pet Sounds works (and Dennis Wilson’s excellent solo record Pacific Ocean Blue). All Summer Long isn’t my favorite Beach Boys record (or even in my current top three: Pet Sounds, Sunflower, and the charmingly goofy Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!), but it delivers everything I want from the group: Sunny, rich melodies, lyrics about love, and the occasional oddball curve. Yeah, I dig “I Get Around,” but there’s something enticing about a song like “Drive-In,” a tune that manages to be really, really catchy while delivering silly lines like “If you say you watch the movie you’re a couple of liars / And remember that only you can prevent forest fires.” I think I’m about to enter another Beach Boys phase, perhaps spurred on by the warming weather.
I guess you could say I also had a belated appreciation for Fine Young Cannibals as well, but only because as a kid I knew Roland Gift first as bad guy Xavier St. Cloud from the Highlander television series (cue bitch’ Queen soundtrack!) as first and as the lead singer of an ’80s pop group second. Later on in life I picked up The Raw & The Cooked on the cheap, and while I still enjoy their hit “She Drives Me Crazy” and their cover of Buzzcocks’ “Ever Fallen in Love,” the album’s soulful sound is too hampered by sterile ’80s production. It’s not a bad album, but it’s certainly not something I put on often either.
Sting is kind of a wiener. Science has proven this to be true. But his albums with The Police are awesome. This is also, scientifically speaking, true, or at least something I perceive as a universal truth. Again, just like with All Summer Long, Outlandos d’Amour isn’t my favorite Police album, but man is it awesome. “Next to You” kicks things off, reminding listeners all these years later that Sting actually used to rock. The hits keep coming with “So Lonely” and “Roxanne,” with “Can’t Stand Losing You” showing up later on the second side. Ol’ Stinger later disappeared up world music’s asshole and came out sounding awfully New Age, but for a while he was able to synthesize reggae, new wave, and punk into a perfect blend.
Also I really, really like Stewart Copeland’s drumming.
Also also, Andy Summers is cool too I guess. Although, seriously, watch him in this video for "Synchronicity II." Dude is such a dork: