AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #145 : THE FEELIES

A MUCH APPRECIATED GUEST CONTRIBUTION FROM DIRK

Yes, yes, I know: you think I may have drunk myself into oblivion on that weekend in Glasgow, but no, far from the truth, friends! Apparently at least small parts of my brain cells survived the gathering and I didn’t forget about The Feelies – ICA I promised to make …so finally here you are!

Reasons for the severe delay in making this ICA were many, but the main one is: for months and months I couldn’t decide which songs to abandon!

The Feelies hail from New Jersey and are without a doubt one of America’s most beloved alternative-rock bands. They recorded six albums in their career, five of which I own. I still didn’t get around to buy their last one from this year, ‘In Between’, although I’m confident that it’s mighty fine as well. I’m sure Brian will be able to confirm this.

I put all the other albums on a stick and listened to them in the car most of the time from June to August on me way to work and back again (2 x 40 minutes each day, sometimes easily 2 x 55, that’s when I have some bloody tractor with sugar beet in front of me, which more or less happens on a daily basis, and you never can overtake those because even more bloody tractors – with sugar beet on them as well – front you from the opposite direction … but I digress!) in order to decide which songs to go for… to no great avail, alas: I simply couldn’t come to a conclusion, so I put the whole project to an unsatisfying halt for quite some time.

The thing is, each and every album The Feelies ever made is stunning indeed, there aren’t all too many tunes where you can easily say: ‘ah, let’s forget about this one, it’s no good’. To make it even more difficult, within their career they also went along under the monikers of Yung Wu, The Trypes and The Willies, so in theory I could have included those releases as well, but then decided not to do so.

There were times when I thought about simply using all of their first album, ‘Crazy Rhythms’ (originally from 1980, with nine songs on it, but there is a re-issue with a bonus track, which makes ten wonderful tunes, just perfect for an ICA), but I didn’t. Also I think you all know their debut by heart, still I totally failed not to include a few tracks from it. Those of you who never heard it, if such creatures exist at all, you’ll understand why this is when listening to my choices from ‘Crazy Rhythms’:

1) Fa Cé-La

2) Loveless Love

3) Crazy Rhythms

Interestingly enough I found out that in ‘Crazy Rhythms’ (the song, not the album) the band – at 1.28 minutes – managed to include exactly the warning sound which my car makes when running out of fuel (a Peugeot 208, since you’re asking), that’s right after they included sounds of a car hitting the break whilst being right behind you at full speed … both of which shocked me enormously each and every time when listening to the song at immense volume, still half asleep in the dark morning! But again I digress …

It took The Feelies six years to release the follow-up to ‘Crazy Rhythms’.

‘The Good Earth’ came out in 1986. ‘The difficult second album’, you could argue. And rightly so, I mean, how to surpass a masterpiece such as ‘Crazy Rhythms’? Impossible, I would think. But surely that’s not the reason why the number of tracks out of ‘The Good Earth’ being included in this ICA is …. zero, no, it’s just that I like other songs better. For example:

4) What Goes On

5) The Final Word

6) Away

All of the above can be found on the band’s third longplayer, ‘Only Life’ from 1988. But coming back to ‘The Good Earth’ briefly: I think it’s important to point out that I recommend the album without any reservation at all, it’s good throughout and you should get it while you can! The same is of course true for ‘Only Life’, the three tunes I chose are only a little bit better than the remaining seven.

1991 brought us ‘Time For A Witness’ and again it blew me away! Which made it very hard to pick a specific track, but this is what I came up with:

7) Sooner Or Later

8) Decide

9) Doin’ It Again

Sheer class, I’m sure you’ll agree! Perhaps 7) and 8) are the best two of the whole lot so far, at least as far as I’m concerned, mighty songs indeed!

After ‘Time For A Witness’ The Feelies relaxed a bit and made a little pause … 20 years, to be precise! The public were told they disbanded, but then, out of the blue, ‘Here Before’ saw the light of day in 2011. And again, there was nothing wrong with it at all. Let’s be honest, there aren’t many bands that sleep for 20 years and then come back in such a form, right? From it, we have:

10) Change Your Mind

… which could easily be the title of this ICA, because if I don’t post it to JC right now without further hesitation, I could well think it all over again and change it to 10 completely different tracks!

So, and that’s about it. I do hope you enjoyed what I chose for you!

Take good care,

Dirk

10 thoughts on “AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #145 : THE FEELIES

  1. Dirk comes out of hibernation. Looking forward to this Dirk, as I am ashamed to say I know nothing about the Feelies apart from the cover of What Goes On that Brian posted ages ago and the appearance in Something Wild. I know I’m a twat.

  2. Nice to see some love for the Feelies. I was kicking around some snotty boutique in Soho (NYC) circa 1981 when this wack version of the Beatles’ ‘Everybody’s Got Something To Hide’ came over the speakers. Who was it? “The Feelies” drawled the bored, insouciant and devastatingly beautiful shop assistant, looking the other way to light a cigarette. Was hooked since then. Fast forward a few years later to One Of The Best Gigs Ever: Feelies opening for REM at the Felt Forum. A nice selection, Dirk, I bet a lot of folks unfamiliar with the band will start exploring. (Although I might’ve found room for something on The Good Earth in place of the cover tune.) Cheers.

  3. Dirk, So good to hear from you again. I hope all is well with you and your family. Tell us the story about going to Peel Acres! Kidding. My only criticism of the Feelies is their tremendous gaps between albums, and I can’t fault them too much since there has never been a bad release… ever. The latest will find a place on my list of best albums for 2017. I can’t find fault with any of your selections, but I’m with Martin on It’s Only Life. Probably my favorite, in fact. Keep in touch, my friend.

  4. Great job Dirk. Good to have you back. As Brian said, I hope that everything is well with your family and at your place. Almost forgot how great The Feelies were. It is good to go back decades gone by. Timeless music.

  5. Listening to these songs again I remember Jonathan Demme’s movie Something Wild when The Feelies played in a movie as a high school band playing at an anniversary. Awesome and still a great movie and probably one of the best OMS ever.

  6. JTFL is right on, that Felt Forum gig with The Feelies opening up for and, in my opinion, blowing away REM is among the most memorable I’ve seen. Both bands were featuring their newest material and to be honest, REM was really on that night, but they were jumping over the line into “popularity” at that point, so they were on the “beware” list. The Feelies on the other hand, were a legend to me, being a CBGB’s band and Crazy Rhythms being one of the great albums of the New York New Wave. That they were back with new music after such a long spell away, made seeing them that much more exciting.

  7. Thanks for the nice comments, friends and yes, everything is fine in sexyloser shack, but too much to do these days, not a single moment of free time. Plus I seem to have run out of any bright ideas for potential posts, that by and large are the reasons why I’ve been even quieter than usual in the last months. No need to worry though …

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