Tuesday, 12 November 2013

7 inch singles collection: Bangles - Hazy Shade Of Winter

Here's something from a film soundtrack.


B-side: She's Lost You (by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts)
(Def Jam 1987)

I'd like to say that I know less the zero about the film Less Than Zero. However that wouldn't quite be true, because I know it's got these two songs on the soundtrack, and I know it's based on a Brett Easton Ellis novel. More than that though I can't tell you - I didn't catch my interest when it was released, and resolutely remains so to this day. I did think of looking it up on IMDB for the purposes of his blog, but couldn't be bothered - if you're that bothered go and it it yourself.

So if it wasn't for the film why did I buy this record. Well I have to admit that I really rather like the Bangles, and by like I don't mean fancy (well, maybe the bass player). Their brand of jangly power pop, combined with female harmonies is something that I find pretty appealing.

Hazy Shade of Winter is a cover version of a Simon & Garfunkel song. I've probably heard it a few times before in the original version, but really can't call it to mind as the Bangles version is indelibly lodged in my brain. It starts off all soft and mellow then kicks to life with a killer riff that drives along the song. All the band sing along to this allow some cracking harmonies throughout the record. The whole effect is pretty darn good, and rather enjoyable, yet for that it still seems oddly hollow - maybe if it were an original Bangles track there may be an extra spark in the performance that would elevate it from goodness to greatness.

Normally on the flip side of a record you get a another track by the same artist, but in this case we've got something else off the soundtrack of Less Than Zero - on the back of the record it lists the artists who are on the soundtrack. We we've got here, I'm pleased to say is one of the better options. Joan Jett is often cited as one of the pioneers of women in rock, but is any woman from the 60's or 70's, who played an instrument and sang. The sad truth of the matter is that most of them probably were as there weren't that many women doing this kind of thing back in those days. Actually there's still fewer woman than men these days playing rock music, but it's less noteworthy now. Anyway Joan doesn't let us down with this track. She's Lost You starts with a gentle piano boogie, which from the very beginning you can just tell it's going to very soon start to rock out, and when it inevitably does so it then maintains it's rocking groove for the rest of the record. Joan does the only think you can with this sings a bluesy rasp over the top, all of which results in an honest to goodness down-home 12 bar blues boogie. I can't say that back in the day I ever had much cause to play this side of the record, but now taking things into consideration, I think I really rather enjoy the Joan Jett track more than the Bangles one.

Next time some well crafted pop from 1990.

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