The single is so under-appreciated these days. We all buy (yes, I said BUY!) one song that we hear/heard on the radio on loop seventy-five times a day, one song that was on that trendy movie soundtrack, or the one song that everyone told me to go buy because it’s popular. But what about those other weird tracks on those singles that never get purchased? I think they call them B-sides? And some of them are absolutely genius. Take a look at some of these singles, as not only the A-side is worth it, the B-side is perhaps even better yet.
1. Mistaken for Strangers – The National, B-side – Blank Slate: I chose this particular single for the simple fact that 8 out of 10 times, I would rather listen to Blank Slate than Mistaken for Strangers. Not because Mistaken for Strangers is a bad song, but I would rather listen to Blank Slate because it is an oddity for the National – slightly more upbeat, still driving.
2. 5ive – Medicine, B-side – Time Baby II: The B-side to one of the greatest tracks on Shot Forth Self Living is a pretty damn important track. It turned into a track called Time Baby III that appeared on the OST for The Crow. The problem? Time Baby II is even better than its successor; it’s lighter, more punchy, and a touch more poppy than the tar and feathered in shoegaze Time Baby III.
3. Who Feels Love? – Oasis, B-side – One Way Road: The song intros with birds chirping and one of the waviest guitar riffs. Noel bathes a little in psychedelia on One Way Road. I’m proud of the senior Gallagher on this track. Well constructed and produced exquisitely, you’ll forget that there was even an A-side to this single.
4. Good Day – The Dresden Dolls, B-side – A Night at the Roses: I have a secret soft spot for the ‘punk cabaret’ duo. Maybe it’s because I got a big sweaty kiss from Amanda Palmer, or maybe it’s because I really enjoy that Bukowski way she delivers her lyrics. The line, “Who says we can’t touch ourselves to keep from getting bored? Nothing else is touching that’s for sure…” is worth a hell of a lot more than the piles of shit-filled jewel cases and sleeves that get called music these days.
5. Lavinia – The Veils, B-side – Citadel: The A-side to this single could be played on loop until I die, and I probably wouldn’t mind. It’s sweeping and dramatic. Maybe over-dramatic. Listen to Citadel and maybe Lavinia is a shell in comparison. Finn Andrews is quite possibly the most masterful lyricist of our day, and I greatly anticipate the release of their next album.
6. Sometimes Always – The Jesus and Mary Chain, B-side – The Perfect Crime: “But it was easy, baby…” That’s probably all I need to say.
7. Paperback Writer – The Beatles, B-side – Rain:You know, I was in a bit of a debate with myself over this, because the problem with a lot of older B-sides is that a good lot of them have songs that are found elsewhere on the LP. But, you can’t get Rain on an album until you start getting into compilations much later on. So, I really love the hell out of Rain. It’s got that dancing bass that Paul is just so damn good at. And yes, this song is 1000 times better than Paperback Writer… but that’s a fun song, too.