Saturday, June 6, 2009

E - The Easybeats - "Best of the Easybeats featuring 'Friday on My Mind'"

Honestly, this album should be titled “’Friday on My Mind’, which is one of the greatest pop songs ever written, and some other songs; a few of them pretty good, but all of which pale beside the aforementioned ‘Friday…’”.

This mid 60’s Australian-by way of England, Scotland, & Holland group has its loyal fanatics, but, on the strength of this record, I ain’t one of them. Don’t get me wrong, pretender – any record that calls itself “The Best of…” is bound to have some decent songs, and this LP has a few; problem is most of them come early, leaving the inevitable drop off & lack of interest. “Sorry” is punky & excellent as hell, & “She’s So Fine” & “Made My Bed, Gonna Lie in It” are good uptempo stompers with really good harmonies. “Gonna Have a Good Time” has completely throwaway lyrics, but is a first class rave-up. Unfortunately, the rest of the songs are either too “Hard Day’s Night” Beatle-ly (“It’s So Easy”, “Woman”) or too “Revolver/Sgt Pepper” Beatle-ly (“Falling Off the Edge of the World” is the best of the lot, although you’ve got to admire a band that releases a song called “Come In, You’ll Get Pneumonia”, even if the song is nowhere as great as the title.)

You see, the Beatles ruined rock music, especially as they “outgrew” teenybopper pop (“Phooey!” I say. “A Hard Day’s Night” BURIES “Sgt. Pepper” (and also buries Peter Criss on the drums, but that’s a whole other story.) All of a sudden, rock couldn’t be simple & fun anymore, it had to have meaning, which led to a great many bands across the world, who may have been talented enough to write terrific songs about girls and the ecstasy of having them or the pain of losing them, overreaching their bounds and writing story songs, or worse – poetry. I’m not saying that some bands didn’t have enough talent to make their Beatle derivations work, or that there weren’t some bands happy with keeping it simple (hooray for the Archies!) – I AM saying that this trend makes the last half of this record a little ponderous.

But “Friday on My Mind” makes everything better. Two minutes and forty six seconds (perfect pop song length, by the way) of pure nirvana: catchy, danceable, fun AND funny (“even my old man looks…..good!” – heh!), with great harmonies and a dynamic arrangement that rocks. I’ll say it here: neither Lennon OR McCartney ever wrote a pop song as good as “Friday on My Mind”. I’ll say it again later if you want me too.

Whoops – forgot to mention: Easybeats’ guitarist/songwriter was George Young, who, later in the 70’s with other Easybeats’ guitarist Harry Vanda (real name: Johannes Vandenberg), did fairly well producing a few albums by the band led by his two younger brothers, Malcolm & Angus. Now THERE was a band that the Beatles could never ruin.

Verdict: have I mentioned how much I like “Friday on My Mind”? It’s a really good song!

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