I wanted to go a little more period this time out, so more contemporaneous 80s tracks abound. Don’t worry, though, the first song is from the 60s, so we’re still ping-ponging across the decades for the finest and most appropriate material.
This issue has a lot of talking (whaaa!!!), so the first track is for haters who want more guns (they’re coming next issue, promise). I’ve thought long and hard about taking the right amount of time to get where we’re going and I think you’ll like where we end up, so enjoy the ride!
To a lesser extent, track one expresses my feelings about a lot of contemporary comics - they have little meat on them. It shouldn’t take me 3 minutes or less to consume a $4 comic. That’s why we try to pack as much as possible into GFH without it feeling claustrophobic, hence the backmatter (thanks for the kind words, by the way), this playlist, Martin’s twitter feed, etc. We want GFH to be worth your money and your time.
IMO too many contemporary comics feel like the Marvel Netflix shows – great 6 episode stories that are stretched out over 13 episodes. I don’t need an issue that’s a single chase scene, no matter how beautiful it is.
Once again, all tracks are added to the Playlist after the previous issue’s. So we start with:
Elvis Presley / A Little Less Conversation
Anyway, back to the song; controversially, I’m also a fan of the heretical remix of this that was a minor hit in the 00’s.
Fleetwood Mac / Little Lies
This little 80s classic hits that note and, y’know, it’s all about lying and wanting to be lied to. So, perfect.
Undertones / It’s Going To Happen!
This is for the Joan / Martin scene. One of my twitter followers posted a pic of her morning song – an Undertones classic from their 1stor 2ndalbum, which reminded I need to listen to them more. The first two albums have all the punk hits, but their 3rdalbum is a totally amazing step forward and under appreciated. It was too jarring to go from them being silly kids to more mature craftsmen, I suppose, but the roots of a lot of the best 80s pop music can be found on this album, including the sublime “Julie Ocean,” surely an influence on shoegaze.
Sade / Smooth Operator
Again, getting to the period tone of this playlist, pretty much every yuppie douchebag had this in their car CD player. That doesn’t mean it’s not a gorgeous piece of work with sublime production, though. And it kinda speaks to how many of our main characters see themselves; smarter than the next guy.
Silver Sun / Scared
Another hugely underrated band, Silver Sun were a Britpop era act that came close. They never quite broke through, but should’ve. Their songs are amazingly hooky, crazily constructed and effervescent. Sooty Reeves is a British ex-pat who is barely hanging on in the business. He’s insecure, false bravado in a flesh suit; scared.
KISS / I Love It Loud
I love and hate Kiss, but since this issue has a tribute cover, I figured I should include something of theirs. This is big dumb and stupid, like Cutt Stryker would be, were they to exist. If you don’t like this track, just be glad I didn't' use “Crazy, Crazy Nights,” even dumber and far less energetic.
Motörhead / Ace Of Spades
One of the best songs ever. Like “Crazy Train,” another classic Melch theme song. God bless Lemmy.
Henson Cargill / Plastic People
This cat was an Oklahoma country act who had hits in the 60s and 70s. In this track I hear some of the same types of unconventional changes and vaudeville influences Bowie used and can almost imagine DB singing it (without the backing singers and far more dramatic music, natch). If Brian Slade had 10 minutes to write a theme song for his proposed “Plastic People” show, this is in the ballpark of what it’d sound like.
I wanted to convey that weird thing where you cross 59th into Central Park South and the noise of the city seems to go away.
Gary Numan / Down In The Park
This has an air of menace and yet not, too - kind of like the scene of Martin and Lucius talking, down in the park. I love a very specific era of Numan, falling in love with Replicas especially year after year.
Cheap Trick / Hello There
What you want to open your set with and is in Martin’s head as he’s putting on his show.
Generation X / Gimme Some Truth
Tony James again. Everyone in the penthouse scene seems to be in some sort of denial. That this is a Lennon cover is of some significance.
Crowded House / Something So Strong
This was one of the pure pleasures of 1987. There’s a real joy in this that’s hard to capture and the band on this tour was a thing of sheer happiness. Fun suggestion: try making out (or doing anything fun) to this song, it’ll only make it better.
New Order / Confusion
Every city feels some ownership of New Order but NYC really cracked Blue Monday and this track from around the same time was always a club favorite. Our main characters are all a little off-kilter.
Heart / Who Will You Run To
To speak to the era again, this is from Heart’s mid-80s renaissance period when they were omnipresent. It feels factory made, but the assembly-line production doesn’t diminish the quality songwriting. As this issue abruptly wraps, Martin is looking for his Hail Mary.
Melch appeared in another comic book I did, years ago. He had only one line, I think, which was “I shall speak of sheep and drink beer.” We frequently hung out in a rat-infested bar in the basement of a burned out building on Park Street in Hartford. The joints was untroubled by customers and the bartenders didn’t care for IDs. It had a name (I can’t recall), but we called it “Scuzz Bar.” New York used to be full of these places – they got tagged as “old man bars” in the 80s. They were great, grimy shitholes. Now they’re Chipotle’s.
Sex Pistols / Problems
That descending intro (Steve Jones again!) is the perfect outro for this issue. If GFH were a TV show, this would be played over the closing credits of this episode.
See you next issue!