Thursday, May 19, 2005

Something's Gotta Give

There’s a billboard that I pass on the way to work every morning. It’s for a Christian radio station that promises “positive, uplifting music.” I bet they don’t play anything from THE TENEMENT YEAR, Pere Ubu’s terrific 1988 comeback LP even though it is both positive & uplifting. This is happy music to me anyway. Not as happy as some stuff but this is Up With People compared to the band’s earlier stuff.

Ubu should have at least one hit song from record. The label tried, they did put out a single. Too bad they picked the wrong song, this should have been the single. Is it really that different from some of the other chart hits of 1987? Maybe so but I think it could’ve been a hit. The B-sides are non-LP, which is rare for Pere Ubu. They usually don’t have any unused tracks lying around. Keep in mind that most bands save the weird or toss-off stuff for B-sides. Most (OK, all) Pere Ubu songs are weirder than most (OK, all) other bands B-sides are to begin with so Ubu’s B-sides are that much weirder.

The next album was even better and almost got Pere Ubu a hit record.

None of Ubu’s records from ’87 to ’94 are available. The band’s website says they’ve unsuccessfully tried to license them for a box set. Until then, Pere Ubu discs are easy to find in the better used bins.


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