Let’s go jumping overboard: Foolishly ranking the songs of Crowded House (Part 2)
Hello there! Aren’t you looking well. How are we going after Part 1 where I listed songs 72 through to 37 as I rank every song from Crowded House’s studio albums.
If you don’t have the faintest clue what I am talking about, may I suggest you go here for more details: Part 1 rankings.
For the rest of you, welcome back and let’s get into it.
36. ‘Walking On The Spot’
Along with number 38 (‘As Sure As I Am’), this seems to be the place in the ranking for Accordion led songs to hang out. A nice palette cleanser wedged between ‘Private Universe’ and ‘Distant Sun’ on Together Alone, ‘Walking On The Spot’ was elevated by its clean lines and simplicity.
35. ‘Say That Again’
Even if Time on Earth never officially became a Crowded House album, Nick Seymour’s bass lines were so distinct that the album would have become one of the great what ifs in Frenz law. ‘Say That Again’ rides along the waves of Seymour’s bass work that gave you the feeling you were catching up with old friends.
34. Mansion In The Slums
For all the darker undertones of Temple of Low Men, there are still moments of frivolity. With references to isolation tanks and financial woes, ‘Mansion In The Slums’ couldn’t be anymore 1987/88 if it tried. It also covers the trappings of fame which is a staple for any sophomore album.
33. ‘Silent House’
Appearances can be deceiving. A song called ‘Silent House’ by Crowded House on an album recorded in the wake of their original drummer’s passing. The thing is, this was co-written with The Chicks and was recorded and released by them a full year earlier (just with more banjo). It is a touching song about loss but in this case, a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.
32. ‘She Goes On’
The theme of loss continues with another gem from the back end of Woodface. One of the very few ‘story songs’ that the band has ever attempted. It would have been a fine enough end to the album, until they pull out this number…
31. ‘How Will You Go’
Be they Gibbs or Gallaghers or Everlys, there is no better sensation for the ears then hearing siblings sing together. Woodface was the only time under the guise of Crowded House that we had the opportunity to hear Neil and Tim in (almost) equal footing over a number of tracks. The song ends the album and if I was ranking the bridges in Crowded House songs, this would land in the top 5.
30. ‘Never Be The Same’
Every great record has that killer album track that should have been a single. In the case of Temple of Low Men, that is ‘Never Be The Same’. Given when it came out, it would have fit perfectly on a late period John Hughes film or even Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything…. Nick’s thick bass, the three part harmonies that kick in towards the end, the line Cause we might still survive and rise up through the maze. Reward for those that bought the album and not just the singles.
29. ‘Saturday Sun’
The first single from Intriguer and all praise has to be given to Nick’s bass (again) and new drummer Matt Sherrod who bangs the shit throughout the track. ‘Saturday Sun’ now feels like an underrated nugget which was brushed aside at the time of release by less important things such as Neil’s vocal effects and terrible facial hair.
28. ‘Pineapple Head’
True Story: In 2009, I agreed to meet a girl for a drink, sight unseen. So I knew who to look out for at the bar, I checked her Facebook profile picture which revealed a woman laughing uproariously with a Pineapple perched on top of her head. She looked like an absolute loon. When she arrived at the bar, I asked her about the photo and it turned she went to a costume party dressed as the song ‘Pineapple Head’.
I married her four years later.
27. ‘Whispers & Moans’
If you ask 100 Crowded House fans to vote on the perfect concert set list, aside from the big hits, I would wager that ‘Whispers & Moans’ would make the cut (as would ‘Fingers of Love’ and ‘Love You ’Til The Day I Die’). Allegedly inspired by listening into intimate acts on the other side of the wall in a hotel (I’d give anything to be a fly upon the wall), the song conjures up other strange imagery from taxi drivers weeping like wounded beasts to disgraced businessmen (Alan’s sound investments will one day be forgotten). Played live, you are treated to a killer guitar solo from Neil at the end.
26. ‘Nobody Wants To’
The scene setting opener from Time on Earth, ‘Nobody Wants To’ cleverly talked about the thing none of us wanted to discuss: Paul’s death. You follow the lines Neil sings at the start about heading to the bottom of the ocean because that feels like the best place to go to escape what is actually happening. But by the time of the bridge (another top 5), we realise that bottling up our emotions is not the way forward:
Well, I found out
If we opened it up
We could work this out
If Neil could do it then we all could.
25. ‘Hole In The River’
Staying with the water theme once more, a sad but true story about Neil’s Aunt who committed suicide by drowning in a river. The lyrics are accompanied by some stunning atmospheric production that turns on its head during the coda when the song turns into a twisted carnival tune. Another live favourite.
24. ‘Fingers Of Love’
Can we take five minutes out of our day to give guitarist Mark Hart some god damn respect?
23. ‘Pour le Monde’
For the world, not for the war.
Crowded House have never been an overtly activist band but they are very good at summing up the temper of the times in their own special way. Much like ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ (a song you may be aware of), ‘Pour le Monde’ distills their views into a neat little pop song. One of those songs that has aged perfectly.
22. ‘Locked Out’
You know what won’t age well? My decision to place this song so low. I want to apologise to my future self for such a decision. How can I make it up to you future Stu? How about this killer performance of the song from Letterman back in 1994? You know the one where they perform with the house band?
21. I Walk Away
With the unique distinction of being recorded by both Split Enz and Crowded House, ‘I Walk Away’ appeared on the North American release because the final Enz record never made it to that side of the world. Whilst I always liked the art rock feel of the original, my heart sits with the Crowded House version with its more guitar orientated arrangement and uncertain lyrical outlook (a few lines were changed in the re-recording). See the links above to compare the pair.
20. ‘Kare Kare’
After the one and done lineup with brother Tim, Neil brought touring member Mark Hart into the fold, switched out long time producer Mitchell Froom for Killing Joke bassist Youth and set up camp on the remote coast of New Zealand to record Together Alone. Named after the beach where they made the album, ‘Kare Kare’ opens the record and is a musical fever dream of quotable lines. A quick ranking of my three favourite lyrics from this song alone.
3. Sleep by no means comes too soon, in a valley lit by the moon
2. I was standing on a wave, then I made the drop
1. In a long forgotten place, who’ll be the first to run?
19. Twice If You’re Lucky
So we end Part 2 with the highest ranked song from Intriguer. What feels like a song about the wonders of being a parent, in a better world, this would have been a hit and a half. I mean, it is exactly three and a half minutes. Radio should have eaten this song up!
Oh well, until Part 3 please enjoy the video for ‘Twice If You’re Lucky’ featuring a cute bear.