One of my favorite New Wave bands from the Eighties quietly released a new album recently without me knowing about it. The band is Squeeze, and their new album is called The Knowledge. Two years ago, the band, who had regrouped seven years earlier for tours, finally released an album entitled Cradle to the Grave. And, that album was brilliant. It had been well over 30 years since I had so thoroughly enjoyed a Squeeze album. Well, folks, like many of our rock heroes, Squeeze is in the midst of a career renaissance because this new album is fantastic.
All of this got me waxing nostalgic. Let’s hop in our Wayback Machine set to Labor Day weekend 1981, my first weekend at Ball State University. After moving into the dorm on that Sunday, my mom, brother, uncle and aunt all left me to get acquainted with my new life. After hooking up my stereo, a group of guys, most of whom would become long time friends, stopped by my room to invite me to go with them to get something to eat. We walked down to the Village, where we went to a pizza place, after which we all headed to Stonehenge Records, the local independent record store. While in the store, I noticed they had the latest Squeeze album, East Side Story. I remember reading a glowing review of the album in Rolling Stone, so I bought the album. And, I loved that album, listening to it often during my freshman year. I loved the band’s lyrical word play that I likened to Elvis Costello. Now, Rolling Stone was burdening the band’s songwriting duo, Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, with the “new” Lennon and McCartney moniker, which was totally unfair. To me, they were a pure pop Elvis Costello, but that may have been due to the fact that Elvis produced many of the songs on the album.
Anyway, I became hooked on Squeeze. I bought their second album Argybargy and loved it just as much as East Side Story. Then, in the Summer of 1982, the band released Sweets from a Stranger, which was not as strong as the previous two albums, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Around Christmas that same year, Squeeze released a brilliant greatest hits package entitled Singles 45’s and Under. The album contained all of their British singles on one album. That album was played constantly. Unfortunately, the band ran out of creative fuel on the next couple of albums, and I lost interest. That is, until that 2015 album was released. Now, I have my old Squeeze music back. And, like I said earlier, their brand new album is equally up to the task of maintaining the band’s original reputation as a thinking man’s pop band.
So, in celebration of the release of the band’s latest album, The Knowledge, I will send you into the weekend with My 25 Favorite Songs by Squeeze. Let’s begin the begin!
25. “Slightly Drunk” (Cool for Cats, 1979)
24. “Love Circles” (Frank, 1989)
23. “Separate Beds” (Argybargy, 1980)
22. “Sunday Street” (Play, 1991)
21. “If It’s Love” (Frank, 1989)
20. “Slap and Tickle” (Cool for Cats, 1979)
19. “Hits of the Year” (Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti, 1985)
18. “Another Nail in My Heart” (Argybargy, 1980)
17. “In Quintessence” (East Side Story, 1981)
16. “His House Her Home” (Sweets from a Stranger, 1982)
15. “853-5937” (Babylon and On, 1987)
14. “Take Me I’m Yours” (Squeeze, 1978)
13. “Patchouli” (The Knowledge, 2017)
12. “Happy Days” (Cradle to the Grave, 2015)
11. “Cool for Cats” (Cool for Cats, 1979)
10. “Loving You Tonight” (Some Fantastic Place, 1993)
9. “Annie Get Your Gun” (Singles 45’s and Under, 1982)
8. “Labelled with Love” (East Side Story, 1981)
7. “Goodbye Girl” (Cool for Cats, 1979)
6. “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)” (Argybargy, 1980)
5. “Cradle to the Grave” (Cradle to the Grave, 2015)
4. “The Up Junction” (Cool for Cats, 1979)
3. “Black Coffee in Bed” (Sweets from a Stranger, 1982)
2. “Hourglass” (Babylon and On, 1987)
1. “Tempted” (East Side Story, 1981)
Really? Was there any doubt about the Top 3? I mean, those three got the most radio airplay at the time of their releases. I hope you listen to them via your favorite method. Me? I prefer vinyl, though CDs and mp3s are convenient and easy to use, as is streaming. I just prefer my music on my system using the warmest sounding medium, which is, to me, vinyl. Long live vinyl! And, of course, long live rock!
Have a great weekend! And, as the prophet Casey Kasem used to say, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” Peace!