KEXP’s song of the day today is More Bad Times from The Presidents of the United States of America’s new album These Are The Good Times People. Excellent. I didn’t even know they had a new album out, so I downloaded it and gave it a listen. It’s classic POTUSA: poppy and infectious and fun. And awfully familiar:
You twisted your ankle,
I carried you.
You got a divorce,
So I married you.
You fell off a cliff,
So I buried you.
I wish there were more bad times
To see you through.
Hey! I know that melancholy sense of humor… It’s Ed’s Redeeming Qualities! Back when we lived in Maine, ERQ was one of our favorites. I don’t think they ever got much attention nationwide, but they were pretty popular in the Boston alternative scene for a while. Like The Presidents of the United States of America, ERQ’s music is sometimes silly and always disturbingly catchy. A couple carefully-chosen lyrics will have me singing an ERQ song to myself all day.
A couple months ago, I heard Ok Go’s cover of The Pixies’ Gigantic and decided to buy the tribute album it came from on iTunes. Kathy and I were immensely disappointed. There were a couple other good tracks, but most of the time, we just wanted to switch to the real Pixies songs. This led to a long discussion of what constitutes a good cover (we were driving to San Francisco, so we had the time). In the end, we didn’t come up with much, though we did agree that when a cover is too similar to the original it just serves to remind you how much better the original is. Anyway, I asked Kathy what Seattle band she thought could successfully cover an Ed’s Redeeming Qualities song and the first name she came up with was The Presidents of the United States of America. She’s right.