Monday, September 20, 2010

Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians - 'So You Think You're In Love' EP

[Sorry that I've been kind of slow in posting stuff this month - it's been pretty busy here, which has sort of limited my time to put together the erudite, pithy writeups on this music that I know you all love so well (ha ha!) . . . I'm trying to make an end-of-month push here, and get a few more posted to at least meet my monthly average of 10-12 albums/EPs (you might have noticed that the number of posts has increased in the last week - or then again, maybe you haven't . . .). So on that note, here's another one:]

I should probably be a bigger fan of the music of Robyn Hitchcock than I am, but I simply have trouble fully getting into his music. He's just too quirky and inconsistent for me. I was never a fan of The Soft Boys, his first post-punk/psychedelic-punk group, so I have no nostalgia for his early work. And it seems that every time he puts out something that catches my interest, he follows up with something that I can't stand, putting me back to Square One with him once again.

For example, I loved the song "Balloon Man" (off of the great Globe Of Frogs album) when it came out in 1988, and figured the guy had finally found a sound that appealed to me. But his follow-up, 1989's Queen Elvis, was terrible, and I found the lead single off of that album, "Madonna Of The Wasps", to be weak and somewhat whiny. Once again, he lost what little goodwill he had with me.

With that being said, I paid little attention to his next release, 1990's acoustic solo outing Eye, and by the time he reunited with The Egyptians for his 1991 album on A&M Records, Perspex Island, I was all but completely ignoring his output. However, that perspective changed once I began hearing cuts from the new disc on the radio. I was living in the Washington, DC area at the time, and WHFS there put the lead single, "So You Think You're In Love", in heavy rotation. I thought to myself, "Pretty good song."

But it was another Robyn Hitchcock single from that time period played on 'HFS that really caught my attention and interest. They played it less frequently on the station, which was too bad, as it was a MUCH stronger song than "So You Think You're In Love". It was a gentle acoustic duet between Hitchcock and Michael Stipe of R.E.M., called "Dark Green Energy" (Stipe and other members of R.E.M. collaborated on other songs on Perspex Island).

 The song was just outstanding, so much so that I decided to become a Robyn Hitchcock fan once again, and went running full-bore to Tower Records to pick up the disc. But when I got to the record store, I found that the song I loved so much wasn't on the album track list.

I had to hunt around for a while to actually find the recorded tune; I finally tracked it down on an EP, So You Think You're In Love, offered at a small record store I used to go to in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Although the EP featured the title cut, the song that A&M was pushing to be the 'hit' off of this album, the EP was woefully obscure and hard to find, which made absolutely no sense to me at all - it stands to reason that if you want to sell something, it helps to have it readily available in large quantities.

And, of course, after drawing me back into the fold, Hitchcock drove me away again with his next release, Respect, which was his last with The Egyptians. Respect sucked so bad that even Hitchcock himself has been quoted as saying he himself didn't like the record. And there you go.

For me, Robyn Hitchcock hasn't put out anything as good as this EP in the last 20 years. He's still plugging away at it, though - God bless him, and I wish him all the luck and success in the world.

Here you are - enjoy, and let me know what you think:

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