Saturday, December 30, 2006

"They’re Always Writing Songs" (About Songs)

I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and I can’t figure out why Carole King's "I Didn't Have Any Summer Romance" isn’t one of the greatest songs ever. It reminds me of the meta-song element of that wonderful Pavement song "Gold Sounds" where they sing about how "they’re coming to the chorus now," of those weird Merle Haggard songs about songs within songs.

For teenagers looking for pop bubblegum, this is some pretty dark stuff, like finding a mini Three Penny Opera as the treat at the bottom of your box of Cracker Jacks. This is from the excellent Sundazed compilation The Dimension Dolls, which features girl and girl-group Brill Building singles by Carole King, The Cookies and Little Eva. There’s a lot of silly juvenile teen-pop and dance-craze numbers, but Carole King’s early solo stuff ("Crying in the Rain," "He’s a Bad Boy" and others) puts the goose bumps on the arms.

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