The Fall are one of those bands that I'd never really gotten a handle on. And let me be clear when I use the word "band" I mean it in the loosest sense of the word. The Fall are clearly Mark E. Smith's vehicle of/ for destruction. His onstage and offstage tirades are legendary and I wish that I had been lucky enough to have witnessed one.
The Fall have way too many records to figure out where to start digging in. The first time I ever heard them, Suzanne Clarke was blasting Eat Y'Self Fitter at WXJM back in the early 90's It wasn't like anything I had ever heard before. It was easy to grasp because it was so damn repetitive and long. It was hard to get a feel for because it was do damn strange. The singer was clearly a cocky son of a bitch. It was almost like Oliver Twist grew up to become friends with Shane McGowan and was out to get drunk, stir up some shit, and play Gloria or In the City or some other song with a sneering attitude while also refusing to pay the landlord.
Plus, I'm not so sure they are one of those bands that I need to own many of their records. A simple best of will do. And finally, that best of has made it to my collection. Over the past few months, I've been digesting the Two CD collection 50,000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong: 39 Golden Greats, a brilliant title with equally brilliant cover art for such an enigmatic, arrogant, shifting, shambling band.
It is all here, a great primer of all things you need to hear from the Fall (I guess, I mean I don't have all their records so what the hell do I know?) from 1978-2003. And there are fantastic songs on here. I really like it all, but it isn't easy to get through an entire CD in one setting. I am very happy that I have 25 years of The Fall to listen to but I don't envision needing any more.
So what kind of band are The Fall?
They are the kind of band that I could own a CD of, Our Nation's Saving Grace, back in '95, not like it and then sell it. Then when I became reacquainted with it in 2003, I really enjoyed it but had absolutely no memory at first that I had once owned the CD.
They are the kind of band that are excellent to listen to at the gym. Something about all that repetition works.
They are the kind of band that I accidentally was listening to one of their songs over and over again on repeat for about 45 minutes and I didn't even notice that it was the same song repeating since all of their songs sort of put you in that same sort of trance anyway.
And I still don't get the whole Pavement sounds like the Fall thing. Unless you are talking about some of the Spiral Stairs songs, but even then, I don't really see it. There is clearly only one Mark E. Smith
And what does Mark have to say about best of CDs? He says, "If there is one thing I can't stomach, it's all that retrospective shite. That's something that I have never been into and never will. It represents a trainspotter mentality, little men collecting things. I don't like that at all."
Unless of course, it is your best of CD, I suppose.
Hide and Seek
2 days ago