Squeeze - Another Nail For My Heart (1980)
In college, a reporter for a local newspaper showed up at the radio
station one day while I was prepping for my show. She was cute, not
much older than me and when she asked to take my picture for a story
she was doing about the station, I said sure. Following the photo, she
asked me some questions and took notes on a pad as I told her my
answers. What happened after that, I still find strange. She wanted to
talk about Squeeze. She loved Squeeze and had a lot to say about them.
She made it seem like it was important for me to like them too. But, I
did like Squeeze. Kind of. I had a copy of their Singles compilation.
The thing is though, and this is why the moment has stayed with me, I
don’t think it’s possible for me to like Squeeze any more than I
currently do. I tried. I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to like
Squeeze more than I ever have, which is not very much.
I know that statistically, it would make sense that every band would
be at least one person’s favorite band, but personally, some bands
just don’t strike me as anyone’s favorite. I can’t imagine anyone
putting more effort into liking Squeeze than I do, which is probably a
little more than most people do. I can remember the titles to at least
3 Squeeze songs (Tempted, Another Nail From My Heart, and Pulling
Mussels From a Shell). I probably know enough of the words to
“Tempted” to fake my way through a karaoke performance. I don’t know
any of the band members’ names. I don’t know any of their album
titles. I don’t even know if they have broken up. I don’t know
anything that’s not on the Internet.
Despite this, I do know that Squeeze is very, very good. I think that
they were around a decade too early, though. Producers spent a lot of
time in the 90s making American alternative rock bands sound vaguely
British. And in the 90s, Republica’s “Ready To Go” was given a U.S.
mix. So, someone in the U.K. understood that there was a right kind of
British to sound like; Squeeze don’t have it. In the 90s people also
bought CD’s by The Rembrandts because they thought the band wrote a
really good pop song when in fact, they just wrote a pretty good
Squeeze song. If you are interested in Squeeze, the Internet is going
to tell you that when it comes to songwriting, they are the only true
heirs to McCartney and Lennon. This is wrong. Most music writers don’t
know how to talk about things that are good without bringing up The
Beatles. The truth is, Squeeze write super-sophisticated, sharp, smart
pop songs. They do this so well, it makes Elvis Costello and Joe
Jackson look like amateurs. I refuse to call “Another Nail For My
Heart,” clever, which it kind of is, but it has no wink-wink,
nudge-nudge moment. Cleverness needs to be noticed. It needs an
audience. I don’t think Squeeze care enough about being clever to read
as clever. The difference is that clever that doesn’t read as clever
is just brainy. But the cleverness, to me, seems important, that
wink-wink, nudge-nudge moment that’s what makes a band a favorite
band, that moment of bonding, when you get that they get that you get
what they meant to be got. That’s what a favorite band is.