Friday, June 22, 2012

Undertones Oversight...

So, in the two and a half years I've been blogging, I've only mentioned The Undertones in three posts... damn, I'm a loutish spalpeen for not writing about this fantastic band. If I were to sum up The Undertones in one simple sentence, it would be: "The Undertones were Derry's Ramones." They specialized in brief, brief songs (my brother Vincenzo described them as "Three minutes would constitute a ballad") about teenage desire, often unrequited, all sung in the quavering falsetto of frontman (or perhaps, and I don't mean this in derogatory fashion, frontboy) Feargal Sharkey. BBC legend John Peel was on record saying that Teenage Kicks was his all-time favorite song, a song that could move him to tears:





While most of their songs dealt with raging hormones, the band also had a snarky streak best displayed in a barbed tribute to a goody-two-shoes cousin:





Here's a more "introspective" number, a tribute to a child who mysteriously disappeared from Feargal's ken... the fate of "poor little Jimmy" is never made explicit, nor is the thing that he wouldn't let go of:





Wednesday Week is a return to the Undertones' favorite topic, the pangs of unrequited love, with Feargal really jerking on your tear ducts rather than his **REDACTED**:





For a later era number which deviates from their tried-and-true guitar crunch, here's the atypical When Saturday Comes, with a video in which Feargal tries to channel a sickly, anemic Iggy Pop:





I'm saving my favorite Undertones number for last... if Get Over You doesn't slap you silly with it's crunchy guitar onslaught, you've got to check your pulse:





Now, that is two minutes and twenty-six seconds of pure punk-pop bliss. For those of you who are interested in hearing more about The Undertones, here's a nice documentary about the band. So, now I've rectified my Undertones oversight, which is a good thing, because I've mentioned Northern Ireland's other major punk band, which wrote about the violent conflict that The Undertones so studiously left unmentioned in their music, in several posts.

8 comments:

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

LOVE THEM ALL.

Substance McGravitas said...

Mars Bar!

Substance McGravitas said...

"The Undertones were Derry's Ramones."

I must take issue with this. The Undertones were so much smarter. Which is not to complain about The Ramones.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Very nice. But I have to take issue with Mr. McGravitas (IF that is his real name!!!).

How can anything be smarter than this?
~

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

LOVE THEM ALL.

Ya gotta, if you want to remain in the will!

Mars Bar!

Part of a nutritious breakfast...

I must take issue with this. The Undertones were so much smarter. Which is not to complain about The Ramones.

The Ramones weren't as D-U-M-B as they were assumed to be. They were pretty "high concept"- matching outfits, primitive music, transgressive lyrics. The execution was crude, but that was paet of the schtick.

Very nice. But I have to take issue with Mr. McGravitas (IF that is his real name!!!).

I demand to see his long form birth certificate!

Another Kiwi said...

Yay, I luvs some Undertones. Great post!

Substance McGravitas said...

The Ramones weren't as D-U-M-B as they were assumed to be.

See I came at it from the opposite direction and thought they were a pretty smart thing when I first heard them. And maybe Joey and a drummer (!) or three weren't entirely out of it. But Dee Dee wrote their best stuff and I don't see him as other than dense. Particularly as Dee Dee King.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Yay, I luvs some Undertones. Great post!

I imagine you get Kiwi kicks all through the night, old chum?

See I came at it from the opposite direction and thought they were a pretty smart thing when I first heard them. And maybe Joey and a drummer (!) or three weren't entirely out of it. But Dee Dee wrote their best stuff and I don't see him as other than dense. Particularly as Dee Dee King.

I try to block Dee Dee King's existence out of my mind. I think Dee Dee wrote the best stuff because he had the most messed up life out of all of them... from I Slept with Joey Ramone:

We got away with a lotta stuff then that we wouldn't have if we'd been big," said Johnny. "Dee Dee came up with '53rd and 3rd' on the first album. I thought it was funny: I didn't know it was anything from real experience. I thought we were just singing about warped subjects that no one else sang about. I doesn't mean that we had to be doing it."

Fifty-third Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan was the notorious spot where young male hustlers made themselves available.

"To Johnny's dying day," Danny Fields (the band's manager) laughed, "Johnny would never admit to knowing that '53rd and 3rd' was about Dee Dee turning tricks!"