Have you ever had the feeling that something’s
going on that’s not quite right? Things are feeling
a little…off. You know what we mean, right? A bit
odd, maybe a tad bizarre, perhaps even a tinge
outlandish. Why, some might even call it…strange.
We’ve searched through our collection and put together
a soundtrack that we hope will help you through
those times. The track listing is a little diverse,
and, okay, so, it doesn’t have the most perfect
sonic flow, but, well, that’s only appropriate
for a "strange" disc, wouldn’t you say?
"People are Strange," Echo and the Bunnymen (The Lost Boys: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
What more appropriate way to open this mix could there be? Definitely a highlight of one of the definitive movie soundtracks of the 1980s. Purists may complain that we’d use this cover rather than the original, but A) this is arguably one of the best cover versions of all time, B) it’s produced by Ray Manzarek, who clearly approved of the Bunnymen’s take on the track, and, of course, C)…
"Strange Days," The Doors (Strange Days)
…we already knew that we’d still be able to include Jim Morrison and company via the title track of their 1967 album. Leading off the band’s sophomore effort, its title definitely sums up the feel of the song as well as the album…which, to bring things full circle, also includes "People are Strange."
"Strange Boat," The Waterboys (Fisherman’s
Here’s one of those albums which has inspired a cult of obsessive fans. Although he’d done fine work prior to this ("The Whole of the Moon" remains one of the greatest songs of all time), with Fisherman’s Blues, Mike Scott effectively put in a bid to be remembered as the Van Morrison of his generation. Whether he succeeded for the long haul is a matter of debate, but if you’re solely examining this album, it’s an uncontested victory.
"Strange," The Feeling (Twelve Stops
Let’s make a brief stop in the present and include this song by one of the best new bands to emerge from the UK in recent years. "Strange" wasn’t released as a single, but don’t hold that against it; it’s on an album where virtually every song could’ve been released as a single.
"Strange Ones," Supergrass (I Should
Ah, they were so young and innocent back then, weren’t they? It’s another one that wasn’t released as a single, but the band remembered it fondly enough to slip a live version onto the bonus disc of their 10-year retrospective, Supergrass Is 10.
"Strangelove," Depeche Mode (Music for
Like you really need us to remind you, but this is one of the best songs from the studio album that positioned Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, and the rest of the Mode for universal domination with Violator. P.S. If you’ve never heard Savage’s cover of this song , you should definitely check it out. Best delivery of English lyrics by someone whose first langue isn’t English since Laibach’s version of "Get Back," without question.
"Strange Way," Firefall (Elan)
If the only thing you remember Firefall for are schmaltzy but sweet songs like "You Are The Woman" and "Just Remember I Love You," it’s understandable, since those are tracks that history has chosen to embrace. But you really should give a listen to this rocker. It might surprise you.
"Love is Strange," The Everly Brothers (Beat & Soul)
It was a tough call as to whether we should include this version of the Mickey & Sylvia standard or the more recent cover by Everything but the Girl, but we’ve always been partial to the classics.
"Strange Brew," Cream (Disraeli Gears)
Speaking of classics, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include this song. And, hey, do you know how you can tell it’s a classic? Because it’s been playing ad nauseum on classic rock radio for about 30 years now. Not that that makes it a bad song. Well, not in this particular case, anyway.
"Strange Things," Tahiti 80 (Piece of
These guys first started popping up on the radar courtesy of their connection with Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne), but they’ve clearly got more than enough pop hooks among them for their career to survive beyond Schlesinger’s stint at the recording console.
"Strange Bird," The Grip Weeds (The
Sound Is In You)
The Grip Weeds took their name from John Lennon’s character in "How I Won the War," which is only appropriate, given that they take much of their musical sensibilities from Lennon’s former band. This song can also be found on the second International Pop Overthrow Collection, where it’s surrounded by very good company.
"Baby Strange," T. Rex (The Slider)
Americans are stupid. Okay, maybe we should clarify that fact a bit, because people around the world are already nodding and don’t even know specifically what we’re talking about. When the glam rock movement took over the UK charts, Americans couldn’t be bothered to embrace it; as such, we really bummed out Marc Bolan, who deserved to be much more of a mega-star over here than he ended up being. Here’s just one of the reasons you should love him.
"She’s Strange," Cameo (She’s Strange)
We were still a full two years away from Larry Blackmon delivering the band’s biggest chart hit, "Word Up," but "She’s Strange" was the first time Cameo managed to score success beyond the Black Singles charts; this hip-hop-influenced number crept onto Billboard’s Top 100 (#47). Accordingly, it appears on every existing best-of collection from the group…and rightfully so.
"Strange Magic," Electric Light Orchestra
(Face the Music)
Just one of many Jeff Lynne pop masterpieces, from an album that’s chock full of them. (This is also the home of "Evil Woman" and "Fire on High.") Be sure to grab the new re-mastered version of this record, as it contains the U.S. single mix of this song.
"Strange Town," The Jam (Setting Sons)
And we’ll close with an incredibly bold statement: from 1977 to 1982, Paul Weller was practically incapable of writing a bad song, and this is one of many, many examples to back it up. We’ve attributed it to Setting Sons because it appears on a reissue of the album as a bonus track, but, in truth, Weller was so prolific that The Jam were able to release non-album singles between their full-length releases…and the band was so popular in the UK that the label didn’t even mind, because they knew the singles would be successful, anyway. (You can also find the song on most of their best-of collections, including Snap! and, of course, the all-encompassing box set, Direction Reaction Creation.)