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"The Monochrome Set (I Presume)"
Who doesn't like a good self-mythologizing song named after the band who recorded it? They released a scrappy single version early in their career, but this version from their totally perfect 1980 debut Strange Boutique is cooler for adding jungle drums well in advance of its drowsy python guitar line. When bands go for "tribal" these days, how come it always sounds worse than this? Such great little touches too. That the rest of the band only comes in to shout "The!", the song's least important word, always struck me as weirdo genius.
"The Lighter Side of Dating"
The second song on Strange Boutique which is, as I mentioned, a perfect record, is brilliantly funny and even a little bit shocking once you finally decipher its words. So dirty! The lyric video on YouTube is again invaluable for sussing out cheeky singer Bid's quick, elusive lines like "In silver bells and little else, I wiggle and I sway." Monochrome Set are a super wordy band, but not as distractingly full-mouthed as someone like the Fiery Furnaces. There's an easy sway to it. Best pre-Nirvana "hymen" shout-out?
The third song on Strange Boutique. Seriously, so good. (Do you have it on vinyl? Do you listen to it every day??? The rest of this list could just be the rest of the songs on that album.) This one's got maybe the best balance between sharp wit and bright guitar jangle. "I'm on my way to surgery as happy as a boy can be..."