Got The Fever

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Split Enz

Well. Apparently the maelstrom does indeed come to a conclusion. Ten months that led to a new W-2 designation, a new city and a new place of employment. Ten months through a triple whammy. And guess what? All’s well that ends well. And end well it all did.

Without my abnormally large music collection with me where I’ve had to stay during these past ten months, I’ve listened to whatever I happen to have previously stored on my computer. Although, truth be told, it’s significant all on it’s own. So, I’ve perused through gigs of tracks and had the joyful opportunity to revisit many times music that’s more valuable to me than many of my other possessions. Hearing Split Enz has been one of those joys.

I remember first hearing, and constantly playing, “I Got You” when it was an import only. I worked for a record distributorship in the Boston area and once in a while had the opportunity to work in one of their retail outlets. At the time, I worked in the only ‘cool’ record store in Harvard Square. Tons of vinyl with local celebrities and nationwide acts comng in to peruse. Big thrill for me back then.

Bigger thrill was that I had total control of what would be playing in the store and always relished digging on the import section and acting like a DJ. The above mentioned single was on ‘constant rotation’ when I worked there (along with The Stranglers, The Clash, Flash And The Pan, Siouxsie, Tom Petty, Tom Robinson, Angel City, Millie Jackson and way too many more to impress you with a petty list). When Split Enz came out with their fist few albums, I was all over them, and even during these past ten months I’m still smiling with their rock and pop.

So many of their tracks had a certain snap to them that just screamed “you’ll remember me long after this time period has ended”, and how true that is. “Shark Attack”, “What’s The Matter With You”, “I Wouldn’t Dream Of It” and “Six Months In A Leaky Boat” launch from the lobes immediately. But, they also could write a searing ballad.

I Hope I Never
For my record budget money, it’s going to be hard to enter the sphere from where this resides quite comfortably. Minor chords, swooning vocals, eloquent ivory playing and melodic string section make this an automatic high bar for musical aspirations. An easily chosen selection to accompany a fine single malt scotch matched with a rare, clear, breathtaking molestation of white stars against a calm, black sky.

Carefully chosen lyrics are the solder that melt tranquilly against the musical accompaniment. The libretto transcends teary-eyed sentimentality in favor of soul inspired facts of faith.

It should be possible I know
To see you without stress
But I can see I’ll have to go
I’m changing my address

My urge to cry, I have failed to conceal
Life – it’s no fun when you’re haunted
By the things that you feel.

I hope I never, I hope I never have to sigh again
I hope I never, I hope I never have to cry again

I’m for living while you can
I’m an optimistic man
I hope I never, I hope I never have to see you again.

One Step Ahead
Oh, that awful conundrum wondering if you’re doing the right thing. The wave upon swirling wave of ‘should I stay or should I go’ that sometimes pounds against your rock of fortitude and, of course, eventually over time erodes it down into the fine grainy sands that settle at the bottom of anguish.

The Finn Brothers certainly did justice to this palate of emotions when they recorded this to vinyl. To me, and perhaps only to me, it was tracks like this that set them apart back in the heyday, and continue to defy the common logic that they should be long forgotten along with their then contemporaries.

At times fee and flowing and at others, tense with uncertainties it becomes the accurate abettor to that uncertain riddle.

One step ahead of you
Stay in motion, keep an open mind
Love is a race won by two
Your emotion, my solitude

If I stop I could lose my head
So I’m losing you instead
Either way I’m confused
You slow me down, what can I do?
There’s one particular way I have to choose.

Split Enz: I Hope I Never
Split Enz: One Step Ahead
From: History Never Repeats (Best Of)

Though these both can be found on the above album, get more than a passing acquaintance of Split Enz by digging out the albums and digesting a thorough helping of these Aussie New Zealand greats.

A large thank you to those who for some unknown reason continue to support me though emails. I'm amazed and more than humbled by those who have never met me but have lifted me higher and higher. 'Pay It Forward' comes to mind.


  • They're NEW ZEALAND greats! Please!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:09 AM  

  • Geez, what a gaff on my part! I KNEW that, yet wrote Aussie! My apologies for the great blunder!

    By Blogger wzjn, at 11:38 PM  

  • Reminds me of a college friend who transported from Boston to Syracuse a stack of records similar to what you mention -- along with Scary Monsters, Rockpile, early REM (perhaps the very first one?). A great musical education. But, more important Fever: what about the Rings? Please, please, please post a few from them (if you've not already and I've missed it). I'd love to hear a few of the "hits" from your DJ days. Music Junkie at Fusion 45.

    By Blogger Fusion 45, at 1:12 PM  

  • And, by the way, I'm in the same (leaky) boat re: your last paragraph...honored to be part of the community - MJ@F45

    By Blogger Fusion 45, at 1:14 PM  

  • Great Band. They had so many great songs it's tough to pick a favorite. But if I had to choose it would probably be "What's the matter with you", a perfectly quirky take on 60s psychedia. One more point: there were lots of other great (but less well-known) bands from NZ: The Clean, The Bats, The Chills to name a few. Fans of the Split Enz should take the time to check them out too.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:13 AM  

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