I didn’t like this song when I first heard it. It was my first Squeeze tune, I think, and it was too jittery for my taste. But of course I liked a lot of the band’s songs, which are always clever and often surprisingly moving.
I happened upon a Squeeze album today called Spot the Difference, which looked like a greatest hits album, but turns out to be the late aughts version of Squeeze rerecording their greatest hits. Kind of like Michael Haneke remaking Funny Games.
But I liked this version of Cool for Cats. Was it me, had 30 years changed me? Or was the music different. Here we find out.
Here’s the original version from the second Squeeze album, called Cool for Cats of all things. (Did you know the band’s first album was produced by John Cale? And that they took their name from that Velvet Underground album? I didn’t.)
The 2010 version, rerecorded, sounds like this:
I don’t know. Pretty close and most of the advantage goes to the original, I think. Which, it turns out, is a pretty weird and excellent song. Weird but not a novelty, exactly, and yet there isn’t really anything else like it. Is there?
I latched onto that first album shortly after it came out. In addition to everything you said, rumor has it that Squeeze came to the studio with an album full of material and Cale said, “Screw that, we’re not doing any of it” and made them write the first album on the fly.
Probably not coincidentally, it has a harder edge at times than anything else Squeeze ever did, therefore it’s always been my favorite Squeeze album. Played the crap out of it freshman year of college.
I got it back on CD a couple years ago (I don’t think I ever owned the first album, I had TAPED it off a friend – remember those days?). Unfortunately, I don’t find it nearly as exciting as I did back then.
Funny how some things hold up after many years and other don’t.