The Paisley Underground was a mid-80s genre of rock music that paid homage to the psychedelic California garage/folk rock bands of the 60s (especially The Byrds) through their usage of pop melodies, vocal harmonies and jangly guitars. The term was coined by Michael Quercio of The Three O’Clock, one the movement’s purveyors. Other bands in the The Paisley Underground were The Dream Syndicate, The Bangles and The Long Ryders.
Another group loosely associated with the genre was Jellyfish, a group formed in Pleasanton, California – an east bay suburb of San Francisco.
Jellyfish was a short lived band that put out two critically acclaimed, but sadly forgotten, albums in the early 90s – Bellybutton (1990) and Spilt Milk (1993). If you are a fan of Squeeze, Crowded House or XTC, you are (or will be) a fan of Jellyfish too.
Today’s SotW is “I Wanna Stay Home” from Bellybutton.
The song is a melancholy ballad that starts with an acoustic guitar intro before the full band joins. The plaintive verses are sung solo but with “ba, ba-ba-ba” background vocals. The lyrics long for the simple joy of living the life of a homebody.
When you need someone
And there’s no one there
There is always the nine o’clock train
To take you out somewhere
I take the train in town
Like I did for years
There is only seven more blocks
I could walk from here
Some tasteful trumpet playing is added to the chorus by Chuck Findley. Beatle-esque harmonies come in on the bridge.
When I realize the weight
That’s firmly on my shoulders
On my shoulders
I just try and find the place
I can take a walk on my blind side
On my blind side
Then a short, thick stringed guitar solo is played before the song returns to the final verse and chorus.
When these memories fade
In my ripe old age
Please remember my dear
I wanna stay home
I wanna stay home right here
I wanna stay home today
I wanna stay
This is a perfectly written and performed pop song. They don’t come any better.
If you listen to more of Jellyfish’s music (available on Spotify and YouTube) you’ll hear lots of other influences – Queen, The Beach Boys, and power pop titans such as Badfinger, Big Star and the Raspberries. They also imitate The Beatles, especially Paul McCartney. I have a live bootleg where they play his solo hit “Jet.”
Most people have never heard of Jellyfish, but once you discover them you’ll never forget them.
Enjoy… until next week.