Song of the Week – Cruel Girl, Red Button


The Red Button is an LA based power pop duo of Seth Swirsky and Mike Ruekberg. So far, they’ve only released two albums – She’s About to Cross My Mind (2007) and As Far As Yesterday Goes (2011). Even though both have received wide acclaim in power pop circles, you still probably never heard of them.

I know about them because I’m a regular listener to Little Steve’s Underground Garage on SiriusXM. That channel plays a song off the first album called “Cruel Girl” that is today’s SotW.

In 2007, the Underground Garage chose it as one of their weekly “coolest songs in the world.”

“Cruel Girl” has an authentic 60s garage pop sound — retro chiming guitars, harmony vocals and an instantly catchy melody. It could be a missing song from the catalog of The Beatles, Beau Brummels or maybe Badfinger. It’s anyone’s guess. The video for the song captures the era beautifully – all things British, teeming with miniskirts and go-go boots.

According to their official website, Swirsky has been a successful songwriter for other artists (“Instant Pleasure” for Rufus Wainwright, “Love is a Beautiful Thing” for Al Green and the Grammy nominated “Tell it to My Heart” for Taylor Dayne) while Ruekberg composed the soundtrack for the cult classic Dummy.

On a side note, Swirsky is also a baseball fan, writer and memorabilia collector. He owns the infamous ball that slipped through Bill Buckner’s legs and caused almost 20 more years of pain for Red Sox fans (myself included) and the last know bottle of bubbly that the error left unopened that season.

Enjoy… until next week.

5 thoughts on “Song of the Week – Cruel Girl, Red Button

    • I heard this Cruel Girl song recently and got a little interested in the Seth Swirsky story, which is rather large. He’s a songwriter, a film maker, a baseball memorabilia collector, a political writer, an artist and painter, and he grew up in the house Rube Goldberg once lived in. By all accounts he’s living the dream. He’s sung the national anthem once at Wrigley Field, and owns the ball that went through Buckner’s legs. You know which one that is. Here’s his Wikipedia page.

      It’s my failing. I want to hate him on sight. But I can’t help but admire what he does, because it doesn’t come close to sucking. He’s living and making things happen he can be proud of. That gets him into the ballgames, which we all aspire to. Right?

    • Eh sorry, but I think “Cruel Girl” beats this by miles. Who cares what I think, but I’ve come to think Big Star is so underrated they’re overrated. I have the first two albums and they’re definitely inconsistent – some real good songs surrounded by suck.

  1. Warning, boring self-indulgent tale ahead:

    When I was playing hardcore in Follow Fashion Monkeys in the mid-1980s in the Lehigh Valley, there was also a thriving garage/merseybeat scene going on at the same time.

    Since FFM were all in our 20’s and lots of the hardcore kids were younger, we’d end up partying with the garagers a lot, because they were older and could get into bars, like us.

    The most popular bar for this stuff was The Funhouse in south side Bethlehem, which still exists today, showcasing original music. Local bands play, but they bring in out of towners from NYC, Philly, Boston, etc. just like always.

    The most popular local bands were The Original Sins (had minor national exposure), The Creatures Of The Golden Dawn and St. John’s Alliance, who were the most merseybeat and most like this song.

    This song (top-notch for this genre, says me) made me go back and find some old St. John’s Alliance on youtube. Unfortunately, they weren’t nearly this good. But “Cruel Girl” absolutely makes me long for getting drunk at The Funhouse in the 80s.

    I thank hardcore and garage for saving me from the shit that was 80s popular music.

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