Song Of the Day, October 22-23, 2005
With each passing year I become more convinced that the debut LP by Chicago's Green is worthy of those Mojo/VH1/Spin/ lists of the top 20 or 50 or 100 rock albums of all time:
1) It looks great. Using the tired old punk rock formula of "insouciant ragtag kids standing against brick wall with band name scrawled across top," the cover manages to look exactly like the record sounds. The dimestore mod poses on the back only add to the fun.
2) The record shows a strong grasp of diverse musical sources, from the British Invasion to T. Rex to Motown to Prince to the Jam to every one-shot that a seven-year-old might have heard heard on an AM Radio. And despite their lifelong dedication to their homework, Green sound like nothing else but Green.
3) The songs, all by Jeff Lescher, are great. I wouldn't even be making this argument if they weren't. They seem to have been churned out effortlessly, with an impressive variance in mood and tone. What's interesting is how coverable they are. Nearly every song on it has a classic feel that suggests that like the first Modern Lovers LP, every decent band in the world should be able to play at least haphazard versions of a couple of the tunes.
4) The aforementioned Jeff Lescher, while nowhere near as smooth as Sam Cooke or powerful as Otis Redding, has an abundance of that elusive and precious quality that we call "soul." White teenage soul? Maybe. As if that makes it any less valuable.
5) While some critics have suggested that the extremely primitive production inadequately showcases Lescher's marvelous songs, I'd argue that the no-frills recording actually throws the variety and craft of the songs into sharper relief, while the lack of trendy drum sounds that would tie this record to a certain era ensures that it will always sound fresh and timeless.
Last I checked, the LP was still available at Widely Distributed Records for $10. There is a CD-R version of the record available through No Cigar, but it isn't cheap. Although I admit I haven't done a very good job of keeping up with the band since the early 90s, I'd recommend searching out the White Soul/Bittersweet CD in particular. The band's website has plenty of additional information.