Superchunk Singles – The Singles’ Singles Album (now with less singles!)

I was creating a playlist of all the recent Superchunk singles and EPs, which adds up nicely to the length of an album, when I thought to myself “which non-album cuts are the best non-album cuts”?  So I set out to make a singles collection of the singles.

Step 1: What qualifies? Anything that is not on a legit album.  We find these songs as single b-sides, on EPs, on compilations and on existing singles collections.  For Superchunk and their 20 year career, this is a nice bucket of worms.

Step 2: The Dump. Quickly flipping through all of the various sources, greedily grab all of the candidate songs.  But be careful not to be too greedy or you just end up repeating this task on a slightly smaller set.

My dump consists of 28 rockin’ tracks.  Definitely too many for a “best of”.  I will lose all of my credibility if I present this as the work of an expert.  It is tempting to just cut this group in half, but given my dedication to this task and my insistence on value I decide that 11 songs is the max.  We call that a lazy dozen (hello Never Not Funny reference!

Step 3: First Listen. I sit and actively listen to all 28 songs.  I know, I know, this sounds like a lot of work, but I actually find it quite enjoyable.  Thanks, Superchunk, for all the quality songs!

As I listen I somewhat more judiciously sort the songs into two groups.  Group number 2 has already been cut.  Sorry songs, but don’t fret, I still love you all in your own special way.

Step 4: The Battle. My list is down to 16 songs.  Now I must pit song against song in a fight to the death.  Only the strongest will survive.

  • Say My Name loses to Girl U Want
  • Throwing Things (acoustic) and Detroit Has  a Skyline (acoustic) pair up to take down Driveway to Driveway (acoustic)
  • White Noise tricks Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) into thinking they have a partnership and then throws him off the boat
  • Girl U Want continues its domination of the CoversThunderDome and destroys 100,00 Fireflies
  • In a surprise finale Meatwad, Master Shake and Frylock come from nowhere and help Misfits & Mistakes drown Learned to Surf

Step 5: The Order. Now that we have a solid 11 songs for the album, we must choose the ideal order.  Songs placed in the correct order creates a listening utopia.  Songs not in the correct order creates a slightly less strong but still awesome listening almost-utopia.

Step 6: My Package. This is where I actually have to do something.  If I’m going to legitimize my work I need to create some original artwork.  Note that in this case (and all cases involving me and visual creativity) “original” means other people’s work put through the Paint.NET grinder.

Album Front:

Album Back:

(click to view full size)

Step 7: Notes.  A singles collection is not complete without insightful liner notes.  What sort of insight can I offer into these songs of which I have no domain over, you ask?  None.  But what I can do is pretend that the actual reason you are reading this is to find out about me, and I certainly know a few things about myself.

  • The Majestic: Classic Super-punk song.  Great hook, in and out quick leaving you wanting more.  Love the lyric “Your postcards were real, enthusiasm was fake”.
  • Detroit Has a Skyline (acoustic): I always loved the early acoustic takes.  The bravery to strip down a punk song and no longer allow Mac’s voice to get lost in the mix was one of the things that made Superchunk great, and unique.
  • Girl U WantFreedom of Choice is the best covers album ever.  The guitarist in my high school punk band was not much into Superchunk but went with me to see them at The Phoenix in Toronto.  Between every song he would yell out Girl U Want.  It was really annoying, but also very funny.  They wouldn’t play it.
  • Does Your Hometown Care?: I have never understood why the movie SubUrbia did not become more of a cult classic.  Funny, crazy, dark with a lot of up-and-coming stars (Parker Posey, Giovanni Ribisi, Steve Zahn) and a great soundtrack.  I always thought that this song stood out on the soundtrack as a really great song and not just a soundtrack throw-away like so many bands used to do at the time.
  • What Do I: The earliest of the early in which you can see right from the start how great Superchunk are.  Great hooks, great riffs, fun lyrics to sing along to.  It’s punk, and yet it’s not.  Who puts pop-hooks in a punk song?
  • Her Royal Fisticuffs: If the Beavis and Butthead show is actually brought back this is the next Superchunk song they need to ‘review’.  This will definitely meet their approval for rockitude and ruleitude.
  • On the Mouth: Classic Superchunk move – name an album after a song that is not on the album.  Back when I was in my phase of trying to figure out the lyrics to every Superchunk song (and back before there were dozens of lyric sites on the Internet) this was one of my white whales.  I still don’t know the words but continue to sing (yell) along with a certain amount of phonetic accuracy.
  • Throwing Things (acoustic): This is one of those rare songs where the “remake” surpasses the original.  I used to sing this to my daughters at bedtime when they were babies.  I don’t think the lyrics are any more or less troubling than Rock-a-bye Baby!
  • Misfits & Mistakes: I love the fact that Superchunk and Aqua Teen Hunger Force crossed over and the Meatwad version of this song is great, though my compilation contains the original.  I was filming my 4-month old daughter playing with a balloon and realized this was playing the background, so I put it on YouTube as an unofficial video for the song.  I have not received any further requests to direct videos.

  • A Small Definition: This one’s a slowy but a goody.  I’d quote a lyric but I love them all.
  • White Noise: The best non-album track, bar none.  The first time I listened to this song I was shocked to think it didn’t make Come Pick My Up, but it all worked out in the end.  This is my primary ring tone on my iPhone.  Love the lyric “I wish warm weather on your upturned face”.

Step 8: Put All The Random Pieces Together

All that is left to do is sit back, listen and enjoy.  Please note that I will not be taking orders for these albums as I have no rights to any of the songs or images, but I will send you a text file of the playlist from my iPhone if you leave your email address in the comments field.

Obviously this is the ultimate singles collection, but if you have thoughts on what the second best collection would be feel free to leave them here.

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About OneGoodMinute
Blogging about the fun and interesting things in life. Nerd stuff - movies, music, comedy, podcasts Social Media - Documenting my way through social media, blogging and online promotion. Learn from my experiences, mistakes and successes.

3 Responses to Superchunk Singles – The Singles’ Singles Album (now with less singles!)

  1. jpolite says:

    Cadmium?

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Superchunk Singles – The Singles’ Singles Album (now with less singles!) « One Good Minute -- Topsy.com

  3. Tomas Gorchentack says:

    A Small Definition = AWESOME SONG.

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