I think way too often about the perfect pop song. The perfect pop song is the preservation of the heart in the amber of four chords and a stuttering beat between them. Three chords hasn’t cut it since doo wop was popular, The Shangri La’s were the coolest chicks in town, and Wild Thing was the only bump and grind groove that mattered. You need that minor kick to get the engine fluttering, and I’ll stand in my combat boots on Peter Perrett’s table and defend Another Girl, Another Planet to any drawling dumbass that can’t hear genius when it unfolds before them.
Actually I think it is a straight tie. I have listened to one, then the other on repeat whilst trying to distract myself from the fights, gunshots, the dogs barking, the yelping and sirens, and the liberal feminist scumbags that sell their less privileged sisters down the river while they sit pretending the fucking boat isn’t sinking with us all on it. If you have never sold your body and soul for a bag of smack, or a place to sleep, or a fucking meal and almost got killed in the process and yet want to still push sex work as a positive thing you don’t have a fucking clue on the matter. I have one more thing to say, Nordic Model is the only way to go that is humane and not patriarchal and woman-hating…Sorry, yes, where was I….perfect pop songs.
As gay as I am, I have a soft spot for Peter Perrett of the Only Ones. He has that Johnny Thunder’s whine, that skinny legged junkie boy swagger, that cute snotty sneer, and the kind of just off-beat stutter that can only be purchased by some dedicated drug over extended periods of time. The genius of this just off the beat hiccup, the sheer impossibility of doing this on purpose is where half the perfection of Another Girl lays. You could almost believe this other girl via another planet and heading back in time, took the direct flight to New York from somewhere near London, became sweet Jane…and jumped into a Stutz Bearcat with Jack while the classical music plays march of the wooden soldiers on the radio: Lou has the same just off the beat jazzy hiccup, though his comes slightly more off the rails than Peter’s. I guess that what happens in New York, it speeds up just about anyone’s demise and sends ’em just off the beat and left of center in no time at all.
Peter’s song is only about girls as much as it needs to be for the BBC censors, space travel is in his blood, he don’t need rehabilitating, he looks ill but he don’t care about it in glorious sunny drive down the highway jangling guitars, the pulse of the beat, of life, of love, of hedonism and nilhilistic heart-rush whoomps from somewhere deep in the sub woofers. These boys are playing to win and I fail to see how they didn’t make it very big indeed, well I can see…they needed to be in CBGB’s suffering in the bathrooms, playing to the Bowery nightlife and wondering if they could get away without paying their bar tab whilst admiring Blondie and the Dead Boys. They would have been glorious out there, and instead of a sweet footnote, they would have been bigger than the Ramones. In fact, think about it Needles and Pins with Joey and Peter and the boys in punk sissy supergroup glory. I don’t know if I wanna live in this dull grey world no more where there is no Ramones and The Only Ones are not hugely successful.
Sweet Jane hits the spot with the jangle shimmery start, it sounds like the sunlight bouncing off the surf, it sounds like a memory sliding into place of a time where cars were boats and radio johns played music for protest kids. Lou was fond of pointing out to audiences that this song was NOT three chords, in fact was four, there is a B minor in there. He is right of course, it is elevated from that three chord jive, with it’s blushing women, it’s heavenly wine and roses break and Lou’s own sneer against the way things are and should be and he cannot abide with. Lou knows villains don’t always blink their eyes, but sometimes wanna be your boyfriend in a Ramones cute little punk ditty kinda way, but end up stabbing you in the guts in the Chelsea Hotel.
Four chord perfection from both sides of the Atlantic. I call it a tie. May the best group never faint or blink their eyes, and never ever need rehabilitating on this planet or another!