"Brand New Love" by Sebadoh, 1992

Friday, January 17, 2014

[I actually thought I'd finish blogging about my top-100 songs some time in the fall. Whoops.]

I first heard this song on Tossing Seeds, the compilation of Superchunk early 7-inch and EP releases. They covered Sebadoh, as a lot of the great artists of indie rock did back in the mid 1990s. I remember my cousin saying, "Have you notice how many people cover Sebadoh?" I had not noticed. I was not a Sebadoh fan until I picked up Bakesale in 1994, and I still think of that LP as their best. (Sorry, Gaffney.)

I bought Smash Your Head on the Punk Rock years later. By then I'd heard "Brand New Love," owing to how much I'd wore down the digital grooves on my copy of Tossing Seeds, but the original Sebadoh version is an entirely different experience. It begins empty and far away, with one sad little guitar lick, and then the bass and drums that make it somehow sadder. Lou Barlow is in typical indie-emo form, his voice as emotionally low as it gets. The lyrics, too, are angry and stark, cynical and decidedly anti-love. When the snare roll and overdrive guitars come in for the chorus, with a decent pair of headphones or your speakers way up and the couch and house to yourself, the noise and melody and drone is a singular experience.