New Year, new crisp, clean sheet to write on. There has been the odd moment when I wonder when I'll run out of SongsWithoutWhich - after all, they do say that all the great tunes have already been written and what's going on now is merely re-arranging the order in which the notes are played.
But having been away for a swift break in Uncle Sam's backyard, I've returned with a head full of songs culled from the hours spent listening to the radio while tooling along President Eisenhower's fine interstate highway system. Let me tell you, sitting in a well-upholstered car while letting I-95 unroll beneath you is a great way to unwind. Kudos to the guy that invented cruise control.
To kick off the year, this is an irrepressible piece of swagger and rhythm that's guaranteed to get your heartrate boosted. The Spin Doctors have sort of come and gone, sadly, but they were a sort of bluesy, rootsy version of the Hothouse Flowers - the same abandoned, freestyle, raucous vocal, the same excellent musicianship and the same heart on the sleeve. You can't help but dance to this song: it's got a serious backbeat, a terrific stop-start rhythm that sucks you right in, and the lyric is all about laying your worldly goods to one side and just opening your heart. The fun part about the lyric is that the alternate lines are just plain old scat, just throwaway lines to emphasize the previous one: "Said one, two princes kneel before you/That what I said now/Princes, princes who adore you/Just go ahead now/One has diamonds in his pockets/That's some bread, now/This one said he wants to buy you rockets/Ain't in his head, now." They kick the song along, give it some weight and give it all its attitude. Happy New Year, y'all.