Thursday, 22 February 2018

My Top Ten Square Songs

Ten songs for squares. Special mention to L7, obviously.

10. Love & Money - Jocelyn Square

Better than most of the singles that made the Top 40 in 1989... so obviously it made #51.

I still live on Jocelyn Square, nothing much has really changed
I still think about you, but only really when it rains
Sometimes you don't know something's open till it shuts
I loved you so much, I hated your guts

9. Iggy Pop - Squarehead

I think I should start reserving one place on every Top 10 for Iggy, even for his late 80s output which the cool kids will tell you is not all that good. If the song doesn't do it for you, take a look at this...

What do you want: blood?

8. Blondie - Contact In Red Square

Anyone seen the movie Atomic Blonde? It's basically "What if Debbie Harry was James Bond?" They really should have found room for this in the soundtrack...

Although I'm young I got a job to do
Hid the microfilm in the lining of my shoe
Call it a business trip
Got to hide inside my trench coat and be clever
I got my papers and a cyanide pill
My Polaroid's a taser in disguise
There's a base in the hills
And the wheat fields looks like Kansas in November

7. The Beta Band - Squares 

Owes quite a lot to Daydream, a 1969 Belgian hit by The Wallace Collection (which in turn lifted its melody from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake) that also inspired I Monster's Daydream In Blue.

6. Emily Kinney - Times Square

Just lovely. Why isn't she a bigger star?

5. The Boo Radleys - The Old Newsstand at Hamilton Square

Great John Barry-esque tune from the final Boo Radleys album.

Sad songs are easier to play, I'm afraid...

4. The Wonder Stuff - Circlesquare

I've been a long-term disappointment to myself...

'Nuff said.

3. Harry Connick Jr. - A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square

Yeah, I know, Frank's version is far superior, but I have a special fondness for Harry's take. It's just so... lounge.

2. Elvis Presley - (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care

Listen to the bassline in this. Guess who played it. Only bloody Elvis!

Of course, it took me many years of therapy to get over the Shreddies version. I can smile about it now, but at the time it was terrible. Because of that, I still believe there's a line in the original about not liking toast and jam. (There isn't.)

Much better is The Primitives' cover from The Last Temptation of Elvis.

1. Huey Lewis & The News - Hip To Be Square

You see... I dunno... I dunno how you could possibly listen to this and not think it's one of the greatest pop songs ever recorded. I mean, I'm sure you'll tell me otherwise and I'm a square for loving it, but I don't mind. It's hip to be square!

Which song makes you happy to be square?


  1. Damn good call Charity Chic! I can offer 'Concorde Square' by Crispy Ambulance, 'Good Mr Square' by The Pretty Things, 'I'm Square Dab From The Country (And The Country's Still In Me)' by Wayne Raney and 'I Live in Trafalgar Square' by Richard Thompson. I also have a great compilation album by Leeds powerpop band The Squares.
    A fine Top 10 Rol. My pick from your selection would have to be The Wonder Stuff. The Paranoia Remix of 'Circle Square' was a particular favourite of mine back in 1990.

    1. Thanks, Swede. One can never have enough Crispy Ambulance.

  2. "I think their undisputed masterpiece is 'Hip to be Square', a song so catchy, most people probably don't listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it's not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it's also a personal statement about the band itself."

    1. Are you saying I'm Patrick Bateman?

    2. Feed me a stray cat, Rol. Actually, no, don't...

  3. Steve Earle has an album called "Washington Square Serenade". There's no songs on it which have "square" in the title but it does include Steve's stunning version of "Way Down in the Hole" which was used on "The Wire".

    And there's a lorra, lorra bluegrass and cajun songs for square dancing.

    And I woulda had "Jocelyn Square" as my Numero Uno square song.

  4. Sticking with L7, I'd have to go for C Moon by Macca. It's a peach.

    1. Is C Moon slang for square too? I never knew that.

  5. No new songs to add but what a great selection of clips. So many other versions of the Elvis song but think Shakin' Stevens must have based his whole act on that scene alone. Scary.

  6. May I suggest Market Square Heroes (Marillion) as Number 11?
    It may not appeal to everyone, but the song is a corker (and Fish sounds quite angry at times)

    Living In A Box?

    I think of Wonderstuff's Circlesquare as the point they started to go off the boil a bit.
    Some good stuff followed (Size Of A Cow being a prime example), but they never seemed quite as "exciting" again

    1. The Swede would disagree.

      I started putting together a Top Ten Circle Songs but had to stop when I couldn't narrow the shortlist down from 50. Marillion were on that one though...

  7. Square Pegs by the Waitresses

    I’m a pretty big fan of Primitives, and I never heard that Elvis cover before. So thanks for that.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...