Maybe I was a little too hard on Pac-Man Fever. I know I found it irritating to listen to, but maybe someone out there enjoys it. Maybe that same person will be bored to tears by my latest pick, Singles – 45’s and Under, a compilation of Squeeze’s early singles. But I don’t see why they would. It’s a fun little primer on the band’s early output.
Singles 45’s and Under was released just as Squeeze was breaking up after five albums (though they were later reunited with a slightly altered line-up in 1985). Those albums didn’t make much of a dent on the US charts, but yet it seemed everyone in the states who had at least a casual knowledge of the band owned this collection.
To be honest, I am quite familiar with all the songs already. But whenever I listened to this collection, I would always skip over “Tempted”. I just never really liked that song. Remember that scene in Reality Bites when Ryder and Garofalo are singing along to that song while driving? That’s why I hate the movie.
So I didn’t just listen to the songs, I listened to the songs without skipping over “Tempted”.
Singles – 45’s and Under contains a good batch of songs, though it may be more of a mixed-bag depending on your taste. “Take Me I’m Yours” and “Goodbye Girl” both have those infectious electronic rhythms while other songs, like “Cool For Cats” and “Slap and Tickle” are bizarre with their copious helpings of disco beats, cockney accents and British colloquialisms. The strongest part of this collection is definitely the end of side one and the start of side two (i.e. “Another Nail in My Heart”, “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)”, “If I Didn’t Love You” and “Is That Love”). These are darn near perfect pop songs and I could listen to them over and over again.
As for “Tempted”: I’m still not in love with it. I suppose I can respect it, but when I close my eyes I think of a group of drunk frat boys wearing sunglasses, bopping their head and lip-syncing to this song while cuddling plush bananas for some reason. Yes, I am aware that imagery may not make much sense to you, but it makes sense to me somehow.
Nevertheless, I had fun listening to most of these songs again. Though I think the actual albums are more satisfying, this collection is an excellent starting point for those discovering Squeeze for the first time.