Coming up with a mix disc’s worth of driving songs is like shooting fish in a barrel, but it’s decidedly harder to figure out the perfect soundtrack for your next car crash…or any kind of crash, really (our selections aren’t limited to the automotive)…given that you rarely know in advance when these things are going to happen. As such, we suggest that you go ahead and keep this disc in your player at all times, so you’re ready whenever it happens. Just don’t get too inspired by these tunes…well, not unless you’ve got really good insurance, anyway.
"Crash," The Primitives (Lovely)
As you’ll quickly see, there are more than a few songs simply titled “Crash,” but if you were paying attention to college radio in the late ‘80s, this is almost always going to be the first one that comes to mind. Tracy Tracy was cute as a button, with a voice to match, but despite equally enjoyable follow-ups singles like “Way Behind Me,” “Sick of It,” and “Secrets,” the band’s third album – the Ian-Broudie-produced Galore – never saw US release. Next stop: oblivion…or, at the very least, the end of the Primitives.
"Motorcrash," Sugarcubes (Life’s Too Good)
I’ve never claimed to be a huge fan of Bjork’s unique vocal warblings, but from the Sugarcubes on up, she’s always managed to produce at least one song per album that’s made me sit up and take notice. This was the first such occasion.
"Crash," The Ocean Blue (Beneath the Rhythm and the Sound)
Hershey, Pennsylvania somehow managed to produce one of the most British-sounding bands of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s with the Ocean Blue, taking a mixture of guitars, synthesizers, and saxophone and turning it into pop bliss. By the time of their third and final album with Sire Records, though, the college radio audience was flying the flannel of the Seattle grunge scene, so far too few people paid attention to what was actually a really great disc.
"Car Crash," The Candyskins (Sunday Morning Fever)
Speaking of third albums that didn’t get nearly as much love as they should have, the Candyskins (yes, by this point, they’d decided to lose the space between “candy” and “skins”) didn’t even have an American record deal anymore by the time they released Sunday Morning Fever. If you can hunt down a copy of this disc, though, you’ll love the sweeping, melancholy strings that open this song. (You’ll also dig “Mrs. Hoover,” which was the album’s first single.)
"Crash," James (Millionaires)
Again with an album that wasn’t released Stateside. I guess James counted themselves lucky that they ever made it big on these shores to begin with, though I’m sure they could’ve done without a generation thinking of them as “that guy James that sang the song about “gettin’ laid.” Millionaires – which offers this track as its opening salvo – is arguably one of the band’s best albums, but, by then, US labels had given up on them. Idiots.
"Crash (Into Me)," Dave Matthews Band (Crash)
Given that I’m from Virginia, which used to be Mr. Matthews’ primary stomping grounds, I could very easily go the rest of my life without ever hearing another one of his songs, so often are they played on our local radio stations. Still, I admit that I do actually like most of this album.
"Daddy’s Gonna Pay for Your Crashed Car," U2 (Zooropa)
Maybe it’s because I never thought Bono was God and therefore wasn’t hanging on every song which emerged from the U2 camp, but I always liked this album, particularly this track, “Numb,” and the Johnny Cash guest vocal on “The Wanderer.” Just don’t ask me to defend Pop, though, because a guy’s gotta draw the line somewhere.
"The World is Full of Crashing Bores," Morrissey (You Are the Quarry)
I’ll save myself some time and just copy and paste what I wrote about this song in my Deep Cuts piece about Morrissey and The Smiths: “After this album, Morrissey found love and started to leave behind all his lonely sentiments, so thank God he got this one out of his system before then. Minus two points, however, for the liberal use of the word ‘pigshit’ in the lyrics. If you're collecting words that shouldn't come out of Morrissey's mouth, that's definitely one for your list.”
“Car Crash,” She’s Spanish, I’m American (She’s Spanish, I’m American EP)
I had no idea until I went to iTunes to check the title of this EP that it wasn’t actually credited to Josh Rouse and Paz Suay, who recorded this song. It’s strange that Rouse wouldn’t put his name on it, since it already sounds so much like his own material, anyway. It’s a surprisingly breezy pop tune for a song with such an ominous title, but it’s got a chorus to die for, so maybe that explains it.
"That’s When I Crash," Bleu (Redhead)
Bleu’s one of the best popsmiths in the business, and he proves it throughout Redhead. I just wish he’d take a break from his numerous side projects – L.E.O., LoudLion, the Major Labels – and put out another solo album!
“Crashing by Design,” Pete Townshend (White City)
I average at least one embarrassing admission per Mix Disc Monday, so here’s the first for this entry: I owned three of Pete Townshend’s solo albums before I ever owned a proper Who album...and, even worse, two of those Townshend albums were The Iron Man and Psychoderelict. But there’s nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to White City, which is one of the strongest albums of Pete’s solo career. Beyond the more recognizable numbers like “Face the Face” and “Give Blood,” there’s also this fine song.
"Lightning Crashes," Live (Throwing Copper)
Obviously, this had to be on here. I saw these guys when they were touring behind their debut album, Mental Jewelry, and when this album came out, I remember thinking, “I don’t like this nearly as much as the last one.” I still feel that way.
"Love’s Crashing Waves," Difford & Tilbrook (Difford & Tilbrook)
Difford and Tilbrook were kidding themselves if they really thought they could release an album under their own name and get away with it. I mean, really, it’s one thing when they go solo, but the reality is that, even when Jools Holland was still in the band, the equation was ever thus: Difford + Tilbrook = Squeeze.
"Always Crashing in the Same Car" David Bowie (Low)
Here’s Embarrassing Admission #2: I don’t actually own Low. I know this track from a live version that’s part of the Bowie at the BEEB box set. When listening to it again while compiling this disc, though, I found myself wondering, “Hey, why don’t I own Low?” Time to add it to my “must get” list.
"Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen from Mars," Bon Jovi (Crush)
I swear to you, you need to go check this song out on iTunes right now. I can still remember the first time I heard this track. My buddy Brian Grilli, who was playing in the band Rumblefish at the time, all but ordered me out to his car so that I could hear this new Bon Jovi song. “Dude,” he said, “trust me.” This is a man who knows his way around a pop hook, so, despite my skepticism, I trusted him…and, to my surprise, it was a really great “Ziggy Stardust”-quoting pop-rock track. I don’t know where Jon Bon pulled this from, but if he could go an album’s worth of stuff like this, I’d actually tune in to his band’s stuff on a regular basis.