Why Doesn’t Anyone Record Squeeze’s Songs?
Even casual music fans are likely familiar Squeeze’s 80’s-era hits like Tempted, Black Coffee in Bed and Pulling Mussels from the Shell (an innocent title for a salacious topic). Those of us inclined to geekdom go quite a bit further, however, practically worshiping the band’s world-class combination of tight wordplay, lovely melodies, harmonic sophistication and monster chops. Over the years, the songwriting duo of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook has often been compared to Lennon and McCartney. That the parallel is not preposterous is a tribute to how good they are. Whereas many artists have recorded from the Beatle songbook, almost no one covers Squeeze.
Maybe they’re just too quirky. Or too complex. Or too English in their very-specific references (although Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields were very local places, too). Or maybe they never got quite big enough, or weird enough, to achieve “legendary songrwriter” status. On balance, let’s just count this among life’s mysteries; and be happy that the often-fractious duo is back. Last year, they hit the road in support of their first album of original material in 17(!) years, From the Cradle to the Grave, on the aptly named “The At Odds Couple” tour.
Their trademarks are all in place – the hooks, the easy humor, the particular harmonies (with Difford’s melodic croak underneath) and Tilbrook’s criminally-underrated guitar playing. (Seriously, the dude can absolutely wail and sing simultaneously. Don’t try this at home…)
No matter how you see them, do it if you can. Given the band’s intermittent history, who knows when the opportunity will arise again?