Saturday, March 10, 2018

Certain Songs #1151: The Miss Alans – “Glamorous” | Medialoper

Cassette: Bus
Year: 1987

At some point in 1985, Scott Oliver left Fresno to go to New York City.

At that time, he’d been playing guitar and singing backup vocals for a few months with The Wayne Foundation, a band formed by KFSR DJs Jay Fung, Ron Woods and Mike Huffman, and specializing in mostly covers and power pop, and he gave it up to go live with his model girlfriend. Oh, and work at the Tower Records in Manhattan.

It says a lot about who I was as a 22-year-old that I thought that was pretty much the pinnacle of human achievement. Or at least the coolest thing possible for someone I actually knew.

But not so much Scott, and he was back in Fresno after a couple of months. Which, of course, I teased him about more than once: that all of that awesomeness somehow wasn’t enough for him. But, of course, I was wrong: it wasn’t so much that it wasn’t enough, but rather that it was too much. Way too much.

Lost in this world
A foreign world

That’s the key line of “Glamorous,” especially during the breakdown, where Scott dreamily sings it abetted only by Jay Fung’s massive, burbling bassline and Ronny Woods’s kick drum, the only part of the entire song that isn’t utterly soaring, as “Glamorous” is a big, beautiful anthem that sounds like its celebrating what it’s actually decrying.

And the Miss Alans are firing on all cylinders throughout.

Manny Diez’s guitar alternating between distorted yawns (apparently they didn’t have a slide, so he used the mic stand to get the roar he was looking for) and stratospheric chemtrails, Scotts furious strumming of his acoustic, Jay’s bass providing the anchor and Ron staying hard on his toms (though he’s dissatisfied with the take they used), “Glamorous” was the best of what I called their “U2 songs,” and a highlight of every show they ever played it at, cos it was always so much fun to sing along with the chorus:

Iiiiiive seeeen yourrrrr faaaaaaeeeeccee beforrrre
In the bars, in the bars that rinse me from glamorous
Iiiiive seeeen yourrrrr faaaaaaeeeeccee beforrrre
In the depths, in the depths
The depths that rescue me from glamorous

And then after the second chorus there is perhaps my favorite part of any Miss Alans song to dance to, a double-time straight up powerchord-filled section that simultaneously grounded “Glamorous” for a few bars, and allowed it to soar even higher. But more importantly, so fun for me to jump up and down in circles to for a few seconds. My apologies to anyone I ever stepped on, bumped into or annoyed. So pretty much everybody.

They repeat that section at the very end — with Jay still leading the way on bass — after Scott sings “glamorous” over and over and over just to make sure we’re all fooled into thinking that he thinks its a good thing to be.


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