Saturday, October 5, 2019

Certain Songs #1649: The Primitives – “All The Way Down” | Medialoper

Album: Pure
Year: 1989

. . .

It’s a pretty cardinal rule that for bands where there a band with a great female lead singer and a dude who is mostly responsible for the music that nobody wants to hear the songs that the dude sings. (See “Kiley, Rilo.)

And so as I listened to the CD of Pure over and over again at my office in newly moved Video Zone, I was definitely cognizant of this rule, which made me feel a bit weird when I realized that my favorite song on the record was one of the ones that the dude sang.

So hear me out, as I think I have a good reason for it: “All The Way Down” sounds just like The Jesus and Mary Chain, OK? Now that might be a slag, but in 1989, the JAMC released the disappointing Automatic just about a month or so before Pure came out, so I was just glad I still loved the formula.

Over a psychedelic drumbeat supplied by Tig Williams, and a chiming guitar that came straight from heaven, a slathered in reverb Court — with a barely audible Tracey underneath — chants the lyrics barely even taking a breath.

Falling down again
I’m spinning round again
I’m going down again
I’m upside down again
I’m eight miles low
You just don’t know
It feels so strange
I can’t explain
The world goes round
I hit the ground
Falling down
All the way down

I’m not gonna lie: I’m a sucker for any song that references not just the Jesus and Mary Chain, but also The Byrds and The Who all in the same verse, especially when it’s followed by about a thousand guitar overdubs, all spiraling and arcing and twist around each other.

There’s not really a solo on “All The Way Down”, but there a guitar that wanders in that sounds like an electrical current, alternating back and forth just daring you to reach out and touch it, but the only person who comes close is bassist Paul Sampson, who dances with it for awhile until Court starts singing.

In any event, while “All The Way Down” isn’t quite as beautiful as “Ocean Blue” or epochal as “Crash,” I still love it almost as much either one of those two songs, because it’s such an exquisite combination of noise and melody.

And in fact, it’s such a good song, they included two versions of it on the CD, the one that I love and a shorter, punchier and altogether superfluous “Beat Version,” which keeps the melody of the song, but trades all of the gorgeous guitar for a faster tempo and an organ solo. It’s . . . fine, but not nearly as good as the longer version.

“All The Way Down”

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