Wednesday, July 13, 2011

40 Songs, 40 Days (2011 Edition), Day Twenty Three: When You Come by Crowded House

This is a live performance from a concert given in Koln, Germany in 1993, when Crowded House was about to enter the end run of its first bout of existence. And Crowded House, of course, is perhaps the single most popular phase of the colorful career of the Finn Brothers, Tim and Neil.

And to be fair, even though I didn't twig onto what made Crowded House so good until they were at the end of their lifespan--well, kinda, as we'll see later--I always had a soft spot for the Finn Brothers. I really grooved on their original band Split Enz's work, and not just 'I Got You,' the song that marks them as one-hit wonders in the eyes of the uneducated. I also really, really liked Tim's solo work. But for a long time, I looked upon Crowded House as a sort of soft-boiled version of the Finn's work with Enz, a sort of rejiggering of their power pop sensibilities to appeal to a baby boomer, MOR audience.

It wasn't until much later, when I started coming across their lesser known output, that I appreciated them not as a sell-out, but as an evolution. And it wasn't until I decided to listen to this concert--offered by the  Popdose Music Website as part of their Bootleg City series--that I realized the true strength of this iteration of the Finn Brothers' pop genius lies in those song's live performance. In Crowded House, The Finns translate the energy of their Split Enz work into pure passion--romantic, sexual, optimistic--which results in songs that sound perfect being played to an audience. Just listen to how this song, with all its imagery about voyages and the sea and the great outdoors, and imagine how it must sound in some outdoor venue, where it can coax your own yearnings for a voyage out of you. It prolly explains to me why I found so much of their studio work so lackluster--these are songs not meant for studio composition.

Crowded House has splintered, reconfigured and broken apart numerous times (which is why I choose to look at it in the context of the Finns' career as a whole)...and they're back together. A new album, Intriguer, dropped last year, and I'm sure the band will splinter and reform at least twice more before it's ultimately done.

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