From the first letter I got to this her Bill of Rights: The Go-Betweens Part Two
: "Cattle and Cane"
By their second album, the Go-Betweens
had found their way. On 1983's Before Hollywood
they shed the roughness of their earlier work, becoming polished and assured. Listen to ”Cattle and Cane”
, maybe their greatest work; their evocation of youth, unsentimentally nostalgic, is beautiful in its understatement. I yearn at the drop of a hat, and while “Cattle and Cane” triggers that, it also makes me feel sort of guilty for always dwelling on the past. Memory wastes, not just by fading away, but by wasting one’s time and potential. Get too wrapped up in memory, and you won’t be making any new ones worth remembering. My mind gets locked on the past a couple dozen times a day, frequently bringing on the expected feelings of hopelessness and regret. Compare it to ”Summer of ‘69”
, another fantastic song; Bryan Adams desperately wants to return to his youth, declaring that everything since has basically sucked. That’s a more natural, but far less healthy, way of looking at the past than what we hear in “Cattle and Cane”. The Go-Betweens glance backwards but continue moving, further, longer, and higher, whereas Adams wishes he’d always be back in ’69. So there’s a wisdom and a maturity to “Cattle and Cane” that you rarely find in songs about lost youth. Between that and the stealthily infectious music, “Cattle and Cane” is one of the finest pop songs I’ve ever encountered. The Go-Betweens
: "Part Company"Jerkwater Johnson
Hot off the success of Before Hollywood, the Go-b's added a bass player so McLennen could jam his nifty guitar parts live. One of the things that I like the most about this, my declared 'favorite' band, is the progression from album to album. Each is distinct from one another, and you can tell which one came before it and which came after it. To compare the the first 80's album to the last 80's album... they're completely and totally different, yet it's easily identifiable as coming from the same people. They are still, to this day, evolving their sound. No re-treads. 'Part Company'
comes from their third album, 1984's Spring Hill Fair
. It's got the melodic, softly angular, post-punk/indie pop sheen from its predecessor, but the songs begin to take on a more conventional structure. 'Cattle and Cane' doesn't even have a chorus; it just kind of chugs along, albeit awesomely (I would have written gorgeously or beautifully, but it seemed against the mez ecl standards). 'Part Company' is standard guitar hook/verse/chorus/repeat. And what a guitar hook. It's so simple, but it really makes the tune... and when coupled with the lyrics the song elevates into classic territory for me. But what the heck is that keyboardy thing in the background? It has been known to make people think their car is broken.