Pandemic Radio: The Feelies – Only Life 1988 

I kind of remember the 80s. I remember parts of the 80s. I remember there were these old white guys called critics and they often wrote or talked about these places in New Jersey with funny names like Hoboken. And how there were these bands in Hoboken, bands like THE FEELIES, and they were making records that were introspective or clever or well-crafted and intelligent pop. It all kind of made me want to go spend more time in New Jersey. I just bought the records instead. New Jersey seemed too much of a commitment. The PATH trains weren’t as reliable back then. I was torn though. It was a weird time. I was growing up and it seemed that maybe I should be seeking out music that was more mature. Something to…

Who the fuck knows where I was going with this? I guess I’m trying to say that there was this scene out there in New Jersey that may or may not be there anymore but it’s not getting the attention it did then. I did see a promo for a street party coming up in Hoboken though and it’s going to feature Marshall Crenshaw, The Smithereens, Freedy Johnston and The Feelies. Some kind of a revival it seems like. It brought back some memories. Memories like this one. I kind of remember liking this album, or a few singles anyway.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in Hoboken lately and I don’t hear anything like this coming out of the bars and restaurants. It’s all shitty dance music with synthesized bass and drums and auto-tuned vocals. It’s club music. There’s nothing particularly clever or well-crafted. Times change, I guess. Times do change.

How would you describe The Feelies anyway? It’s kind of like if Lou Reed and REM had a few babies and they were raised in the suburbs in New Jersey. It sounds very suburban. Does that make sense? I don’t know. I really don’t know. It’s kind of a lazy vibe. A few songs sound bored and irritated but not committed to being bored and irritated. Even the band photos on the album cover show men who look bored and irritated. Maybe they are. I don’t know. Give them a listen. It doesn’t cost shit.

Maybe it sounds that way because that’s how feel this morning. Bored and mildly irritated. Crabby. Yah, crabby. I’ve got a lot to do and not enough sleep to fuel the day with. Too much to do and too little desire to do it. That’s not really like me, but whatever. We all have days.

Bored and irritated. More on that later. Some other time. It’s curious though. Who will be outside in Hoboken this weekend listening to The Feelies? I suppose there are still people there that remember who they are, but I don’t know.

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