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Wednesday, April 18, 2012


James - "Laid" (1993)

Produced by Brian Eno in between working with U2 and Depeche Mode

So this Alternative Rock group from the past; that I remember with some fondness, actually has over a dozen live albums and some are actually from this decade. They also performed at Coachella this year. The band started in the early 80s playing folk influnced acoustic rock, but by the late 80s they were playing more danceable pop and rock tracks. The early 90s found them beginning to crack into the US indie scene and even supporting Neil Young on a summer tour before returning to England to record another album, what would become their fifth: Laid. They released the first single "Sometimes" and then unexpectedly "Laid" became a enormous college radio hit. The lyrics about a couple who has sex as loudly as they fight seemed to hit a chord with the Alternative Rock scene and James was suddenly selling out shows around the world. A little more than five years later, the song found a renewed audience when it was used in the trailer for American Pie. A cover of the song was used in the third and fourth films in the franchise. A different cover was used in the seventh film in the franchise and just this year, the original version was used in the followup film American Reunion.

As for the song itself, let's break it down. There is one basic chord and strum pattern to learn on guitar and you've got this song down, it's pretty simple. There is another guitar that is much quieter adding a kind of mystical/Indian sitar feel to the song that is harder to pin down. The keyboardist gets a work out on this song as well. Not that he's playing anything technically too hard, just that almost from the start we are getting layers of hard to describe sounds bolstering the guitars. The incredibly simple drum roll that gets a lot of attention does add to the antagonistic feel of the song, otherwise the drums are mostly unremarkable. Undoubtedly the song is catchy, but it is the sexy but quirky lyrics that have made this song memorable and remarkable.

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