3932. “Never Understand” by The Jesus & Mary Chain

Official video:

That video gives such a sense that they just couldn’t be bothered to try and make a decent video. That’s what makes it brilliant.

Psychocandy is The Jesus & Mary Chain’s great album. They may have recorded some better songs and refined their sound later, but its Psychocandy‘s shadow that stretches out over the alternative rock scene, especially in England where it helped give rise to shoe-gaze and Brit-pop and half of everything else.

The formula was simple. The Reid brothers would write some irresistible pop songs heavily influenced by 60’s rock and then add a wall of distortion and feedback over it. You could enjoy The Jesus & Mary Chain both for their songwriting and for their aggressive sound. Win/win.

While “Never Understand” wasn’t a big hit (I mean, listen to it? How could it be in 1985?) it is a great song. Sung by Jim Reid (the brothers took turns singing), the song addresses one of rock’s great themes – not being understood. In another context, you could maybe here a snot nosed teenager shouting “you never understand me” at their mum and stomping out of the flat. Here, the theme is raised to a Rebel Without A Cause level of cool. We might not understand him, but he’s not bothered. He’s just going to split. He has cooler stuff to do.

And, really, watching their video, they were pretty fucking cool back in 1985.


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