I’m feeling patriotic today, so here are four favourites from New Zealand, starting on Takapuna Beach, Auckland…
The Front Lawn: Andy (1989)
The short-lived Front Lawn was founded in 1985, and this is probably their best-known song. Andy was written by Don McGlashan about his brother (not called Andy), who had died when McGlashan was a teen. It features a few locations familiar to Aucklanders, including the beach above, not so far from where I live. I saw McGlashan play this poignant song to a silent Civic Theatre earlier this year when supporting Elvis Costello. Magic. My favourite New Zealand song.
Neil Finn: Faster Than Light (1998)
This is from Neil Finn’s first solo album, released in 1998 when I was living in Dublin. One night in the pub, an Irish friend was raving about this song, but struggling to get the lyrics quite right. The correct and guiness-free lines are actually:
“Praise will come to those whose kindness leaves you without debt
And bends the shape of things to come that haven’t happened yet.”
Brilliant. This live performance comes with bonus relaxation exercises.
Tim Finn: Couldn’t Be Done (2006)
I love this infectious song, and it should have been huge. One listen will get this stuck in your brain for hours. In 2011, Tim was due to support Bob Dylan here in Auckland and posted to Facebook that he still was figuring out a setlist. I sent this through as a request, and he played it! Coincidence?
Flight Of The Conchords: Cheer Up Murray (2007)
The Conchords rode the guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk wave as far as anyone ever has, but life wasn’t always so easy. Manager Murray Hewitt dealt with rejection on a daily basis, and his lack of success with the band didn’t help either. This song reminds us that when the going gets tough, there’s always ice cream.