Song of the Day #29: ‘Crazy Mixed-Up Kid’ – The Smithereens

It’s funny to have a bunch of memories tied up in the only CD I own by a band I know just about nothing about, but that’s the case with The Smithereens’ Especially For You.

Flash back to my freshman year at the University of Florida, where I’m sharing a dorm room with a real asshole of a frat-guy cliche. We failed to click right from the start and fortunately he got an apartment a couple weeks into the semester and I wound up having the room to myself.

But once I was playing Elvis Costello and he told me Costello’s voice sounded a lot like the guy from The Smithereens, a favorite band of his. He played me a song and damned if he wasn’t right. Our one bonding moment.

A week or so later, I was walking the campus at night and came across a swarm of people heading off in one direction. Curious, I followed, and happened upon a stage in the middle of a field where who should be playing a free concert but… The Smithereens. It was a great show, all the better for being so unexpected, and I went to buy this album the next day.

Final memory comes a little while after that when I made a mix tape for my sister and included a song from Especially For You, a duet with Suzanne Vega called ‘In a Lonely Place.’ Amy loved the tape but was drawn to that song in particular, which I never would have guessed. (I was going to pick that song for today’s blog entry but decided to go with ‘Crazy Mixed-Up Kid’ instead… it’s two minutes of jangly perfection).

I suppose I should have become a bigger fan of the band, but I never really sought out anything else they did. Especially For You is a triumph start to finish, though, packed with smart power pop and a guy who sounds a lot like Elvis.

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #29: ‘Crazy Mixed-Up Kid’ – The Smithereens

  1. Dana says:

    I’ve never really been exposed much to them, but will have to check out the album.

  2. Kerrie says:

    One of my good “alternative” (read Quasi-Goth) friends from high school gave me their album “11” as a graduation present. I listened to that tape (remember cassettes?) so much that it finally wore out. I remember a couple of my favorites from that album were “A Girl LIke You” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0s4_PKJKbU), “William Wilson,” and “Maria Elena.”
    I never realized how much he sounds like Elvis – with whom I was not terribly familiar at the time. Interesting. 🙂 I never got any other Smithereens albums but I’m sure they’re nice to listen to.

  3. Amy says:

    Damn, I miss my mix tapes! I loved that song. I’m not sure if it would constitute a “one-wow” wonder for me, as I never had the entire album to compare it to. I am enjoying this jangly number as I write my comment, though I’m not hearing Elvis so much. Still, I think I am going to go spend some of my iTunes birthday gift on “In a Lonely Place,” the song I’m pretty convinced I was incorrectly trying to think of the other day. (Perhaps you sensed that :-))

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