As soon as I decided to blog about ’31 Numbered Songs’ I knew #13 would be Big Star’s ‘Thirteen.’ It’s one of my favorite songs, named after a number or not. The only problem is I’ve already featured it.
But that problem turned into a blessing when I discovered this cover version by Elliott Smith. Who better to capture the melancholy ache of this adolescent anthem?
Big Star’s debut album, #1 Record, didn’t make much of a splash when it was released in 1972 — in fact, it sold fewer than 10,000 copies — but it eventually found favor with a generation of indie rock acts. Band leader Alex Chilton, who died five years ago at only 59, has been cited as an influence by many of my favorite artists.
I bought this album, along with the band’s sophomore effort, Radio City, in a 2-for-1 package a year or so back, but I haven’t listed to it enough to give it a spot on my list of the best albums of 1972.
I downloaded Big Star’s celebrated first two albums awhile back but I haven’t had a chance to dive into them just yet.
This is a band that has influenced many of my favorite artists and yet I know almost none of their music. The few tracks I’ve heard from their debut album (#1 Record) are excellent.
This week I’ll feature songs by some of the artists I was steered toward by my genome project research.
If the genome theory is solid, all of these artists should appeal to me on an instinctive level. Whether they’ll have the added mystery ingredient that leads me to full embrace them remains to be seen.