Formed in Glasgow in 1987, The Vaselines released two singles and one album — Dum Dum — on the 53rd & 3rd label. Splitting up in 1989 (in the same week their album was released), they might have faded into obscurity but for the intervention of a certain band from Seattle. Read on for frontman Eugene Kelly’s write-up on his eight favourite songs, in his own words.
Jeffrey Lewis / The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song
I love songs that tell a story and the story here is so sad in a very innocent way. It is also so hilariously funny. It just makes me smile every time I hear it. Jeffrey is a genius.
Arab Strap / Blood
The incongruence between the lyrics and the music enables the listener to listen again and again and always find something new. There is something despairing here but the black humour is finding its way through. Again, the lyrics tell the story. I have never tired of this song, even though it came out quite a long time ago.
Jad Fair and Kramer / California
I actually had not listened to this song for a long time until I recently found my old record collection. This was the first thing I played. It is so sad. I really like sad songs.
The 1990s / 59
I also like upbeat songs and this is a favourite one in our family. Again, the narrative comes through clearly. The voyeurism is not creepy but complimentary. It is a perfect pop song.
The Moldy Peaches / Steak for Chicken
My kids sing along to this, which I thought was fine until one of them asked: ‘what does stick my dick in mean?’ Hmmm, so it will be a good song for sex education in a few years time.
Bridget Storm / Losing It
I met Julie McLarnon when we toured together with our bands (Bridget Storm and Suckle). I liked the music immediately and this is my particular favourite. I love the simplicity of it. We have gone on to work together on various projects and it is thanks to her and her partner Rob that The Vaselines got back together again!
The White Stripes / A Martyr For My Love For You
I love the sound of this song. I was a late convert to the White Stripes — better late than never! I love the sacrifice in this song, which makes the narrator all the more attractive.
Mountain Man / Animal Tracks
It is the purity of the voices that is so compelling with this. When I heard it for the first time, I just loved it. It made me feel really calm. I think this is, for me, the strongest song on the album.