December 2, 2008

CC200: Counting Down To Haywood's "Crosswords"

Haywood, 1995
We still have no idea what the complete opening line to this track is ("I meant to take a cue from Bluto?" Like, from "Popeye?"). Even so, there are a few things that make this song, by the then-Philly-based quartet's original line-up, remarkable. Perhaps least apparent among these is the fact that "Crosswords," the lead track from Haywood's Great Cats Give Chase cassette issued in late 1996 or early '97, was recorded to a four-track tape machine in the attic of an antiques store. For all we know they were recorded off one by one like this. That the song -- and the three other tracks captured during the same sessions -- powerfully succeeds, and in places even explodes despite the humble production, is a testament to the skills of the quartet. The more obvious charms of "Crosswords" are the hooks and the immensely satisfying crunch of the choruses. Also remarkable is the vivid picture of a relationship coming apart that band fronter Ted Pauly paints with his at-times seemingly confessional lyrics ("...they say I'm looking for my mother...").

Great Cats Give Chase was our sole companion during a few frigid months of pre-dawn drives to an existentially harrowing temporary job we held at the onset of 1997, and not surprisingly its lead track ranks high in our list of most-listened-to songs (it'd probably rank higher if we could include all the times we listened on those early mornings). The cassette's four songs were later issued on Haywood's full-length debut, the collection of early recordings dubbed Model For A Monument. We previously wrote about "Crosswords" here in May 2004 and here a year ago. The song is No. 27 on the Clicky Clicky 200, and you can read all of our prior Clicky Clicky 200 entries right here.

Haywood -- "Crosswords" -- Model For A Monument
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[buy Haywood records from Insound right here]

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