Day 57. Your favorite song from your favorite genre.

“Did You Ever Look So Nice” – The Samples

The Samples - No RoomSeriously? Another broad “favorite” topic? Like the song that I’m likely to pick for this topic wasn’t covered in the “decades” posts here, here, here, here, here, or here? Don’t these people know I’m trying not to duplicate?

So, you want to play that way, huh? Well, fine.

Today my favorite genre is “songs I first heard while writing music reviews for the student newspaper in college that were released on independent labels where the CD was eventually stolen.” Sure, it’s doesn’t quite have the flow or simplicity of “Rock” or “Pop” but then, people do crazy things where they’re desperate.

Ranting aside (for now) this really is one of my favorite songs. It’s probably pretty likely that you haven’t heard of The Samples before. That’s okay, I can forgive you. I probably wouldn’t have either if it wasn’t for the music review gig. Per Amazon, “The music has been described as ‘reggae influenced folk and rock/pop'” which is how I would have put it myself, but maybe not as succinctly. Also per Amazon, “The band’s name came from the members’ early sustenance of food samples from the local grocery store” which I did not know, but would have been a handy trivia tidbit for the review at the time. (They were really taking the “starving artist” thing pretty seriously, I guess.)

Not familiar with a song I’ve mentioned?
Click the > button above to hear samples.

The CD came to us via “Al Bum’s.” It was a local, independent record store and we had an agreement with them where we traded albums for ad space. The manager there (who we knew only as “Geo” even though his real name was Frank) was a chain-smoking guy with bad teeth. But he knew his music. So he would point out interesting things that were being released, and we’d pick them up. I liked this song the very first time I listened to that CD.

Even after the review (which would have been sometime in 1992), this CD got a lot of play in the Newspeak office. Music was about the only thing that would get you through the tedious Saturday editing sessions. (Have you ever tried editing something written by an engineer? Horrible. Multiply that by 30 and you have my Saturday afternoons for 4 years.)

And then one day the CD was gone. Vanished. No sign of it. (You get the idea.) We were all pretty bummed.

In September 1993 I was a few months into my first job and I started rooming with a guy who I’d known while at school (and was also on the paper staff). One day I went looking for a CD to listen to and noticed No Room sitting on the shelf. A-ha! He sheepishly owned up to it. So being the honest type, what did I do? I listened to it again and enjoyed it immensely. (Yeah, I’m honest, but it wasn’t like I was going to go back to school and return it to a bunch of people who no longer cared.) I got my own (legally acquired) copy sometime later.

But back to the song. True to Amazon’s description, it is most definitely reggae-influenced; the prominent bass line drives it, no question. If you’re a regular reader (and if you aren’t, why not?) you know that a good bass line can can be enough to grab my attention, and I think that’s what hooked me in the first place, here. But it’s not just the bass line that’s good. It’s a well-constructed song overall.

Besides “Did You Ever Look So Nice,” which is my favorite, there are a number other good songs on the album (“Summertime,” Nothing Lasts For Long” and “Won’t Be Back Again” to name a few), and I’d certainly suggest checking it out. But “Did You Ever Look So Nice” is the highlight of the album for me. Twenty years later it still makes me smile when I hear it.

I’m really hoping this is the last broad “favorite” post. If not, I might just have to invent… uh… “identify” some more genres.  Who needs overly simple genres like “Pop and “R&B” anyway?