Yesterday's finest new release was an album of covers by the talented Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs. This is a pure delight to listen to, a throwback to late Sixties pop. There's not a dud here, because these songs have endured forty years and are time tested. They cover The Beatles's "And Your Bird Can Sing," from Revolver, Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl," Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now Baby Blue," Fairport Convention's great "Where Does the Time Go," and more, including The Velvet Underground, The Left Banke (remember "She May Call You Up Tonight?"; you will when you hear it), The Who, The Zombies, The Mamas and the Papas, The Marmalade (now there's an almost forgotten one!), the Bee Gees (pre-disco, thank goodness) and, of course, The Beach Boys. If Sweet had been born earlier and grown up in Hawthorne, California, he likely would have been a Beach Boy. He fits right in.
This album is like a soundtrack to my youth. Spin the Mamas and the Papas singing "Monday, Monday" and I'm there in 1968 (well, 1972, as I inherited the Sixties a little late!), riding in the car with my sister and her girlfriend in the back, with go-go boots on, or laying on the floor poring over the newest Beatles album listening to mys sister who was crazy like every other girl over the mop-tops. But even for those for whom the songs hold no nostalgia, no memories, these songs can be enjoyed for the first time. The arrangements are fresh (but not strained or weird). Give it to someone under twenty so they can listen to great music! But if they don't connect, remind them that Sid and Susie (Matthew and Susanna) played as the band Ming Tea in the cult favorite movie, Austin Powers. That may bring a sigh of recognition.
I've listened to a lot of brash alt-rock of late. This is not that. This is harmony drenched, melodious, guitar-driven power pop -- real songs, in other words! Get it and enjoy it! Roll the windows down and drive all night with the music turned up high.