Del Amitri – Tell Her This (1995)
I like to think of myself as being a fairly pragmatic music fan, at least insofar as I am generally able to resist the temptation to label the commercial failure of nearly every artist who’s ever mattered to me as some kind of injustice, or proof that the record-buying population is made up of lazy, tin-eared jerks. Objectively speaking, when music falls down in the marketplace and doesn’t make a sound, there tend to be reasons. Good ones, even, much as it might pain us to admit it. Not everything is meant to find a wide audience.
I still wouldn’t listen to Top 40 radio even if you paid me, though, and it’s still kind of baffling that Del Amitri never really caught on here. Or anywhere, really. Sure, they notched some hit records in the UK, and some of their singles snuck into the American Top 40, but still, as the band limped toward the apparent end of its existence, its final album the mostly forgotten byproduct of mergers upon corporate mergers, it was hard not to think people didn’t know what the fuck they were doing when they let this music slip through the cracks.
It probably bears saying, right up front, that I wasn’t (and amn’t) a huge fan of Twisted, the album this song comes from — matter of fact, I’ve never really loved “Tell Her This” (download). I fell in love with the band with the release of Waking Hours and its hit-in-waiting, “Kiss This Thing Goodbye,” and though its followup, 1992’s Change Everything, was more or less spectacular, I’m of the opinion that Twisted and 1997’s Some Other Sucker’s Parade are deeply flawed albums. (2002’s Can You Do Me Good is wonderful, however:and all of this probably belongs in an eventual Complete Idiot’s Guide to Del Amitri.)
Anyway, 1995 was the band’s big year here in the States, what with the Top Ten success of “Roll to Me,” a catchy little scrap of a song that was great the first fifteen million times you heard it, and annoying as all get-out the 45 million times after that. Good God, does radio suck. It wasn’t the band’s finest hour, creatively speaking, but it’s got singer Justin Currie’s woefully underrated vocals going for it, and it’s catchy as hell. This album isn’t the best place to start your Del Amitri collection, but it definitely isn’t bad, and thanks to the thousands of people who bought it expecting nine other songs that sounded just like “Roll to Me,” you can probably still get it used for somewhere close to a penny.
(You can’t get this single’s b-side for a penny, though; as far as I know, you can only get the acoustic version of “Food for Songs” [download] here, for free.)
Hey, look! It’s a video!