Thursday , May 23 2024
Revising revisionist history...

Verse Chorus Verse: Everything But The Girl – “No Difference”

It's time to revise revisionist history.  Very few of you reading this will know this, but when I was in college I wrote a review of Everything But The Girl's Temperamental record.  I didn't trash the album, but I was somewhat less than glowing in my assessment.  Weeks later, I learned that someone read my review and passed on buying the album and I was distraught.  What happened between those two events?

"No Difference."

One quiet, lonely night in my dorm room — there were a lot of those — I was skipping through the records and I started listening to "No Difference" and I didn't stop.  For days.  I could not stop listening to that song.  All of a sudden, I wanted to retract my review and send the hordes of Florencians to their local record store.

It was an important lesson.  I didn't get filled with delusions of grandeur that I was some kind of musical kingmaker, but it reminded me what we put in print is going to stay with us for awhile and you have to come to terms with that.  It's a process. 

The lesson I tried to take from the experience is not to be timid, but to measure twice and cut once.  Don't waste people's time by couching your opinions in qualifiers.  Put your pen down if you don't have anything to say.  Be bold but fair.  Never forget you get one shot at this.  Don't be afraid to come back later and say you've changed your mind and explain why but you can't count on people coming back to read your retraction. 

So now look at me.  I wanted to tell you about this song and I've gotten distracted.  With your indulgence, I'd like to take today's Verse Chorus Verse into extra innings so I can — let's not say correct the record, but perhaps complete it.

"No Difference" has become one of my favorite songs- not just by EBTG, either.  There's such great imagery in the lyrics.

you watch the phone like it was a TV
if you're all alone, well, who's fault can that be?
your keys, your bag, your car- they're where they always are

She's not just calling someone out, but she's doing it by creating a scene.  She gives you visuals to go with the feeling.  Mix that with the sophisticated big city sound, and you have something special.  The music is built on atmospheric soundscape, an R&B guitar figure, electronic beats, and Tracey Thorn's voice sounding sexier than it ever has in any song.  Thorn often excels in singing songs of longing and disappointment.  There's a big difference in "No Difference" as she tries to coax someone out of complacency.  It's alluring, addictive, and puts me in a trance.  I can't remember ever listening to this song just once.

Is "No Difference" worth the price of an otherwise uneven record?  Hell yes!  The great thing now, though, is you don't have to buy the whole record to hear "No Difference" and you really, really must hear it.  Time tells me that's something I won't later have to revise. 

About Josh Hathaway

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