Chris Lawhorn, the resident DJ at Marie Claire and Real Age, reviews 300-400 singles every month, trying to find the best new music for a workout. Every week, he’ll be posting an indie-centric playlist for MAGNET readers. To vote on upcoming tracks, hear this month’s contenders and find more resources for matching songs to the pace of your exercise routine, you can visit his workout music site.
Most of my albums haven’t survived the digital era intact. I do like the idea of an album. And I’ll probably always think of it as the “real” musical unit, even though I listen primarily to singles now. But like most anyone, I don’t like every track on every album I own. And it’s easier to just dump most of those than spend a lifetime skipping them when they come on. The point of all this is that I realized over the weekend that there aren’t more than a dozen or so full albums left in my music library.
Of those, one of the most surprising is Too-Rye-Ay, the sophomore album from Dexy’s Midnight Runners. Again, like most anyone, my introduction to the band came by way of “Come On Eileen.” And, while I was hoping for a little more along those lines, I wasn’t prepared for the album. The songs are uniformly excellent. But, I think the thing that separates it from the other albums that didn’t fare as well in my collection is the clarity of singer Kevin Rowland’s vision. I’m not sure that I have another album that sounds so resolutely committed to an idea. The band has a distinct look and a unique sound, the album has a dramatic arc, and the lyrical themes are limited to just a handful. In all, Too–Rye–Ay is completely wild. And it’s completely focused. Each person’s criteria for this sort of thing is different. But those are the two elements that usually push a record over the top for me. And I can’t think of a better one to illustrate the point. To that end, I’ve pulled together a handful of uptempo tracks off Too–Rye–Ay and the band’s debut, Searching For The Young Soul Rebels, to which you can hit the street, the treadmill, the bench. And get lost.