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Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Second Is Better Than First. Part 6.

George writes:

After playing today’s better-album-than-the-debut to death I suppose like many others who heard it for the first time, I went looking for the predecessor. And in those pre-internet days we either scoured record shops or ordered it from our local one. I can’t remember how I acquired it, but I was eagerly anticipating putting it on the turntable. I wasn’t sure how it could live up to the follow up, but was hoping it was more of the same. Christ almighty was I wrong, it’s absolutely pants. I’ve played it twice, and that second time was when I was writing this. Looks like I was wrong. Not for the first time. It’s not as dreadful as I thought. Side Beemis of Tweez is certainly a musical pointer to Spiderland  but there is no standout track. I’ve also noticed that taking out the record from its sleeve has also released a rather peculiar smell into my music room.  On side Gerber the track Darlene would not be out of the place on the follow-up:

I can easily live without hearing the remaining tracks on that side. So on reflection, Tweez is not one for the “what the hell was I thinking of???” pile (the Turin Brakes and Thomas Dolby),  it was no punt on a band or singer I’d never heard before or only heard one song or read a review. Nope, it was what I assumed would be a safe bet but left me underwhelmed.

Of course Spiderland is a fantastic record. 40 minutes of broody threatening vocal, of broody threatening music, of jaggedy guitar sounds, of the occasional explosion into a cacophony of guitars and shouting. Six lengthy-but-too-much tracks, and with the track 3 side 2 they saved the best ‘til last. A better song you will not hear today (although you’ll have to dig out your own copy, you’re not getting it here). What is not to like?

And that was it. No more from Slint, which was probably for the best. We can think of Tweez as a try-out, and Spiderland as the magnus opus, and anything after would not be able to live up to that album, or a radical change in musical direction would be required.

That track to be blasted out at “call-the-police” volumes.

So there we have it. It would take an exceptionally contrary individual to disagree with Spiderland being maybe the prime example of Second Is Better Than First.

Thank you kindly.


  1. Yep, Spiderland is a stunning record.

  2. It's like you're purposely trying to stop people reading this feature by the image you choose, George. Although I'd rather have the spider than Culture Club.