Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Kiss, kiss Molly's lips

Kurt Cobain's adoration for The Vaselines has been well documented. He evoked their name in countless interviews, covered three of their tracks, even persuaded them to reform and play during a Nirvana swing through Edinburgh in 1990. (In the liner notes to Insecticide, Kurt unabashedly admitted to being nervous when first meeting them.) Thanks to Cobain, many have chortled, The Vaselines' two songwriters -- Eugene Kelly and Francis McKee -- never have to work again.

The Vaselines' patented amateurishness and childlike approach to crafting music was clearly evident on "Molly's Lips." McKee's vocals simply shine, as she blushes about the thrill of a young peck (and how they can hold sway over the recipients), while a minimal guitar line bounces in the background. Further adding to the sense of youthful wonder are the regular toots of a bicycle horn.

There are two Nirvana versions of the song. The first was cut live (with old drummer Chad Channing) in February of 1990 at The Pine Street Theatre in Portland, Oregon. As the story goes, Sub Pop Records wanted to release the song as a single. Cobain was opposed, saying the version was middling at best. However, Nirvana owed the label one last release (as part of its buyout deal which landed the band on DGC) and so it eventually hit stores in January of 1991, with the flip side being "Candy" by The Fluid.

A second version of the tune was recorded during a Peel session in October of 1990. This one made its way onto both Insecticide and Hormoaning.

Heat it for yourself. Download: "Molly's Lips" by The Vaselines. Also, take a listen to Nirvana's Peel session version, which is worlds apart sonically, yet still maintains the original's charm.