I find compilations weird. Their variety confuses me and I never know what to do with them - what to think of them or when to listen to them - and no matter how charming a compilation has looked when I bought it (or sounded when I first played it) it will most likely get out of it before we have the time to get familiar with each other. It will then spend the rest of its time in my possession getting forgotten about on a self.
'Matinee 50!' has just managed to escape this sad fate.
It might have been the fact that the sleeve talks about being inspired to leap out of bed each morning, which to me sounds like The Ultimate Dream and something everyone must strive towards; or the fact that I am considerably in awe of the people who managed to release all this stuff; or maybe just the sheer charm of some of the songs contained, that made them stick around in my head and demand that I played them again; or, finally, that I found the idea behind this compilation quite interesting indeed.
Because 'Matinee 50!' - which is not exactly the label's 50th release but just released 'at the eve of the 50th Matinee single'- has been compiled by asking every artist or band on the label to pick a song from the label's back catalogue and cover it. The result is pretty good, and at least as interesting as the original idea. It is also fun, uplifting and heart-warming like any good team work is bound to be.
It starts with Gregory Webster (of the Razorcuts) singing the Lucksmiths' "Untidy Towns" - a strange affair (I thought at first) but difficult to resist to (as I found out a little later). Then again, I now think that about most songs on it. They're very good songs - the Matinee back catalogue is pretty impressive and the bands' taste isn't half bad - performed in strange ways, ways that combine the style of the composer with that of the performer. Or so I think, anyway. I can't be too sure because a lot of those songs I didn't know before now.
And the point is, I still loved this.
My personal favourites at the moment include anything with Tali White's voice on it ('Between Delta and Delaware' performed by the Guild League and 'Falling Off Of My Feet Again' performed by the Lucksmiths), the Pines making the Fairways' 'Darling, don't you think?' sound all wintery and elegant, Slipslide's rendition of 'Wildest Dreams' (especially the vocals as well as the bit where they stop and start again) and, above all, the Would-be-goods immaculate cover of the Lucksmiths' 'Southermost'.
This is heartbreaking stuff. However, it is heartbreaking the way taking a train home after an exciting day out in the sun is. Having managed to listen to it enough times for it to become familiar, I have decided 'Matinee 50!' is what you'd call 'good time music'. It is a record about sunshine, indiepop and the joy of living - about doing what you love and loving it so much it makes you happy. And if you feel for these things, you're going to love it.