by Jeff
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Describe the image

The Gories - "Can't Catch Up With You" [buy]

A guitar plays a simple lick and then another kicks in playing the same, then the drums start beating along behind them. It's the sound of a young gang on the move together through town on a hot day. The search begins: "I went down to get you out of jail / but you were already out on bail." The singer checks out the old haunts, the burger place, the quarry pit, the liquor store, up and down. When the frustration becomes unbearable the guitar solo kicks in.

"Can't Catch up With You" is a simple song, but it's burned into my mind. I don't make lists of favourites, but this song has to be among those I've listened to the most over the years. The mystery pulls me along every time. Where is the object of the singer's affections, anyway? The guy at the liquor said that she bought some wine, the kids at the burger stand thought she had gone swimming. No matter where the singer goes, she's out of reach, and by the end of the song it seems like she might be gone for good and no amount of guitar soloing will bring her back. But it's not a sad song, it bops along full of young feelings, wired up, on the move, searching, on edge. This song contains a whole bildungsroman in two minutes and change.

This song perfectly captures the wandering I did as a young person. Never aimless, there was always some vague destination or objective. It was rarely as desperate a search, mostly it was just hanging out, killing time, drifting. Before cell phones we'd all just wander around running into each other on street corners or stopping by friends' houses unannounced, getting tangled up in whatever they were doing. I hear that open time, those drifts, in this song, and it's a perfect crystallization of those wandering-around times in my life. I love this song more every time I hear it.

(image: The Removal by L. S. Lowry)

Posted by Jeff at April 14, 2015 1:38 AM

great post. great guitar solo. one of the things that makes it feel like such a short story is all those dissonant chords - no resolution, no resolution, pounding forward without an answer.

Posted by sean at April 15, 2015 11:22 AM

Thanks Sean!

Posted by Jeff Author Profile Page at April 15, 2015 9:21 PM

I am pretty sure this is the song everybody plays in their minds when they try to chase my bike around Sherbrooke Street ;)
Great song and post!

Posted by Madalina at April 16, 2015 9:13 AM

Thanks Madalina!

Posted by Jeff Author Profile Page at June 30, 2015 7:22 PM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

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