Never Ending Internet Mix Tape

a musical exquisite corpse. look it up.

Vol 07 / Trk 03 / Be Stiff / Lene Lovich


Somewhere between Talking Heads and Devo lies this 1978 version of “Be Stiff,” the latter’s famous single. Liner notes in the Lene Lovich best-of I pulled this from call the original a “label anthem” for Stiff Records. Stiff was something of a music world B-team, full of almost-weres, also-rans, and oddballs of the late ‘70s and ‘80s. Lovich was one of Stiff’s most visible weirdos, though with her sound it’s clear she was never planning on overtaking Siouxsie Sioux in anything but the crazy-hair-vocal-tic department.

Like most from the label, she came and went pretty quickly, and I didn’t really discover her until a few years ago. According to Wikipedia, Stiff loved Devo’s song so much that they asked a number of their acts to cover it in the same afternoon and in their own styles. Lovich’s version is a lot of fun, the franticness of the original replaced by a joyously gruff backing chorus, an electric piano, and a Roxy Music sax solo. Like what “Love -> Building on Fire” was to post-punk, this track is to the Devo original: softer and warmer. Instead of being angular, you might say it has charmingly rounded corners.

m. joosse

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Filed under: Mixtape, NEIMT, Vol 07,

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Every couple of days, one of the NEIMT authors will post a song that is in some way a reaction to the previous song posted by another author. Every 15 songs will be packaged up with cover art and presented for download as a complete mix. The only rule is that no artist can appear more than once in the same volume.

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