Thursday, 8 January 2015

Art of the Cover - Matthew Sweet′s "Girlfriend - Legacy Edition" (2006)

I hear you need somebody to love ...

David Byrne once intoned 'Girlfriend is better' ... and he was right.

Delightful, simple, winter-wonderland cover art too. Strawberry-blonde-tastic!

The cover features a wonderful photograph of teenage, enfant-terrible Tuesday Weld, taken in the late 1950s.

Art Direction was by Lee Hammond.

Weld consented to the use of the shot on Sweet′s sweet album cover but, bizarrely, objected to the album's original title Nothing Lasts, and forced the rename to Girlfriend !

In 2011, Sweet spoke to about the use of the Tuesday photograph on the cover, saying ...
Record companies just want you to put a picture of yourself on the album cover. But there was something about her attitude that I liked. It's funny because she was only 13 or 14 years old in that photo. I had collected memorabilia of actresses from the '50s and '60s, like Kim Novak, Carol Baker, and Jean Seberg. 
It was hard to get Tuesday Weld to approve it, because she was a recluse and eccentric, but we finally got her approval. However, at the time, the album was called Nothing Lasts and the label got the idea that they should get a hold of Tuesday Weld and tell her that's what it was called. Which of course just made her feel like, "What do you mean 'nothing lasts' with my photo?" 
So I changed the title to Girlfriend at the eleventh hour, so we didn't have to mess with the Tuesday Weld photo. It was a better title for it because it was so much more positive, you know?

And a beautiful, minimalist, drawn interpretation of the original artwork (by Rob Carter) graced the cover of Goodfriend - a great bonus disc of home demos, live versions and session recordings, included with the wonderful 2006 "Legacy Edition" of the album

Yap, it's 1991′s gorgeous Girlfriend LP - the mighty third platter from the much under-rated Matthew Sweet - which featured the twin guitar attack of he legendary Robert Quine and Television’s Richard Lloyd, as well as a certain Lloyd Cole on rhythm guitar.

This collection of great songs arose from a sort of Blood on the Tracks scenario, being written and recorded just after Sweet's 1990 divorce.

In a 1991 Rolling Stone interview, Matthew said ... 
"It's funny how the album ended up showing everything I needed to feel. Everything I needed as an antidote is there."
He told Entertainment Weekly ...
"People say, 'This is your big breakup record - will you still be able to write good songs?' I'm sure I'll be just as depressed at some other point in my life."

Thanks in large part to the hit anime video for the title track, Girlfriend - directed by some guy called  Roman Coppola! - really helped launch the career of idiosyncratic alternative power-popster Sweet, who had previously released a couple of memorable major-label albums - Inside and Earth  - that, bizarrely, hadn’t fared well commercially.

In 2006, the definitive version of the album saw light of day.

The album was remastered and released under the "Legacy Edition" label, with three bonus tracks plus a second disc of home demos, live versions and session recordings called Goodfriend.

Subtitled "Another Take On 'Girlfriend'", Goodfriend was a promotional CD partly distributed through Sweet's fan club, and was not commercially released until the Legacy Edition.

Girlfriend is Sweet's most commercially and critically successful album to date, with AV Club even labelling it the best power pop album of the 1990s.

Good news comes that a special reissue (on 180-gram vinyl ) of Girlfriend  will drop this Autumn via Plain Recordings, in what’s being billed as the record’s first time back on 12-inch since its initial release.


1. “Divine Intervention”
2. “I’ve Been Waiting”
3. “Girlfriend”
4. “Looking At The Sun”
5. “Winona”
6. “Evangeline"
7. “Day For Night”
8. “Thought I Knew You”
9. “You Don’t Love Me”
10. “I Wanted To Tell You”
11. “Don’t Go”
12. “Your Sweet Voice”
13. "Does She Talk?"
14. "Holy War"
15, "Nothing Lasts"

"Legacy Edition" bonus tracks

16. "Good Friend" (demo)
17. "Superdeformed" (demo)
18. "Teenage Female" (demo) 

Tracklisting for Goodfriend (included with "Legacy Edition")

"Divine Intervention" (acoustic) - 3:05
"Girlfriend" - 2:52
"Day for Night" (live) - 3:21
"Thought I Knew You" (live) - 3:57
"Looking at the Sun" (acoustic) - 4:15
"Does She Talk" (live) - 4:23
"You Don't Love Me" (live) - 6:47
"Someone to Pull the Trigger" - 3:53
"I've Been Waiting" (live) - 3:45
"Winona" (acoustic) - 4:30
"Girlfriend" (live) - 4:05
"Cortez the Killer" (Neil Young) (live) - 6:28
"Isolation" (John Lennon) (acoustic) - 3:01

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