A Neko Case Primer, Part I

On Tuesday, Neko Case released "Man", the first track off the follow-up to 2009's Middle Cyclone. It is an amazing song, more reminiscent of Case's time in The New Pornographers than the lush baroque pop and country noir of her solo albums. It took me a few listens to understand how good the song was, which is always fun.

This got me thinking about Neko Case and how many of her songs I absolutely love, and then it got me thinking about how many New Pornographers songs I absolutely love. And then it reminded me of Case's cover of "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" that played over the end credits last season on Boardwalk Empire. It got me thinking about the first time I saw Neko Case, in 2000 at the Crystal Ballroom opening for The Jayhawks, and how I had no idea who she was but she was like an alt.country Jessica Rabbit up there, with that rich, silky voice and banter thick with innuendo. I was 20 and my mind was blown. I don't remember the songs, or The Jayhawks (one of my favorite bands), but I remembered Neko Case.

Then it reminds me of how Dan Gibson hates her because she left Tucson to live in Vermont. Cheery memories, all.

That's when I realized Neko Case is my favorite musician. These are her five of her 10 best songs. I'll list more tomorrow.

10. "Middle Cyclone" from Middle Cyclone

Case has built a prickly reputation through interviews and her stage persona, but this soft beauty from Case's last solo album appeals with what sound like deeply personal lyrics.

9. "Mass Romantic" from Mass Romantic by The New Pornographers

Case's vocals with The New Pornographers show a more upbeat side, primarily due to A.C. Newman's pop-heavy hooks.

8. "Deep Red Bells" from Blacklisted

A haunting track details her anxieties as a young woman in Seattle while the Green River Killer was on the loose in the '80s and '90s.

7. "The Bleeding Heart Show" from Twin Cinema by The New Pornographers

This song was featured in bank commercials.

6. "People Got a Lotta Nerve" from Middle Cyclone

Probably Case's biggest solo hit, "People Got a Lotta Nerve" was featured as an additional track on Rock Band 2. I know this because I was pretty decent at singing it. I mean, not decent like the actual vocal track, but I could at least somewhat stay on key. It's also got a cool video.

The top five tomorrow...

1 comment:

  1. I remember you talking about her years ago and I started looking into her but forgot about her over time. Thanks for the refresher. One of the only things I look at on Facebook every now and then are Jordan Green song recommendations. Thanks buddy!