Album of the Day: Coupled With by The Wildhearts

The Wildhearts - Coupled With

Coupled With is a compilation album released by The Wildhearts on Gut Records, shortly after their comeback, circa 2001-2003. It is comprised of “rarities” – B-sides from the singles they released during that time period, and it is 20 songs long (I have an affinity for long albums). That’s what she said.

I first discovered this band when they opened for The Darkness’ Permission To Land tour in 2004, which means I was first introduced to The Wildhearts through The Wildhearts Must Be Destroyed, the record released at the time.

I was an avid eBayer and record importer at the age of 14. Once I read up on The Wildhearts more and discovered this “rarities” album, a couple months later I ordered the CD through Chester County Book and Music Company (which was one of the only stores that would import material for me without a credit card – and by the way, no longer exists). From what I recall, Coupled With was close to $30.

Now to jump into the track listing: What an epic record to listen to from beginning to end. It has love songs, hopeful songs, angry songs, indifferent songs, and touches on so many genres: metal, hard rock, hardcore, pop-punk, power pop. I can’t go through all 20 songs, track-by-track, so I am going to highlight a few of my favorites.

“Cheers”
Yes, it is exactly what you might be thinking (if you’re an old soul like me).

I never saw the TV show Cheers before listing to this record, however, I will say this remake dominates the sitcom’s theme, as the TV version is quite boring. This song, and the hip-hop duo Atmosphere’s number of lyrical references influenced me to watch the series later down the line.

Making your way in the world today
Takes everything you’ve got
Taking a break from all your worries
Sure would help a lot
Wouldn’t you like to get away?

Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came
You want to be where you can see
Your troubles are all the same
You want to be where everybody knows your name

I mostly identified with this song in college, and felt this relief and relaxation when I visited family during the holidays. Now, I most identify with this song when visiting my college friends. Ah, the cycles of life.

“Looking For The One”
This is THE pre-breakup anthem. The amount of times I’d yell the lyrics driving down the highway, volume up to 11.

“Better Than Cable”
If you’re not as excited as this song is about loving someone, then you might not be in love. This track highlights the giddy and silly feels of love through its high energy and witty lyrics. It also takes a moment to address how a connection with someone can be more fulfilling than substance.

You’re the bomb, you’re the one, the wow
You’re better, you’re better
The dog’s balls and the cat’s meow
You’re better, you’re better
Ain’t ever gonna be that guy hanging round
Looking for somebody to kiss
Little one, well it don’t come better than this

Had every drug in town, it told me I was down
See through a cloudy haze, hope I come around
Now that I know ya
And I sure am glad that I know ya
I need you, you need me
So who needs drugs?

“You Got to Get Through What You’ve Got to Go Through to Get What You Want, But You Got to Know What You Want to Get Through What You Got to Go Through”
Wait, what? That’s a pretty hefty title. I promise it makes more sense singing it that reading is slow, so hit play!

Have a dream? A goal? Doesn’t come easy. There will be hurdles, there will be temptations, there will be sacrifices, but if you keep at it, it will come with persistence. And sometimes that journey isn’t lovely, so the dark/deep vocals choruses emit the struggle and emotion that comes with “making things happen.” If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, right?

Yeah, I know, those are only four tracks out of 20 great ones, but it is enough to turn someone onto the band who has never experienced them before. A year later in 2005, lead singer Ginger Wildheart released his first solo studio album Valor Del Corazon, which touches all the genres mentioned above, in addition to country, and experimental and orchestral rock. I’ll surely be talking about it in a future post.

Coupled With by The Wildhearts is a solid compilation of rarities, and thanks to the Internet, is more accessible than it was in 2005.

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