One Track Mind: Sugar, "Believe What You’re Saying" (1994)

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by Tom Johnson

One song, two beautiful versions. The first, issued on Sugar’s second and last official “album,” 1994’s File Under Easy Listening, was an aching mid-tempo ballad about the death of a relationship.

It’s singer/guitarist Bob Mould’s most heartfelt work, something obviously inspired by real loss — and it manages to get across that kind of stunned disbelief you feel when someone you love decides, seemingly out of the blue, that they no longer care to keep you in their life. Mould’s voice is double and triple tracked (maybe more?) to get some deep, lush harmonies that give the song an almost choral version.

Fitting then is the stripped down Bob-and-guitars version that was first issued on a b-side of a single, then later on 1995’s farewell b-sides/outtakes disc, Besides. I’m hardpressed to decide which is better — and I’m glad I never have the make the choice for more than the length of the whichever version of the song I choose.

(Do yourself a favor and track down the 2-disc version of Besides with a killer live album: It is more than worth paying a lot extra for.)

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Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson has contributed to Blogcritics, and maintained a series of stand-alone sites including Known Johnson, Everything is a Mess and others. He studied both creative writing and then studio art at Arizona State. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Tom Johnson
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