Singles Club: The Parson Red Heads + Sufjan Stevens + Telete
Portland's The Parson Red Heads gets all Southern California circa the mid-1960s on their gloriously sun-dappled "It's Hard for Me to Say." Full of fantastic harmonies and a jangle that feels quite Byrds-ian, the song is a modern vintage pop treasure. It's the kind of song you just might find yourself going back to time and again.
While Sufjan Stevens certainly needs no introduction, his ode to the troubled princess of 1990s figure skating does. Says Stevens, "I’ve been trying to write a Tonya Harding song since I first saw her skate at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 1991," and he's finally gotten there. Stevens treats Harding as a complicated, sympathetic anti-hero, his testimonial to the scrappy skater a portrait both loving and honest. I think it's quite touching, in truth, this two-pronged tribute.
"Basketball Boy" is a delightfully sweet tart of a pro-girl song. The ladies of Telete coat their frustrations in the finest synthpop aesthetics, coming across both pensive and defiant. A slow motion sparkler of a song, "Basketball Boy" is a technicolor charmer that not only dazzles but also makes a point.