With Every Word I Say: the Black Vinyl Shoes Poll

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The Shoes have a thread, but not this album. I’m more interested in how many people actually know it well enough to vote than in the results--more than 10 votes would surprise me. I’d say it roughly belongs alongside records like Radio City, Oar, and Odessey and Oracle--cultish pop albums with intense, devoted audiences--but whereas those three are now somewhat famous (Pitchfork-famous, anyway), I feel like Black Vinyl Shoes continues to languish in obscurity. (Doesn't even get a track listing in Wikipedia.) One of my 10 favourite albums ever, and the only 33-1/3 proposal I ever made--a decade ago, before they started requesting blood tests, passports, and a 100,000-word outline. No audience was the rationale for turning it down--true enough, also maybe a convenient excuse for something they would have passed on anyway.


Poll Results

Fire for Awhile 2
Not Me 2
Fatal 2
Do You Wanna Get Lucky? 1
Someone Finer 1
Boys Don't Lie 0
If You'd Stay 0
It Really Hurts 0
Okay 0
Running Start 0
Capital Gain 0
Writing a Postcard 0
Tragedy 0
She'll Disappear 0
Nowhere So Fast 0

clemenza, Monday, 11 June 2018 17:40 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Full album:


clemenza, Monday, 11 June 2018 17:41 (eleven months ago) Permalink


Arch Bacon (rushomancy), Monday, 11 June 2018 17:52 (eleven months ago) Permalink

voted for not me. i love this and their first album a lot. other albums i've heard have some bangers but not nearly as solid all the way around.

dynamicinterface, Monday, 11 June 2018 18:20 (eleven months ago) Permalink

"Not Me" for me too; "Boys Don't Lie," "Capital Gain," and "Nowhere So Fast" close.

clemenza, Monday, 11 June 2018 18:23 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Only know Present Tense and like it well enough, but op is making me wanna hear this album.

It ain't a 33 1/3, clemenza, but you got at least one potential convert listening!

Paul Ponzi, Monday, 11 June 2018 18:31 (eleven months ago) Permalink

"Fatal" easily for me!

Evan, Monday, 11 June 2018 18:35 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I voted for Fatal too. I get kind of a proto-shoegaze vibe from that one.

Gavin, Leeds, Monday, 11 June 2018 19:09 (eleven months ago) Permalink

it's inconceivable to me that i've never listened to this whole collection given my tastes (and my age) but here i am. i like it a lot.

it's hard to listen to it and not think of how say, db's, or let's active, or a million other 80s bands i love, reflect them.

Hunt3r, Monday, 11 June 2018 20:51 (eleven months ago) Permalink

"we set ourselves / on fire for awhile"

One of the greatest songs ever written about a kitchen mishap.

mick signals, Monday, 11 June 2018 21:54 (eleven months ago) Permalink

i always wanted to hear a cheap trick cover of capital gain

dynamicinterface, Monday, 11 June 2018 21:57 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Love this album so much. Voted for "Someone Finer", short but perfect. I bought BVS mail order from the UK in 1978 after reading a rave review in Greg Shaw's Bomp magazine and was initially perplexed by the lo-fi vibe but the songs are such earworms. Greg Shaw also put out a 7" of Tomorrow Night in Dec 78 that I like better than the version on Present Tense.

Ρεμπετολογια, Monday, 11 June 2018 22:08 (eleven months ago) Permalink

xp or Cheap Trick doing Nowhere So Fast

Ρεμπετολογια, Monday, 11 June 2018 22:08 (eleven months ago) Permalink

One of the greatest songs ever written about a kitchen mishap.

― mick signals

along with "my stove's on fire" by robert lester folsom

Arch Bacon (rushomancy), Monday, 11 June 2018 22:29 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I'm listening to Writing a Postcard and thinking "if i had to guess, i'd say this is sloan."

Hunt3r, Monday, 11 June 2018 22:29 (eleven months ago) Permalink

*searches* ha there's an AV article comparing the two bands

Hunt3r, Monday, 11 June 2018 22:32 (eleven months ago) Permalink

"Tomorrow Night" is great, Ρεμπετολογια--it and "Too Late" would be right up there if they'd been on Black Vinyl Shoes. ("Too Late" actually charted on Billboard.) From Wikipedia: When MTV went on the air on August 1, 1981, the channel aired four of Shoes' videos: "Too Late", "Tomorrow Night", "Cruel You" and "In My Arms Again", making Shoes one of the first bands to be shown on MTV.

The coulda been contenders. They coulda been somebody--the Cars, the Go-Go's, Rick Springfield--instead of a bum, which is what they were.

clemenza, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 01:06 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Well what happened? Not familiar enough with the band to know if there was some sort of Badfinger-esque run of shit luck, or drug problems, or...?

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 12:13 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Even with, or maybe because of, that cowbell, Not Me goes right into me, it’s fantastic.

Hunt3r, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 13:47 (eleven months ago) Permalink

this is one of those things i meant to listen to, really great stuff
feels like one of those things where your instinct is to say man these guys really had tunes too bad the production wasn't a little better, but then i suspect that better production might ruin the vibe

The Desus & Mero Chain (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 12 June 2018 14:37 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I dunno, the next album Present Tense has "better" production, and that's really good as well.

I don't know why they weren't more successful, I'm not that fond of Tongue Twister from 1981 but all their albums up to 1984's Silhouette are good to great. (I'm not knocking the later albums after that I just haven't heard them)

Colonel Poo, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 14:50 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I have no explanation why the Cars (for instance) became famous and rich and they didn't. I mean, the Shoes are a thousand times a thousand better. More objectively, I have a harder time imagining "Not Me" on a Top 40 station than I do much lesser songs that became hits. There's something kind of invisible about "Not Me."

clemenza, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 23:39 (eleven months ago) Permalink

do you wanna get lucky does a lot of things right with those guitars imo. it's wonderful.

Hunt3r, Thursday, 14 June 2018 16:53 (eleven months ago) Permalink

ok Shoes are fine but they are not anywhere near the same league as The Cars, come now

cr.ht (crüt), Thursday, 14 June 2018 18:25 (eleven months ago) Permalink

*brushes rocknroll hair*

Hunt3r, Thursday, 14 June 2018 18:32 (eleven months ago) Permalink

The Shoes have written more songs I like than the Cars. Sorry that's just how I feel

Colonel Poo, Thursday, 14 June 2018 19:11 (eleven months ago) Permalink

WHOA, shocked this hasn't been polled before! I have a sentimental favorite in mind but gonna listen to the record again to check

bunny slopes, Thursday, 14 June 2018 19:23 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Wednesday, 20 June 2018 00:01 (eleven months ago) Permalink

This is bad timing but Fatal, It Really Hurts and She'll Disappear are all better than anything the Cars ever did. And I was bigging up the Cars tonight because the bar was playing Just What I Needed tonight and nobody but me even knew what it was. British/Australian people only know Drive, it's a sorry situation. They were all like the Cars? Isn't that some cheesy 80s band? Yes they are but they were fucking brilliant for years before that you bastards.

Colonel Poo, Wednesday, 20 June 2018 00:40 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Thursday, 21 June 2018 00:01 (ten months ago) Permalink

this is worse than a bad song winning. now that i know this album, i'm starting a band.

Hunt3r, Thursday, 21 June 2018 00:02 (ten months ago) Permalink

every thread needs to become a poll about this album until you fuckers wise up and start voting

Arch Bacon (rushomancy), Thursday, 21 June 2018 00:23 (ten months ago) Permalink

"More than 10 votes would surprise me." So I'm not surprised. But still disappointed they're not better known.

clemenza, Thursday, 21 June 2018 01:26 (ten months ago) Permalink

Forgot to vote, love this band. Would have probably voted Boys dont lie

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 21 June 2018 02:41 (ten months ago) Permalink

Maybe Fire for a While too. That song sounds ahead of its time. It could be a MBV song.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 21 June 2018 02:48 (ten months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

late vote for "capital gain"


budo jeru, Sunday, 15 July 2018 23:08 (ten months ago) Permalink

Mildly surprised nobody mentioned this yet on the thread:


Ned Raggett, Monday, 16 July 2018 02:40 (ten months ago) Permalink

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