Is this Neil Finn's most underrated work?
Neil Finn is joining Double J this June to present four shows as our Artist In Residence.
We’re pretty excited to have one of the world's finest living songwriters joining our team to handpick some diverse and brilliant playlists. So excited that we’ve been flicking back through our Crowded House, Split Enz, Finn Brothers and Neil Finn records.
While the classics still stand up after thousands of plays, we thought it'd be fun to give some attention to a few tracks that perhaps didn't get the credit they should have.
Split Enz – 'Giant Heartbeat'
It's certainly not one of Neil's most well-known Split Enz songs, but a doozy nonetheless. 'Giant Heartbeat' was written with bassist Nigel Griggs, so it's hard to know who contributed what. But that spooky and spindly guitar riff that runs through the song and while it's not Neil's catchiest melody, it's alluring in its strangeness.
Crowded House – 'Never Be The Same'
'Never Be The Same' is so underrated that no one has even bothered to upload a version to YouTube. Given that six of the ten songs on Crowded House's second album Temple Of Low Men were released as singles, one of them was bound to connect less than the others. But 'Never Be The Same' should not be forgotten. When you break it down, it's an inspiring song about change, written from a unique point of view that makes it feel much cooler than that sounds. It's a great example of Finn's ability to draw magic from unexpected inspiration.
Neil Finn – 'Try Whistling This'
'Try Whistling This' - one of three songs Neil wrote with Midnight Oil guitarist Jim Moginie - is the most beautiful song on Finn's debut solo album of the same name. Finn's creeping melody is enticing, but it's the sound of the piano, strings, acoustic guitar and a simple, otherworldly electric drum beat that make it such a striking song. Like many of Finn's finer works, the lyrics are packed full of rich, bizarre imagery, but their meaning is very much open to interpretation.
Finn – 'Only Talking Sense'
Neil Finn and his brother Tim are often credited with creating pop perfection. There are so many tracks that exemplify their flawless songwriting, but 'Only Talking Sense' isn't a track that immediately comes to mind. It should. The intro is really, really weird but it signals the beginning of a really brilliant song. The guitar riff is complex (Finn's a far better guitarist than many realise) and the vocal melody is powerful over the top. It always feels like it's about to explode into a rambunctious rock song – but it never gets there, which somehow makes it more powerful. Plus, any song that has both Finn brothers harmonising is worth your time.
Pajama Club – 'Go Kart'
Pajama Club was always intended as a bit of fun between Neil and his wife Sharon. That's no more evident than on this riotous 'Go Kart' from their one and only album. The verses are fairly unassuming, but it then explodes into this wild, punkish chorus that is the most fun thing that Finn has committed to tape since his early days in Split Enz. There's a great spirit to this song, but more than anything it shows that Finn's rock-solid song smarts are still firmly intact, even when he's just mucking around in his home studio.
Hear Neil Finn host Artist In Residence all through June - 3pm Sundays and streaming on doublej.net.au.