The Nails

I like list songs.

Mary Lou Lord performs one stand-out, ‘His Indie World’, a nicely twee tribute to boys who love a particular type of band. In it she reels off the names of a number of lo-fi types, even rhyming ‘Sebadoh’, ‘Sentridoh’ and ‘I don’t know’ in one verse. This takes a particularly rare kind of talent indeed.

Then there’s ‘I’ve been Everywhere’, most famously performed by Johnny Cash, but far more satisfying in its original Australian guise, if only because you don’t get to hear the names ‘Woolloomooloo’ and ‘Woodenbong’ mentioned in song too often.

My favourite, however, is ’88 Lines About 44 Women’ by The Nails, which is almost certainly unique amongst list songs in that you know exactly what you’re getting before it starts. There’s no messing around, no ambiguity: in all likelihood the single came shrink-wrapped with a warning declaring ATTENTION: THIS IS A LIST SONG. GOT THAT?

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It’s also a completely pointless record. It doesn’t really have a beginning, a middle or an end. There’s no proper verses and definitely no chorus, unless you count the tuneless humming. It’s literally a list of ladies and their likes, read out in increasingly hysterical fashion over an electronic backing that sounds as if it came free with a breakfast cereal.

It’s a triumph.

Update: It’s like waiting for buses. I haven’t written about music in an age, then three entries come along at once. The third is over at the Greencine blog, where I rattle on at length about some music films you might not have seen.


  1. To add to your list of list songs, A House – Endless Art. I’m sure that there are others in my collection, but that’s the one that first leaps to mind.

  2. you should try the *word disassociation* video on youtube :)

  3. hey! i’m in london til the 3rd. any plans for the weekend?

  4. We rerecorded “I’ve Been EveryWhere Man” for a BigPond Wireless Broadband ad here in Oz but had to ensure every town we referenced had Wireless coverage. Combined with ensuring the towns also rhymed added to my already shortened stressed life….

  5. How can you mention list songs and *not* mention We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel?

  6. I have seen MLL naked. I’ll leave it at that for now.