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Special One
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  • Kurt Ralske's brand of technically masterful, D.I.Y. pop reached its zenith with the "Special One" single. Its cheerful chord progression, married to Ralske's gloom-sexy (think Lou Reed meets Marc Bolan) vocal stylings, made for a delightful contradiction. That, and backing vocals by sweet-voiced Pixie, Kim Deal, guaranteed the single loads of college-station airplay, and the video plenty of rotation on MTV's 120 Minutes. The Special One EP features the title track (taken directly from the Joy 1967-1990 full-length), alongside two re-workings of "Lightning" that depart quite a bit from the original album version. The first, "Lightning (72 b.p.m./4 am)," is a slower, groovier take on the tune, while "A Smile and a Death Wish" is a completely minimalist deconstruction of it. Both versions are interesting enough, providing plenty of Ralske's brilliantly calculated guitar work, but the real hidden gem on the EP is, undoubtedly, "Kind of a Drag"." By re-editing Bonham's classic (and oft sampled) drum-riff from "When the Levee Breaks," Ralske successfully bends Bonzo to his will and, with a dash of T-Rex-ian strut, creates a sweetly cynical rocker that, by all accounts, should have been on the full-length album. ~ J. Scott McClintock
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