One for Friday — Jane Wiedlin, “Rush Hour”


Although I was present and aware during the time when the Go-Go’s dominated radio, MTV, and good chunk of pop culture as a full-on sensation, I don’t recall if there was any particular pressure to identify a favorite band member. Regardless, I was ready from early on to stand up an be counted as a member of Team Jane Wiedlin. I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of an associated crush .

By the time the group splintered into solo endeavors, I’d adopted a music taste that shunted the Go-Go’s into the category of the uncool. Thus, I didn’t pay much attention to what Wiedlin or her cohorts did in the aftermath of their huge, flaring success. Similarly, the inevitable reunions that began in the nineteen-nineties stirred no interest. Callously ignoring the harsh reality of life as a musician, I took as further justification of my dismissal the fact that the Go-Go’s needed to stoop to playing the same oldies circuit gigs then largely reserved for the likes of haphazard simulacrums of Motown acts and other sixties relics

Sometimes, though, time can be kind. Just as I now have a greater appreciation for the easy, playful pop invention of the Go-Go’s, I have in recent years found my way to some of Wiedlin’s solo work and found it consistently winning. Arguably, I shouldn’t have missed “Rush Hour,” which pushed its way into the Billboard Top 10. Of course, that was in 1988, arguably the pinnacle of my principled rejection of all things popular.

I can now hear it as a glistening wonder, drawing on the sounds of the day while giving them the backbone of sturdy songwriting. It places me solidly back in the era in which it was released, but had also picked up a pulse of lovely timelessness, as if it represents all the pop ever was and could be. It would seem completely at home in Carly Rae Jepsen’s increasingly impressive songbook.

I’ll also offer this note: Charlie Brooker would immediately demolish any misgivings I have about a sequel to “San Junipero” by prominently featuring “Rush Hour” on the soundtrack.

Listen or download —> Jane Wiedlin, “Rush Hour”

(Disclaimer: It appears to me that Jane Weidlin’s solo catalog is tough to come by, at least as physical objects that can be procured from your favorite local, independently-owned record store in a manner that compensates both the proprietor of said store and the original artist. This song is shared with that belief, but also the strong urge to go out and give some business to the record store of your choice. Wiedlin gets money if you full in the Go-Go’s gaps in your collection, too. Although I believe sharing this song in this way in this place constitutes fair use, I do know the rules. I will gladly and promptly remove this file from my little corner of the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)