Songs I Like #5: Saturday Looks Good to Me, “You Work All Weekend”

The windshield a sheet of luminous bugkill and dirt, my friend Andy and I crept in sunset-blinded traffic into Austin eleven years ago last month playing the record “You Work All Weekend” comes from, All Your Summer Songs, and talking about nostalgia.

You know, nostalgia, the feeling we feel we should feel. None of the revolving indie-pop recruits of Saturday Looks Good to Me, nor the band’s songwriter, sole consistent member, and worst singer, Fred Thomas, were alive in the summer of 1965, and they don’t exactly strike poses as if they were. But their lyrics are still saturated with nostalgia– for the dying cities of their Michigan home, for falling asleep in headphones, for sitting on the porch, for being 23 and in love– and their music sounds like 1965. This means guitar pop and Motown (speaking of Michigan) soul, all played with school-dance-y joy and given a busted, dubby production that sounds like it took a lot of cassette tapes to master. So the music seems to be looking backwards.

There’s nothing arch or Rushmore-y formal in this backwards orientation: there’s too much poverty and honest heartache in this record, the kind of 23 you spent smoking cheap cigarettes and working all weekend, in love or not. But the raggedy singers and washed-out, hissy sound signify affection and throw the prettiness of the whole thing into relief. These kids remember, even if they weren’t there.

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