I don't really know how to go about recommending Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by CC & the Spades (which partially explains the large gap since the last entry and why the following isn't my usual neatly-structured, eloquent prose)—I don't know why I like the song so much. I know that I do like it. And I think that's because it's damn good, but I can't be sure.
Incidentally, I don't usually recommend songs that I discovered on another music blog, my logic being that if I found it, you could too. But this was a full year ago, and the band still have well under five hundred listens on Last.fm. (They've now accrued 59 hits on Google, but 17 of them are me).
There are two versions (that I'm aware of): the original, rough demo version—which is what I'm mainly writing about—and a vastly tidied-up version, which uses a slightly different lyric and adds some extra guitar bits. (That one's presently on CC & the Spades' MySpace page.)
The song basically comprises vocals, guitar, bass and drums. It's fairly straightforward by my standards—there are no weird time signatures and no clever rhythms; it doesn't suddenly shift sideways; it's not less than a minute long and it's not seventeen minutes long; there are no wacky instruments and no macho guitar acrobatics. (I wouldn't recommend bringing it home to meet your grandma, though—it uses the “fuck” word.)
Where the tidier version finishes with a long-held strum, the demo version stops on a drumbeat, as abruptly as it started—its departure smacks you in the face as much as its arrival did. There's no particular melody or even rhythm to the vocals in the chorus—it's almost as if CC's improvising the vocals here.
In fact the whole song is very rough, unpolished and raw: a lot of the time the microphone can't quite contain CC's voice; the bass guitar (which plays up in almost the same register as the lead) is noticeably off-rhythm during the choruses and I think it hits the wrong note at the start of the instrumental towards the end.
It's this sort of coarse sincerity that defined punk. If you download one song this week, make it Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
(That link is to the rough, demo version as an MP3; it was on their MySpace profile for a while, but the tidier version replaced it.)
(How do you follow that? Usually with the same song again... or 8 Hours (also by CC & the Spades; see eashfa to download that too). More usefully, perhaps: Swimmers by Broken Social Scene follows the demo version particularly nicely.)