10 Best Dandy Warhols Songs
“When you sign with a major label, they always tell you things like, ‘We’re into careers, not hits’… yet if you don’t produce a hit, they don’t really give a f-- about your career.” So says the Dandy Warhols’ Courtney Taylor-Taylor, and as anyone who's seen the 2004 documentary 'Dig!' knows, he's never shied away from speaking his mind. Although the film portrays the Dandys as ungrateful major label sell-outs carrying on a petty rivalry with the Brian Jonestown Massacre, that's not quite fair. (Both bands have since distanced themselves from the movie.) Whether they've scored some commercial hits, they’re still "blatantly rockin'," as their Facebook page states. So strike up a nice big fat one, prepare yourself for some psychedelic decadence and take a trip down memory lane as we count down the 10 Best Dandy Warhols Songs.
This is one of those songs where every time it’s playing, we just want to grab a tambourine and dance along. Yeah, the Dandys like to sing about smoking from time to time, and on ‘Smoke It,’ they do just that. And despite what some might consider controversial subject matter, this is one of their most radio-friendly singles. But mostly, it makes the list of the 10 Best Dandy Warhols Songs because it has some of their best lyrics: “People got more baggage than JFK, yeah / And I'm talkin' about the airport, man."
Courtney Taylor-Taylor has described his band’s latest offering as having a gothic Nirvana ‘In Utero’ feel, and No. 9 on our list of the 10 Best Dandy Warhols songs lives up to that description -- partially because it was co-written by David J. of Bauhaus and Love and Rockets. Inspired by the Ray Bradbury novel 'Something Wicked This Way Comes,' the song, Taylor-Taylor has said, is about how “as we age, our view of youth and our feelings regarding what it means become paper thin and almost totally unrealistic.”
Sometimes, a music video fits a song so well that you just can’t disassociate them ever again. Here, we get black and white footage of the band (with open eyes painted on their closed eyelids) playing instruments dripping with water as a man and woman styled to look like characters from a 1920 German silent horror film are spliced in. It neither makes sense nor relays a story from the song. But director Mark Helfrich has said that these visions popped into his head as soon as he listened to the song, and it is the perfect complement for such breathtakingly haunting music.
“I never thought you'd be a junkie because heroin is so passé.” Who’d have thought that such a playfully tongue-in-cheek song about heroin being outdated (along with an accompanying video featuring dancing syringes) could be one of the band’s biggest breakout singles? It was bold, it was edgy, and it was catchy as hell -- even if The Brian Jonestown Massacre didn’t think so…
If the band’s namesake, Andy Warhol, were to be reincarnated in the form of modern music, it would likely sound something like No. 6 on our list of the 10 Best Dandy Warhols songs. Slightly forgotten and overshadowed by other songs in the the Dandys’ back catalogue, ‘Dick' has a swirling psychedelic ‘60s vibe indicative of the group's roots. Prepare for eight minutes of pure mind-blowing musical bliss.
For 'Veronica Mars' fans (or marshmallows, as they’re adorably called), the upcoming fan-funded film based on the show is one of the most exciting things that will hit 2014. With that may come a resurgence in popularity for the show’s beloved theme song -- especially with that insanely earworm-y “We used to be friends / A long time ago / Ah-Ahh-Ah-Ah-Ah” sung in CTT’s peak falsetto vocals.
Speaking of earworms, here’s another Dandy Warhols song that’s likely ingrained in your noggin. So what if it took placement in a slew of TV commercials to get this tune noticed and appreciated? The opening of ‘Bohemian Like You’ has often been compared to that of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Brown Sugar’ (you can see the Stones’ logo on guitarist Peter Holmström’s shirt within the first two seconds of the song’s music video), and any comparison to Mick and co. is always a good thing. Plus, the video has some naked people and karaoke. You can never go wrong with that.
Everything about ‘Sleep’ is pretty much flawless: the soft, layered vocals; simple, soaring music that could help you drift right off to sleep; and the subtly distraught lyrics of wanting to “sleep forever” and “forget everything.” Be sure to listen to this song with headphones on to avoid any and all distractions – it’s worth it.
The Dandy Warhols are no strangers keeping things relatively simple lyrically. It’s not that they don’t say much, but they express more in just a few words than most lyricists could in hundreds. ‘I Love You’ is a good example. On the surface, it might seem like a song about loving someone … a lot. But if you scratch below that surface, you find a dark, obsessive, slightly unhealthy infatuation. It's made all the more sinister by what sounds like heavy breathing.
To a musician, finding out David Bowie is a fan is probably one of the greatest compliments you can receive. The Dandys have toured with and performed with the legend, so we’re guessing Bowie wouldn’t mind that No. 1 on our list of the Best Dandy Warhols Songs has frequently been linked to ‘Ashes to Ashes.' But is this really tune, co-written by the Lemonheads' Evan Dando, really the Dandys' finest moment? Guitarist Peter Holmström has said so, so you don't have to just take our word for it.