Monday, September 9, 2013
BABYSITTER-- Leave Home 15
BABYSITTER had been set aside as a probable 45 b-side, but after the CARBONA NOT GLUE panic heated up (see CARBONA NOT GLUE--Leave Home 5) this track was chosen to take its place for the new pressing. So sensibly it leads off the extras of this deluxe edition of LEAVE HOME. However, in 1977, it was in turn quickly replaced by the new single SHEENA IS A PUNK ROCKER, and unwisely that song has been omitted here in favor of less chronological inclusion on the expanded CD of ROCKET TO RUSSIA-- puzzlingly leaving this the only bonus studio recording in the present running order.
After two other decidedly wanting stabs at softer material for the second album, BABYSITTER represents not only a reassuring return to the quality of the debut's I WANNA BE YOUR BOYFRIEND, but also an impressive and cunning expansion of that track's key strengths. An even more melodic utilization of 1-4-5 drives the song, and a strikingly confident middle eight leads to a dazzling one step key change for the final verse and chorus. A bright, dense mix displays the extra layer of guitars and attractive background vocals to strong effect, and the tension maintained throughout the tune's push and pull dynamic shows determined control.
JOEY tackles the descriptively detailed lyric of the protagonist's frustrating scenario with a great sense of drama. But he also infuses the oft repeated title line with an innocence that feels more relative to the possible crush of the kids for their sitter, and this lends the vocal a surprising depth of empathy to all of the song's potential points of view simultaneously. Impatiently watching television, hoping to avoid interruption from eavesdroppers, intertwines with a sneaking longing, capped with a gratitude for the absence of the 'folks.'
Almost immediately replaced on fresh versions of the lp (perhaps wisely, as its presence made for an awkwardly ballad heavy sophomore platter), the song popped up again on the flip side of the DO YOU WANNA DANCE single. For years unavailable elsewhere (and, in fact, not even listed on the sleeve of the LEAVE HOMEs it appeared on) BABYSITTER built up credible steam as a cherished rarity, eventually being included on the Warner Bros compilation ATTACK OF THE KILLER Bs, an assortment of respected but difficult to acquire non-lp tracks by various artists. Of course, in the CD age this ready made bonus track ringer found a home on several releases, and wide audiences could finally assess and ingest this no-longer rare, early indicator of what over time had become obvious: the world's foremost punks were undeniable masters of the ballad form.