My Top 1000 Songs #383: Divine Intervention
After two albums of lightweight jangle-pop which showed promise, Matthew Sweet finally found his voice on 1991's Girlfriend, a barrage of power pop greatness which didn't shy away from the "power" part. And he boldly announced his newfound bearings on opening track "Divine Intervention," a twin-guitar attack of dueling riffage, yet still infused with the melodic pop at which he already excelled. The biting guitar draw the inevitable comparison to Television, which Sweet wisely invited by recruiting that band's guitarist Richard Lloyd on board.
The Girlfriend version is pretty great, but I also love the alternatives. There's an early demo included on 2002's To Understand, a collection of early recordings, where the comparison between the early work and what was to come is driven home when this demo comes barreling out of the speakers after an hour or so of pleasant jangle. Stripped of Girlfriend's Sweet/Lloyd assault and the dense production, it remains a compelling slice of restrained fury. Conversely, the acoustic version included on the Goodfriend promo (later packaged with the Girlfriend deluxe reissue) sounds no less riveting, the blazing riffage replaced by some frenetic strumming & picking that lets Sweet's inimitable tunefulness shine.Live acoustic:Live electric, 2015: