Smoking Popes: Victory At Last

Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Do Something"
  • Artist: Smoking Popes
  • CD: Various Artists, East Timor Benefit Album
  • Genre: Power-Pop
Smoking Popes 300

For all their talk of failure, Smoking Popes' members look back in satisfaction in "Do Something." courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist

During their original run in the 1990s, Smoking Popes' members painted themselves as masters of eager futility. On albums with titles like Born to Quit and Destination: Failure, they displayed a consistent knack for remaining doggedly determined while accepting defeat as a given, in both their songs and their career.

"Do Something," from the newly reissued East Timor Benefit Album, never made it onto any of Smoking Popes' original releases, and the reason is right there in the title. Unlike the typical protagonist of a Smoking Popes song — who's always on the verge of action but still paralyzed by his own contemplation, like an emo Hamlet — the singer isn't pleading his case or waiting for his moment to come.

For once, he's on the inside and has been for ages, and Josh Caterer sings with the satisfaction of someone who finally acted on his dreams and now gets to live off the dividends. "I wanted you then, I want you now," he swears in the midst of what's essentially one of the greatest anniversary toasts imaginable. He and his band take a declaration that could easily be deeply cloying and instead turn it into an expression of pure joy. They've wanted this for too long to screw it up now.

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