Paul Kelly is an Australian establishment.

No different trendy musician has managed to each mirror and alter the tastes of our nation. He doesn’t simply present us how our nation is — unhappy; unsure of itself; obsessive about trivia — however how it may be. Kelly’s not only a mirror. He’s a finger pointing ahead.

There’s a motive, in any case, that he’s remained essential to a swathe of generations. Whereas his colleagues have been relegated to the dustbin of musical historical past, Kelly has remained as pressing and as leading edge as ever — maybe an odd factor to say a couple of man best-known for singing a tune constructed round a gravy recipe.

He’s a meme. He’s a trendsetter. He’s a Shakespeare-obsessed balladeer. And he’s among the finest of us.

Right here then, is each single Paul Kelly tune, ranked from worst to greatest.

Disclaimer: We now have dug as deep as we presumably can into the Kelly again catalogue in an try to search out each tune he’s launched, however we reserve the best to say, “whoops, our unhealthy” if we missed an obscure B-side someplace.


#270. ‘Billy Baxter’

Paul Kelly does reggae. Sadly.

#269. ‘Fulfill Your Lady’

What’s going on right here Paul.

#268. ‘When The Lady’s Not Even English’

Some actual wild titles within the forgotten corners of Kelly’s profession.

#267. ‘Sensitive Babe’

Actual wild.

#266. ‘Little Boy Don’t Lose Your Balls’

Like I stated. Wild.

#265. ‘Blissful Slave’

Has not aged nicely.

#264. ‘Randwick Bells’

Balladry with all the sides sanded off.

#263. ‘Recognition’

A whisper

#262. ‘Forbidden Road’

Paul, I really like you, however you may’t simply rhyme ‘road’ and ‘candy’ like that. You simply can’t.

#261. ‘Adelaide’

Positive.

#260. ‘Laborious Knocks’

That is simply ‘Tubthumping.’ I’m severe.

#259. ‘Promise Not To Inform’

I just like the Cagney reference, although.

#258. ‘White Prepare’

Apes Johnny Money slightly too arduous.

#257. ‘I Don’t Bear in mind a Factor’

A contact too ‘Accidently Kelly Road’.

#256. ‘Moon within the Mattress’

Someplace across the center, it begins to sag.

#255. ‘Our Sunshine’

In the event you’re a bluegrass fan, I can think about that is pure poetry. For the remainder of us, it’s Kelly at his most baffling.

#254. ‘Darling It Hurts’

Pub rock drenched in molasses.

Courtesy of EMI Music Australia

#253. ‘Standing On The Road Of Early Sorrows’

Kelly doesn’t all the time excel when he goes for uncomplicated sorts of unhappiness — refined melancholy is his higher beat, and this overzealous tune proves it.

#252. ‘Madeleine’s Track’

Twee.

#251. ‘Blues for Skip’

A whimper, not a bang.

#250. ‘South Of Germany’

Kelly’s barest try and take the Woody Guthrie components and make it Australian. Doesn’t actually work.

#249. ‘Desdemona’

The beginning of a a long time lengthy obsession with Shakespeare — and slightly underwhelming when in comparison with the locations that Kelly would ultimately go along with the bard.

#248. ‘Final Prepare To Heaven’

Anyone on the earth might have sung this tune. And you’ll’t say that about quite a lot of Kelly.

#247. ‘Your Litter Sister (Is a Large Lady Now)’

Obscured.

#246. ‘I Hate To Watch You Loving Him’

Lovesick.

#245. ‘Till Loss of life Do Them Half’

Lacks a number of the venom it wants to actually sing.

#244. ‘Someone’s Forgetting Someone (Someone’s Letting Someone Down)’

Sarcastically: fairly forgettable.

#243. ‘Clear This Home’

Imploring.

#242. ‘Skidding Hearts’

A wierd, not fully profitable metaphor that hurts an in any other case sturdy tune.

#241. ‘Down On My Speedway’

Essentially the most Chilly Chisel tune that Paul Kelly ever wrote, and proof that Chilly Chisel songs are greatest written by Chilly Chisel.

#240. ‘You Can’t Take It With You’

Hamstrung by its manufacturing.

#239. ‘Proper Outta My Head’

Not bought by any refrain that incorporates the road “I’m gonna fuck her proper out of my head“, to be sincere.

#238. ‘You Can Put Your Sneakers Beneath My Mattress’

A nasty place to place footwear, in my view.

#237. ‘Don’t Stand So Shut To The Window’

Paul did quite a lot of bossing about within the first half of his profession.

#236. ‘Don’t Begin Me Speaking’

Like I stated. Extra bossing. Let me dwell, Paul Kelly!

#235. ‘Bradman’

An try and do Bob Dylan at his most wordy that misses simply as a lot because it hits. A wonderful mess.

#234. ‘Fairly Place’

A prairie tune that by no means makes a adequate case for its personal existence.

#233. ‘Emotional’

Like discovering one thing rising beneath the floorboards of your loved ones dwelling.

#232. ‘Anastasia Modifications Her Thoughts’

Can’t actually make me care about a couple of love affair when the particular person you’re describing is barely there.

#231. ‘You’re Nonetheless Selecting The Identical Sore’

Gross!

#230. ‘All people Desires To Contact Me’

Additionally a bit gross!

#229. ‘Nothing On My Thoughts’

Only a contact too skinny.

Picture Credit score: Steve Younger

#228. ‘Firewood And Candles’

Scented smoke.

#227. ‘Black Swan’

By no means actually will get going.

#226. ‘Thank You’

A bizarre simulacrum of Kelly’s higher hits; just like the artist doing a canopy of himself.

#225. ‘Sonnet 73’

An experiment.

#224. ‘King Of Fools’

Factors go to the King Kong reference, however for essentially the most half, this one slips out and in of your head earlier than you’ve even registered that it’s there.

#223. ‘Taught By Consultants’

What am I meant to do now that I’ve heard Paul Kelly do this bluegrass, ‘hup’ sound? Like, the place is it meant to dwell in my mind?

#222. ‘Time And Tide’

A tune that will get smaller by the tip of every line.

#221. ‘Need You Again’

Kelly would do that model of hopelessness significantly better, and really quickly.

#220. ‘Love Is The Regulation’

Is that this… Is that this Paul Kelly doing hip hop?

#219. ‘Beggar On The Road Of Love’

Humble.

#218. ‘Pouring Petrol On A Burning Man’

Fiery and livid.

#217. ‘Little Selections’

Now we’re cooking with fuel. Kelly within the Hank Williams mode, doing dusty songs of heartache. Fairly baller.

#216. ‘David Gower’

One other Paul Kelly cricket tune. It’s okay!

#215. ‘Particular Therapy’

How are you meant to like somebody who can’t love you again? What’s there to like?

#214. ‘Crying Disgrace’

Old style.

#213. ‘Lastly One thing Good’

A montage of fine issues in slow-motion.

#212. ‘Murmuration’

A frenetic work of classical composition, as insistent as something in Kelly’s pub-rock part.

#211. ‘My True Love Hath My Coronary heart’

Like sinking into a snug leather-based armchair.

#210. ‘The Fly’

Unbelievably odd.

#209. ‘Hasn’t It Rained’

A chirpy little bit of doo-wop, grounded within the religion and spirituality that has lengthy guided Kelly’s work.

#208. ‘Somebody New’

One other Kelly attractive heartbreak tune. Not as efficient as his others.

#207. ‘I’ll Be Your Lover’

A rose pinched between two tooth.

#206. ‘Hummin’ To Myself’

A giant previous door, made out of varnished oak.

#205. ‘Stumbling Block’

Probably essentially the most batshit tune of Paul Kelly’s bluegrass interval — a mixture of bizarre, spoken-word poetry and an anachronistic refrain. Not fully profitable, however kinda beautiful in its ambition.

#204. ‘These Are The Days’

Like diner espresso: slightly skinny, too candy, however hits the spot simply advantageous.

#203. ‘Sonnet 138’

It’s simply inconceivable to recover from how unusual it’s to listen to Kelly do Shakespeare — within the model of Tom Waits, no much less.

#202. ‘Evening After Evening’

A ravishing tune about pretending to be happier than you really are.

#201. ‘Educate Me Tonight’

The promise of a very good time set to bluegrass. Bizarre!

#200. ‘No You’

Goes on for a couple of refrain and a verse too lengthy — however it’s candy.

#199. ‘Younger Lovers’

The final tune you hear on the nation honest, head pressed into the chest of your dance companion.

#198. ‘Track Of The Previous Rake’

Direct and unfussy, like a coaching guide on tips on how to write a Paul Kelly tune.

#197. ‘Seeing Is Believing’

An early flash of Kelly’s brilliance, full of heat and coronary heart.

Picture Credit score: Leon Morris

#196. ‘Pigeon/Jundamurra’

Demented, VB-soaked rockabilly. Your endurance will range, in fact — however it’s fairly direct.

#195. ‘Invisible Me’

Pure, unabashed heartache.

#194. ‘Leah: The Sequel’

Through which Kelly surveys his personal discography, and provides one in every of his largest tunes a coda.

#193. ‘Proud Songsters’

A fluttering glide of a tune.

#192. ‘Nukkanya’

Attracts a complete world, after which locations you smack bang in the course of it.

#191. ‘Curly Crimson’

Extra Guthrie homage, however stuffed with the form of glowing wit and intelligence that’s fully Kelly’s personal.

#190. ‘Gathering Storm’

This large, lengthy unfurling temper piece. Like Prince gone rusted, or The Divine Comedy set to music and coated in filth.

#189. ‘Let’s Fall Once more’

Like a large, sunburnt subject.

#188. ‘The Reward That Retains On Giving’

Gentle, mirrored off a clear mirror.

#187. ‘Rising Moon’

Oddly pressing, stuffed with the spiky howls of Kelly’s voice at its most pained.

#186. ‘The place Had been You Once I Wanted You’

A dread prophecy, splitting aside with the load of all that fireside and brimstone.

#185. ‘Thornbills’

Scratchy and exquisite, like an elegy tapped into the highest of a tin field.

#184. ‘Rally Spherical The Drum’

A name to order.

#183. ‘Laborious Occasions’

Thrillingly by-the-numbers. Like somebody tried to strip out all of the specifics from Paul Kelly, simply to see what would possibly get left behind.

#182. ‘She’s A Melody’

Takes a single simile and pushes it so far as it is going to presumably go, to the purpose of absolute destruction.

#181. ‘Your Lovin’ Is On My Thoughts’

A lullaby for grown-ups.

#180. ‘Little Wolf’

A fairy story as retold by an previous drunk in a beer froth-splattered pub.

#179. ‘Rock Out On The Sea’

Love poetry written by somebody struggling by way of a spell of vertigo.

#178. ‘Petrichor’

Unusual and unhappy.

#177. ‘Down On The Jetty’

A mournful slice of the world, supplied up by an artist who so clearly adores his viewers.

#176. ‘Handed Over’

Kelly’s obsession with antiques might be hit or miss, however this tune, which mires itself in Australian historical past and reversion melodies, is a good-looking bit of labor.

#175. ‘Don’t Let A Good Factor Go’

A throbbing promise that issues do ultimately get higher.

#174. ‘Sonnet 18’

‘Sonnet 18’ features from borrowing from Shakespeare’s most well-known sonnet, and likewise from its easy, stripped-down manufacturing.

#173. ‘Someplace In The Metropolis’

A freight prepare.

#172. ‘Morning Storm’

Kelly at his most uplifted and clear-eyed.

#171. ‘Love Letter’

A tune Kelly wrote for his facet mission Professor Ratbaggy, ‘Love Letter’ is unfairly ignored in his discography — it’s a sturdy ballad, stuffed with heartache and pink wine.

#170. ‘Sonnets 44 And 45’

The tune that performs in your head when you’re making an attempt to get to mattress after a protracted day with a beloved.

#169. ‘Model New Methods’

Appears like a clear break.

#168. ‘Large Superb Lady’

A Raymond Carver quick story, set to spare instrumentation, and held in place by one in every of Kelly’s most understated choruses.

#167. ‘To Be Good Takes A Lengthy Time’

Soiled Three-inspired, lopsided chaos.

#166. ‘Shy Earlier than You Lord’

A tune delivered on one dropped knee.

#165. ‘A Bastard Like Me’

A very Kelly-esque try at reinvention, with the person casting himself as an all-time evil heel.

#164. ‘Positive Acquired Me’

A straight-up-and-down pop tune — unabashed and plain.

#163. ‘Ode To A Nightingale’

Paul Kelly and John Keats, collectively ultimately.

#162. ‘Each Day My Mom’s Voice’

Written for the soundtrack of The Remaining Quarter, a documentary concerning the virulent racism that Adam Goodes confronted all through his profession, it is a tune that confronts the ugliness of Australia head-on, whereas discovering resilience even within the ache. A brand new dwell model has simply been launched, which is greater than value your time.

#161. ‘Certain To Comply with (Aisling Track)’

A fever dream of a tune, about the way in which that the centre of actuality can drop clear out.

#160. ‘I Don’t Know What I’d Do’

Ferocious.

#159. ‘Glory Be To God’

This can be a Bible verse, tattooed onto the again of a preacher’s sunburned neck.

#158. ‘Large Coronary heart’

Kelly at his most direct, for higher and for worse. Principally higher.

#157. ‘Earlier than The Previous Man Died’

That organ!

#156. ‘Each Fucking Metropolis’

Nonetheless a shock to listen to Kelly swear, to be sincere.

#155. ‘What You Need’

A collection of deadly, shining hooks, organized to spell out traces of poetry.

#154. ‘My Man’s Acquired A Chilly’

Probably one of many strangest songs within the Kelly again catalogue, this tune strips down a relationship solely to its ugly components, as a vindictive lover recounts the flu that her companion is struggling by way of. Bizarre, and unpredictably attractive, and actually relatively good?

#153. ‘Sonnet 60’

Human our bodies, grown out of flowers.

#152. ‘I Odor Hassle’

Kelly hardly ever goes in for doom, however that is the tune that sees him at his most troubled and agitated, pacing small circles in his yard and predicting a group of apocalypses, each private and political.

#151. ‘You Broke A Stunning Factor’

A hymnal, written from the viewpoint of the patron saint of rejection.

#150. ‘Nothing However A Dream’

Elegant.

#149. ‘The Magpies’

Distinctly Australian, whereas additionally indebted to a complete host of European musical traditions. New and previous, at precisely the identical time.

#148. ‘Heavy Factor’

A burnt-out automotive sitting by the facet of an deserted street.

#147. ‘Gutless Marvel’

By no means piss off Paul Kelly, is what I’m studying right here.

#146. ‘Shane Warne’

Weirdly attractive!

#145. ‘Please Ship Me’

Pure.

#144. Rocking Establishment

About midway by way of, this tune splinters itself into absolute items, and it’s suave to look at.

#143. ‘Hope Is The Factor With Feathers’

Emily Dickinson’s most well-known poem resists straight translation, which is why it’s good that Kelly approaches the verse sideways with this musical model, making it stranger and subtler.

#142. ‘Currently’

Why are there fairly so many attractive songs on Wished Man? What was occurring for Paul that 12 months?

#141. ‘Can’t Assist You Now’

Kelly’s anger reduces all the things to its most straightforward, fundamental kind, right here — it’s as clear as a prayer, as jagged as a joke scrawled on a rest room door.

#140. ‘Beat Of Your Coronary heart’

Threatens to break down fully beneath its personal weight for the primary minute, however ultimately finds itself. Lopsided, however catchy.

#139. ‘I Want I Was A Prepare’

Comply with your desires, Paul!

#138. ‘I’d Quite Go Blind’

A tune locked in a briefcase after which thrown off the sting of a cliff. Like, in a great way.

#137. ‘Forty Miles to Saturday Evening’

The closest that Kelly ever got here to writing a hangout tune.

#136. ‘Righteous Lady’

The primary tune on The Merri Soul Classes to be sung by Kelly, ‘Righteous Lady’ is a paean to feminine need, dropped proper in the course of a report dominated by the feminine voice. Unusual and aching.

#135. ‘When We’re Each Previous And Mad’

A warped rocking chair, omitted within the rain.

#134. ‘With The One I Love’

Shattering.

#133. ‘Black Cockatoos’

An alleyway, caked in rain, in the course of the evening.

#132. ‘Summer time Rain’

Kelly at his most contemplative. A tune that calls for isolation — from the world; from your individual ideas. Simply sequester your self away, and let it occur to you.

#131. ‘Alive And Properly’

A whole assertion of self.

#130. ‘Hey Boys’

Rollicking.

#129. ‘You’re So Superb’

Treacle stirred right into a sizzling bowl of porridge.

#128. ‘Don’t Clarify’

Through which Kelly tries to return to his pub-rock roots, and recapture the previous. Additionally, about as melancholic as that train sounds.

#127. ‘Smells Like Rain’

Probably Kelly’s most elliptical observe. A ballad that comes at you sideways.

#126. ‘Forty-Eight Angels’

A sweet-as-sugar Christmas Carol of a tune.

#125. ‘The Windhover’

One in all Kelly’s darkest songs, due to its vagueness, not in regardless of of it. Like two arms reaching out into the darkish, hanging nothing.

#124. ‘The River Track’

It really takes somebody with Kelly’s expertise to create a compelling and exquisite tune out of a easy and direct description of the occasions of 1 single night.

#123. ‘Simply About To Break’

Perhaps essentially the most tragic, pathetic tune in the complete Paul Kelly again catalogue.

#122. ‘Little Bit O’ Sugar’

A haunted tune, stuffed with ghosts and ache.

#121. ‘You Can’t Take It With You’

The banjo duel from Deliverance. However like, means sadder.

#120. ‘I Shut My Eyes And Consider You’

Dylan pastiche. Good Dylan pastiche, although.

#119. ‘The Darkling Thrush’

Impossibly huge.

#118. ‘Preserve On Driving’

Given how completely suited his songs are for driving, it’s stunning that Kelly hasn’t written many songs about street journeys — save this one, a mild bop about heading out for the nation along with your mates.

#117. ‘When A Lady Loves A Man’

Pretty binary — in additional methods than one — however nonetheless, extraordinarily efficient, in its means.

#116. ‘She’s Uncommon’

Perhaps the prototypical Paul Kelly tune. So: fundamental, however fulfilling.

#115. ‘Chilly As Canada’

The story of a relationship within the means of going chilly, and freezing up. That harmonica solo cuts like a dagger.

#114. ‘Mudlarking’

Kelly’s most nuanced tune, a multitude of conflicting tones and emotions that doesn’t a lot finish because it does collapse in on itself.

paul kelly photo

Picture by way of Paul Kelly Fb

#113. ‘The Foggy Fields Of France’

Kelly actually has a factor for fog, hey?

#112. ‘The Bushes’

A forest glimpsed at dawn.

#111. ‘Preserve On Coming Again For Extra’

With its advanced manufacturing and poppy refrain, this barely seems like a Kelly tune in any respect — however it actually works, brimming with gentle and vitality.

#110. ‘Seagulls Of Seattle’

Unpretentious and clear.

#109. ‘Little Aches And Pains’

Kelly likes to chronicle the physique, and this tune, which sees the fallout from a love affair translated right into a collection of bodily aches that get smaller as time goes on, is perhaps his most profitable try at making love one thing that’s felt relatively than thought.

#108. ‘Leda And The Swan’

Gossamer-thin.

#107. ‘Saturday Evening To Sunday Morning’

Extra Kelly songs about intercourse! Only for you! As a deal with!

#106. ‘California’

A dustbowl with a melody plonked proper within the centre of it.

#105. ‘Roll On Summer time’

The sound of Kelly mendacity on his again in a subject, and singing each last item he can see.

#104. ‘Maralinga (Wet Land)’

Like a cool change on a Summer time day.

#103. ‘Know Your Mates’

Paul Kelly: our most sincere and direct chronicler of what mateship really means. Unhappy, torn-up, and exquisite.

#102. ‘We’ve Began A Fireplace’

Let you know what, Paul Kelly certain is aware of what to do with a harmonica.

#101. ‘A Barred Owl’

Disarmingly enjoyable.

#100. ‘Don’t Hurt The Messenger’

Geddit? Trigger his band was referred to as The Messengers! Additionally, this tune goddamn slaps.

#99. ‘Melting’

Disaster in slow-motion.

#98. ‘Ball And Chain’

To paraphrase Voltaire, if there wasn’t a Paul Kelly tune referred to as ‘Ball And Chain’, it could be essential to invent one.

#97. ‘Barn Owl’

Kelly making an attempt to fold his bluegrass part in on his minimalist one. Shockingly efficient.

#96. ‘Preserve It To Your self’

Beer-blanched, cigarette-stained magnificence.

#95. ‘Please Depart Your Gentle On’

An try at early Tom Waits-style balladry, ‘Please Depart Your Gentle On’ reduces a relationship to those naked, damaged phrases about “crawling within the filth” and begging for forgiveness. Heartbreaking.

#94. ‘Different Folks’s Homes’

A complete novel, compressed down right into a six-minute lengthy pop tune.

#93. ‘Perhaps This Time For Positive’

Doomed magnificence.

#92. ‘Sleep Australia Sleep’

A lullaby for a rustic that refuses to cease hurting itself.

#91. ‘The Loss of life Of The Fowl’

“For each chook there may be this final migration.”

#90. ‘I Was Hoping You’d Say That’

Surprisingly hard-edged.

#89. ‘Sweetest Factor’

Bluegrass Kelly meets pop-rock Kelly. Simpler than it in all probability needs to be.

#88. ‘The Ballad Of Queenie And Rover’

The story of Indigenous artists Queenie McKenzie and Rover Thomas, ‘The Ballad of Queenie and Rover’ mixes the political with the non-public to charming and highly effective impact. It’s about love — like all Kelly songs are — however concerning the issues that love can imply, and might do.

paul kelly photo

Picture by way of Paul Kelly Fb

#87. ‘Typically My Child’

A tune about absence and loss, set to a number of the prettiest, most light music that Kelly would ever write.

#86. ‘None Of Your Enterprise Now’

Blistering.

#85. ‘God’s Grandeur’

A singer-songwriter itemizing all the issues for which he’s grateful.

#84. ‘Mushrooms’

Kelly and Sylvia Plath won’t appear to be the obvious collaborators, however right here the previous units a poem by the latter to music, creating one thing delicate and eerie. Shouldn’t succeed, however one way or the other does.

#83. ‘Tease Me’

By no means thought you’d hear a Paul Kelly tune with a string of grunts carrying the melody, hey?

#82. ‘I’ve Been A Idiot’

That includes a guitar solo that seems like ten miles of unhealthy street.

#81. ‘Meet Me In The Center of the Air’

The picture of the shepherd is vital to the Kelly universe — a hard-working, lonely soul with sturdy connections to the Bible and religion. And right here, that picture is specified by hanging element, backed by haunted, cooed melodies.

#80. ‘Identical Previous Stroll’

Quick, brutal, lovely.

#79. ‘Josephina’

Kelly at his most playful, discovering nice enjoyment of pulling all of his toys out of their field.

#78. ‘For The Ages’

Through which Kelly thanks himself for being born similtaneously his beloved. Unbearably romantic.

#77. ‘Simply Like Animals’

That is one other Paul Kelly tune about intercourse, so your enjoyment of it will likely be fully depending on how a lot you wish to hear Paul Kelly singing about intercourse.

#76. ‘God’s Resort’

Nick Cave and Paul Kelly, collectively ultimately! A greater pairing than nuts and gum, however not higher than say, chocolate and peanut butter.

#75. ‘Charlie Owen’s Slide Guitar’

An ode to probably the most extraordinary entities on the earth — the issues that Charlie Owen can do to a guitar.

#74. ‘Crosstown’

Solely Paul Kelly might sing a complete tune about cross-city transit and one way or the other make it essentially the most transferring factor in the complete world.

#73. ‘Cities of Texas’

A white plaster poem.

#72. ‘Earlier than Too Lengthy’

A dream.

#71. ‘Ghost City’

Sadly not a Paul Kelly cowl of the tune by The Specials. Nonetheless. Fairly good!

#70. ‘She Solutions The Solar (Lazy Bones)’

Paul Kelly and a double bass = match made in heaven.

#69. ‘Sydney From A 727’

Interstate airplane journey by no means sounded so romantic.

#68. ‘Track From The Sixteenth Flooring’

A tune that echos in your for days.

#67. ‘Gonna Be Good’

One other Kelly tune about making an attempt to make one thing of your self throughout making an attempt occasions.

#66. ‘Cherry’

Yeah you gotta have a thousand eyes/To maintain from going beneath“. Spare, gutsick poetry.

#65. ‘Blue Stranger’

As old-school as Kelly has ever gotten. Like one thing dredged out of the previous.

Picture by way of Paul Kelly Fb

#64. ‘Give In To My Love’

A collapsing constructing.

#63. ‘Fall Man’

Kelly does self-deprecation with extra humour, gentle and life than every other Australian musician, save for possibly Courtney Barnett.

#62. ‘Letter In The Rain’

So many Paul Kelly songs are about glory, however that is the tune that almost all seeks it out, finding transcendence in all the things from the breaking daybreak to dew on leaves.

#61. ‘Further Mile’

You possibly can see the entire world from right here.

#60. ‘Emotions Of Grief’

‘Atmospheric’ isn’t essentially the phrase you’d all the time affiliate with Kelly, however right here he trades his typical literalism with unusual, esoteric melodies and a number of the vaguest poetry of his profession.

#59. ‘Oldest Story In The Ebook’

Kelly goes conventional, stripping his songwriting right down to its barest, most important components.

#58. ‘Look So Superb, Really feel So Low’

That title could possibly be Kelly’s mission assertion…

#57. ‘The Method Love Used To Be’

… And so might this one.

#56. ‘Bicentennial’

Kelly does Springsteen. It’s enjoyable!

#55. ‘The Lion And The Lamb’

A Biblical verse, set to a chugging, stable melody. Wild {that a} tune this direct and easy was co-written by 5 totally different musicians.

#54. ‘Smoke Beneath the Bridge’

Kelly’s all the time beloved ending his albums with a shot of pure, unvarnished heartbreak. This is perhaps essentially the most heartbreaking one.

#53. ‘Little Kings’

Kelly’s falsetto seems like a shower tub of shattered glass.

#52. ‘My Method Is To You’

An extended, unhappy checklist of Kelly’s self-perceived failures.

#51. ‘Whistling Fowl’

A hoedown. However, like about melancholy.

#50. ‘I’m On Your Facet’

Heartfelt and exquisite.

#49. ‘Right down to My Soul’

Kelly’s relationship with religion is difficult, however that is the tune that almost all clearly lays out how his non secular universe works — a hymn to magnificence, love, religion and kindness.

#48. ‘Gunnamatta’

One lengthy, rattling jam session.

#47. ‘Take Your Time’

Compact.

#46. ‘Troublesome Lady’

A spaghetti western theme tune left to chill on a windowsill.

#45. ‘Love By no means Runs On Time’

Historic and exquisite.

#44. ‘Stunning Feeling’

Probably Kelly’s most spectacular guitar solo.

#43. ‘I’ll Forgive However I Received’t Neglect’

The uncommon “offended Paul Kelly.” Crawls on all fours.

#42. ‘I Can’t Imagine We Had been Married’

Ouch.

#41. ‘New Discovered Yr’

A tune about discovering your self, to your nice shock, genuinely pleased.

#40. ‘Candy Man’

Impossibly bold — an try to inform the story of an abusive love affair — and extra proof that Kelly can smuggle just about something right into a pop tune.

#39. ‘It’s All Downhill From Right here’

Heartbreaking.

#38. ‘Incident On South Dowling’

The beginning of one thing very particular in Kelly’s profession; a brand new form of readability and intention that he’d by no means proven earlier than. Magnificence.

#37. ‘Gossip’

Probably the most profitable iterations of Kelly’s rock personas, a straight-up-and-down belter that additionally occurs to carry extra emotional nuance than most musicians cowl of their complete profession.

#36. ‘Lenny (To Stay Is to Burn)’

What’s higher than this: simply guys being dudes.

#35. ‘I Received’t Be Your Canine Anymore’

Heartworn and ragged.

#34. ‘Received’t You Come Round?’

One lengthy, effervescent crescendo.

#33. ‘Would You Be My Pal’

This tune will get even sweeter for those who think about Paul Kelly standing at your door, surrounded by pouring rain, singing it to you.

#32. ‘Midnight Rain’

One lengthy checklist of the issues that Paul Kelly hates himself for (once more).

#31. ‘Phrases And Music’

That introduction: a complete avalanche, dropping down exactly onto your head.

#30. ‘Brighter’

Blowing on his blue arms” — Kelly at his most assonant, spare and truthful.

#29. ‘Luck’

Frugal and exquisite.

#28. ‘I Wasted Time’

Cribs from the everlasting sadboi Hamlet to craft the everlasting sadboi anthem. “Lady you shoulda seen me in my prime/I see previous buddies at funerals from time to time.”

#27. ‘I Had Forgotten You’

Bitter as a tablet.

#26. ‘Leaps And Bounds’

There’s no human being in the complete world who can’t be received over to Kelly by these first 20 seconds.

#25. ‘Tales of Me’

A whole way of life, remodeled into tune.

#24. ‘Beneath the Solar’

A thousand miles huge.

#23. ‘Most Wished Man within the World’

A gradual waltz.

#22. ‘Blush’

A handful of crushed-up diamonds.

#21. ‘Untouchable’

Paul Kelly’s voice has by no means ached like this earlier than.

#20. ‘Once I First Met Your Ma’

There is perhaps no different Australian musician who exudes empathy in the way in which that Paul Kelly does, significantly on this tune. Thrums with a love for different individuals. All of them.

#19. ‘Careless’

A musical apology. A complete particular person laid naked. Simply unbeatable.

#18. ‘And Loss of life Shall Have No Dominion’

One other tune born of Kelly’s obsession with verse, ‘And Loss of life Shall Have No Dominion’ matches a Dylan Thomas poem with one in every of his most sprightly melodies. Odd, however splendidly so.

#17. ‘Stolen Apples Style The Sweetest’

Saint Augustine is one in every of Kelly’s heroes, and right here the debt that he owes the theologian is at its clearest, as he crafts a tune of religion and devotion off the again of one of many key moments from Augustine’s Confessions.

#16. ‘Change Your Thoughts’

Slowly builds itself to pure, existential heartbreak. Like the tip of the world.

#15. ‘With Animals’

Kelly has typically sung about his hermit-like nature; about his rejection of the world of people. Right here, that mercurial side is defined by way of a love of the animal kingdom, and Kelly’s need to sink right into a world with out phrases. Charming.

#14. ‘Winter Coat’

A whole relationship, lowered to at least one tiny, completely inconsequential element.

#13. ‘If I Might Begin At this time Once more’

A compression of all of Kelly’s pursuits: historical past, poetry, faith, and religion. Like a roadmap to his complete world.

#12. ‘All the pieces’s Turning To White’

Solely Paul Kelly would take one of many biggest quick tales ever written — Raymond Carver’s ‘So A lot Water, So Shut To House’ — and switch it right into a paean to forgiveness and hope. A piece of lopsided genius.

#11. ‘From St Kilda To Kings Cross’

A tune with its arms huge, huge open.

#10. ‘Lowdown’

Angular, lovely, imply, it’s Kelly shaving down his abilities to a advantageous level. He’s by no means sounded fairly as vindictive as he does right here, his voice cartwheeling in every single place, turning on itself. Actually a piece of vicious, madcap artwork.

#9. ‘God Advised Me To’

Kelly goes alt-rock, combining the rantings of a Travis Bickle-type with reverb-saturated guitars. There’s a motive Kelly by no means returned to this model once more — it’s not precisely in his wheelhouse — however as a one-off curio, it’s surprisingly efficient and imply. Like a little bit of metallic, sharpened to some extent, and shoved into the small of your again once you’re least anticipating it.

#8. ‘You’re 39, You’re Stunning And You’re Mine’

“I don’t discuss all that a lot,” Kelly sings, “about how I really feel and such.” A paean not solely to like, then, but in addition to the facility of songwriting: of the way it can present a substitute, for when the spoken phrase received’t do. Simply bliss.

#7. ‘They Thought I Was Asleep’

Kelly’s curiosity makes him a pure in the case of writing from the angle of kids. ‘They Thought I Was Asleep’, a tune about catching a glimpse of the grownup world when you find yourself nonetheless an harmless, ripples with that curiosity, as the person displays tragically on the second that he found what was occurring behind the drawn curtains of his dad or mum’s marriage.

#6. ‘Deeper Water’

Kelly’s component has all the time been water — what else for a person with a voice like a creek mattress within the summertime? On this elegiac, barely tragic tune, he sinks himself again into the previous.

And he encourages his listeners to sink themselves into it too, changing into one with a complete physique of labor, and a complete means of understanding the world.

#5. ‘From Little Issues Large Issues Develop’

Kelly’s not all the time a politically-minded singer-songwriter; his music examines very fundamental human relations, not the issues that occur after we get collectively and begin legislating one another.

Certainly, ‘From Little Issues Large Issues Develop’, the closest he ever got here to writing an anthem, Kelly retains that macro-level view. It’s a tune a couple of motion, however it’s additionally a tune about individuals — concerning the ways in which we blossom and alter. It’s Kelly and co-writer Kev Carmody, decreasing a complete motion to at least one astonishing, understated sentiment.

#4. ‘Life Is Superb’

Kelly’s by no means been one for self-mythologising, even in interviews or on report. In each circumstances, he retains the listener at one thing like arm’s distance, taking the Bob Dylan route of showing like an enigmatic and barely alien poet.

However ‘Life is Superb’ bucks that development. On this tune, one in every of our nation’s most completed and proficient musicians seems to be again over his complete profession, and considers his influence on the world round him and the people who he loves. Magisterial.

#3. ‘How To Make Gravy’

No matter crime Joe dedicated doesn’t change the spare, elegant poetry of this tune — an off-kilter piece of pure genius, melancholy and uplifting in equal measure.

In spite of everything, just about each tune that Paul Kelly ever wrote is about the identical factor — tips on how to look after different individuals — and that is the tune that makes that specific. It’s a recipe for gravy, in fact. But it surely’s additionally a recipe for ensuring that your family members are secure.

There’s no songwriter who might compress a lifetime, a household dynamic, and a mind-set about each other, right into a tune this compact and chic. Not to mention sneak a fairly rattling unbeatable recipe for gravy within the center, on high of all the things else.

#2. ‘Dumb Issues’

Kelly’s not precisely recognized for his choruses — the person’s a storyteller, firstly, and his songs are sometimes difficult and nuanced relatively than insistent and plain. That’s, aside from ‘Dumb Issues’. A bunch of vehicles pushed off the highest of a skyscraper, it’s this large, impossibly rollicking factor, held in place by one of many catchiest choruses within the man’s again catalogue.

That’s not the one means the tune breaks the mould, both. It’s additionally joyously ugly. So typically, Kelly’s songs make even disrepair sound elegant — right here, he doubles down on the grit and the filth of the universe, making all of human existence appear to be one lengthy, painful bout of struggling with out no clear finish. What different Australian tune is that this visceral? This alive to the way in which that we damage one another?

Oh, and it birthed an unbelievable cowl, too.

#1. ‘To Her Door’

‘To Her Door’ isn’t simply the most effective Paul Kelly tune; it’s additionally the most Paul Kelly tune. Just about each part of his profession is represented right here, from his days as a pub-rock titan, to his softer, quieter latter work.

There’s the unhappiness that’s turn into a Kelly staple, and there’s the humour and the sunshine, too. And there’s the eager eye for element — the power to select up on the tiny ways in which we reveal ourselves, each single day, and to attract a complete relationship out of these miniature moments.

Few songs are this sleek; this elegant. The entire world exists in ‘To Her Door’.


Joseph Earp is a workers author at Junkee. He tweets @Joseph_O_Earp.

Picture Credit score: Cybele Malinowski





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