When she's not dropping everything to catch up on Twin Peaks, transatlantic troubadour Amy Rigby sings, writes, and performs some of the funniest and some of the most heartbreaking songs you've ever heard. Sometimes she does both in the same number. "Balls" is an all-out rock'n'roll barnburner that captures the frustration and excitement of desire with anger and several great punch lines. It's nasty, it's welcoming. It's as confusing and wonderful and awful as your life. Did I mention the slide guitar? Did I mention how Amy tosses off the aside "this one's gonna hurt"? Did I mention it's on two great albums: The Sugar Tree (along with "Rode Hard," another greatest song of all time of the week candidate and perhaps the most convincing argument for bad behavior on disc this side of "Dead Flowers") and 18 Again (a terrific greatest hits record, but all her records are greatest hits records)?
WARNING: The YouTube clip below, however worthy, is not the version I've just raved about. It's a live solo acoustic version, the only take available on the Interwebs. Rigby's song is great in any context, but you've got to see and hear her as a bandleader to get the full sense of how brilliant she is. Anyone out there got any full-band footage to share? The rest of you: invest 99 cents and buy the song at your favorite online outlet. It'll be the smartest and longest-lasting buck you spend today (do you really need another cup of coffee)?