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An imperfect Lemonheads song is nonetheless fantastic

In Hear ThisA.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, we asked: “What’s your favorite song sung by an actor?”

I’ve always loved and been a bit frustrated by “Mallo Cup” by The Lemonheads. My first experience with the song was via a cassette bootleg—purchased on the street in London, circa 1993—and it was delivered live by singer/sole remaining member Evan Dando accompanied only by an acoustic guitar. The album version, from 1989’s Lick, alternates between two bands of the day, R.E.M. and Dinosaur Jr., grabbing the former’s simple jangle and the latter’s fuzz. I’ve always wished for a better-recorded version, because I love the song itself so much. (Yeah, I know, blasphemy, etc.) And I’m always a little torn by the lyrics, because “Mallo Cup” features some of my favorite Dando lines (“Here I am outside your house at 3 a.m. / tryin’ to think you out of bed”) and at least one that makes me cringe a bit (“Like mackerel in a net / I forget to forget”). Still, even with all of these misgivings, I absolutely love “Mallo Cup.” Not long after “Mallo Cup” came the band’s brief golden era, with It’s A Shame About Ray—whose popularity (not to mention Dando’s selection as one of People’s 50 Most Beautiful People) led to Dando’s very brief acting career, which included scenes in Reality Bites and Heavy.