Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)

Composed by Chris Difford / Glenn Tilbrook

Song Review by

In nearly any other new wave band's hands, "Pulling Mussels From the Shell" would have been unbearably smug. An episodic description of a typical middle-class seaside holiday, perfect in its detailed descriptions and subtly tweaking suburban conventions ("You wish you had a motorboat to pose around the harbor bar/And when the sun goes out to bed, you hook it up behind the car"), the song isn't in any way cruel or mean-spirited; Chris Difford's lyrics put the singer right in the middle of the action, not archly commenting upon it from above. Compare this to XTC's "Respectable Street," released around the same time. More importantly, Glenn Tilbrook's catchy tune and the power popish, guitar-based arrangement bring Squeeze out of the new wave hole their synth-heavy previous album, Cool For Cats, had dug for them.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Argybargy 1980 A&M / Virgin EMI
Singles 45's and Under 1982 A&M 3:59
A Round & A Bout (Live) 1990 Capitol 4:04
It's Over 1993 A&M
Greatest Hits 1994 A&M / Mercury / Universal 4:00
Alterno-Daze: Origin of the Species -- 2000 BC To ? 1995
Various Artists
Rebound Records 4:01
No Image 1996 A&M 3:57
Piccadilly Collection 1996 A&M 3:58
Wlir-Kives: Pulls the Plug 1997
Various Artists
Restaurant Records 3:10
Six of One... 1997 Import 3:58
Master Series 1998 Polygram 3:58
MTV Unplugged: Superstars 2000
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
VH1: The Best of Where Are They Now 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 3:58
Alterno-Daze 2001
Various Artists
Special Product / MCA
Big Squeeze: The Very Best of Squeeze 2002 Universal International
Greatest Hits [DVD] 2003 Cherry Red / Pinnacle
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Squeeze 2004 Universal Distribution 4:00
Gold 2005 Polystar / Universal 3:58
Power Pop Anthems 2005
Various Artists
Virgin/EMI 3:58
The Squeeze Story 2006 Spectrum Music / Universal 3:56
No Image 2006
Various Artists
Sony BMG 4:00
Essential Squeeze 2007 UMVD
5 Live 2007 Love Records 4:06
Spot the Difference 2010 Love 3:59
No Image
Various Artists
Uncut Music 3:59
Fade to Grey: 1980-1984
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 3:59
Summer: Ultimate Collection
Various Artists
blue highlight denotes editor's pick