0405: “Sleep on the Left Side” by Cornershop

Cornershop scored a cult hit here in the States in 1997 with “Brimful of Asha,” a brilliant and catchy little number that meshed the band’s Middle Eastern flavor of Britpop and electronic music. “Brimful of Asha” is the second track on When I Was Born for the 7th Time and it is legitimately terrific; that guitar hook is as catchy today as it was twenty years ago. It is the opening track, “Sleep on the Left Side,” though, that is the crown jewel of the album. It’s starts with a brief accordion played in a French melody before shifting to a bass-heavy beat that is mellow, to the point of sounding like the auditory equivalent of dispensary quality weed. But weed analogies aside, “Sleep on the Left Side” is a jaw-dropping track that mixes psychedelia with modern production polish. Samples of flutes whir by airily and keyboards sound like they’ve been played backward in such a way that the song sounds newer while also capturing the essence of the late ’60s. This song, with its creative textures and dreamlike lyrics, could have appeared on Sgt. Pepper’s. I can absolutely imagine Lennon or Harrison singing “Sleep on the left side/Leave the right side free/Hope gets salted/As those around you leave.” Some people may hear this track as an oddity not worth revisiting, but to me this is music joy. One of the best songs from the ’90s that you probably have never heard.


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