The big beef with singles is whether or not they're even worth buying at all; especially when half the songs featured on a particular single are also on a band's full-length CD, which normally only costs a few more bucks. So, considering that the first two tracks here are both on Her Majesty The Decemberists, it's down to "Sunshine" and "Everything I Try To Do, Nothing Seems To Turn Out Right" to save this single. And while they may not completely bring it to thrive, they do keep it afloat.
"Billy Liar" and "Los Angeles, I'm Yours" needn't be reviewed. They are both superb, but head over to Her Majesty if you're only interested in them. Because, really, you shouldn't be buying this single instead of Her Majesty, but rather in addition to it. "Sunshine", a short little ditty, seems to be the kind of song you'd expect to find on a single. Nothing is really wrong with the song; it's a nice, uplifting tune for a b-side, but compared to album tracks and "Everything..." it doesn't quite measure up. The real treasure here is in fact "Everything I Try To Do, Nothing Seems To Turn Out Right". Unlike some other choice Decemberists tracks (including "Billy Liar"), the music here takes a back seat to Colin's voice and the words and the way he sings them. It's not that the lyrics are all that revolutionary--coming from a band that's brought us such words as 'fecundity' and 'picaresque'--but they are just so depressing and monotone that you have to be impressed. If you're in a 'down' mood, it's the perfect tune to keep you there and make you feel good about it.
Finally, please do not buy this unless you own Her Majesty, love it, and can't seem to get enough of their positive/negative demeanor and vocabulary-broadening lyrics. Only then will you find pleasure in this slightly-above-average single and two songs you can't find anywhere else in The Decemberists catalog.