Friday, October 20, 2006

Deceptively Creepy

Today in Music History:

In 1962, Bobby 'Boris' Pickett and the Crypt Kickers started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Monster Mash'.
headless HomercatLet us continue with our Halloween theme and serve up some more creepy songs for the listening pleasure of the headless homercat. There are some songs that when first heard you would think, hey that's a nice upbeat tune. On repeated listens you finally figure out the lyrics and are horrified by what the song is actually about. These type of songs don't usually sound dark or morose in any way, but the lyrics sends chills down your spine.

My first example of such a song is by The Kinks. The song is called Art Lover and sounds very nice and mellowish and very pleasant. By the end of the song you realize it's about a pedophile stalking his prey. By the time Ray Davies sings
Little girl dont notice me
Watching as she innocently plays.
She cant see me staring at her
Because Im always wearing shades
one is totally creeped out. A song that first sounded so nice, now gives you the heebies.
Art Lover by The Kinks
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The Talking Heads explored all kinds of music forms and managed to get into the rock and Roll Hall of Fame before Alice Cooper or KISS. One song off their Little Creatures album is a deceptively upbeat song about torturing a little baby by keeping it awake 'all night long'!"
Stay Up Late by The Talking Heads
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The textbook American cult band of the 1980s, the Violent Femmes captured the essence of teen angst with remarkable precision; raw and jittery, the trio's music found little commercial success but nonetheless emerged as the soundtrack for the lives of troubled adolescents everywhere. Country Death Song from the album "Hallowed Ground" goes down that upbeat, eerie road.
You wanna know how to take a short trip to Hell? Just take your lovely daughter and throw her in a well.
The dynamics of this song are incredible. The intense build up of the singer's utter dispair really pulls you into the story. Turn the volume way up on this one so you can feel the crash as the little girls body hits bottom!
Country Death Song by The Violent Femmes (rs)
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Oingo Boingo had success in the eighties with their quirky, danceable tunes. One gets the sense that the band was always far more interested in having fun with their music than anything else. While almost all of their stuff very uptempo and very slam danceable, most of the lyrics were horrible awful stuff. Very dark and despairing. In Just Another Day, Elfman sings,
I had a dream last night / The world was set on fire
And everywhere I ran / There wasn't any water
The temperature increased / The sky was crimson red
The clouds turned into smoke / And everyone was dead

That's some apocalyptic stuff and depressing but the music is jammin. My favorite Boingo song is Dead Man's Party, sounds very up yet once again Elfman sings,
I'm all dressed up with nowhere to go
Walkin' with a dead man over my shoulder
Waiting for an invitation to arrive
Goin' to a party where no one's still alive

Just Another Day by Oingo Boingo
Dead Man's Party by Oingo Boingo
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The Tragically Hip are Canada's best kept secret, a national treasure that haven't become big anywhere else and that's just the way they like it. The band is immensely popular in Canada. They have never found great success in the United States, but have never specifically sought it. In addition to their energetic live performances, the band are also noted for their often improvisational renditions of songs. Lead singer Gordon Downie often strays from the lyrical path to rant to the audience or wander off into fictitious monologues and conversations. The most famous live monologue is the "killerwhaletank" version of "New Orleans is Sinking", recorded at The Roxy Theatre, LA, May 3, 1991. During the song, Downie tells the story of how he worked as a diver in a killer whale tank only to have his arm ripped off. Other notable monologues include the "Police Frogman" version of "New Orleans is Sinking" (Gord rescues a family trapped in their car at the bottom of a frozen lake), the "Double Suicide" version of "Highway Girl" (in which Downie "accidentally" shoots his girlfriend) and the "Japanese Exchange Student" version of "At the Hundredth Meridian" (the day before Halloween, Downie accidentally shoots a Japanese student trick or treating). Seems like Gord likes to rant on about death in some kind of incarnation. I've got the Highway Girl/Double Suicide version which I'll post here.
Highway Girl/Double Suicide by The Tragically Hip
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We're winding down here so I'm going to leave off with those types of tuunes and go on to a couple of others. So you say you want scary. Here comes scary. Why is it scary you ask? Well it's so damn good it's scary. Especially considering who did this song. It's got a chugging riff, a guitar and keyboard that will rip your ears off and a metal vibe that kicks ass. What makes this song so scary is that it's an Osmonds song, who knew they could rock so damn hard? Homercat did!! The Osmonds never got the props they deserved. They actually wrote their own music and played their own instruments. yeah, some of their songs are treacly, but alot of them rock and rock nasty hard like this track. You can pick up this album at Amazon for $500.
Crazy Horses by The Osmonds
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Finally for a really creepy freak your head scary tune to close this post with, I have to turn to the master of all creepines, Alice Cooper. Actually these are two different songs but have to be listened to together as one to hear the full story and get the full "chill your bones" effect. Although they stand well on their own. Truly a classic moment in creep rock.
Years Ago by Alice Cooper
Steven by Alice Cooper
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Everyone have a safe weekend and I'll try to get over this dang cold I've acquired and be back to finish up this series next week.

Funny Toon