Sunday, February 7, 2010

John Denver - "Calypso" from the album Windsong
The Butthole Surfers - "Bar-B-Q Pope" from the album Butthole Surfers

John Denver Windsong album coverThink, when buying Butthole Surfer material, on how they fucked Corey Rusk over but good
My Melanie is going through another one of her Heino phases. For the past two weeks, she's been running around saying ridiculous things like, "Heino is the greatest singer of the free world," and "I can't imagine a world without Heino."

And just this morning, after having posted the cover image on her Facebook page earlier in the week, she cracked open Great Hits No. 5 and started playing it at a volume so that the cats and I could hear it loud and clear. "Who could forget this great hit?" she called out ecstatically to me--to the world, really--as one of the German language tracks began to play, the cheese oozing prodigiously out despite the linguistic barrier, maybe it was "Das Alpenrosenlied" or perhaps "Es zogen auf sonnigen Wegen."

That's right, folks; it's been schlagers up the wazoo, here at the La Historia main offices.

And needless to say, it's been irony overload, too. I mean, more power to Melanie. If you can't have fun with your music--or actually someone else's--then what can you have fun with? Other than sex and booze and drugs and movies and cats, of course.

But never mind all of that: just so I can be square on the subject, I'll ask Melanie whether she really likes Heino, and it's infuriating because she won't give me a straight answer. She'll look me in the eye, though, and tell me "Heino's the BEST," and "I won't have you making insinuations about Heino."

It's as if I'm trapped in a recursive loop of irony; I can't escape. I'm like, "OK, honey, I love you. Now step outside the funny joke for a moment and speak plainly, without the ironic detachment. Just so I can know one way or the other whether you really like this artist, this horrible, horrible artist."

And she'll say "Heino's GREAT!"

If Melanie doesn't cycle on to a new phase, Tom Lehrer, Esquivel, shoegazer, Pee Shy, the early 80's New Wave, whatever, sometime soon, I think my brain's gonna explode.

But if or when the old cranium does go kablooey, it won't be Melanie's fault, not really. I'll instead blame it on the postmodernists, through whose baleful influence we have now arrived at a place where it's strictly optional, for your lovely girlfriend, or for anyone else, to say when making a reference whether they actually like the thing they're referring to or not.

It's all about the obscuring shroud of the blithely disengaged, baby.

American Psycho Paperback cover
Christ, it can get frustrating. Ever wonder what Bret Easton Ellis actually thinks about Huey Lewis and the News, or about Genesis? He gives each a whole fucking chapter in American Psycho and you still don't know!

Or switching from books to music, how about our lovable and unquestionably postmodern Butthole Surfers? "Bar-B-Q Pope" literally calls out snippets from "Calypso." But the ironic and bemused detachment the band wears like some kind of psychedelic shawl prevents the listener from figuring out what the band really thinks about the source material they've just ripped off! Talk about a fear of commitment . . . .

Come on guys, just come down on one side of the fence or the other, just once, you know? It can't possibly hurt.

Check it out: Just broadly speaking now, Genesis were ambitious, but arch and pedantic early on, then became, with some few exceptions, a load of crap. Huey Lewis and his band were so generic in concept that it precluded greatness, but they were still able to make some pretty good singles. "Bad is Bad" is good, if you know what I'm saying.

And "Calypso," despite its unapologetically lush orchestration, and despite its singer's decidedly uncool granolahead reputation, gives me the chills everytime I hear it, it's so very pretty.

It's all about the music, people. If I can disregard the fact that Sid Vicious made a habit of kicking his fans in the balls, and still enjoy "Pretty Vacant," or if I can at least get past the sad fact when I hearSex Pistols' Pretty Vacant 7-inch "Lipstick Vogue" that Elvis Costello called Ray Charles a "blind ignorant nigger," then why the fuck should I care what the skinheads or the Talking Head snobs think about John Denver?

Gibby, Bret, let me tell ya: it kind of feels good, letting the world know where you stand.

I don't care what those waffling postmodernists say. It may indeed all be grist for the mill; nonetheless, there's no reason at all to hedge your bets. This blog (along with most of the others) is proof enough.

John Denver - Windsong - 11 - Calypso.mp3

This file was removed May 22, 2010. If you're still way interested in coming up with a copy of this--and really can't figure out where you might get one--drop me an email and I'm sure I'll be able to figure something out for you.

File under: Granolaheads, Singer-songwriter

The Butthole Surfers - The Butthole Surfers - 04 Bar-B-Q Pope.mp3

This file was removed May 22, 2010. If you're still way interested in coming up with a copy of this--and really can't figure out where you might get one--drop me an email and I'm sure I'll be able to figure something out for you.

File under: Pigfuck, Postpunk, the Dreaded Ironic Detachment


tad said...

R: Well I dunno about Heino, but I'm sure John Denver would Njoy Bing mentioned/referred-2 by the Buttholes & having the connection amplified-on in yr blog. He DID have a sense of humor, sorta. NEbody who could do "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Rocky Mountain High," "Farewell, Andromeda," "I'd Rather Be A Cowboy," "Calypso" & "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" HAD 2 B laffing about SOMETHING. (Didja ever C his special w/ the Muppets?: "Far Eastern!")
Speaking of ironic detachment, how bout JD's songs about flying ("Leaving on a Jet Plane," "Fly Away," etc.) & the cause of his death, eh? THAT'S ironic.
I dunno. What was my point? There's just no Xplaining why some people like some music -- it's Byond "taste," like why I like John Denver, even more as the yrs go by. (Tho not EVERYTHING by him 4 Ghod's sake, I'm not ready 4 that much brain damage yet.) After all, JD has more great songs (at least 5) than oh, say Whitney Houston or even Huey Lewis & the News.
Great stuff, as always. I GOTTA track down some Butthole Surfers. Where would U suggest I start? I'd needta start w/ something not-2-Xtreme, I just got thru Van der Graaf.... -- TAD.

Richard Harland Smith said...

I used to like "Calypso." I think it was the yodeling.

rastronomicals said...

Tad-- I'm only familiar with the Surfers up through the atypical Independent Worm Saloon. Everything prior to that is going to be unavoidably extreme. Anything after that from what I understand is not going to be the stuff they got famous for. Maybe you'll like Electriclarryland, or would like their cover of "Hurdy Gurdy Man," although they aren't, um, vintage Buttholes.

My personal favorite is Psychic, Powerless . . . Another Man's Sac. Although it IS weird and extreme, I find it hard to imagine people not liking "Cherub."

Richard -- thanks for stopping by again. The Wikipedia article entiled "Schlagers" mentions that the form, with its Volksmusik roots, sometimes employs yodelling. Totally wasn't going in that direction, but YET MORE CONNECTIVE TISSUE, amazing.

I wonder if Heino yodels?