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Ninjas, WTF and Sister Christian: Your Morning Mix

Must.Keep.Eyes.Open. Can't. Dumb dreams about black helicopters and exploding dogs. Fending off stealth ninjas with cardboard swords is very tiring. Yea, I've got another one of those long tirades coming up about nanny governments, but there is no way in hell I can write it now without lapsing into a non sequiter about dogs, ninjas and helicopters. So, that WTF movies thread went over so well yesterday, I think I'll take Josh's suggestion of WTF songs and run with it now, thus giving me time to get my act together, yet still fulfilling my morning obsessive/compulsive need to have content here before 8am. So, this is what Josh said: bq. How about a WTF music thread. I nominate early Laurie Anderson "Big Science", "America 1-5", "Oh Superman", "Let x=x", "Walk the dog". It's too early for me to think of one. But you can go right ahead. [And I know how you wise asses like to throw Sister Christian into any music thread here, so be forewarned. Don't do it.]

[Holy Night Ranger, Batman. There are three pages of references to Sister Christian on this site. That's just sad, man.]

Comments

What exactly qualifies as "WTF music"?

If it means music where you're wondering WTF they're saying, I guess Louie Louie wins hands down.

If it means music where you're left wondering WTF the song is supposed to mean, then I'd vote for Blinded By The Light.

If it means music where you're wondering WTF made somebody play something so awful on your radio, and WTF made millions of people think such crap was good, wow...it'd be hard to pick just one. I guess I'd go with Hangin' Tough?

Motoring...

Damn, Dave beat me in two out of three catagories.

WTF were people thinking when they thought "Everybody Hurts" needed to be played in public?

"Lump" by Presidents of the United States of America.

Love the song, and the whole CD that its on is WTF? "Peaches" etc.

A lot of the stuff "Was (Not Was)" ever did pretty much qualifies. They had a bunch of beat poetry type spoken-word vignettes set to music interspersed on their albums. One that stands out in particular was just a guy screaming over and over again "HELLO DAD, I'M IN JAIL!"

Weird stuff.

Heh, go figure. I think that Hello Dad song is great stuff. In a WTF sort of way.

How about the entire Doors catalog?

(I like The Doors, by the way, but it's pretty clear that Morrison wasn't inhabiting the same plane of reality as the rest of us).

"People Are People"

Tautology masquerading as deep social commentary.

Yeah, I like it too. WTF music isn't always bad. Often, but not always.

Different Bill. I feel that way about LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of songs. That's another good category, the songs that make you say "please kill me now" whenever you're forced to listen to them.

I started to make a list, but deleted it because I couldn't live with myself for putting those songs in people's heads. I'm not a bad person.

Dave, "blinded by the light" reminds me that in the 70's everyone was taking acid. I know all that wierdness too well. And a lot of that music wasn't innovative, it was just written on or about acid trips. When everyone is doing it, it's almost normal you know.

But I guess a lot of "WTF" songs have normal sounding music.

The B G's "Holiday" was a surprise the first time really listened to the lyrics:
Millions of eyes can see
Why am I so blind
That someone else is me,
it's unkind, it's unkind

That's a WTF moment!

I'm much more interested in hearing about strange music I'm not aware of than about 60 and 70's acid rock (and pop), some of which is still under heavy rotation on some stations.
Obligatory acid song list:
McCarthur Park
A bunch of Beatles songs (Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, Lucy..SD)
Lighter Shade of Pale
Cat Stevens: 18th avenue, House of Freezing Steel

Everything Pink Floyd ever wrote - except that I think depression rather than acid is the Pink Floyd's inspiration - they've been replaced by Radio Head more recently.

Now dig up more interesting stuff than me!

"Walk the Dinosaur".
I thought the video would help me to understand. I was wrong.

Sigue Sigue Sputnik's 'Love Missle F-111'

Well, there's good WTF -- i.e. "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" -- then there's bad WTF -- "Doll Parts." Then, there's How-did-this-crap-ever-get-recorded-WTF. "Push the Little Daisies."

Abracadabra by the Steve Miller Band
"Abracadabra Im gonna reach out and grab Ya" WTF???

Love is like oxygen
You get too much you get too high
Not enough and you gonna die
Love gets you high

most anything by They Might Be Giants, Icecubes, Rush and Yes.

Oh, I dunno, Hen. I liked "Constantinople" -- especially the video on "Tiny Toon Adventures."

oops i meant Sugarcubes, not Icecubes (the Icelandic band with Bjork).

hey i love They Might BE Giants, but "Particle Man"? "Birdhouse in your soul"?

Actually, while a little tipsy the other night, I tried to figure out what Birdhous in Your Soul is all about. And I did!

No, scratch that. It was "Don't Let's Start."

Okay, now I'm probably giving away my age, but Lucretia My Reflection by Sisters of Mercy.

I hear the sons of the city and dispossessed
get down, get undressed
get pretty, but you and me
we got the kingdom, we got the key
we got the empire, now as then
we don't doubt, we don't take direction
Lucretia, my reflection, dance the ghost with me

Oh, WTH, for those who raved before raves were organized (and would you believe -- in Austin sponsored by Mountain Dew!) Blackout by Lil Louis. There's nothing like having all the lights in The Tunnel go out and a single white light beam start scanning the place like the searchlight on the guard tower at Alcatraz while someone's quoting from the Book of Revelations. WTF?!?!?!? Really, wonder what it was like for all those people on X? Creeped me out and I was pretty much sober. WTF, for real.

Just about everything by Paul Simon post-Simon and Garfunkel. I read an interview with him where he admitted that his songs don't really mean anything most of the time, and he likes to just pick phrases that sound good.

A few words on TMBG: Near as I can tell, "Birdhouse" is being sung by a lightbulb. Don't know what that has to do with a birdhouse exactly, but TMBG tunes are like that -- one WTF moment after another. Of course, in their case, it's WTF in a good way -- you get the feeling there's something there to be figured out, even if you can't. The esoterica of "Particle Man" is a good example.

Particle man, particle man.
Does everything a particle can.
What's he like? It's not important. Particle man.

At one level, it's like, "Studying particle physics is so not worth the effort." But on another level, I think that's sort a representation of the Heisenberg uncertainty principal -- you can't know everything about a particle, so don't try -- or something. Or maybe I just consumed too much caffeine - or other things -- during my college years.

Triangle man, triangle man.
Triangle man hates particle man.
They have a fight. Triangle wins. Triangle man.

Um, the power of the trinity? Who knows? Catchy tune though. Anyone wlse like another beer?

He wants a shoehorn, the kind with teeth.
'Cause he knows there's no such thing.

what's wrong with They Might Be Giants? they're musical and informational! call me crazy, but i think that song "the sun is a mass of incandescent gas" is kinda catchy...

you want a WTF song? how about "rock lobster"?

I'll nominate just about any late Leonard Cohen song (other than 'Everybody Knows', which is fairly obvious and non-WTFy) to the category. What kind of person thinks that Monkeys and Plywood Violins are appropriate gifts, anyhow?

I agree with the post-S&G Paul Simon comment. For the life of me, I don't understand 'You Can Call Me Al.' The fact that he picks phrases for their phonetics and not their meaning makes me feel a lot better now.

Ferro your link i believe earns me the "No Award" for best song that makes you go WTF? I love TMBG but these guys are out of their gords.

As an aside, i saw these guys at a free concert in Brooklyn, with the bank Skeleton Key -- another weird band, but very cool.

Everything ever done by Yoko Ono.
Yoko - WTF!?!?!?

Everything ever done by Yoko Ono.
Yoko - WTF!?!?!?

I'm stunned that no one in this esteemed group has not already identified Fish Heads as the ultimate roly poly WTF song.

WTF topic wise: Istanbul (Not Constatinople) - love the song, freaky topic.

"In the Year 2525". WTF was this piece of claw-at-your-ears dreck doing at Number One on the Billboard charts, even if it WAS 1969?

I'm a Kate Bush afficionado but "The Dreaming?"

As Gilby says in "I love the '80s Strikes Back," "Kate..... WHAT THE F**K?"

Lenghtwise by Phish

"When you're there I sleep lengthwise,
and when you're gone I sleep diagonal in my bed"

WTF?

Weigh by Phish

"I wanna cut your head off so I can weigh it....5 pounds....6 pounds..."

Okay alot of Phish stuff doesn't make sense.

Glass Onion by the Beatles where Paul is the walrus.

WTF?

Anything by Zappa.

Michele, that's so cool.

I found both the lyrics and an MP3 of the whole song here:
http://www.paradise-engineering.com/quotation/birdhouseinyoursoul.html

Mark, I was always impressed by Kate Bush's "Get out of my house". She shrieks it like she REALLY means it!

I think Blinded by the Light is a great WTF pick. I mean read some of lyrics:

And go-cart Mozart was checkin' out the weather chart
To see if it was safe to go outside
And little Early-Pearly came in by her curly-wurly
And asked me if I needed a ride

Then add in that in the Manfred Mann version, it sounds like he's saying 'wrapped up like a douche'...

As for an original nominee from me, just about everything Brian Wilson wrote for his epic (yet never released) Smile album qualifies as WTF. A sampling..."I Like Worms". And then there's his ode to health "Vegetables".

And for the record, it's 'Whiter Shade of Pale' and I think it qualifies...."we skipped the light fandango, turned cartwheel's cross the floor". WTF?

Geez, Michele, "WTF?" is the only response to almost every rock song written between 1970 and 1980 (and plenty others too). Just a few:

"Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin
"Inna Gadda Da Vida" by Iron Butterfly
"White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane
"25 or 6 to 4" by Chicago (explained here)
"Roundabout" by Yes
"Nights in White Satin" (and many others) by the Moody Blues
"Watchtower" by Bob Dylan
"Tin Man" by America
"Can't Get It Out of My Head" by ELO
"The Weight" by The Band
and everything by Pink Floyd

I think I must have been severely warped by the experience of sitting in the dark listening to these songs, unable to hear the lyrics properly, or understand them if I could. And I figured this would be my entire life, a loooong stretch of listening to gibberish that was clear to everyone but me. It didn't help that a lot of science fiction of the time was the same way.

I should sue someone.

Brings me back to Strawberry Letter 23 , again

"I Am The Walrus" is a great song, but a WTF song -- and meant that way. Lennon was by this stage intentionally putting things in that made no sense. A lot of Dylan's like that too.

For bad WTF -- anything on a Police album written by Andy Summers.

Angie Schultz,
If you're gonna mention "America" then you have to include the "Ventura Highway" for the second part of the chorus:

'Cause the free wind is blowin' through your hair
And the days surround your daylight there
Seasons crying, no despair
alligator lizards in the air
in the air

"Alligator lizards"

That's one of my favorite songs. It feels like warm sunshine as long as you don't think about it too hard.

Another entrant: "Stand", by REM. "Your head is there to move you around"? WTF?

Mom had the Manfred Man album.
The lyric sheet said "duce not douch", not that I have any idea what it means to be "wrapped up like a duce".

I loved the "singing the dolphin through" song whatever that meant. I mean most of the lyrics to that song made sense except the chorus.

There are a lot of songs that got away because I heard them on some obscure radio program once and can't remember the name of the song or the writer.

I think there was one in that described (an actual experience) hitchhiking and being picked up by a some sort of researcher's refrigerator truck that had body parts in the back. That's a song with lyrics you that have never been repeated before and will never be used again.

Anyone remember a late 80's Irish band called "Stump"? WTF was that?

And Joshua I'd have gotten out of that house IMMEDIATELY! WTF?

There are a lot of songs that got away because I heard them on some obscure radio program once and can't remember the name of the song or the writer.

Michele, next time you have to keep the kids (i.e., us) busy while you do something important, may I suggest a thread on "songs I heard once somewhere and thought were really great / terrible / weird but never heard again and does anyone know what the hell it was?" 'Cause I got one for that.

"Shiny Shiny", Haysi Fantaysee.

Good times, come to me now...

A sort of musical WTF moment.

Anyone remember Chevy Chase's "European Vacation"?

There's a scene where a waiter is insulting them in french, and because he says it in a pleasant tone of voice, Chase's character thinks he's being polite (while he's saying things like "your daughter is sexy, your wife has nice breasts and should I bring you dishwater, you couldn't tell the difference you stupid americans").

Anyway the movie did the same thing to the audience in the scene that followed with the music they chose for the Leuvre (sp) scene. As they wander through the museum, I recognized the music in the background, "Jet Boy, Jet Girl".

Someone brought that song to work once (I worked at a very small programming shop). There's an English and a French version - in English the chorus goes "He gives me head."

Mark,
"Get out of my house" wasn't literally about kicking someone our of a house, though she shrieked is so convincingly.

That's something else that's gone WAY OUT OF STYLE. Songs with symbols and psychology.

My nominee for WTF music of all time is The Crash Test Dummies. WTF?!

Worst.

Band.

Ever.

D

David.

"God Shuffled his feet" and "MMM, MMM MMM" are two of my favorite songs ever.

Subtle.

"Birdhouse in your soul" is actually about a nightlight - "blue canary in the outlet by the lightswitch". I imagine it's the only pop song ever written from the perspective of a nightlight.
As for a WTF song - how about "Dead" from the same album as Birdhouse?

'Shaved Women' by Crass.

I've got a few:

Anything by the meatmen:
"Crippled children suck" "Tooling for anus" "one down three to go" (about the beatles)

The crucifxcks: "Hinkley had a vision"

Early Flaming Lips: "Everything's exploding"

And a band I can't remember their name, but the song was called "Amy Carter"
"amy carter/I was your humble daughter/ a million years ago / before the eskimo"

Pretty much anything by King Missile:
"On the morning of the day of the Apocalypse
Willy woke up and made himself bacon and eggs and rye toast
He did usually eat bacon, but since today was such a special day,
He figured why not, like most people these days,
He had a hard time keeping his food down, but that didn't stop Willy from eating
He enjoyed food to much."
http://www.asklyrics.com/songs/King_missile_lyrics/1

As for laurie anderson:
"Que es mas macho, lightbulb o schoolbus? Uh, lightbulb? No! Lo siento, Schoolbus es mas macho que lightbulb."

And I would nominate several songs from "Chronic town" or "murmur" if I could understand what michael stipe was saying!

Uh, pretty much anything by "The Dead Milkmen," though "Serrated Edge" takes the cake...

"Up on the hilltop where the vultures perch,
That's where I'm gonna build my church,
Ain't gonna be no priest, ain't gonna be no boss;
Just Charles Nelson Riley nailed to a cross...."

...and it gets wierder. It's a wonder my parents weren't more terrified, children of the 40's & 50's that they were...

Most TMBG songs actually make sense, if you just listen and think about it. Except "Fingertips," but that's not really supposed to be coherent in any way, anyway.

Stump's "Charlton Heston" song is the greatest ode to Bible Movies ever, not that that's saying all that much.

For true WTF, look up the Butthole Surfers! "Moving to Florida" was a spoken word gibberish of monumental proportions:

"I'm gonna move down to Florida
And I'm gonna bowl me a perfect game
I'm gonna cut off my leg down in Florida
And dance one-legged off in the rain" WTF?!

And there's more: "All the sausages that dance like Ray Bolger on the hood of a car in a traffic jam know just exactly what to do"?!

I saw them live. Buying tickets was an experience. There were parents and children buying circus tickets, me, and parents and children buying circus tickets. The ticket agent didn't believe there was such a band. I had to say the name three times.

"The Day Lassie Went to the Moon" by Camper Van Beethoven

the entire Dimension Hatross album by Voivod.

Great shit, but WTF?

Dark Entries by Bauhaus, the forward/backward In nomine patris part kicks my ass....and is a big WTF

I'd say the butthole surfers wins the award, hands down.

The ultimate WTF song, has got to be: ("Mr. Bojangles").
I mean this song is just about WTF: WTF made someone write this song in the first place? WTF were they on? WTF was it playing on the radio for? WTF made anyone listen to it (other than possibly the fact that they were actually paying attention to what they were doing and this nonchalant song didn't distract them enough to make them change the station.) WTF do radio stations still play it for? I mean I realize that people out there still use drugs, but haven't we all moved on to a point where we can do that while still retaining enough discretion to keep ourselves from listing to "Mr. Bojangles"?
I mean, just WTF?