Turtles, Chickens, Elephants, Onions
Date: Tue 17 Jul 2001 - 11:35:18 PDT
"Chickentown" isn't the chicken song. The chicken song is called "The Best Way," at least according to the list from my Fishcotheque CD. This is a play, maybe, on "Way-Best Chicken," which is mentioned in the song via a sampled (fictional?) radio commercial. Maybe others have found this perplexing: why does a song about chicken not have "chicken" in the title, while a song NOT about chicken is called "Chickentown?" Or were the song titles playfully reversed on the label?
Either way, the chicken song is good for a laugh or two and hardly one of my least favorites. It is, as one writer put it, outside the typically Butcheresque realm of things. The same can be said for "Turtle Bait" and a few others that have made our worsts lists, but I don't think there's a prejudice here. There are lots of good songs outside the realm (hereafter referred to as OTR). How about "Water," (aka the elephant song) an OTR classic which is one of the more acoustically clever songs in Pat's vast discography. Give it a good listen and you might discover something. Same with the likes of "Do the Bubonic Plague," which isn't exactly Greatest Hits material but has some interesting moves.
Sorry, but the "The Onion Field," OTR or otherwise, is a dreadful cut, an overextended oddity that simply tries to hard. Whenever I hear that song I'm reminded of Bob Mould's horrifying, over-the-top vocals on the song, "Too Far Down," from the last Husker Du album. It, like "The Onion Field," is almost a parody of itself.
Another favorite OTR is "Nightmare Being," from Big Planet Scarey Planet. I like the chimey (new word) rings at the beginning, and the talking at the very end, blended in with the fading animal sounds. There's a calming acoustic flow to that song.
I also like clam chowder.
These love/hate lists are in some ways electronic fast food - the lowest common denominator when it comes to group discussions, but you must admit they get the fingers typing.