Friday, July 27, 2007

Attack Of the Post-Modern Pat Boones

"It's an art school text book, Tobey; it's nothing to be afraid of."

I'm not done with Weapon-Shaped yet. This is their second, weird, little collector's edition 7", "Attack of the Postmodern Pat Boones" by the Object Beings, a collaberative group of Anticon artists Pedestrian, Why?, Dose One along with producer Emynd. And it's great.

It's catchy, it's creative, it's funny... of course, to really "get" the song, you have to know who Pat Boone is, which might exclude a lot of their younger hip-hop demographic. Pat Boone was huge in the 50's... the non-threatening, non-rock & roll alternative to Elvis Presley, who didn't dress flashy, dance outrageously or have suggestive lyrics in his music. He continued to record through the 60's and 70's and basically made safe "white" versions of hit records so that middle America could have their bland version of "Tutti Frutti" without having to face any scary Little Richards. ...Towards the end of his career, he went into making strictly gospel music.

So bear this in mind, and think of the state of the hip-hop scene Anticon was in when this was released (2000), particularly with the college kids embracing all the DJ Shadows and what-not, and you'll start to see the sense and even the wit in the "nonsense lyrics," including the chorus that goes:

"It's the attack of the post-modern Pat Boones...
And they've got golf shoes for hands.
It's the attack of the post-modern Pat Boones...
And they never learned guitar.
It's the attack of the post-modern Pat Boones...
They're writing their thesis papers on acid.
It's the attack of the post-modern Pat Boones...
And they're taking your transgressive daughters."

The body of the song consists of Pedestrian and Why? trading lines back and forth, finishing each other's sentences over a mellow beat with a very catchy guitar sample and a single, drawn out keyboard note:

"Why?) Who's whoever accepts the primal challenge to play the role of
Pedestrian) Suburban fur-trapper, camoflauged in fake leather couches and plush carpet squares,
Why?) Searching for an embroidered 'Home Sweet Home' wall-hanging,
Superfluous signal of a potpouri sense of security.
Pedestrian) Watercolor class has taught him much...
Even the value of tupperware in a wine-cooler ravaged conscience:
Clear, but for the ominous tint of contentment.
Why?) He once spent a summer squatting in the food court cloaked in McChicken crumbs,
Lucky felt flower behind ear.
Pedestrian) And also having slept on the most expensive sand in all of orange county,
He inverted post-pubescent Keroucian fantasy with a rather non-threatening vengeance."

To be honest, this is still one of my all-time favorite Anticon songs (although, not strictly released on Anticon Records... though it was later included on their Giga Single compilation).

The B-side, "Cannibalism of the Object Beings" features a faster beat, faster flows and introduces Dose One into the mix. It's even more bugged out ("You never know what could show up in your mailbox") and a lot of fun, even if - unfortunately - some of the vocals are a little tough to make out in the mix. :(

It's a shame this 7" was so limited, because it's seriously one of the most important hip-hop records of its period. The Object Beings haven't really stayed together as a group, but today Why? has two albums recorded due to come out... one apparently featuring a lot of music by the band Fog, and other more hip-hop-oriented. Dose has a new Themselves (he and Jel) album in the works. And Pedestrian, as ever, is torturing all of his fans by going for increasingly long stretches without putting any new music out while Sole makes posts about him "working on a new album." Man, I feel like it's 2000 again right now.

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