“Hey Joey! I’ve got some stuff you just gotta try.”
“What is it?”
“Pot! You know, marijuana?”
“I don’t know…”
“What are you, chicken? Bawk BAWK bawk bawk”
“I’m not a chicken, you’re a turkey!”
And that brilliant comeback echoed in the minds of millions of now smack-addled twentysomethings, their fears instantly displaced. Avoiding becoming Joey was suddenly much more important than avoiding fifth-grade pot pushers. It has been said that the war on drugs was lost the very day this commercial aired.
And so for turkeys everywhere, here’s McLusky’s “To Hell With Good Intentions.”
Fortunately, there exist several known prophylactics that can help prevent and limit the spread and severity of Jive Turkey flu, chief among these critical dams against the rising deluge of Douchebag syndrome cases is funk, Motown, and R&B music from the 60s and early 70s. One of the most powerful yet least known innoculations against this scourge is the classic African psychedelic funk anthem “You Better Change Your Mind,” written and performed by Willaim Onyeabor. Onyeabor is a well-known West African funk musician, or “get down artist,” who is featured on the excellent 2004 release entitled Love’s a Real Thing from David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label. Real Thing is a collection of other Jive Turkey flu fighters, including Nigerian powerhouse the Super Eagles and Ofo the Black Company. Yeah, you know who I’m talking about…
The opening, almost child-like electric organ chords of “Better Change Your Mind” expertly mask the sonic smackdown that is about to befall you and any jive turkeys in the vicinity of your sweet ghetto blaster. The song is a startling blend of influences varying from really bad Ethiopian lounge music out-takes to Kenyan Karaoke re-recorded off of an 8-track…with a pinch of American blaxploitation ass-kicking sprinkled in for good measure.
Within the first three bars, you can rest safe in the thought, for the moment at least, that no jive turkey would get within five miles of such a solid fucking bass line. Gobble, gobble, bastard people. This little number opens with a lyric that can only be described as a right hook of righteous indignation and outrage. Listen up: “America, do you ever think this world is yours? Russia, hey, yeah, do you ever think this world is yours?…If you thinking so, my friends, you better change your mind…” It says emphatically and resoundingly to jive turkeys everywhere: “Wassup, my bitch…”
The American Medical Association recommends, as I do, that you listen to “Better Change Your Mind” and the rest of Love’s a Real Thing four to five times a day, preferably while walking down the streets in fitted velour slacks, a Marvin Gaye style “What’s Going On” leather trench coat, and shoes made from lizards.
A West African funk song a day keeps them jive turkeys away.
It’s not quite turkey, but the undeniable warmth of the opening track to Yo La Tengo’s phenomenal I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One is sure to conjure up memories of Thanksgiving repasts past. In fact, the whole album sounds as though it was produced and recorded in the toasty hearth of your living room, with stuffed stockings hanging over the fireplace, and everyone sleepily cozying up in armchairs. The guitars do churn every once in a while, but overall, they’re dosed up on so much tryptophan that 16 tracks of autumnal mellow almost feels like a few helpings too many.only it’s the holidays, so why bother caring?
That warm languid guitar, exhibited on such tracks as the instrumental “Return to Hot Chicken”, is really what makes the album (that, and the bass line on “Moby Octopad”). It’s also showcased on “Green Arrow”, the other instrumental track on I Can Hear the Heart, which incidentally has always reminded me of Christmas. (For those who’ve noticed, I’ve conflated Thanksgiving and Christmas for purposes of this review. According to most department stores, the distinction is imaginary anyway.)
But since chicken really is a poor substitute for turkey at Thanksgiving, here’s another option: