Category Archives: David Boyk

Results: Nonsense

C. Shaw

Faith No More – Ugly in the Morning

This song is a perfect illustration of the brilliant psychotic circus that made Faith No More such a great band, and impossible to classify. A soaring echoed vocal starts this song, with an unremarkable melody. This is Anysong, USA for the the first 35 seconds, until the aliens invade:

“And the stomach turns…

Say nothing without wasting a word
I know exactly what you meant…
Chawaajkhfh khsljkhf kjhj!!!
Glhakjnksn fjknedhu!!!”

Just listening to this song, there is no way you will figure out those words, and while there is a lyric sheet somewhere, it sounds like utter nonsense. In general, of course, after breaching a certain level of hardcore-ness, (Isis, Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan) the words stop mattering all that much, and it’s cliche to say that the voice becomes another instrument in the band. In particular, no small amount of prose has been spent in trying to sum up the percussive impact of Mike Patton’s finely tuned throat. But the real reason that I think he’s so incredible, in all of his forms – Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk, guesting for the DEP – is that his blistering unintelligible screams sound so accessible. In 1995 when this album came out and I had it on repeat in my car, I had no idea what the fuck I was yelling, but that didn’t stop me from singing along to every second of this song. And frankly, it’s just a whole lot easier when you don’t have any words to memorize.


David Boyk

Jhoome Re Jhoome

Kishore Kumar, one of the great Bollywood singers, starred in Jhumroo, the classic story of a small-town boy who comes to the city and makes it big as a yodeler (sadly not in this song). The singing parts of the song make sense, but as far as I can tell, the crazy shouting is just nonsense. Apparently there’s some sort of racist Chinese caricature in the movie, too, which is probably what you’re hearing there.

If that’s not enough Bollywood nonsense, here’s another Kishore song for you. MTV India isn’t that great, but what is great is their self-promotions. They’ve got some sorts of ad geniuses working for them, making spots like this one:

“Mooch Nahin To Kooch Nahin” means, more or less, “If you don’t have a moustache, then you’re worthless.”

Also, despite what Alex wrote in my description, I’m not a connoisseur of anything, except maybe water fountains.

Rich Bunnell

The Fall – Mountain Energy

“So I went fishing / A note from a fish said / ‘Dear dope, if you
wanna catch us / You need a rod and a line / Signed, The Fish'”

For close to 32 years, The Fall have served as a rotating mouthpiece for the ramblings of Manchester mumbler Mark E. Smith. After 25 full-length studio albums and Jeebus knows how many EPs, live albums and archival releases, Smith’s lyrics still have yet to be adequately transcribed by the techniques of modern science, with no potential breakthroughs in sight. “Mountain Energy,” the second track from the band’s 2004 release “The Real New Fall LP,” stands as the man’s closest brush with the thought processes normally associated with human beings – and it still doesn’t make any goddamn sense. As far as I can tell, the lyrics serve as a depiction of Smith’s frustration with the casual interactions and activities that make up everyday life – renting a car, fishing, applying for a mortgage – but exactly what Dolly Parton and Lord Byron have to do with any of this still has yet to be determined. Whatever Smith has been trying to say for the last three decades, the United Kingdom must be in on the joke, or else there would be no explanation whatsoever for the following BBC broadcast:

Believe the hype, now you can…

Vote!

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Filed under C. Shaw, David Boyk, Response, Rich Bunnell

Results: Birds

Aaron Azlant


Marissa Nadler – Feathers

Briefly made indie-famous by her cover of Radiohead’s “No Surprises,” Marissa Nadler writes dependably melancholic folk that emphasizes her delicate, finger-picked guitar parts and remarkable voice, equally operatic and ethereal. The title of her most recent LP, the excellent Songs III: Bird on the Water, is already enough to guarantee 11 possible candidates for this week’s topic, although just to be sure, I went ahead and picked the one titled “Feathers.” Between its careening
cello part, its multi-tracked chorus of Nadler’s insistently whispering flora” and its sweeping lamentation (bitterly addressed to a lost lover), this track makes an ideal segue into the cover of “Famous Blue Raincoat” that follows it on the album. Baroque arrangements and anachronism for its own sake are de rigueur in contemporary folk — I personally hold to a “thee” quota — but Nadler is never tedious and her album is full of beguiling songs just like this one.

David Boyk


If the best thing ever on TV isn’t The Wire, it’s The Singing Detective, Dennis Potter’s 1986 BBC miniseries, starring Michael “The Fake Dumbledore” Gambon as a delusional, self-hating, sexually fucked-up mystery writer with a bad case of psoriasis. It’s too hard to sum up everything that’s going on in this segment, which is an early climax in the series, but basically he’s hallucinating that he’s back in the pub in his North England hometown, watching his father do bird impressions. It’s pretty sad when you watch it on YouTube, but rent the DVDs and get your heart broken.


C-H-I-C-K-E-N Spells Chicken

I guess there’s sort of a disease theme here, because this other song comes from the medicine shows that used to travel around and get suckers to buy patent medicines.
They’d roll into town, set up a stage, and have a band or a dog that knew tricks or whatever, and then you’d walk out with a few bottles of some sort of dangerous concoction, which might end up giving you jake leg. They had some good tunes, though. And they were educational – it’s true, C-H-I-C-K-E-N does spell chicken. In those days, musical genres hadn’t gotten all sorted out and segregated yet, and there was a lot of back and forth between white and black music. Some of this, like this song, was more on the racist, minstrel end, but you can come to your own conclusions about that.

Yohan John


The Trashmen – “Surfin’ Bird (Bird Is The Word)”

There are lots of obvious bird songs. The ones that flew off the top of my head (like birds) included “Bird Dog”, “Norwegian Wood (This Bird has Flown)” and even the theme song from “Harvey Birdman – Attorney At Law”. But I decided to go with this song, because in terms of birdy impact, this song has more bird per word, so to speak.

Some people find it hard to make out lyrics, so here’s a sample:

A-well-a everybody’s heard about the bird
B-b-b-bird, bird, bird, b-bird’s the word
[A-well-a bird, bird, bird, the bird is the word
A-well-a bird, bird, bird, well the bird is the word] 4x
A-well-a bird, bird, b-bird’s the word
A-well-a don’t you know about the bird?
Well, everybody knows that the bird is the word!
A-well-a bird, bird, b-bird’s the word
A-well-a…

And so on (with feeling).

I first heard this song in a lecture. Our quirky professor’s presentation began with a slide that informed us that this piece of pleasing insanity was an amalgamation of two songs by the doo-wop group The Rivingtons — one called “The Bird’s The Word” and the other called “Papa-oom-mow-mow.” “Papa-oom-mow-mow” in turn, was a doo-wop parody. So the song “Surfin’ Bird” (consisting largely of bird-brained repetitions of the two songs’ titles) is a parody of a parody.

The song sounds almost proto-punk. Years before The Who, or The Stooges. But the best part, of course, is that it’s funnier than avian flu.

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Filed under Aaron Azlant, David Boyk, Response, Yohan John