Wednesday, May 18, 2011

87. Boss Hog, "Ski Bunny" (1995)


This is my favorite song of all the Jon Spencer projects that I know, from the second, self-titled Boss Hog album. In typical Spencer fashion it lopes along at top speed, sounding at times like the players can barely keep up with one another, as if they are animals apart, caged. The song is full of good jokes even for as short as it is and apparently in some way about suicide. I particularly like the way they switch up expectations on the swearing, turning on a single word to convert it from a predictable moment of punk ragegasm into a hilarious junior high school plaint—and then going back on that. The album is one of those in which the songs are all short and bear strong resemblances to one another, where the whole of it works like an extended suite, imbued with the same themes and priorities yet shifting tonalities in various ways for effect. The formula may have been first perfected by the Ramones, but the Pixies did it pretty well too and even Elvis Costello got in on the act (with another mood entirely) on Get Happy!! I saw a Boss Hog show from the tour in support of this, and it was a night of memorable epic pandemonium: Thanksgiving, a strange night to be out, and as I discovered one of those with a good 30% or more amateur attendance, meaning people were more drunk than normal, more out of control generally, and there were fights. The bouncers were in bad moods, put it that way. I had to cower in safer recesses further away from the stage than I normally like, but even so the infectious pulse reached me all the way back there. I stayed for the whole thing, conditions notwithstanding.

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