Something old, something new, something shitty, sniff some glue…
Mr Bat: Mr Bat Sings (1981)
Clowns are just inherently nightmare fodder. It is no coincidence that horror writers use them as vehicles of sheer terror or why serial killers dress up in clown suits and makeup. They want to scare the the living fuck out of their audience and/or victims, and god damn does it work like a charm. Mr. Bat is no exception. The question is why. This was not a pretentiously ironic indie rock album nor was it a metal album.
No, apparently, Mr. Bat was a gospel singer from North Dakota. Neither he, nor this album, really had anything to do with clowns. Perhaps Mr. Bat was inferring that this album cover was a taste of hell (if you don’t buy the album and let Mr. Bat save you). If so, that is one hell of an effective means of marketing.
I very much wanted to find a clip for you, but no such luck. Some internets out there mention bad, creepy organ music and an an old white dude bellowing about Jesus. Still no explanation of the fucking clown get-up. I guess we’ll just leave it at that.
Fleetwood Mac: Mystery To Me (1973)
There’s a fine line between art and crap. There’s an even finer line between symbolic art and rampant stupidity. Fleetwood Mac just blurs all the lines and serves up pseudo-art crap with some sort of “message,” much as just about every band in the 70s and early 80s tried to do. I would expect this kind of thing from pretentious prog-rock assholes like Yes or Emerson Lake & Palmer, but why Fleetwood Mac?
I’m not a huge FWMc fan, but they are usually passable. I’ll give you a little more background on them. Most casual rock fans only know them from classic rock radio and the 2 songs those Clear Channel stations spin. In reality Mac was around a long time before Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, so as you can imagine, they sounded different. It was a little prog-rockish… but that still doesn’t excuse the very stupid album cover. Have a listen:
Minitel Rose: The French Machine (2008)
Sadly, this isn’t an album from the 80s. It’s a hipster band trying to look and sound like they are from the 80s.. being all hip and ironic-like. Hey, I’m all for hip retro irony. But when it’s forced, it’s stupid. This is stupid. And the music has no authenticity whatsoever. It’s like an Elvis impersonator recording an album, but taking himself very seriously. What’s the point?
Fuck this band, and this album. But here’s a track anyway. You’ll probably like it… to spite me.
Benny Boys: S.D.I. (1986)
Let’s compare and contrast these last 2 albums boys and girls for an important lesson in comedy and retro, campy humor. Why is this album cover funny? Because it’s 4 dorks from Germany trying to look very “sci-fi” and cool in 1986.
To make matters worse, the term “Benny Boys” is on old-school slang for a homosexual. For all I knew, these guys were well aware of that, and ahead of their time. But chances are it’s another funny coincidence.
So again, natural retro failure = win. Forced pretentious hipster failure = just failure. No media for this one.
Mr. Bones: Hey Mr. Banjo (early 1950s)
Yes, this was a real album cover. Yes it was pressed and released in the U.S. in the 50s. Yes it was in the South. Yes much of the South hasn’t changed much. Not much more to add to this one.
No I’m not going to find a clip to listen to. I’m sure the music is fantastic.
Holst: the Planets (conducted by Sir Adrian Boult – 1970)
This is a great one. A great composer, and one of my favorite 20th century Orchestral pieces of all time. I guess EMI was shooting (tee-hee) for a younger, hipper demographic than typical classical music record buyers. They might have been on the right track. At least with the girl.
Tex Williams: Smoke Smoke Smoke (1968)
Tex Williams sure loved smoking. My god did he love it. Not only did he think it was ok. It was goddamn patriotic. It is your duty as a true American to smoke. In fact, Real Americans smoke 3 at a time and tattoo their goddamn hands about it.
As you might have guessed, Tex was a Country/Western singer. And had a long, fruitful career. That was until he died of pancreatic cancer, most likely brought on or made worse, by years of smoking.
Here’s a video of sorts.. and it does kind of seem, from the lyrics, that Tex thinks people smoke too goddamn much. So, draw your own conclusions.
Maranatha 3: Rejoice in the Lord (1973)
That guy is way too fucking excited to be rejoicing in the lord. The Beatles only wish they had veiled drug references this obvious.
If you must know, Maranatha wasn’t a band, but a contemporary Christian music record label. And this was sort of a “greatest hits,” vol. 3. The trippy artwork was done by an actual pastor and evangelist, who was obviously very high….on Christ.
Here’s some of the music. This track kind of makes you think of Crosby Stills & Nash, if they sucked ass and loved Jesus.