Maybe it’s the David Byrne American Utopia movie released earlier this year, or maybe it’s pandemic-related, but I’ve been really digging on Talking Heads lately.
When today’s song — the opening track of the 1979 album Fear of Music — popped up as a Random Weekend selection, I was positively giddy. With lyrics based on a nonsensical Dadaist poem by Hugo Ball and music inspired by the African rhythms Byrne was increasingly drawn to, this song is unlike anything the band had done to that point, but still perfectly in character.
This track from John Lennon’s 1971 solo album Imagine is 18 days too late to officially mark the 40th anniversary of his death, but it will have to do.
It’s hard to believe that John Lennon has now been dead for exactly as long as he was alive. When I see that something happened in 1980, it doesn’t seem all that long ago, but then I realize we’re a full two decades into the new millennium. Damn, that happened fast.
This is the second Negro Problem song to pop up on Random Weekends in three weeks, not a bad showing considering I own 54 of their songs out of more than 13,000 in my iTunes library.
The odds of them showing up twice in such a short period of time are less than one in a quadrillion — wait, I’m sorry, those are the odds of Joe Biden defeating Donald Trump in each of the four battleground states mentioned in that batshit Texas lawsuit that got laughed out of the Supreme Court.
‘Hound Dog,’ Elvis Presley’s top-selling song, started out as a hit for the blues singer ‘Big Mama’ Thornton. Thornton’s 1953 version was a hit in its own right, selling two million copies and spending nearly two months atop Billboard’s R&B chart.
Thornton’s version was far more sexually suggestive, depicting a Black woman giving a no-good man the kiss-off. “You ain’t nothing but a hound dog, been snoopin’ ’round my door,” she sings, “You can wag your tail but I ain’t gonna feed you no more.”
When today’s Random Weekend selection popped up, I had absolutely no idea what it was or where it came from.
I was surprised to see I’ve actually posted a song by Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment before, nearly five years ago, when this album showed up on the 2014 Village Voice Pazz & Jop year-end poll.
As I wrote back then, quoting Pitchfork, the band is a project by “Chance [the Rapper], Donnie Trumpet (the alias of Nico Segal), Peter Cottontale, and Nate Fox.”