My iPod #524: They Might Be Giants – Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had a Deal

“Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had a Deal” was originally going to be released on the Purple Toupee EP, when the title track was to be released as a single in 1989. For some reason the EP was shelved and the song was later placed as the opener to the band’s B Side/Remix compilation Miscellaneous T, two years later in 1991. The compilation is loved by many a They fan due to the fact that for a B Side album, the stuff on there are as brilliantly written and performed as any other song you would find on the three albums they had released by that time.

The song is a tale of a lad who is eager to get his new song on the radio, going to the local DJ to see if he can sort some things out. From the wordy title, you can probably tell that things don’t go as planned. The tale is told accompanied by catchy rhythms, an infectious melody and a delightful Carribean-like (xylophone? glockenspiel?) line and backed up by the witty lyrics of John Linnell. Notice how he cleverly pulls of a ‘Glass Onion’ and sneaks in some references to other TMBG songs in a verse. So much fun.

I could imagine this being a lead single for any album. Seeing as it was to be released with “Purple Toupee”, I assume that it was recorded during the Lincoln sessions. Goodness. I enjoy Lincoln enough as it is, but it would have been cool to have this on there. Though it’s title would have stuck out like a sore thumb on the track list.


My iPod #523: Alexisonfire – “Hey, It’s Your Funeral Mama”

The video isn’t really eight and a half minutes by the way. Someone messed up on their part.

I think this song is awesome simply because it is about go-karting.  I have never heard of another song which touches upon the subject, even if there was it would never come close to topping this one.

“Hey It’s Your Funeral Mama” is a song from Alexisonfire’s second album Watch Out!, released in 2004. Why that’s the song’s title I couldn’t tell you. I have the feeling it may be taken from a film, or may have sprung up in a conversation between a band member and their friend. We’ll probably never know. The hilarious music video has nothing to do with the subject matter either. Alexisonfire hold auditions for Alexisonfire clones so the real band can take a break while the clones do their shows for them. It’s a good watch.

Alexisonfire songs always get me pumped up and motivated even if I’m not planning to do anything active. “It’s Your Funeral” is no different. Straight from the beginning, the alternate muted and power chords give off the sound of engines revving up before racing off as soon as the lead guitar line enters the mix. Overall, the guitar playing is sick. And slick. Kudos to Wade MacNeil and Dallas Green. But the highlight throughout the whole track is the interplay between MacNeil, Green and lead screamer George Pettit’s vocals. One guy will be singing their heart out in one line before the other abruptly comes out of nowhere to scream the next. A very hard to sing along to by yourself, for sure.

A really enjoyable song in the long run. Something to thrash your arms about and go wild to.

My iPod #522: OutKast – Hey Ya!

You’ve heard it. Still sounds good twelve years later.

I was tempted to end the post there, but that would have been just plain lazy.

“Hey Ya!” was the co-lead single from OutKast’s double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below from 2003. Alongside Big Boi’s “The Way You Move“, “Hey Ya!” was the first single released in the lead-up toward a new album by the duo since 2000.

Despite its memorable hook and upbeat rhythm, the track is rather melancholy in tone with Andr√© 3000 singing about commitment in relationships, how love and emotions can fade over time, how two people can feign loving one another when really both of them aren’t happy at all. But as even Mr. 3000 points out: You don’t want to hear him, you just wanna dance.

Its actual meaning is probably lost on a lot of people. Maybe it’s for the better. No one would be able to shake it like a Polaroid picture in the same way again.

My iPod #521: Dananananaykroyd – Hey James

“Hey James” is the penultimate track on Hey Everyone!, the debut album by former Scottish ‘fight pop’ band Dananananaykroyd. Despite its welcoming title the song is probably the heaviest one out of the twelve tracks, depicting an image of a barren wasteland, war and what could possibly be the end of the world itself.

In a track-by-track guide-through a week before the album’s release, guitarist David Roy confirmed that the ‘James’ in the title is a reference to their former drummer who had left to pursue other music interests in another band. The track is a tribute to him, written as “a furious sort of epic rock thing with a hint of sadness”. That hint of sadness may be an allusion to the the track’s minor key, otherwise the song is a performance of sheer energy and balls-to-the-wall noise. The use of two separate drum kits throughout the album is something to behold but both of them on here have a noticeable role on here, providing a punchy rhythm during the verses before adding to the disorderly nature of the choruses.

The track climaxes with a 6/8 time signature before closing out with nightmare-inducing whispers creepily repeating the phrase ‘hey everyone….’ into your ears. Those go on for about a minute. Although it gives you time to take in what you’ve heard it is a nervy way to end it all, but it’s all okay once they segue right into the more cheerful sounding opener of the following song.

My iPod #520: The Beatles – Hey Bulldog

If the terms ‘overlooked’ or ‘underrated’ had to be applied to only one Beatles song for some unexplainable reason, I would think that we would all happily agree on “Hey Bulldog” being a strong contender. The most passionate of Beatles fans will already know of the song’s impressive strengths, but it is one that really doesn’t get that worldwide recognition that a lot of other Beatles songs claim. I may as well try and attempt to tell you why it should.

The song was recorded during somewhat of a blank period in The Beatles timeline. After what was arguably their most successful year in 1967, recording Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour, the group began work again in early 1968 – not with any intent of making another LP, but to lay down some tracks that could be possibly be the next single. “Lady Madonna” ended up being that track with Harrison’s composition “The Inner Light” as the B-Side; “Hey Bulldog” was left on the shelf until it was chosen to be released on the Yellow Submarine soundtrack album almost a year later.

Led by a funky piano riff, a powerful drum performance by Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney’s bass which seems to have a life of its own, “Hey Bulldog” is a groovy number about someone who feels unappreciated/depressed. Well, that’s how I feel anyway. The random situations and silly phrases that appear in the lyrics may make you think I am looking to deep into it.

The song was noted by the engineer Geoff Emerick as being the last one in which all four members approached recording with a real enthusiasm; you can really tell when listening to it and watching the making of it in the video above. Lennon and McCartney’s spontaneous exchange at the tail-end never fails to raise a smile, and Ringo’s cheeky ‘yeah?’ after the lyric ‘big man’ is sang is priceless.

There are many highlights here; I could go on forever about them, but you should hear the song for yourself.