GSOUNDTRACK: PEEPING TOM-Peeping Tom (2006).
As Faith No More moved past “Epic” into their later releases, it became increasingly clear that Mike Patton was one wacky little monkey. And as he moved into projects like Mr. Bungle and his solo releases, he really let his freak flag fly.
Peeping Tom has Patton collaborating with all kinds of people. And it is a surprisingly accessible record (even though it is still pretty unusual). The album has a sort of hip hop feel to it with loud pulsing drums on most of the tracks as well as collaborators like: Kool Keith, Amon Tobin, Doseone, Kid Koala, and uh, Norah Jones.
“Five Seconds” starts as a pretty straightforward song, but the chorus of him counting/shouting 1 second, 2 seconds… faster and faster, takes on a new meaning of sinister. “Mojo” has fun with Britney Spears, although the fun is in lyrics only, as the song is a heavy blast of illicit substance references. The third track “Don’t Even Trip” continues this carnival of dementia with the wonderful lyrics, “I know that assholes grow on trees, but I’m here to trim the leaves.”
The middle of the album is less manic, it slips into some really catchy trip hop moments with the guests taking some control of the songs. Kool Keith raps on “Getaway” allowing Patton to take charge on the choruses, while “Caipirinha” sounds very smooth and jazzy, as any song with Bebel Gilberto should. “Celebrity Death Match” has a very funny vibe to it, not unlike Kid Koala’s tracks. The final track “We’re Not Alone” says it’s a remix, although it’s not a remix of any tracks on the disc. It returns to the heaviness of earlier in the album. And near the end it sounds not unlike a Foo Fighters track (despite its slow-paced and falsettoed verses).
But probably the most fun/giddy song on the disc is “Sucker.” In it, a whispering, sultry, derisive Norah Jones sings the line, “What made you think you were my only…lover? Truth kinda hurts, don’t it mother…fucker?”
There are many many moments on this record that seem borderline commercial, yet the schizophrenic nature of Patton’s songwriting means that those moments are quickly replaced by something else. Compared to say Fantomas, this is a very commercial disc, but fear not, Patton fans, there’s enough weirdness on here to keep you coming back.
Plus, the album packaging is really cool. You pull open the tab on the right side and the disc slides out on the left side. There’s a keyhole cutaway that reveals different layers as the package opens, too. Very cool.
[READ: November 22, 2008] Free Range Chickens
I had forgotten my book for lunch time reading today, and I didn’t want to start anything big, so I was thrilled to see that we had gotten in Free Range Chickens (at my request, of course). It was the perfect lunchtime book as I finished the whole thing in 40 minutes. (This may be a warning not to buy it, unless you intend to re-read it).
Much like his previous book, Ant Farm, this one contains a series of very short, very funny joke/stories. I laughed pretty hard at most of them. There were 3 that I had recently read in the New Yorker, and I heard one on the radio on NPR’s The Sound of Young America (and they were still funny again).
For me the GROWING UP section is the funniest. Rich has a knack of looking at childhood with a wonderfully twisted lens. “When I Lost My First Tooth” is a very funny look at the tooth fairy (how does she know I lost a tooth?). “My Top Secret Seventh-Grade Diary” shows how urgenteth it is that thou not readeth the important information about…what’s on TV that night. “What I Imagined The People Around Me Were Saying When I Was…” is, of course, a great look at what everyone is thinking when they are 7, 8 or 9.
The GOING TO WORK SECTION was also very funny. I particularly enjoyed “The Only E-mails I Could Receive That Would Justify The Frequency With Which I Check My E-Mail.” “An Interview with Stephen Hawking” will make me laugh every time I think about it. And “Acupuncture School” was quite funny too.
DAILY LIFE has some good ones. Who hasn’t thought the “All-You-Can-Eat Buffet Fantasy.” And RELATIONSHIPS has the very funny “Being of Sound Mind” and “What I Want My Tombstone to Say When I Die of Encephalitis Next Week.”
The ANIMALS section is where the title comes from. I had read some of these pieces in the New Yorker, but he adds some new ones. I enjoyed them then, and still enjoyed them this time around. And finally, the GOD section is very funny . Most of the takes on God are that God is kind of a regular person just caught up in everyday life.
The only ones I didn’t like that much were the Dracula jokes. And I think in part I didn’t like them as much because there were three of them, which felt like they overstayed their welcome a tad. But all in all, this is another successful collection by Simon Rich.
Full Table of Contents
Terrifying childhood experiences
When I lost my first tooth
A conversation between the people who his in my closet every night when I was seven
“If adults were subjected to the same indignities as children” [from Play Nice, New Yorker, August 4, 2008]
My top secret seventh-grade diary
Middle-school telephone conversation
Inside the cartridge: Duck Hunt
Deal with God
What I Imagined the People Around Me Were saying when I was… [from Hey Look, New Yorker, July 23, 2007]
How my mother imagined the police
GOING TO WORK
Choose your own adventure
Gotham City Hall
World’s oldest profession
The only e-mails I could receive that would justify the frequency with which I check my e-mail
An interview with Stephen Hawking
The final moments of the Titanic
The official rules of boxing
All-you-can-eat buffet fantasy