Friday, September 30, 2011

Songs About Shellfish

It's Fish Friday (all Catholics of a certain age will know what I mean) and while the Pope no longer decrees what we're allowed to eat at the end of the working week, we can still celebrate with songs about shellfish. Actually, was it OK to eat shellfish on Fridays? I hope nobody sinned without knowing it! I hate when that happens.

Rock Lobster - The B-52's classic in its official video format. Back in high school when it was barely the 80s, our school's only punk, Skip, played this for me. She was a senior who wore fascinatingly weird clothing combinations of plaid and day-glow, had a boy haircut and always sported red, red lipstick. One day during lunch period she dragged me, a lowly sophomore, still dressed in corduroys and delicate floral blouses, to the school drama room's portable turntable and demanded that I listen to this from her personal record collection.

There are moments that alter our lives and we usually know what is happening at the time but we don't always have the words to describe it. This was one such moment for me. Thanks, Skip (she went on to become a preppy at Cal Berkeley--always the forward-thinker). While I listened to Rock Lobster with my teen-aged ears, I knew beyond a doubt there is a wide world out there beyond anything I could imagine. Plus you can dance to it.

Crawfish - Elvis Presley and Kitty White pour their hearts and souls into this sultry ode to the lowly bottom-dweller in "King Creole."

The Mollusk - If ever a band was up to the challenge of writing a prog-rock masterpiece about shellfish, it would be Ween. Then the Animated Brick Company made a video for it with LEGO. Ambition all around.

Eclectic Prawn - I already posted this song and video from Dumbo Gets Mad. But it's so great, it deserves a double-posting. And it's about a prawn who wears a little bitty crown. He's eclectic, you see. And the organ melodies have been stuck in my head for three days. Now they can be stuck in yours. You won't be sorry.

The Lobster Quadrille - Franz Ferdinand. The poem is by Lewis Carroll as envisioned by Tim Burton. This vision of Wonderland is dark and creepy. It depresses me but I haven't seen the movie yet so maybe it's a really feel-good venture. Um, yes.

And while we're at it, The Walrus and the Carpenter - a brutal lesson about the realities of the food chain and capitalism. And cabbages and kings.

Inflatable Boy Clams - Sorry. Not a song about shellfish but a tune by the 1981 band named after shellfish. A classic of bizarre proportions. I like to think this is based on two passive-aggressive roommates who once lived in San Francisco in a damp flat with orange wall-to-wall shag carpeting. One rents the bedroom with the window that looks out at a nearby wall and drainpipe. The other lives in the sun porch off the kitchen with just enough space for a twin mattress and an apple crate. A curtain made from an old quilt hangs in her doorway. The third bedroom is rented by a male model who is somewhere in Japan, dancing in a cornfield with an 16-year-old on his shoulders for a photo shoot. Not that I would know anything about this...

We end with The Smothers Brothers' Crabs Walk Sideways. Folk on, shellfish lovers!

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