Top Ten Ridiculously Relentless Songs
here are songs that are a little bit over the top, or songs that momentarily lose it in flashes of inadvisable guitar hero solo or crazy drum breakdown action, maybe a nutty shout-along chorus. But then there are the songs that reach new levels of ridiculousness: the relentless ones. They are the aural equivalent of red cordial filled three-year-olds jumping up and down screaming, “look at me! Look at me!” or people who type USING LOTS OF CAPITALS!! AND EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!! JUST IN CASE!!!! YOU MISSED THE POINT THE FIRST TIME!!!! The sorts of songs that you’d imagine Jamster Mobile could turn into irritating ring tones with no trouble at all. They’re not necessarily bad songs (with the exception of “Lock And Load,” I’d count all the songs listed here amongst my favourites), just desperate to get their point made, preferably ten or more times.
Now, maybe it’s because my family has instilled in me a solid appreciation of the ridiculous (or maybe I’m just a sadist), but I harbour a special love for these monsters of relentlessness; they’re like a very special little cousin with a loud laugh who holds your hand a little too tightly. It takes confidence—or madness—to commit such craziness to tape without care for coolness or reputation, and that’s what I like about them. Do you think Andrew W.K. is bothered if you think “Party Hard” is a little bit over the top? Do you think Wreckless Eric was really worried if no one could understand a word he was garbling? No! There’s a beautiful madness to these artists’ monsters of mental rock that is, in a funny way, kind of affecting. So, pop a couple of Aspirins prophylactically and sit down (or, stand up and get on your mini-trampoline) to enjoy with me… The Top Ten Ridiculously Relentless Songs!!!!!!!! (sorry)
10. Earl Huff - “Duelling Banjos”
There's just something about banjos... remember that time Homer and Grandpa Simpson are being chased out of town by the hicks, having tried to sell them the Revitalising Tonic? Well, there's no greater example of the mental quality a banjo can bring than ‘the theme from Deliverance’. Yes, the song does start off almost subdued, but you know that as soon as we hear that all-too-familiar diddly riff, all hell is about to break loose. I once played this track as my 'room clearer' while DJing, thinking (wrongly) that, come 4am, it would conjure up unwelcome images of anal rape and inbred hog-farmers in the minds of tiring party-goers and get the indie kids off the dancefloor and into taxis, fast. Not so! “Duelling Banjos” whipped them into a moonshine frenzy and they square-danced around the joint, whooping “yee haaa!” and smashing glasses on the bar. And then, when the final note rang out, they all applauded, then left. I now play it as my set closer, without fail. And I find I can't get to sleep for at least another hour after I get home.
9. Motorhead - “The Ace Of Spades”
I like a heavy rock song that wastes no time in getting down to the business side of affairs; “Ace Of Spades” is out of the gates within mere seconds of its opening riff. You can't dance to “Ace Of Spades”, you can't even head bang properly; instead, you just stand there and vibrate really, really fast, like you're on one of those 'educational' earthquake simulators, beer flying everywhere like a sprinkler system and eyes jammed shut in a vain effort to prevent brain damage. “THE ACE OF SPAY-EEDS! THE ACE OF SPAY-EEDS!!”
8. Wreckless Eric - “Rags And Tatters”
Stiff Records’ little nut bag Eric made plenty of great music, from the ridiculous (“Wax Works”) to the sublime (“The Whole Wide World”), but he had nothing as brilliantly bonkers as “Rags And Tatters”. From the woozy rush of the punk arrangements to the nonsensical, semi-unintelligible lyrics (every now and again you catch something ‘understandable’ like “trapped inside, caught relaxing!”), it’s all a merry jape at 100 miles p/hour, but the clincher is the completely bananas Benny Hill-esque saxophone breakdown. Because, as Electric Six, Huey Lewis and Bill Clinton will tell you, nothing says ‘ridiculous’ quite like a sax solo.
7. The Rapture - “House Of Jealous Lovers”
The cowbell, oh Lord, the cowbell. FOR GOD'S SAKE, SOMEBODY STOP THE TORTURE! Surging, mantra-like bass line and handclaps (not to mention Luke Jenner's hysterical vocal) aside, it's the constant donking of that damn cowbell that makes “House...” a truly relentless moment in the punk-funk movement. “SHAKE DOOOOOOAAAARRGGGHHHHHNNNN!!”
6. The Vengaboys - “We Like To Party (The Vengabus)”
“WHAAAAARRRR! WHAAAAR WHAAAAR!” Sometimes my younger brother wakes up his mates with one of those air horns in a can. Multiply that level of annoyance and ridiculousness by about thirty and you're walking into the entrance of the same ballpark as this slab of bonkers Euro house. Sure, their previous hit “Up And Down” was more or less exactly the same song, but the combination of thumping house beat, crazy Euro lyrics (“The Ven! Ga! Bus! Is! Carming!”) and constant whaaaarping of the fricking Vengabus' klaxon-like horn makes “We Like To Party” just that little bit more intolerable.
5. Lock And Load - “Blow Ya Mind”
Really, you could substitute any number of hard house or German techno tracks (Q Magazine once described the former as similar to being hit repeatedly over the head with a squeaky rubber hammer) for “Lock And Load” and they'd still fit the bill here, but “Lock And Load” has a special place in my heart: my younger brother and his friends worked out how to sing the thumping piece of electronic nightmarishness, a Capella. Yes, one of them would 'sing' the stupid buzzing, one of them would do the 'rap' and the other would do the sound of the drums and the crowd yelling along. They were particularly fond of sneaking into my room when I was falling asleep and letting rip.
4. Status Quo - “Rocking All Over The World”
The marvellous... inappropriateness of “Rocking All Over The World” was forever cemented by a Big Train skit in which an unreliable sound engineer chose to soundtrack footage of a man and his son burying “Mummy”. Seriously, the song is just unnecessary. With all the subtlety of a sledgehammer to a pile of china plates, it's an exercise in relentlessness. From the kick-in-the-guts bass drum to the “reeeeet!” guitar refrain to the Dixieland piano and “I like it I like it I like it I like it...,” it's like being tickled to death over three-and-a-half looooong minutes by a pack of grinning motorcycle club members.
3. The Trashmen - “Bird Is The Word”
In the last ‘Clem’s brother’-related anecdote of this Top Ten, my lil’ bro and I recently made a funeral pact; that is, we insisted upon the songs that would be played should either of us die first. I got Wham!’s “I’m Your Man” and he got… “Surfin’ Bird.” In much the same manner as “Rocking All Over The World” accompanying a child burying his mother, hearing “a bupbupbupbupbupbupbup ooh mow mow baba oooha mow mow” sound tracking Att’s casket descending into the depths of the crematorium would be fantastically wrong. I also love the moment where “Surfin’ Bird” blasts out of the car radio in Christine as the demonic car prepares to eat another hapless victim. I could listen to this song until the cows come home and then leave again, but for most people it seems to be equivalent to being chased into a corner by an axe-wielding lunatic.
2. Andrew W.K. - “Party Hard”
Yes, AWK’s entire debut album (with the possible exception of the intro to “Girl’s On Love” and moments of “I Get Wet”) could be classed as ‘relentless’ and ‘ridiculous’, but there’s one reason that guarantees the song the #2 spot in this countdown: “PARTYHARDPARTYHARDPARTYHARDPARTYHARD” Accompanied by AWK’s patented ‘kicking around in a circle’ jig, if possible.
1. Tabou Combo - “Voye Monte”
If you've not heard this song, you've probably saved a fortune in future heart medications and psychiatric care: “Voye Monte” is THE most insane track I've ever heard (and, as you can tell from this Top Ten, as well as the ones I've left out, I've heard a few). It's basically 10:59 of incredibly high-octane Haitian Compas music (think party funk on very good, very strong speed) from 1979. There's brass, multilingual lyrics, shout-and-response vocals, over-enthusiastic drumming—in fact, the whole cacophonous riot sounds something like the very city it name-checks so often in its brilliantly unhinged second chorus, which goes a little something like this: “New York City! New York City! NEW YORK!! New York City! New York City! NEW YORK!!” (although nods are also given to Washington DC and Haiti, but not with the same fervour). And then there’s the whole “Friday! We gotta PARTY! Saturday! We gotta PARTY! Sunday? We gotta boogie-hoogie, boogie-hoogie!” You’ve heard all the stuff about disco matching the heart rate of an excited person, well “Voye Monte” matches the heart rate of an astronaut in the Vomit Comet.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go have a lie down.
By: Clem Bastow
Published on: 2005-05-20