Over the past 20 years, They Might Be Giants have defined themselves by being both quirky and cutting-edge. After all, how many rock bands add polkas to their playlists or feature the accordion as a lead instrument? Despite their geek-rock reputation, they boast an abundance of innovative offerings, including one of the first albums available only online, a "Dial-A-Song" phone line that provides fans with a free song every month, and their "greatest hit" "Boss of Me" the irrepressible theme for TV's Malcolm in the Middle. All Giant steps indeed.
Their latest endeavor is equally ambitious a CD/DVD combo called Venue Songs that documents the duo's attempts to pen a tune for each place they played on tour. Because these Brooklyn homeboys visit us so infrequently, we've come up with some verses of our own for locales we hope they'll hit in the future:
From "Outlet Me Go Now"
"Few ever take a pass
When visiting the Mills at Sawgrass.
It might cost your ass
'Cause Cole Haans cost a load of cash.
But try and save some money
For BankAtlantic Center, honey.
Parking costs as much as a ticket!
Ain't it time someone told 'em to stick it?"
From "Say Heck No to Art Deco"
"SoBe's filled with nightspots posh
And restaurants trendy, big bucks for a nosh.
Near Lincoln Road, there sits the Gleason
Too bad the acoustics ain't too pleasin'
At the Gleason...
What's the freakin' reason?"
From "Corporate-Sponsored Venues Stole My Baby"
"In West Palm there's a place whose name keeps a-changin',
A place they're constantly a-renamin'.
Is it Coral Sky or Mars or Sound Advice?
So nice they named it thrice.
I'll tell you what's in a name:
If it belongs to a brand, it seems kinda lame."
From "Amphitheater in Your Soul"
"If you really wanna surprise her
Take your baby down to the Mizner.
If you live in the Keys, it's a long way to go
And Boca is gentrified, just so you know.
From Carole King to Christina Aguilera,
Nothing heard there can ever scare her.
Yuppie rock is all they pedal
No hard-core punk, hip-hop, or Swedish death metal."
Lee Zimmerman They Might Be Giants perform at 7 p.m. Monday, May 1, at Revolution, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $22. Call 954-727-0950.
King of Coke?
"I'm the fuckin' boss," Rick Ross says on "Hustlin'," the long-awaited national breakthrough for this beloved Miami rapper. But is he telling the truth?
In the first verse, Ross claims "745 white on white that's fuckin' Ross." We can assume that "white on white" refers to cocaine. But does "745" refer to grams or kilos? Then he says, "I'm into distribution." But why does he "cut 'em wide, cut 'em long, cut 'em fat" if he's into distribution? Distributors move so much cocaine that, unlike small-time dealers, they don't sell it by the line or deal "dime bags" full of grams in the hood. Could it be that Ross cuts 'em wide because he likes cutting big lines of coke to snort?
Later in the song, Ross claims, "I know Pablo," then adds, "Noriega, the real Noriega/He owe me a hundred favors." One of the most notorious drug lords ever, Pablo Escobar died in a gunbattle in 1993. If Ross, who is now in his early 30s, was really down with the Colombian kingpin while he was alive, then Ross was a teenage yayo prodigy, probably the youngest coke kingpin in U.S. history. It's safe to say Ross didn't know Pablo.
It's even less likely he knows Manuel Noriega, the former military strongman who turned Panama into a narcokleptocracy. Captured by U.S. soldiers during a 1990 invasion of Panama, Noriega now rots in a federal prison. At one point, Ross says, "When they snatch black, I cry for a hundred nights/He got a hundred bodies, serving a hundred life." This could mean that Ross knew Noriega. But the image of Ross crying into his pillow when he heard of Noriega's downfall suggests a sensitive child with fragile emotions, not a hardened superthug.
Ross' uneven application of cocaine metaphors and wild claims of knowing two international drug outlaws can only mean two things: "Hustlin'" is a complex portrayal of a deliriously schizophrenic cocaine abuser, or Rick Ross is just talking a lot of shit. Mosi Reeves
Rock 'n' Roll Upgrades
When Devo whored itself out to Disney in March for the release of Devo 2.0, which features a group of cheery-faced tweens singing Mickey Mouse versions of Devo tunes the predictable chorus of jaded rock reviewers poo-pooed the project. But come on... that's too easy. And remember, this is coming from the same rock critics who dig Gene Simmons' Rock School and gave Bob Dylan a free pass with that nightmarish Victoria's Secret commercial. So let's drop the charade, shall we? Rock music has always been ripe for the commercial picking, and new wave is no exception. That's why Outtakes is offering the following individuals and organizations a chance to one-up Disney.
Sponsor: The United Nations. Last year, in honor of the U.N.'s 60th anniversary, Bono and some of his diplomat buddies formed a band. Naturally, the sound can only be called world music. But what can you expect when the guy playing "the Edge" is from Botswana? Rumor has it, U2 60.0's planning a tour with an American version of the Spice Girls, led by the girl with the most girl power of them all, our very own Condoleezza Spice.
The Clash 4.20
Sponsor: High Times magazine. In the British music scene of the late '70s/early '80s, the name of the game was social awareness, and the name of the band was the Clash. However, these days, the passion is for fashion and killing brain cells. Now, we all know that Joe Strummer and company enjoyed their share of the doobage. But that was on top of the political rants. This version of the Clash would rather "Smoke the Casbah" than rock it. The big question is, "Should I Stay or Should I Smoke?" Only "Mary Janie Jones" knows for sure.
The Sex Pistols 3.15
Sponsor: The 700 Club. The only sex these pistols have is for procreation and even then, it's as enjoyable as a safety pin through the tit. This band wants to help "God Save the Queen" and instill "Theocracy in the U.S.A." ("I am a fan of Christ/I want to give you a kiss"). They're here as a reminder that we're all "Pretty Vacant" without Jesus in our hearts.
Sponsor: Willard Scott. This band of flannel-clad old-timers is best-known for hits like "Nexium" and "Smells Like Senior Spirit (Or Did I Have an Accident?)." Indeed, 55's the new 21, and Boca Raton's the new Seattle. So get hip, granddaddy-o just try not to break your hip in the process. Jason Budjinski
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