Whale On Unknown Sundays 2024

WHALE ON UNKNOWN SUNDAYS [YOU TUBE VERSION]

We can learn a lot from two dummies.  Two poorly drawn, rock t-shirt wearing, odd giggling, do-nothing teenagers sitting around watching MTV.  Makes sense, considering they were a product of television channel MTV, and they certainly (in my generation and time) had us sitting around watching the channel, waiting anxiously for the next video to pop up.  Beavis and Butthead were their names (well, actually are their names as they seem to have rebounded on more than one occasion, even a recent Saturday Night Live skit), and they loved to get entranced or make fun of music videos, people and overall situations (be them appropriate or inappropriate).  It was no secret where their allegiances for music lay given the never changing t-shirt titles, and the usual head bobbing and horn fingers displayed.  The videos that appeared on this show ranged from timely, Milli Vanilli and Biz Markie, to throwbacks like the Bangles and Aerosmith (who was enjoying a resurgence of their own at the time), to the metal loves of Guns n’ Roses, Judas Priest and more alt-metal like White Zombie and Pantera.  No one was safe from ridicule, well accept this one time, when a sound I had never heard, an odd video, nearly inaudible lyrics and screaming caught my ear — and that of Beavis (in more ways than one).

“Hey. This is kind-like rock!?” Butthead surmised as he watches some men dressed in tin foil tight short, one in orange dress, and a woman sucking a lolly pop in braces on the video screen. “It’s not bad.” Giggles Beavis.  Apparently, as the lyrics state, she was taking candy…so the lollipop made sense.  The braces endured her to Butthead, who then expresses that she would be in to him.  The immediate disruption came into a wild lyrical rant that Beavis attempts to copy (hilariously) and then screaming and then the drop to this sweet alt-vocal, which the two cartoon teenagers suddenly took a wild interest in, was just that — not bad — not bad at all!  When she goes from inspecting knads (they go there a lot) to licking an arm pit, it’s off the rails, and I’m going there with this band!  Yeah, yeah, yeah…oh good there’s the usual name of song and band name in bold so idiots like me can find them (stalk them sonically).

Here’s the lyrical nonsense (but how cool is it):

You hobo humpin’ slobo babe
Get it off, get off, get off of me!
You hobo humpin’ slobo babe
Get it off, get off, get off of me!

Baby, we don’t love ya
Baby, we don’t love ya, baby, yeah!
Baby, we don’t love ya
Baby, we don’t love ya, baby, yeah!
Baby, we don’t love ya
Baby, we don’t love ya, baby, yeah
(really screaming – male vocals)!

This I found out was a Swedish alternative rock group, Whale.  Whale was a small part of wider alternative seen in Europe that got swept up in dance-alternative-rock-pop, and augmented vocal distortion to relate certain societal inconsistencies, some of which went from slap-you-in-the-face to more back-handed and sincere.  But, no matter what they were doing on their first album, We Care, from 1995, their sound was completely unique, bombastic where it needed to be and cleverly intertwined with catchy groove, off-kilter melodies, and sudden switches in distribution of the alternative sounds.  They were a perfect, weird outlier in the music multiverse at the time, and ‘Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe’ was a fine whap to the current ear-standards going around, and how fitting that Beavis and Butthead felt so inclined to say so as well (but far from articulate of course).

We Care, is actually a very intriguing record from start to finish, and one of the unknown pleasures of alternative rock in 1995.  There’s not a solitary dud on the record in my opinion, and I was even backed up on that by a certain Sunday television program called Four on the Floor, hosted by David Adelson of Hits Magazine.  Loved this show by the way, and trying to find footage is astoundingly difficult, but he would have musicians and artists guest on the program, and on this particular episode (which I believe Neil Young was on and John Popper) one of the critics went into what he was listening to, new that was catching his ear, and it was Whale’s We Care.  God I miss that show, and I know I didn’t see all the episodes because I didn’t get VH1 to start.  Oh well, maybe someday it’ll be available.

Who was Whale?  Gordon Cyrus and Henrik Schyffert met while working on a commercial and decided to collaborate on a music track.  Schyffert recruited his then-girlfriend, Cia Berg, to perform vocals, and the rest is well, Beavis and Butthead history.  Two albums only, as the sounds they were a changin’ even in Europe. despite the touring they were able to do with bands like Tricky and Blur (whom seemed to have managed the changing audioscape better).  It would have been exciting to see them once, or get a third album in.  Their creativity and energy toward taking alternative outside particular boxes was inventive in places, crazy in others, and sometimes a fun disturbing listen at times (check out ‘I’m Cold’ and you’ll understand what I’m talking about).  Whale was a swift kick in knads!  A wake up from the radio goo-goo and video ga-ga-ga and that’s ‘Where It’s At!’

I truly encourage the listen, especially We Care.  The follow up 1998 album, All Disco Dance Must End In Broken Bones, had some moments, but didn’t hit as raw and unpredictable as the debut.  Both of which are in my music collection, as well as an EP Pay For Me.

 

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