BUT HAVE YOU HEARD is our occasional music recommendation column in which we dare to dive into the murky depths of Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, YouTube (and more) to bring you our most choice audio selections, new and old. Sometimes obscure, sometimes mainstream, but always interesting, find out what The Grumps are listening to this week!
The Fall, Gorillaz
This choice might seem a little “on the nose” given the title, but sometimes it’s the most obvious answer that makes the most sense. As one of Gorillaz’s more hidden of hidden gems, this full-length album is dismissed by some for its lack of “properness,” probably because it’s a collection of somber songs written and recorded on the road that don’t have a clear single featuring a flashy hip-hop cameo. But what makes The Fall stand out is its weariness, how it encapsulates the tired feeling that comes after enduring a long, hot summer just before the rejuvenation of Halloween. I particularly feel this seasonal weariness since having moved to the most southern tip of Texas, where the sun never tires and there is no such thing as “peak foliage.” I hardly feel the comforting signals of Fall down here, and frankly, it’s depressing. So this album — and especially the track “The Parish of Space Dust” that treats the Lone Star State as an expanse of inconsequential nothingness — acts as a form of therapy as the Eyes of Texas are upon me and I am forced to defiantly stare back into them.
CLUE (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SCORE), JOHN MORRIS
But, you know, I’m thinking perhaps I need to recommend something less depressing as well. It is, however, somewhat difficult to think of “upbeat” songs that remind me of Fall; there are plenty of sad and somber tunes about some kind of “change in the weather,” but I’m hard-pressed to find too many songs I like about partying at a bonfire or hayride. So, let’s do something different: a motion picture score from a film that hits the sweet spot of feeling like Fall before transitioning fully into Halloween. What’s the perfect film for that, that also brings me so much joy? 1985’s murder mystery board game adaptation, Clue. Composer John Morris straddles the line between Hitcockian suspense and silly slapstick by mixing traditional orchestral compositions with synths gone haywire. It’s perfectly cartoony, as is the film, with score notes signaling when to laugh and when to be scared as if we’re in an old-school funhouse. Clue is the kind of film that merges Old Hollywood with the New, and there’s nothing else quite like it. Knives Out tried, bless its heart, but didn’t even come close; Clue is timeless and can never be replicated, much like Morris’ score.
“Nothing Can Stop Us,” SAINT Etienne
This could be a bit of a nostalgia bump for me if only I had stepped away and fully forgotten about Saint Etienne all these years; I hadn’t. But what we have is an album (including this song) that was released 30 years ago, September 1991, that still sounds strong and because of its then anachronistic influences, sounds rather evergreen, in spite of musical trends throughout the years. And I’d like to think of this track as a bit of a loving battle hymn for Grumpire.
FROM BRIAN MILLER:
“fALL BREAK,” PETER YELLEN
One very important thing that needs to be made clear right off the top here: people who prefer the title The Mutilator over its infinitely superior title Fall Break are sociopaths with no ability to love. The best type of name for any slasher is one that references a holiday or period of time somehow. That is why Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Prom Night are the three biggest films ever made and why Nightmare on Elm Street toils in obscurity. Fall Break is also woke as hell, already pooping on “Thanksgiving Break” colonizing enthusiasts way back in the ’80s before you could get likes for it! Finally, the theme song says, over and over and over and over again, “Fall Break” not “Mutilator” so the correct name of the film is Fall Break. A true autumn lovers’ delight.
More Grumpy music recommendations here, on the last edition of BUT HAVE YOU HEARD?!