UPDATE: Stateside release set for Oct. 3rd
First of all, welcome aboard my better thirds. Back in March or thereabouts, Jason sent me a track called “Jackie Big Tits.” Of course, I thought this ridiculous. As someone who argues for cultural polices that place popular music alongside its classical predecessors, I don’t listen to songs called “Jackie Big Tits.” What was this crap I thought, the newest song by The Bloodhound Gang? I turned down the volume, and reluctantly hit play. My ears, um, suddenly perked to life. The song had charisma, British charisma no less, and sang of flying pianos, Amsterdam, and began with background laughter with the lines, “I’d like to say, that I was on your mind/So I phone you at ten past three, in the afternoon.” If you had heard the song, you would have just sang those lines!
It worked. Damn, it worked. Who is this band? The Kooks? What is a kook (yes, yes, a song by Bowie) and why are they singing about Jackie? Then, out of nowhere, the Kooks shout out Jackie Big Tits! At that point, it was too late.
Months later, as I walked into Virgin Megastore in London I saw The Kooks at #2 in the charts (behind Muse) and picked up the CD. At 9.99 GBP, it was only $2 more than a CD at a Borders in the US!
The Kooks don’t take themselves seriously, and that’s about the best thing about these crazy British kids. Despite it being a sonically terrible recording, the CD has remained in heavy rotation for months. Back to the that not being serious thing. The Kooks are ridiculously British and over-the-top. This is a band having fun. How can you dislike a band that sings tongue-in-cheekly on “Matchbox”: “The Kooks are out in the streets/Oh were gonna steal your signs/All of us, we’re going out tonight.” I mean, who knows what the hell they’re singing about, but the song is bloody brilliant, if completly outlandish.
“Pitch-we-like-to-stick-a-fork-in-you-or-declare-you-Gods” muses of the debut, “The Kooks’ keen grasp of the banal isn’t the only factor keeping them from a distinct personality” and then they tag the album a 5.9 on the Pitchscale. Um, no. Honestly, the review’s criticisms are valid and obvious. The Kooks are young, overconfident, and full of it. Yet, this album is better than the Arctic Monkeys’s debut (Pitchscale: 7.4, UK Press: 10.0+) any which way you cut it. Sure, it has some filler compared to say, the Amsterdam debut, but it got Britstyle.
Enjoy the big tits and, remember, The Kooks are out.
While I’m writing about fab songs about Jackie, check out this 1989 Britpop classic from vastly underappreciated Diesel Park West…