By Bob Ruggiero
By Hilary Hughes
By Peter Gerstenzang
By David R. Adler
By Devon Maloney
By Brian McManus
By Jessica Hopper
By Harley Oliver Brown
The presence below of a few as yet commercially unsuccessful records should not be construed as fashionable dissatisfaction with what's now on the radio (much of whichBackstreet Boys' "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely," Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl," Dr. Dre featuring Eminem's "Forgot About Dre," M2M's "Don't Say You Love Me," Third Eye Blind's "Never Let You Go"can hold its own against most anything here). The fact that, despite the thematic bent of the first few songs, this column is not written as a Dan Savage homage should, however, be construed as me chickening out.
Snake River Conspiracy "Vulcan" (Kinetic/Reprise) » A suburban s&m theme park set to wax, kinky in a really cute way. SRC's Burbank bubblegum-industrial finds tuneage in noisy guitars and aggressive synths, thus splitting the difference between Garbage and Stabbing Westward with an exuberance supposed subgenre standard-bearer Trent Reznor could never muster"Vulcan" is recited in an early-'80s Valley girl new-wave voice, and the album it's on has Smiths and Depeche Mode covers. Nobody audibly utters "vulcan" anywhere in the lyrics, but a different word keeps recurring, chirped first, then screamed: "Fuck life!" "You fucking faggot!" "You could talk me into fucking you!" "Make me wanna strangle you . . . make me wanna fuuuuuck!" Like an animal, no doubt.
The Bloodhound Gang "The Bad Touch" (Republic/Geffen) » "You and me baby ain't nothin' but mammals, so let's do it like they do it on the Discovery Channel": a smokin' boys' room joke obsessed with romantic taxonomy, and at a more evolved level than Motörhead's "Love Me Like a Reptile" (not to mention Paul Simon's "Love Me Like a Rock"). It supplants Mary Chapin Carpenter's "I Feel Lucky" as the best-song-ever-to-namedrop-Lyle Lovett. And, according to my daughter, Coco, it's one of the big-three funniest pop hits to sing out loud in fifth grade right now, the others being Sisqó's "Thong Song" and, um, "I Try" by Macy Gray (imitated in a froggy voice, natch). The Bloodhound Gang hail from Philadelphia, long a sophomoric cream-cheese hotbed (Dead Milkmen, Ween, Atom and his Package); their eulogies bypass Biggie and Tupac for Falco. Their lone previous great record was "Mama Say" five years back, which sampled Duran Duran and quoted "Soul Makossa" (via "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' ") and made Chili Pepper/House of Pain-dialect shoutouts to Judy Blume, Don Pardo, Sherman Potter, Mr. Hooper, and Punky Brewster. The rhythm in "Bad Touch," their long-dreaded pop breakthrough, comes from an over-the-top-NRG species of '80s synth-pop that, in its Dead Or Alive and Frankie Goes To Hollywood modes, was almost inevitably deviant-identified; the rap phrasing can be traced through the Butthole Surfers' "Pepper" (where I now assume "they were all in love with dyin', they were doin' it in Texas" like they do it on the Discovery Channel) to the Nails' "88 Lines About 44 Women." Which was almostthispervy: The Bloodhounds "do the kind of stuff that only Prince would sing about," they "rise an hour early like daylight savings time," they sink their battleship in her South Seas and capsize on her thighs and come quicker than FedEx and do it doggy-style so they can both watch X-Files. Which is on Fox.
La Rissa "I Do Both Jay & Jane" (Aureus, 122 East 25th Street, NYC 10010) » Not quite a thing only Prince would sing about, but closethe CD sleeve's purple male and female symbols are clues, as are the gratuitously programmed "Purple Rain" guitar in the "rock dance mix" and the vocal pitch harking back to Sheila E. (if not to Ready for the World lusting over her in "Oh Sheila"). The Miami-mixed-and-mastered beats tinkle somewhere between generic Latin freestyle and generic diva house, no big whoop. But the lyric bats from both sides of the plate as blatantly as any ever to score in Billboard. Jay and Jane make her feel the same, La Rissa says. But does she do them like they do them on the Discovery Channel?
Razor-n-Guido "Do It Again"/"Don't Look Behind 'U' "/"Men Beat Their Men" (Groovilicious, 920 Broadway, NYC 10010) » This entire record (at 65:37, conceivably the longest ever self-billed as an "EP") is about repetition. First song, reportedly ubiquitous in Night at the Roxbury-type clubs for months now, uses irregular heart-murmur thumping and a martial horn hook of about nine notes to surround a low-voiced Lord of Flatbush, octave-multiplied, ominously commanding, "Do it again!!" (like they do it on whatever cable network he wants, you suspect) again and again and againfor 10 minutes in one mix. Hypnotic-tranced Bensonhurst club-dub of an unprecedentedly butch bent: Is there a namefor this kinda stuff? Second song, slowly-I-turned-step-by-step deeesco running 10:26 in its shortest version, has Gothic funeral bells surrounding words about "the evil that lurks in the heart of another man." Which evil really surfaces in the third song. Long, slow, deep: Iron John's pounding on carnivore skins in the woods, his teeth are gritting tough, he's shooting off space-effect bottle rockets and cracking a bullwhip till you beg, "Thank you sir, may I have another?" The more recent answer-or-ripoff, "Women Beat Their Men" by French house-hack Junior Cartier, sounds lazy and blank in comparison. I guess men beat their men harder.