Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Song #140 of 9999 - Squeeze Me Macaroni by Mr. Bungle

Song #140 of 9999

Title: Squeeze Me Macaroni
Artist: Mr. Bungle
Year: 1991
Album: Mr. Bungle

This is probably mostly a guy thing, but did you ever have a friend who, whenever you see him or her, you become instantly silly? Maybe you even make up funny songs or maybe you're even a little catty, making fun of other people behind their backs or whatever. For me, much of eighth grade was spent making up terrible (I mean, awesome!) parody songs a là Weird Al Yankovic. (Think "Detergent" in place of Foreigner's "Urgent." See, hilarious!) Later, in high school, I co-wrote many a ridiculous song, including an over-the-top Christian metal song called "Kill For God," never thinking "Christian metal" could actually become a real thing.

Mr. Bungle is a band made up of high school chums who managed to make a career out of this tomfoolery, although they lean much more toward the foul and scatological than I ever did. Fronted by mad genius Mike Patton, they released several albums, but none quite as acrid as their 1991 debut. Patton had already explored some of this territory as a member of Faith No More, but here he allows himself to be completely uncensored in the way one can only be completely at ease around family members. It's outrageous in the truest sense of the word.

Why does it work? Are you kidding? Listen to these guys play. Influenced by John Zorn, who was influenced by Carl Stalling, Mr. Bungle shifts gears at high speed, moving in and out of new tempos (and even styles) like flipping a switch. This is not entirely uncharted territory—Frank Zappa did it 15 years earlier with a similar caliber of musician and just as much raunchiness. Nothing about this record is for the faint-hearted but, if you let yourself be in on the joke, you're guaranteed to have a good time.

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