Monday, November 17, 2008

45. Nomeansno - Why Do They Call Me Mr. Happy?

There's so much going on with this band. There’s heavy doses of funky jazz and funky doses of heavy metal. There’s weird timing changes, jagged rhythms and lyrics that seemed to have been penned by someone who has traveled through Dante’s circles of hell while on acid.

I’m not gonna lie; this is some weird shit. It’s an acquired taste. This is not an album to listen to casually in the car or while doing some other work. Maybe later on, after you’ve studied it and buried yourself in it and picked up every single nuance within. But your first couple of listens? Devote yourself to it. Just you and this album. In the dark. With headphones. Turn off the rest of your life and submerge yourself in the music and words. You need to become one with this. And here’s the thing about this album: you either get it or you don’t. There’s no in between. Either your mind completely rejects it or your soul clings to every note.

So, why do they call me Mr. Happy? Takes you the whole album to find out the answer to that. And it’s worth the trip to get to that point. It’s like you are on a boat, no, a ship, a huge ship that’s out in the middle of vast, churning, dark waters. Think Poseidon Adventure. Not Titanic. Leonardo DiCaprio has no place here. No, we’re talking Ernest Borgnine and Richard Dawson as your captains. And you’re Mr. Happy. The ship starts rocking. The ocean rises and falls, rises and falls, and one minute you’re partying, thinking you’re on top of the world and then it all crashes and you’re upside down and everything has gone to hell and you wonder if the devil has boarded this ship and is just having some fun with you. Your life flashes before your eyes and every dark secret spills forth, every ounce of bleak emotion you ever experienced - all the sadness, depression, despair, regret, hatred, fear - surrounds you like dark water but you push through all that, come up for air, fight off flying glass and fire and zombies eating human flesh and screaming people yelling at you to save them and you just kick all that out of the way, because you can. You can. You get to the end, you see the light and you’re standing on the deck and breathing in fresh air and that little kid is there and asks you : Why do they call me Mr. Happy?

Because. I’m. So. Fucking. Smart.

(Rarely in these reviews will I implore you to listen to something, but this is one of about three bands that I will try to force upon you)

Favorite song: You get two from this album.
The River
Cats, Sex, Nazis
Nomeansno discography/side projects


steelopus said...

Wow. This stuff is pretty excellent, even in the background as I'm working.

The music is great. It feels like a less shred-prog version of The Mars Volta, especially the nomeansno.mp3 track.

I've not been paying attention to the lyrics so I have no idea what's happening there.

tim said...

Arguably the worst album they did?

Still some good tracks on it but start with Wrong, Small Parts Isolated and Destroyed or Sex Mad and you 'll be truly blown away...