In many ways, Electric Six is like the bad ass vulgar version of Weird Al. They will sing about literally anything, and I find myself grooving out and laughing in equal parts.
Most people remember Electric Six from their “one hit wonder” Danger! High Voltage. While that is an excellent sampling of their style and humor, if it’s all you bothered to listen to, then you missed out. By no means am I suggesting you listen to the whole back catalogue, but a few albums and songs here and there are highly recommended.
I was introduced to Electric Six through Danger! High Voltage when it was getting radio play. Like most people, I really liked it, but felt no need to investigate further. Then my friend Josh (I told you he’d come up a lot) let me listen to their second album, Señor Smoke. I laughed my ass off, and went back to listen to their debut album, Fire. After that, I went to see them live in concert at a couple small clubs, and kept getting their new releases as they came out.
For the purposes of this blog, I listened to most of their catalogue: Fire (2003), Señor Smoke (2005), Switzerland (2006), I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me that Restricts Me from Being the Master (2007), Flashy (2008), Kill (2009), Zodiac (2010), Mustang (2013), Human Zoo (2014) and Bitch, Don’t Let Me Die (2015). Fans will notice that this is not their complete discography. I don’t yet have Mimicry (2015) or Fresh Blood for Tired Vampyres (2016), and I actually didn’t like Heartbeats and Brainwaves (2011). In the vein of full disclosure, even though I had Flashy in the mix, I tended to skip it whenever it came up. I’m just not a fan.
In my opinion, you only need to listen to the first three or four albums to get an idea of what you’re in for. I personally think you should give (almost) all of it a spin, if you’re just looking for an impression then you don’t need to go very far past Switzerland. While there are good songs on (almost) every one of their albums, there isn’t a lot of variantion either musically or even lyrically. I’m not calling it a bad thing. There is no harm in being a one-trick pony, as long as it’s a really good trick. And E6 does a really good trick and does it well. Even though I have a lot more familiarity with their early works, I still find myself reflexively bobbing my head to their newer material. I have been listening to E6 solid since I started writing today (the last post), and I’ve been bobbing my head so much my neck is actually getting a little sore. It’s also worth noting how many songs I’m singing along with. I stopped writing just a couple of minutes ago to sing along to Chocolate Pope and then laughed at the ridiculousness of it. That’s not the first song today that has happened with. Earlier it happened with Love Song for Myself, complete with the meowing parts (you read that right, listen to the song yourself and realize the silliness). Before that it was Dance Epidemic. How can you not appreciate a line like “You’re body goes to waste every minute you don’t give it to me.” I started today by ironically belting out I Wish this Song Were Louder.
I have a lot of good memories of Electric Six. I’ve….
Hold on, gotta sing along to Synthesizer. “But you can’t ignore my Techno!”
As I was saying, I’ve seen them live a couple of times. I saw them at a club in Convington, Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati. They dedicated their song Gay Bar to former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott, know for, among other things, homophobia. I saw them in Columbus a couple of times in Columbus…
Wait, fit of laughter for that line in I’m the Bomb. “Let me reach down between my legs….and ease the seat back!”
Anyway…I saw them at a now defunct club in Columbus called Little Brothers. I spent almost the entire show outside smoking with Josh and a bunch of complete strangers. I’m not really known for being a social person, and don’t really like to be in crowds like concerts. I prefer to stand in the back, both because of this and also because, as a taller guy, I tend to block views for, well, everyone behind me. So, hanging out in the “smoking section” (a curb outside the side door) while still being able to hear the openers was perfect. I did go in and put up with the crowd when E6 took the stage, though.
I actually have karaoke memories of E6. I saw Josh do a rousing rendition of Gay Bar at a Korean karaoke bar in Columbus. He had reserved a private room for his girlfriend’s birthday. She loved karaoke. Him…not so much. But he’s a good guy and gave in to her whims on this occasion. So yeah, he did Gay Bar, and one of the guys there kept saying “Solo!” at musical breaks, as is done in more than one E6 song. I also did an Electric Six song for karaoke. As I said, they are really easy to sing along to. It was at a going away party (oddly, for the same person, although she was no longer Josh’s girlfriend at this time). It was low tech karaoke. Essentially…
BWAH HA HA HA….sorry. The song Vibrator just came on. I’m gonna need a moment, that song is hilarious.
Right…so, essentially people were singing along with CDs that the host had or that they brought. Many awful renditions of songs happened that night, and multiple people were bugging me to join in. I didn’t want to sing any of the stuff there, so I went out to my car and got my mp3 player (a 30gb Zune. Yes, I owned not one but multiple Zune players before they were discontinued.). I queued up Electric Six’s Pleasing Interlude II and belted it out for all it was worth. I got a rousing round of applause and laughter, and was asked for an encore of the same song, since it is less than thirty seconds and only four lines long. For posterity, here it is:
Another interlude for me as I sing along to It’s Showtime!
Electric Six wasn’t quite influential enough to warrant their own week with a place in the top 40 itself, but I would say they were closer than any of the other artists this week. If I was numbering, they would probably be…
Hang on, the cover of The Rubberband Man is on. Too busy grooving to write.
Like I was saying, the would probably be number 41. The very definition of “didn’t quite make it.” But they are absolutely still worth a listen.