It might seem a rather odd choice for a retrospective review and although ‘One Fierce Beer Coaster’ by Pennsylvania’s The Bloodhound Gang was released twenty years ago this month, a lot of people may respond with “so what?”.
Well, this very special throwback Thursday style retro review has two main agendas to it and here they are… 1) to celebrate a great album that just should not be twenty years old because that means 1996 was an extremely long time ago therefore rendering me extremely old. 2) because it’s an ideal example of how much YOU don’t know about The Bloodhound Gang… but you should. Now everybody knows their biggest hit “The Bad Touch”, but most would probably still not know that that’s what the song is called, it’s just the one about the Discovery channel. But do you know that that track, which received global acclaim and is still well known today, featured on their third out of what would become five studio albums. Did you also know that the band was formed in 1988?
This is what I’m saying. I’m sure a large amount of people will know all this and I mean no patronisation when I point the finger at you and say “how do you not know all this?”. The point is, that for 28 years one of the most amazing comedic bands of all time has been producing great album after great album, maintaining a fairly youthful edge and doing it with more style, panache and talent than a lot of bands around in today’s commercial market.
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m actually not a comedy music fan as I find it gimmicky and one side of the two-pronged genre always suffers. The Bloodhound Gang have always been the exception to the rule. With a band that can play almost any genre, from metal to hip-hop, from an electronic/synth based tip to a punk rock version of an 80s classic, their versatility is what makes the backing band, of which has now had many different members, accomplished enough to still sound credible and listenable. The Bloodhound gangs sound, especially early on around the mid-nineties was very much hip hop orientated and heavily used samples and ideas from previously established rap songs or contemporary pop songs. Jimmy Pop’s vocal delivery and flow blends with this perfectly as he can whirlwind through a whole verse of comedic rhymes and just throw pop culture references and borrow lines from anywhere and seamlessly place them into his own track. A rip off has never sounded so original.
So their second album, the difficult second album, didn’t seem difficult at all in its delivery. Production value had shot up from that of their debut, ‘Use Your Fingers’, and originality had blossomed also. Jimmy Pop also comes through as a really notable frontman and the genius behind it all. His performance on first track ‘Kiss Me Where It Smells Funny’ is outstanding. Fast paced vocally with a gritty guitar riff and a DJ scratch all over it, I remember finding this song and its accompanying music video so obnoxious when I was younger and by the time I was 18 or maybe 19 I’d fallen in love with it, completely engaged with the lyrics dissecting them and finding the funny in all of it. They of course released from this album, ‘Fire Water Burn’ which everybody knows, they just don’t know where the know it from or who did it. Now it’s obviously ripped from the Rock Master Scott track ‘The Roof is on Fire’ but this is the version I’ll always remember. With a monotone vocal throughout reminiscent of Wheezers style, but ridiculously witty lyrics and an iconic riff and chorus, this track may well be what launched them to a height where their popularity was now ready to soar on the third record… but that’s skipping ahead. Their second album also features hilarious tracks like ‘I Wish I Was Queer So I Could Get Chicks’ and ‘Why’s Everybody Always Pickin’ On Me?’ as well as an awesome alternative cover of Run DMC’s ‘It’s Tricky’.
The whole album is self-deprecating, filthy, hilarious and yet sounds so good and as a band, maintain a level of respectability despite being so crass. To think the record is twenty years old is insane and to think these guys are still releasing material 28 years into their career (see 2015’s ‘Hard Off’ LP) is incredible. So don’t think that The Bloodhound Gang were a one trick pony, do yourself a favour, go ahead and brighten your own day up, there’s five studio albums and a number of EPs to enjoy… so go do it.
Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)