Sometimes, the normalcy of sticking to a routine can get to a person. Waking up at the same time every morning, getting your morning coffee at the same place and then dragging your barely alive soul into the same dreary office gets to be a huge downer. When it all gets to be too much, people tend to act out and do crazy things.
Apparently, musicians are no different. Years of cranking out songs that conform to “their sound” must lead to a breaking point where the impulse to do something completely outside of what is expected of them becomes irresistible.
How else do you explain these nine batshit insane songs from otherwise normal artists?
The Carpenters – “Calling All Occupants of Interplanetary Craft”
The name The Carpenters generally elicits thoughts of lame adult oriented soft rock of the highest order. It’s a pretty valid criticism. The Carpenters were easily one of the most boring bands of all-time.
That’s why it’s so hard to believe that they churned out this five-minute long nugget of space talk craziness. Granted, it’s a cover of a song by a Canadian band named Klaatu (who might be but probably aren’t The Beatles), but still, it’s a damn odd choice for a cover song coming from the damn Carpenters.
Nas – “Who Killed It”
Things start off pretty normal here with a sample of the drums from Eric B. & Rakim’s “I Ain’t No Joke.” But that’s where the normal ends. Imagine that whiny, high pitched voice that people normally associate with crime movies from the 1930′s. Whatever you’re imagining is probably not far off from the voice Nas uses on this song. It’s completely fucking ridiculous.
ABBA – “King Kong Song”
ABBA gets a lot of flack for being the epitome of shitty disco music, but that’s kind of unfair. They were actually a decent band.
But this song isn’t helping matters. As far as we can tell, it’s about watching the movie King Kong. Do we really need a song about that, ABBA? No matter what the lyric “I really had to write a song about it” may imply, we argue that there is no reason for this to have ever happened.
The Beatles – “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)”
Yeah, yeah, “Revolution 9″ was way stranger than this, but we’re going with this one anyway. “Revolution 9″ was pretty clearly John Lennon trying his hardest to be strange and “artistic.” And the whole band wasn’t on that song.
So “You Know My Name…” gets the nod instead. It pretty much amounts to the band repeating the line “you know my name, look up the number” over and over in varying cadences accompanied by just about every music style they never tried anywhere else.
Clearly, we’re having some trouble describing it. Listen to it and you’ll see why.
Nirvana – “Gallons of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through the Strip”
Let’s get one thing clear before anyone starts howling in the comments. We acknowledge that Kurt Cobain was weird as shit. That might make this seem like an entry that doesn’t fit the premise, but you’re wrong. Kurt Cobain was a weirdo, Nirvana’s music was far less strange. They had their experimental moments, especially in the pre-Nevermind days, but even then they were far more mainstream than the bands they were influenced by.
But “Gallons of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through the Strip” doesn’t fit that mainstream tag at all. It’s seven-plus minutes of Kurt Cobain mumbling lyrics that we’re assuming he just made up as he went along. Nobody just writes this kind of nonsense down. That said, it’s kind of a cool song.
Cream – “Mother’s Lament”
Cream wasn’t as beloved in their day as they should have been, but in the decades since the band split, they’ve been cited over and over again as one of the most influential bands of all-time. And for good reason. They were damn great. Eric Clapton’s guitar work on Cream’s first couple records, especially the technology he used to make it happen, literally changed music. And depending on how old your guitar teacher was, there’s a great chance “Sunshine Of Your Love” was one of the first songs you learned to play.
That’s what makes “Mother’s Lament” so damn strange. None of the collective awesome of Cream is put to any use here. Instead, it’s just the three band members loosely harmonizing what sounds like a children’s lullaby over a barely audible piano. Why?
Genesis – “Whodunnit”
A lot of people don’t know it, but Genesis was a highly experimental prog rock band when Peter Gabrial was dressing like a flower and handling lead vocal duties. But when he left, a lot of the bands more experimental sounds went with him. That’s what happens when a guy like Phil Collins assumes control.
But they still had their moments, as evidenced by this tune from 1981′s Abacab album. It’s not their biggest hit by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s probably the least embarrassing Collins-era Genesis song you could be caught listening to.
Paul McCartney – “Temporary Secretary”
Words pretty much escape us here. The 1980′s were a rough patch for a lot of classic rock legends, and Paul McCartney was no exception. In fact, the album this song comes from, McCartney II, might be the album that signaled just how bad the 80′s were going to be for those artists. It was released in 1980, right at the dawn of the decade, and is riddled with experimental synth jams that Paul had no business dabbling in.
Inexplicably, “Temporary Secretary” was released as a single in the UK. It didn’t go over well, to say the least.
The Police – “Mother”
Prepare to have everything you think you know about The Police completely decimated. Sting’s dictator-like control over the band’s sound and direction played a huge part in the band’s eventual split, but after hearing this song, we can totally see why it had to be that way. If you’re capable of recording a song like “King of Pain” you just don’t waste your time on shit like this.
But inevitably, Sting had to throw his band mates a bone from time to time, and songs like this are what came of it. We’d be surprised if he was even in the building when this atrocity happened.