Tuesday, February 18, 2014

#0077: Chipmunks albums

I will admit, albeit not proudly, that as a young boy I was putty in the hands of marketers. Somehow in the 80s and 90s, they knew exactly what I wanted – whether it was toys that featured a bevy of accessories and vast collectability, or programming that was ‘hip’ and ‘totally in your face’. So it should come as no surprise that I was really into the Chipmunks once upon a time. The 80s cartoon series in particular was the shit, and I avidly remember scenes from various episodes as though they were yesterday. Like one time Theodore cracked the shits and climbed on top of a bookcase. His brothers cried out for him, “Theodore! Get down from there!” to which he snapped, “Why? Worried I might fall and smush you?” Fucking awesome.

And the animated feature film? Oh man, that was so friggin’ cool. The Chipmunks and the Chipettes in a race around the world, smuggling diamonds in plush toys and distracting murderous tribal enemies by singing ‘Wooly Bully’. If only Terminator 3 had just been about that, it wouldn’t have sucked so much. The only aspect of that film I look towards cock-eyed these days are the villainous Vorsteins, Claudia and Klaus. I would not leave my children alone with these people, they are seriously inappropriate.

Anyhow. Riding on the coattails of their 80s renaissance, the Chipmunks were churning out music in the 90s like nobody’s business. As a result, I listened to a lot more country music than most other kids, just under the guise of a squeaky-voiced woodland creature. These are my Chipmunks albums.

The covers of these albums are so absolutely fantastic; Chipmunks In Low Places and Club Chipmunk in particular make me piss myself laughing. There’s something so inexplicably wonderful about Alvin dressed up like a flamboyant cowboy, or with his head pasted atop those guys who did the Macarena. Seriously, if Chris Brown released an album with these covers, I’d buy every single copy. And I fucking hate Chris Brown. The only thing he’s got are some pretty good beats. Zing!

Let’s begin in those Low Places, shall we? When I think of low places, I think of Sunshine and Broadmeadows. But for the Chipmunks, it’s duets with Waylon Jennings and Billy Ray Cyrus. That being said though, Miley would go on to some pretty low places, so I suppose the world does have a way of working these things out.

I’m sitting here and listening to Alvin and the fucking Chipmunks singing Achy Breaky Heart right now, and trying to formulate some way of continuing this post. Words are failing me, and I just assume that this would be much easier to take if I were smoking weed right now. On the plus side though, the album does come with a pretty freaking awesome offer inside…

I don’t care that I’m over twenty years too late. I really want that fucking t-shirt.

We move onto Urban Chipmunk, which judging by the cover and the bold black booklet, is a more edgy collection of country music. In all honesty, there isn’t much not to like about this album: it starts off with the Devil Went Down to Georgia (though tragically they opt not to have Alvin call the devil a ‘son of a bitch’; now that would have been edgy) and goes on to have hits like the Gambler, I Love a Rainy Night, and the Coward of the County. Again, there’s a cop out in that last song, but perhaps it’s for the best: those dipshit Gatlin boys simply opt to beat up Tommy’s best friend, as opposed to violating his woman. Me personally, I don’t think I want to hear Theodore the Chipmunk introduce me to the horrors of sexual assault. I got enough of those undertones from the fucking Vorsteins.

We transition, scarred and disturbed, over to When You Wish Upon a Chipmunk. In case you needed a clue, it’s the Chipmunks singing Disney songs. Which is all well and good, except that on the back it clearly states that ‘this album is neither sponsored by nor endorsed by The Walt Disney Company.’

Isn’t there a law against that? Isn’t this exactly the kind of album that should be sponsored by/endorsed by The Walt Disney Company? I feel like I’m in ownership of some seriously underground shit here, the kind that could get me arrested by Walt Disney’s hired goons. Perhaps I shouldn’t be advertising this all over the Internet, but oh well. I like to think that Disney thugs would actually be Pete and his son, PJ. That way I could be arrested by Jim Cummings and Rob Paulsen. Silver lining to every cloud. I think that weed is kicking in, by the way.

The only other noteworthy thing about this album is that the Chipmunks’ version of Pumbaa sounds a whole lot like Mr. Bojangles, which brings up some serious racial undertones that I don’t think kids were quite ready for, unless of course they had already listened to Urban Chipmunk and were therefore hardened and jaded.

No the fuck you don’t, iTunes.

Last, but certainly not least, is the aforementioned collection of dance mixes, Club Chipmunk. It actually has a pretty awesome track list, including Stayin’ Alive and Turn the Beat Around. If it was socially acceptable for me to blast these tunes out of my car, I truly would. Maybe if I drove around in a particularly bizarre car, it would help distract from the concept that I was playing the Chipmunks, especially if I just banged on the CD player every now and then as though it was just some sort of audio issue. But that’s neither here nor there. We all know that I will never do this, particularly because I really can’t drive. I’d really hate getting into a fatal accident moments after I pass by a group of people in a bright pink car playing Chipmunks dance music. That would be kind of lame. Particularly when at some points, the album crosses boundaries that would make even Klaus Vorstein blush.

I wonder when we as a society failed? I think it coincides quite nicely with this right here.

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