The Meat PuppetsNo Joke
BASED UPON HEARING the test press for their debut LP some 15 years ago, the last thing I thought The Meat Puppets would turn into is a pop band. They were quite simply weird and obtuse--the word "quirky" didn't even begin to scratch their distorted surface. The kids lapping up the Tempe-based trio these days see them as some kind of current grunge/punk offshoot--but The Meat Puppets were playing before many of their fans were born! OK, I'll get to the music on No Joke. I appreciated the Meat Puppets when they were only weirdos, but I admit now I really like them--pop tunes, major label, MTV warts and all.
The Flaming LipsClouds Taste Metallic
Warner Bros. Records
"THIS HERE GIRAFFE was never caught complaining" isn't what you'd call your average song lyric, and The Flaming Lips are anything but ordinary. They call their music publishing company "Lovely Sorts of Death"--probably taken directly from The Trip's 1967 movie poster--so the addled mentality that pervades this disc should be no surprise. "They Punctured My Yolk," "Brainville," and "Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saves The World" all ooze quirky, frantic fun, with a hint of Pet Sounds-like arraignment and melody. They've kicked around forever now, but might finally make a dent on "alternative" radio. These guys are from Oklahoma?!?
Alanis MorissetteJagged Little Pill
A RECENT INFORMAL survey at the record store indicated the "You Oughta Know" gal's revenge and sex fantasies touched many nerves; purchasers included dusty construction workers, demure physical therapists, dweebish (or was that furtive?) businessmen, whiny young punkettes with premature smoker's hacks, and the occasional exotic dancer en route to work.
Well, why not? Despite her barbed, deadpan lyrics that may or may not reveal a songwriting talent-in-the-making, Morissette's music is blandly mainstream and cartoonishly unthreatening. She's a grating harpy with a Wagnerian concept of subtlety; Pat Benatar for the '90s, minus the range or the brains.
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