Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tuesday Tuneage
Public Enemy - "Don't Believe The Hype"

Public Enemy's It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back came out in 1988 and during my first listens to it in 1989, I knew it was unique and great and a landmark. Sonically and lyrically revolutionary, and funny, the album contains unforgettable mottos that I've appropriated over the years, trying to slip them into conversations, tweets, and asides: Bring the noise, How low can you go?, Don't believe the hype, Who gives a fuck about a goddamn Grammy?, No more music by the suckers.

Once at work back in the late eighties, my pal and fellow writer Janell - she's the one who bought me the first notebook that I seriously scribbled through in the nineties - had bought a mini tape recorder to assist her in her writing and pulled it on me in the break room, asking me to say something. I immediately said: "No more music by the suckers" and of course was overly gleeful when she played it back to quizzical looks all around. Nobody in that room knew what I was talking about, of course. Then again, I barely did.

My fave one lately is when I saw the headline of the Star Tribune on June 27, 2015 - RIGHT TO MARRY FOR ALL - and unleashed a "Yeahhhhh boy!!!" that my neighbors likely heard.

As for "Don't Believe The Hype": How many times have I brought that slogan out in the past quarter-century-plus? For any number of overrated movies (Forrest Gump), TV shows (Six Feet Under), bands (where do I start? I'll use Ben Folds Five as a placeholder …), sports teams (so many Gophers hockey teams), boozes (Johnnie Walker Black), food (Krispy Kreme, Popeye's chicken - at least the location four blocks north of my place), the Aeron chair (good way to further mess up an already-messed up back), any big-name designer promoted hard by Target, literary novels (Jonathan Franzen's Freedom and Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue) … etc. etc.

All those cheap shots, good thing I live alone. Plus all those cheap shots divert from the basic core of this wacky little post: In 2015 as in any other year since I bought it, when I track It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back it still feels like I'm listening to some mind-blowing music from the future. For reasons too lengthy to get into here, I lost track of hip-hop in the early nineties. Time to play some catch up, starting with Public Enemy.

And does Hot 102.5 FM have a request line?