Len – You Can’t Stop The Bum Rush
May 25, 1999
Tim: Hey, Matt.
Matt: Yeah, Tim?
Tim: Hey, you talked to Mark lately?
Matt: Uh… haven’t really talked to him but… he looks pretty, uh… down.
Tim: “He looks pretty, uh… down…” (while he’s laughing)
Tim: Yeah, well, maybe we should cheer him up then.
Matt: What do you, uh…suppose we should do?
Tim: Well, does he like butter tarts…?
And so begins one of the most loved (or hated, depending on your preference) pop songs that dominated radio around the turn of the century. Though not sonically, I liken this song to how crazy it was that Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know took over the airwaves last year. These are not your stereotypical pop songs in any sense. Steal My Sunshine is a straight-out-of-California (even though these guys are from Toronto) beach bummin’ / chillaxin’ / poppin’ / rappin’ tune that evokes an all around sense of livin’ the easy life. I mean, what does its makeup even consist of? It sounds like it has some stoned out dude playing some loose drums in the background, a slight sonar-esque double pop every couple of beats, and of course, the claim to fame: the one piano chord that is repeated it its major and minor positions through the whole song. That’s it! How do you come up with this stuff? It’s genius! Yeah, it’s partially a sample (Andrea True’s More, More More from 1976), but still – you’ve gotta respect it. Len is the textbook definition of a one-hit-wonder with this track.
They were destined for that path though, because there’s nothing else on You Can’t Stop The Bum Rush that sounds even remotely close to Steal My Sunshine. This thing is jumbled mix of alternative rock, straight up pop (as the single suggests), indie rap, trip – it’s super eclectic, and that’s all good with me – I’ve always thought it was such a fun album. Guitars, scratching records, horns…this is simply music. We don’t have to try to pigeonhole it. Look at the cover of the record. Do you see one certainly style of any of those characters? Not at all.
What else is on here?
I love freaking love Cryptic Souls Crew. This is funk, disco, R&B, and indie rap all rolled into one, and it’s gold. I need to make sure that I never find myself walking down a busy sidewalk while this thing is blasting out through my iPod, because I’m not gonna be able to stop myself from exhibiting the most nerdy, white-boy swagger walk you’ve ever seen. When I think about myself and my ambitions in life, “pimp” falls right below “brain surgeon” and “international ambassador”. When this track comes , pimp gets notched up a couple of spots.
From the electro-tinged pop of Man Of The Year to the chick alternative rock of Feelin’ Alright, we find that none of these tracks blend together in the slightest. I’ll take that any day, against any argument that says that this band doesn’t know “what their real identity is”. The Hard Disk Approach sounds like, and is titled like, a Devo b-side. Hot Rod Monster Jam starts out by sounding like the Jackson-5, transforming into a dance track, and ending with a female fronted 1940’s doo-wop vocal sample. Cold Chillin’? It’s an early 90’s hip-hop number with an alien-sounding Gwen Stefani on the chorus.
This record is here to bring you up when you’re feeling bad. Turn your attitude around – things are never as bad as what they seem. Len knows this. They ride the waves of musical diversity just like we ride the waves through the seasons of life. Check out the gospel closer, Crazy Cause I Believe (Early Morning Sunshine):
Ya know what? / Sometimes you just get so damn tired
And things really ain’t that cool
But it’s normal, man / You can’t let it slow up your pattern
Some days the pressure can really be on you
And you might not know what to do about it
You might get a little claustrophobic / Problems closin’ in on ya
But you just gotta relax, man
Plan your attack, man
I mean, we all got struggles / Though you can’t win em all
Cause life is hard as granite for some of us
But you just gotta let it ride, man /And ride with it
Cause some things only happen when you let it
If you lose your head too fast, you might live to regret it.
If you had to listen to two tracks besides Steal My Sunshine: Cryptik Souls Crew / Feelin’ Alright